Marilyn Moss Rockefeller is returning as chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art to lead a $4-million capital campaign aimed at re-positioning the Rockport nonprofit to new quarters in downtown Rockland by 2015.

Rockefeller’s election to a post she last held in the mid-1980s is effective immediately and was announced by retiring board chairman Judith Daniels at the conclusion of the CMCA board's quarterly meeting in late May.

The decision to move the 61-year-old art institution from its historic gallery in Rockport village to a more accessible location in the flourishing arts center of central Rockland was made after a year-long study by CMCA's Strategic Planning Committee and included a detailed market analysis and organizational assessment survey, according to Daniels, who will remain on the board to help with the ongoing campaign.

"Once we decided to make the move and identified a suitable property to renovate, it only remained to find the right person to lead us in raising the millions of dollars we will need for the purchase and renovation of our new home," said Daniels, who stepped down after leading CMCA through the tumultuous years for nonprofits following the financial meltdown of 2008. "Fortunately for us, Marilyn was ready to answer the call."

Rockefeller noted that CMCA, where she conducted the organization's first major capital campaign 25 years ago in order to shore up the sagging old Rockport firehouse gallery, "has never been far from my heart. It's been such an important asset for Maine and its artists through the years." She added that now is the time to take the next step of ensuring that CMCA can continue to perform its mission in the 21st century.

“I'm immensely pleased to find myself working with CMCA's hands-on board and, in particular, with CMCA director Suzette McAvoy, whose outstanding leadership in the last two years has restored the organization's vibrancy and vision for the future," she said.

The new board chairman revealed that fundraising is already well underway: cash and pledges for about a third of the $4-million goal have been booked; and “we intend to bank even more from individuals, businesses, and foundations before going public with the general campaign in 2014."

CMCA has signed a purchase agreement for a property on increasingly gallery-laden Winter Street, near the Strand Theatre and the Farnsworth Art Museum. Rockefeller said there still is a lot of due diligence to be performed on the building, but talks with a leading architect have begun and, if all goes well, CMCA will open the 2015 season in its new Rockland location. In the meantime, CMCA will continue with its regular Rockport exhibition schedule, ArtLab programs, lectures, annual fundraising auction, and other events for the rest of 2013 and throughout 2014, as well.

Rockefeller's business and nonprofit biography makes her an ideal leader for the tasks ahead, according to Daniels. In addition to serving as board chair at Maine Coast Artists, as CMCA was known into the 1990s, Rockefeller also has been a board member at numerous Maine nonprofit organizations including Nature Conservancy of Maine, as chairman; the Maine Community Foundation; and chairman at the Equity Fund, based in Portland. During the 1980s and ‘90s, Rockefeller built Moss, Inc. into a world-renowned designer and manufacturer of exhibition spaces for trade shows, utilizing tension fabric technology originally developed by Bill Moss for camping tents. Before its sale in 2001, the company grew to employ 160 workers at its facility in Belfast.

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art is a nonprofit organization advancing contemporary art in Maine through exhibitions and educational programs. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit cmcanow.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.