The executive director of the Maine Arts Commission, who was serving as chairman of its board when he was hired for a two-year term to help navigate the pandemic, will step down at the end of September.

David Greenham, who has led the agency since March 2021, said he took the job in an interim capacity at a critical moment and planned to stay for only two years.

David Greenham Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

It was an unusual move to forgo a formal search and hire the chairman, but Gov. Janet Mills and board members at the time defended the decision because of the immediate challenges the pandemic posed for arts organizations, and the need to capitalize on available relief funds from the federal government.

Two and a half years later, Greenham said, he decided the moment was right to depart, as the commission recently finished a five-year strategic plan.

“It had never been a job that I really coveted, I guess,” he said. “I had the opportunity to finish that, and then it was a realization that I needed to stay for five years, or I needed to step out of the way and let somebody else come in and run it from this point on.”

Greenham said the strategic plan is focused on increased collaboration and partnerships.


“To me, arts and culture is a heritage industry in Maine,” he said. “I feel like the Maine Arts Commission and other cultural organizations who do this work will be an important part of making Maine a better place to live.”

Greenham said he does not have plans yet for his next steps.

The Maine Arts Commission has a budget of less than $2 million and administers grants to arts and arts organizations in the state. Julie Horn, assistant director of the Maine Arts Commission, will serve as interim director during the search. The annual salary range for the position is $82,804 to $118,289.

David Hopkins, chairman of the Maine Arts Commission, said he is grateful to Greenham for his service. The board will now begin a search for the next executive director, and Hopkins said he hopes they find someone who is familiar with both arts management and government.

“I am very excited and confident that we have a plan to do a thorough search for a new replacement,” said Hopkins.

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