Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism Awards Aldrich Director the Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Arts Administration Fellowship

January, 2007

Harry Philbrick Recognized for His Leadership at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Ridgefield, CT (January 2007) The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism (CCT)  announced today that Harry Philbrick has been awarded the Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Arts Administration Fellowship for 2007, in recognition of his outstanding management abilities as director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield.

The annual $2,500 Mahaffey Fellowship acknowledges the important role administrators play in Connecticut’s arts industry and is to be used for professional development activities. The fellowship is named in honor of Elizabeth Mahaffey, who contributed significantly to the development of arts administration in the state during her 23-year career with the Commission.

Criteria in selecting the annual recipient include a record of accomplishment in the field of arts administration, the applicant’s impact on the organization for which he or she works, and potential for continued career achievement.

“Harry Philbrick is most deserving of this award,” said An-Ming Truxes, CCT Arts Division director. “He is a visionary leader whose passion and knowledge inspire both Board and staff members. Philbrick has transformed The Aldrich from a modest, local museum to a world-renowned center for contemporary art.”

As the director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum for 10 years, Harry Philbrick has raised the Museum’s profile both in its community and nationally. Attendance has tripled, and the quality and breadth of its programs has increased.

Philbrick successfully spearheaded a $9 million capital campaign and was responsible for rebuilding the Museum’s campus, which was completed in 2004. The impressive expansion and renovation has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

Philbrick serves as chief curator for The Aldrich’s exhibition program, which has received international acclaim. As an administrator, he has deftly managed the transition of The Aldrich to a non-collecting museum, worked to expand and diversify its Board of Trustees while developing a new governance plan, and restructured staff and volunteers to work more efficiently. He also recently initiated a fellowship program that allows overseas curators to create exhibitions at the Museum.

Prior to becoming director, Philbrick was The Aldrich Museum’s director of education. In this position, he developed the nationally-celebrated Student Docent Program, which has served as a model for museums across the country.

Philbrick also has extensive experience as a lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and was head of the exhibition lecture program at the Hayward Gallery in London.

Previous recipients of the Mahaffey Fellowship include Jeffry Walker, former director of Trinity College’s Austin Arts Center; Alexander Taylor, co-director of Curbstone Press in Willimantic; Pamela Tatge, director of Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts; Vita West Muir, executive director of Litchfield Performing Arts; Victoria Nolan, managing director of the Yale Repertory Theatre; Dollie McLean, executive director of the Artists Collective in Hartford; R. Rennie McQuilkin, former director of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington; and Will K. Wilkins, executive director of Real Art Ways in Hartford.

About the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism

The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism brings together tourism, film, history and the arts. Its mission is to preserve and promote Connecticut’s cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the state. The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism is located at One Financial Plaza, 755 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut. For more information, log on to