Plains Art Museum's Director Andy Maus to leave at the end of the month after 7 years in leadership

“We have so much gratitude for Andy and the work he has done," Plains board of directors says.

Plains Art Museum Director Andy Maus is leaving the museum after seven years in leadership. Special to The Forum

FARGO — The Plains Art Museum in Fargo is looking for a new director after Andy Maus announced he was leaving the organization after seven years.

His last day at the Plains Art Museum is May 26. He will take over as the new executive director of the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

Mark Henze, long-time Plains Art Museum chief financial officer, has been named the Plains' interim director.

Maus took over at the Plains, one of Fargo’s biggest cultural organizations, in early 2016.

"We'll be the most community-friendly, artist-friendly, vibrant place we can be. These are our strengths, and we'll keep building on that," he said at the time.


Shortly after closing its doors to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Plains Art Museum went live on Facebook for "TAPpy Hour" with The Arts Partnership’s Dayna Del Val and Plains Director Andy Maus for a tour of the Salvador Dali exhibition.

In Maus’ tenure the Plains strengthened its cultural diversity in programming with key shows by Native American artists Fritz Scholder, David Bradley, Brad Kahlhamer and Dyani Whitehawk, African-American Chakia Booker and a group show of Minnesota artists of Latino heritage.

In 2020, as a reaction to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, the Plains hosted “Be, Exist,” a group show of local Black, Indigenous and people of color artists.

The Museum is currently exhibiting Oglala Sioux painter Gerald Cournoyer, Minnesota painter Hazel Belvo, Concordia College alumnus John Nellermoe and Minnesota State University Moorhead alumnus Britta Anderson.

Plains Art Museum in downtown Fargo on May 4, 2023.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

A native of Dickinson, Maus worked at the Plains in two previous separate stints, first in 2000 in visitor services while earning his bachelor of arts degree in studio art from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He returned in 2006 as director of education and curator of public programming, and stayed until 2010 when he took over as the executive director at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona.

“It has been a remarkable honor for me to lead the art museum that first sparked my love of museums when I moved to Fargo-Moorhead in 1998,” Maus said in the Plains Art Museum’s news release announcing his departure. “We’ve never been in a better place operationally than we are at right now, with a fresh and supported vision of the future and an amazing staff. I would like to extend my gratitude to the community for being so welcoming and supportive,” said Maus about his departure.

In that release, the Plains stated, “Maus leaves the museum in wonderful positions, both financially and operationally, that will allow it to flourish as it enters its next chapter.”

“We look forward to introducing the next leader of the museum to our best-in-region art collection, our community, our donors and our deep roots,” Katie Itterman, chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Plains Art Museum, said in a statement. “We have so much gratitude for Andy and the work he has done, and we are perfectly positioned to bring in a top-notch leader to continue the good work that is happening at the Plains.”

A national search committee is in place to find the museum’s next director and CEO.


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For 20 years John Lamb has covered art, entertainment and lifestyle stories in the area for The Forum.
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