Ed Fosmire is Deputy Director of Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California. I first met Ed while he was Executive Director at the Oceanside Museum of Art and I was installing my exhibition there in the fall of 2011. My impression was that he had his hand in all aspects of the life of the museum, and I wanted to learn more about what led him to this point in his career.
Fosmire was born and raised in southern California. His parents owned and operated a restaurant where they spent long hours, often leaving Ed and his twin brother home with what he described as lots of time to create and make things out of art materials. They painted, and drew comic strips, created characters and re-created scenes from movies. Fosmire describes his aunt who collected Native American art, as having been a huge influence on his interest in the arts. Over the years, she often took he and his brother to museums. He reported that his big moment of “falling in love with museums” came in 1977, when his aunt took them to see the King Tut exhibition at LACMA. Only 10 yrs. old at the time, he saw the long lines around the block and wondered why everyone was standing and waiting to see a museum but once inside he was completely mesmerized by the objects in the exhibition. Though he enjoyed making art as a kid, he knew this wasn’t the path he wanted to take. Fosmire attended Cal State, Long Beach where he studied art history and while he didn’t know which direction he wanted to take, he met Professor Ingrid Aall from Norway, who taught his classes in Asian Art History. He became fascinated with Asian art. He eventually took an interest in Indian art and after he received his BA in Art History, he travelled to India to study further. Fosmire then decided to study for his MA in Art History and Professor Aall continued on as his graduate school advisor.
|Low Rider exhibition, Oceanside Museum of Art|
After receiving his masters degree, Fosmire was offered a teaching position at Santa Ana College as an
Asian Art History instructor. He then went on to head up educational programming, hiring and administration at the Irvine Fine Art Center. Simultaneously, he worked at Orange County Museum of Art handling educational projects including the training and supervising of docents, as well as fundraising and writing grants. Following this experience, Fosmire worked for the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles and headed up their educational programming. He was later asked to head up the Arts Council in Long Beach, which gave grants to organizations and artists and subsequently was hired to work at the Long Beach Museum of Art, where he was primarily involved in marketing, development and fundraising.
Having received training and experience in marketing, administration, fundraising, grant writing and educational programming, together with his experience as a college instructor in Art History, Fosmire became the top choice for Executive Director at the Oceanside Museum of Art. During his two year stint at OMA, Fosmire is most proud of an educational program called “Art Quest” which he pioneered there. This program, which is part of a four year grant, brings all fifth grade Oceanside students to the museum for a tour, a pre and post visit and hands on activity, all of which meets the guidelines of the state’s curriculum. Fosmire was also heavily involved in bringing both the “Low Rider” and “Facing West/Looking East” exhibitions to the museum. He collaborated with curator Richard Turner, a colleague at Chapman University, in reviewing and selecting artists for Facing West/Looking East.
|Facing West/Looking East, Oceanside Museum of Art|
Due to family considerations, Fosmire reluctantly decided not to renew his contract at OMA and took a position as Deputy Director of Laguna Beach Art Museum. In his short time at this museum, Fosmire says his focus is on fundraising, building memberships, educational programming and reaching out to the community. He also informed me about the Edward H. and Evan J. Boseker Fund, which are funds recently received by the museum for framing and conservation efforts for the permanent collection which houses a great deal of early California art. In addition to Deputy Director, Fosmire continues teaching Asian Art Studies at Chapman University.