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McLaughlin Gallery welcoming new CEO

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery will soon have a new face at the helm.

Earlier this month, the RMG announced Lauren Gould has been appointed as the organization’s new chief executive officer (CEO), and will begin her new role next month.

Before coming to the RMG, she served as the COO of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, also previously working as the museum’s senior manager of development and programs.

She completed her bachelor of arts at Concordia University in Creative Writing, Art History and Studio Art, and has an M.A. in Cultural Leadership from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.

She has previously held positions at Concordia, Centennial Academy and College, and the learning department at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, part of the National Museums Liverpool.

Gould told The Oshawa Express the way she found out about the position was a bit of a coincidence.

“I was posting jobs for the [Gardiner Museum] and I saw the job posting,” she recalls. “It was just one of those things you just see, and something feels right about it.”

As to what drew her to the RMG, Gould says she’s “always really admired how community focused the RMG is.”

“It’s a really warm, welcoming place that wants to engage artists and really get the community involved,” she says.

Gould wants to build on that notion.

“Galleries or museums can seem like really inaccessible institutions, but I see them operating more like libraries or community centres,” she explains. “I see this as somewhere everyone is welcome to come and see what is going on. You don’t have to have a degree, you don’t have to have any understanding or any background, you’re still going to have a reaction to something you see in the gallery itself.”

While at the Gardiner Museum, Gould oversaw the establishment of the Community Arts Program.

This saw the facility open its special exhibition area, and request proposals from local artists, groups and organizations.

“That’s probably the thing I’m most proud of at the Gardiner, it’s going into its fifth year,” she says.

In preparation for her position, she has been studying the RMG’s strategic plan and conversing with staff and board members.

“I really wanted to understand the permanent collection,” she says, noting works of the Painter 11, a focus of the gallery, is relatively new to her.

A native of Markham, Gould and her family currently live in Scarborough. She hopes to move closer to Oshawa eventually.