Ray Cronin, the former curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, has been named the new director and CEO of the institution.

“It will be daunting, but I am pleased and honoured and relieved, because I really wanted it,” says Cronin, whose appointment was announced yesterday.

A native of Fredericton, N.B., Cronin replaces Jeffrey Spalding, who left the gallery late last year after he was appointed president of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Cronin’s tenure comes as the AGNS faces a few growing pains.


“The gallery has reached a point where it has gotten as big as it can get,” he says about the gallery.

Under Spalding, the gallery’s permanent art collection almost doubled.

While this happened, display space remained virtually unchanged, meaning only a small piece of the collection can be exhibited.

“I wouldn’t want to say that it is even two per cent,” says Cronin about the 14,000 works.

“If we used all our permanent exhibit space for the collection, we would only have 500 works up.

The new director said a needs assessment report has been commissioned by the AGNS board of directors.

“We are at capacity, and you can’t grow if you are packed to the rooftops,” Cronin said.