Milton Bloch ran the Mint Museum of Art for more than 14 years. By the time he left in 1990 to become president of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, N.Y., the Mint had risen from a quiet museum to a strong, vibrant institution. Among Bloch's most notable achievements included the expansion of the museum in Eastover, bringing in the blockbuster Egyptian show “Ramesses the Great” in the 1980s and lively exhibits on Romare Bearden and Larry Rivers. Staff writer Jennifer Rothacker spoke with Bloch, 71. Here are excerpts from that interview.
Q. Are you still with the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute?
I'm retiring at the end of the year. I've been director of four museums and now this Institute for a continuous span of 41 years. I'll be 72 when I leave at the end of the year. That's probably sufficient reason to retire.
Q. What are your retirement plans?
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My plan had been to retire in Charlotte, we even bought a house in Dilworth. We have dual citizenship in Charlotte and Utica. We have a daughter in Charlotte and have always maintained our friendships there. But (since buying the Dilworth house), my wife was offered and accepted a job as vice president for enrollment for the College of Wooster in Ohio. I'm going to join her for a few years until we retire in a few years in Charlotte.
I'll write, publish, do consulting for museums. I do (consulting) now, but for the most part, I do it without charge as a kind of payback to the profession. Most people get paid for that.
Q. Will you stay involved in the arts world?
Wherever I go, I'll be involved in various things, including the (local) art museum. I'm hoping to get involved in the community no matter where I am.
Q. Are you still doing your own art?
Oh, sure. I make jewelry, drawings, small wood sculptures. A few years back, there was an exhibition of my masks in Charlotte.
In September, I will have a book coming out on managing nonprofit organizations by Edgecliff Press.
Q. Have you been following the creation of the new arts complex in uptown Charlotte?
A little bit. I'm not really knowledgeable enough about that to have an opinion, but it sounds like it will be great. And so does the new iteration of the Mint.
Q. Are you looking forward to getting back to warm weather?
The weather doesn't bother me. My feeling is that you go from a heated house to a heated car to a heated workplace. If you love your job, the weather is whatever happens until the car warms up.