‘Playing by the Rules, How I Directed the Fine Arts Program of the Federal Reserve Board, 1975 thru 2006’

Mary Anne Goley was the founding Director of the Fine Arts Program of the Federal Reserve Board (1975 through 2006). She led a 15 member Advisory Panel and liaised with Federal Reserve Board Members and the 36 system wide Bank Presidents and their Directors advising on Board art policy. She was responsible for strategic planning and oversight of all administrative and curatorial functions related to the following: 1) organization of public exhibitions including international collaborations with foreign central banks, 2) exhibition catalogues, 3) development of a permanent collection through gifts, 4) loan program from museums and private collectors, and 5) advising and acquiring contemporary art and site specific commissions for Federal Reserve Banks, including Miami, Jacksonville, Dallas, Birmingham, Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston, and Detroit. J. Carter Brown, Director of the National Gallery of Art, wrote of the Fed’s program, “It is a model for others in our field to see someone take a challenge and make so much of it.”

Organizing over 110 exhibitions, the strategy at the Federal Reserve complemented that of local museums while making contributions to the field as for example The Hague School and Its American Legacy (1982), Post Graffiti/Fine Art (1991), The Influence of Velasquez on Modern Painting, the American Experience (2000), and The Face of Contemporary Art in China (2006). Beginning in 1988 Goley worked with central banks and museums in Austria, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. Two exhibitions resulted in foreign decorations from The Netherlands and Luxembourg. In 2006 a selection of pieces from the Board’s collection was featured at the European Central Bank.

In 1981 Goley was temporarily assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Arts and Humanities. In 1990, she concluded six years on the Board of the Arlington Arts Center–a regional center for emerging artists – three of them as President. From 1994–1996, Goley served as President of the Association of Professional Art Advisors (APAA), a nationwide standards organization for corporate art advisors. Goley was a member of the Museum Trustee Association (MTA) until 2006. In 2003 she served on a panel for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Save America’s Treasures grant program.

She is an acknowledged expert on the American painters, John W. Alexander and Eduard J. Steichen. She curated Graham Williford’s America (Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas, 2008).