IMA’s New Director Ian Boyden

San Juan Islands Museum of Art welcomes its new executive director, Ian Boyden. Boyden takes the reins mid-May, just before the next exhibition by photographer Susan Middleton. Retiring Executive Director Charlie Bodenstab will continue his active role at IMA as president of the museum’s board of trustees.

Boyden served for more than a decade as director of the Sheehan Gallery at Whitman College in Walla Walla, and more recently as artist-scholar in residence at Suzhou University.

“I am delighted to join IMA,” says Boyden. “This is a dynamic moment to realize IMA’s vision of becoming a world-class museum, a stalwart supporter of the incredible artists of the San Juan Islands, and an arts outreach organization serving this and the surrounding communities. I have been absolutely struck by the passion the community has expressed for the arts, and I look forward to working together to growing IMA into an institution of the depth and breadth the work of this region so richly deserves.”

Also an artist and Pacific Northwest native, Boyden’s paintings, installations, and artist books, have been shown and collected internationally, including a solo exhibition at the modern wing of the I. M. Pei-designed Suzhou Art Museum ( Fascinated by the materials he finds and stories they suggest, his art has taken him around the world.

With degrees in art history from Wesleyan and Yale Universities, Boyden has curated exhibitions from Oregon to China—and now finds home in Friday Harbor. He brings his wife, author Jennifer Boyden, and their daughter, Gavia.

Referring to Susan Middleton’s “Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, the Backbone of Life” which opens at IMA May 23, Boyden says he can’t think of a better time to step in as executive director, as Middleton’s work reflects his passion for the intersections between art and science.