The new president and CEO of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, Sam Gappmayer arrived in Peoria in November after a five-year stint as president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived until the age of 15, when his family moved to Bozeman, Montana—“a huge cultural shock, but one that worked out well for me.”

Having earned his undergraduate degree in studio art from Montana State University and graduate degree in art history from the University of Oregon, Gappmayer has more than two decades of experience in the arts and cultural sector, and enjoys gardening, traveling, movies, reading and cooking. He is married to Ann Weston Gappmayer, and the couple has five children and three grandchildren. His favorite aspect of central Illinois? “The Peoria Riverfront Museum, of course!”

  1. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    I have five amazing children. Their mother gets more credit for this than I.
  2. What would you say to your 20-year-old self?
    Relax. It’s all going to work out just fine.
  3. What book do you think everyone should read?
    Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The horror, the horror…
  4. Favorite film: Anything directed by Stanley Kubrick, but especially 2001: A Space Odyssey or Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Any Werner Herzog documentary is nothing short of amazing, as was Joshua Oppenheimer’s recent documentary, The Act of Killing.
  5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
    Whiners. I mean, really, if you don’t like your circumstances, take control and change them.
  6. Person who’s had the greatest impact on my life:My father, who died recently, was an amazing example of kindness, humility, service and love. When I hear the word “patriarchal” used in a negative way, I think of my father and wish more people were like him.
  7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
    This one’s easy. Flying or levitating would be top of the list.
  8. What’s playing on your iPod?‘80s-’90s grunge, especially Nirvana. Indie artists like Belle and Sebastian, Andrew Bird and Architecture in Helsinki. I discovered Alt-J recently—good stuff.
  9. Words to live by: Yabba Dabba Doo!
  10. Favorite sport to play/watch: Sailing and rock/ice climbing are my only sports. Watching the last America’s Cup was amazing. a&s