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Arts and Culture, CEO/President/Executive Director/Head of School, Nonprofit and Social Impact

Director of Curatorial Affairs

  • Chrysler Museum of Art
  • Norfolk, VA

The Chrysler Museum of Art seeks creative and collaborative candidates for the position of Director of Curatorial Affairs. Following the challenges of the pandemic, this individual will work creatively, strategically, and collaboratively to lead the curatorial vision of the Museum.

About the Chrysler Museum of Art

Founded in 1933, the Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. The Museum has growing collections in many areas and mounts an ambitious schedule of exhibitions and educational programs each season. The Chrysler has also been recognized nationally for its unique commitment to hospitality with its innovative gallery host program. The Chrysler is the most important art museum in the Hampton Roads area and among the best in the United States.

The Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-the-art facility on the Museum’s campus. The studio offers programming for aspiring and master artists alike in a variety of processes including glassblowing, fusing, flameworking, coldworking and neon.

In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers the Moses Myers House, a historic house in downtown Norfolk, as well as the Jean Outland Chrysler Library.

For more information on the Chrysler Museum of Art, please visit http://www.chrysler.org.

The Collection

The Chrysler Collection has over 30,000 works spanning many of the world’s cultures and periods, from Egyptian mummy cases to the latest in contemporary art.  The majority of the collection was shaped by Walter P. Chrysler Jr. and his wife Jean Outland Chrysler, whose 1971 gift transformed the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences into the Chrysler Museum of Art.  Modelled after the great museums of Europe and the United States, their collection contained key works by artists such as Veronese, Bernini, Rubens, and Angelika Kaufmann, as well as Rodin, Picasso, and Matisse, exemplifying each major period and movement of European art since the Renaissance. The American collection is similarly distinguished in both quality and breadth. Major works by Cole, Bierstadt, and Homer highlight the 19th century selection, and Hopper, O’Keeffe, and Catlett are stars of the 20th century as well as Rothko, Pollock, and Frankenthaler. The Museum continues to collect contemporary art with recent acquisition of major works by Kehinde Wiley, Anila Agha, and Fred Wilson among many others.

The Chrysler features a very strong collection of photography, largely formed after the Chryslers’ gift, that begins with the earliest works on the medium up to the most recent. Most major figures are represented including 19th-century practitioners like Baldus, Cameron, and Marville and 20th-century artists like Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, and more recent notables such as Sally Mann, Cindy Sherman, and Vera Lutter. Prints have also become the focus of greater attention in recent years, with additions of important works by Piranesi, Jim Dine, Margaret Burroughs and many others. The collection also includes exemplary objects of Ancient Rome, Pre-Hispanic South America, and modern and traditional African and Asian Art.  The 10,000-strong collection of glass is among the world’s finest, and ranges from an exceptional 1st-century bowl signed by Ennion to important examples from all subsequent eras including Tiffany, the Studio Glass Movement, and the Czech tradition featuring Brychtova and Libensky.  The Museum actively acquires works through gift and purchase.

The Opportunity

In collaboration with the Museum Director and senior staff, the next Director of Curatorial Affairs will set the tone and substance of curatorial initiatives. They will work collaboratively across the Museum, creatively utilizing the collection and exhibitions to engage, educate, and expand participation, with the overall objective of enlivening the institution and enhancing its reputation locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. The Director of Curatorial Affairs will lead publication activities and exhibition planning and scheduling that aligns with and supports the Museum’s strategic priorities and mission objectives.

The Director of Curatorial Affairs reports to the Museum’s Macon and Joan Brock Director, Erik H. Neil, and is a member of the Senior Leadership Team, providing leadership, strategic direction, stewardship, and administrative and managerial oversight for the Museum’s collections and exhibitions. Serving as an effective leader and conduit for translating the Museum’s overall vision into action, this executive will have primary day-to-day responsibility for integrating the work of 15 museum colleagues (Assistant, Chief Curator/Curator of European Art, Curator of American Art, Curator of Glass, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Chief Registrar, 2 Associate Registrars, Senior Conservator, Conservation Fellow, 3 Preparators, and 2 Mellon Fellows) leading the curatorial work of the Museum. The individual’s core responsibilities will be the care, interpretation, and presentation of the collection; the development and presentation of exhibitions; and the management of the appropriate teams. All activities will be pursued with best practices and effective strategies to engage visitors and expand the Museum’s reach and impact.

The Director of Curatorial Affairs should possess high emotional intelligence, excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to establish a strong rapport and cultivate collegial relationships with staff at all levels of the organization. This Director must have the ability to lead, inspire, teach, mentor, and motivate a dedicated team as well as serve as a collaborative member of the leadership team across all departments. They will share the Museum’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Strong candidates will have the ability to think broadly about the Museum’s collections and exhibitions and ensure that the exhibition schedule accomplishes institutional goals and serves the mission of the Chrysler.

Key Responsibilities

Reporting to Director and CEO Erik Neil, the next Director of Curatorial Affairs and Learning will have the following key responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with the Director and other senior team members to establish and implement the institutional vision, strategic plans, priorities, policies, and procedures, with particular attention to collections and exhibitions.
  • Work with department heads to provide strategic, organizational, and budgeting and financial oversight for Curators, Conservators, Registrars, and Photographer.
  • Work with department heads to establish expectations and achievable goals.
  • Work with the Director, CFO, and department heads to develop annual departmental budgets.
  • Establish collegial, inclusive approaches to exhibition selection and creation, art acquisition, and interpretation and programming.
  • Oversee exhibition development and execution and ensure that staff members are adhering to established schedules and priorities.
  • Foster the creation of meaningful and relevant exhibition projects among the staff.
  • Maintain a two- to three-year schedule of exhibitions.
  • Promote the Chrysler through speaking engagements and other outreach opportunities; serve as a public face for the museum.
  • Care for, develop, research, and create exhibitions in your area of expertise.
  • Work with curators and registrars to oversee collections management and exhibitions design/installation, including major loan exhibitions, outgoing collection loans, accessions, and deaccessions.
  • Oversee the opening, staffing, and eventual operation of the Works on Paper Study Center.
  • Oversee the growth, refinement, and diversification of the collection and update collections development plans as appropriate.
  • Encourage curatorial team to cultivate regional collectors, other donors, and dealers to secure gifts and loans that enhance and refine the collection.
  • Provide ongoing coaching and mentoring to direct reports in best professional practices and career development; establish clear and achievable long and short-term goals.
  • Participate in institutional fundraising efforts as needed.
  • In collaboration with other Chrysler staff, oversee the ongoing partnership with Hampton University.
  • Work with colleagues to foster new community partnerships in accordance with the strategic mission of the Museum.
  • Be a leader within and beyond the Museum and participate in Board of Trustees meetings as needed.
  • Be an advocate for inclusivity and diversity in all aspects of museum operations.
  • Help maintain a culture of respect and professionalism across the institution.
  • Perform other duties as assigned or required.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be an energetic leader and creative thinker. They will have a broad appreciation of the programmatic and educational challenges facing art museums, experience managing and motivating a team, have a collegial approach and a sense of humor, as well as a commitment to the values of learning, diversity, and inclusion that characterize the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Strategic Leadership and Management Acumen

The Director of Curatorial Affairs will be skilled at building and leading high-performing, diverse teams with the highest degree of professionalism and an eye toward guiding team members’ growth and development. They must have the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems. The ideal candidate will cultivate a productive work environment that matches the skill set and abilities of staff members and provides professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. The Director of Curatorial Affairs will foster a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, and teamwork within the department and across other departments. Further, they will manage the department’s operations and finances with focus and balance and will make decisions based on a clear understanding of the strategic objectives of the Museum.

Curatorial Affairs Leadership

The Director of Curatorial Affairs will have a sophisticated understanding of and passion for art and art history, as well as the materials, techniques, and condition of art objects; they will bring a robust record of exhibitions, digital innovation, and scholarly publications. The ideal candidate will have expertise in an area or areas of collecting concentration for the Chrysler, which has a broad-ranging collection (described in greater depth here). This individual will bring demonstrated experience with project management related to the care, conservation, display and interpretation of objects in a museum setting. The Director of Curatorial Affairs will have demonstrable success conceptualizing, designing and implementing compelling and visitor-centered curatorial and collection strategies and will be adept at working with the staff to bring them to life. Successful candidates will be comfortable in the broader arts and cultural community to advance the mission of the Chrysler Museum locally, nationally, and internationally. They will have a familiarity or working knowledge of best practices in collections management and a commitment to legal, professional, and ethical considerations about all acquisitions. They will possess a high level of cross-cultural competency and embrace the value found in our differences in all forms. This leader will have excellent presentation, verbal, and written communication skills.

Relationship Building and Ambassadorship

The Director of Curatorial Affairs will be a gifted leader who will serve as an ambassador for the Museum, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. A charismatic spokesperson, the Director should embrace the external side of the role, and be able to originate and inspire enthusiastic relationships with fellow curators, artists, scholars, art historians, civic and community members, and others, to broaden and deepen interest in and support for the Museum’s collections and exhibitions.

Passion for the Mission

Fully embracing the mission of the Chrysler Museum, its relationship to the Norfolk and broader Hampton Roads communities, and its commitment to its various constituents, the Director of Curatorial Affairs will be someone who understands how historic collections intersect with our contemporary world, and who will be passionate about working in partnership with staff, donors, and other partners to advance the mission of the Museum. The ideal candidate will possess and promote a deep appreciation for the collections, buildings, history, research, and scholarship and will demonstrate a commitment to public engagement and the visitor experience. Embracing the Chrysler Museum’s culture while continually innovating alongside the Leadership Team, Trustees, staff, and volunteers, the Director of Curatorial Affairs will help expand the Museum’s brand and reach. This individual will have a strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, a sense of humor, and evidence of a commitment to lifelong learning and professional growth. Additionally, this leader will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values: someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Compensation & Benefits

The target salary range for this position starts at a minimum of $110,000 and is competitive and commensurate with experience; the Chrysler offers an excellent benefits package. 

Contact

The Chrysler Museum of Art is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Naree Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here, or email Tenley directly at tbank@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.

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