Mystic Museum of Art

MMOA pic.jpg

MYSTIC MUSEUM OF ART

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Mystic, CT

Application Deadline:  July 26, 2018


OVERVIEW

 The Mystic Museum of Art (MMoA) in Mystic, Connecticut seeks an energetic, goal-oriented Executive Director to lead the institution as it continues its transition from an arts center to an art museum.  The new Director will exercise significant leadership in building funding sources, strengthening exhibition opportunities, extending the educational and programming activities of the museum, enlarging the board, and refining the collection.  The new Executive Director will also play a pivotal role in stewarding the Museum’s brand and position in the community.

Key competencies for the position include:

  • Strong communication skills to successfully convey MMoA’s mission and vision.
  • A strong commitment to networking and fundraising to build community ties and support.
  • The ability to work with a collegial Board of Directors and a motivated and talented staff of 10 (full and part-time) to prioritize and achieve the goals of a multi-faceted operation, including developing exhibitions, working with an elected membership of artists, building upon a well-established educational outreach program, strengthening studio art classes for all ages, and advancing the collection. 
  • Financial acumen to provide strategic financial oversight as the museum evolves, identifying and managing multiple revenue streams. 
  • The drive to act on identified opportunities, including strengthening MMoA’s identity as a museum and much-loved arts-and-culture space serving the local region, helping staff assess and develop public programs, determining space-use in an adjacent property, and building the endowment. 

ABOUT THE MUSEUM

With roots in the early 20th-century art colony of Mystic, Connecticut, the MMoA continues a 100-year tradition of supporting working artists through juried exhibitions and elected membership, while also championing access to the arts for the community through exhibitions of regional, local, and nationally recognized artists, through educational outreach, studio art classes for adults and children, and through a wide range of community events and programs.  The permanent collection (250 pieces) was formed over the institution’s 100 years as an art association, and it features works by artists of the Mystic Art Colony from about 1913 to the present.  These artists include Charles H. Davis, Robert Brackman, Beatrice Cuming, Henry Ward Ranger, J. Alden Weir, and Charles H. Woodbury. 

 Charles H. Davis (1856-1933),  The Clearing , 1915, oil

Charles H. Davis (1856-1933), The Clearing, 1915, oil

The mission of Mystic Museum of Art is to inspire creativity and critical dialogue by engaging the regional community in the understanding, appreciation and practice of visual art.

MMoA’s main building was built in 1931 and designed by architect George Fraser of Providence, Rhode Island.  In 1999, a gift from Katherine Tod Johnstone helped the museum build an expansive studio addition including flexible studio-art spaces and an art-reference library.  Today, MMoA has about 4,000 square feet of gallery space and 3,000 square feet of studio space for classes.  Located in downtown Mystic, MMoA sits on the banks of the Mystic River.  A stone plaza and landscaped garden offer a beautiful setting for special events and rentals, which provide income.  MMoA additionally owns two properties: 15 Water Street, which currently serves as a rent-producing space and is a potential gallery, and the Fuller house, a bequest from a long-time artist supporter that could either be renovated for a related use or sold.  MMoA also owns the adjacent public parking lot, a significant source of earned income.  Open year-round and offering free admission to its galleries, MMoA conducts a regularly scheduled series of juried, open, and invitational exhibitions throughout the year, presents a variety of programs in the performing arts, including literary events and musical performances, and maintains the permanent collection and archives.  MMoA has a $1-million annual budget and in 2017 welcomed over 20,000 visitors, including 6,000 students.  

 Otto E. Liebig Gallery: Robert Brackman installation, 2017

Otto E. Liebig Gallery: Robert Brackman installation, 2017

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Lead a 100-year-old, beloved New England art institution, yet be a change agent for a museum testing new ideas and approaches.
  • Leave a lasting imprint on a cultural institution as it completes the transition from arts center to museum.
  • Develop new exhibitions and work with a membership of elected artists to showcase the best of regional contemporary artists.
  • Enjoy the satisfaction of working at a museum that is embedded in and serves its community and welcomes all with free admission and a variety of programs for all ages.
  • Assess and refine the collection, ensure its care, and develop an acquisitions plan.
  • Assess and implement new opportunities for 15 Water Street and the Fuller House.
  • Oversee a hard-working staff with ideas and energy, and which includes an experienced advancement director.
  • Live in or near scenic Mystic, CT, a waterfront community with convenient access to New York City, Providence, New Haven and Boston.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Provide vision and leadership for the museum, building upon its 100-year legacy as a community arts center with an elected artists’ membership.  Foster its reputation as a significant and relevant cultural resource for the community and region.
  • Oversee all museum activities and establish programmatic strategies and priorities.
  • Work with the Board to establish, revise, and implement policies, activities, and Strategic Planning initiatives that will lay the foundation for long-term sustainability in programming, financial management, educational activities, collections, and facility management.
  • Obtain the annual resources needed to continue to meet the current operating needs of the museum and to operate the organization on a sustainable basis from earned income streams, annual giving, grants, and other revenue sources.  Together with the Board, create a long-term plan for building endowment and financial sustainability. 
  • Provide significant leadership in identifying and raising money for the museum, helping to personally cultivate major donors, working in collegial partnership with an active and engaged Board.
  • Develop an acquisitions policy and ensure for the care and future use of the collection.
  • Market the museum, its brand and reputation.  Expand local and regional visitation, and participation, especially to families, retirees, underserved communities and new generations.
  • Lead and inspire staff.  Develop and foster talent and encourage professional development.
  • Develop and foster continued engagement, enthusiasm, and transparency among Board members, artist members, and stakeholders.
  • Be the face of the museum and represent the museum in the community and among other museum professionals.
  • Engage in the community, attend events, and be available to be onsite on weekends and evenings for museum events.

QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

  • B.A. degree (required), with an M.A. preferred in art history, studio art, museum education, museum studies, or a field related to the mission.
  • Minimum of five years’ experience as the successful director of a museum or related cultural organization (or an organization requiring similar skillsets).  If at a large institution, experience could be as a deputy director or department head with substantial management and some fundraising responsibilities.
  • Strategic thinker with experience creating multi-year and annual plans and setting priorities, along with a track record of implementation. 
  • Engaging personality and passion for the mission to dynamically market the museum and to speak and represent the brand.
  • Experience managing professional staff, including hiring, motivating, developing, and retaining talent. 
  • Financial acumen, demonstrating success with operational budgeting, multi-stream revenue management, earned and unearned income development, and long-term financial planning.
  • Leadership skills and experience working with a board of directors to set strategic priorities and align outcomes with resources.  Experience working with a nominating committee and cultivating new board members is a plus.
  • Excellent written, verbal and listening skills and a demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and professionally, and to achieve consensus and buy-in for new directions.
  • Self-directed, energetic and motivated with a strong work ethic.
  • Effective interpersonal skills: a good relationship-builder who is professional, down-to-earth, diplomatic, and engaging.
  • Can establish residence in southeastern Connecticut in close proximity to Mystic, in order to be a part of the community.

DESIRABLE

  • Museum curatorial experience, particularly working with living artists. 
  • Connections in the art and museum world, to facilitate borrowing works and bringing in traveling exhibitions. 
  • Experience leading or developing a small arts institution through a significant transition or growth phase.

HOW TO APPLY

Nominations and inquiries are welcome. 

To apply: email cover letter and résumé́ (Word documents preferred), salary request or range, and names of 3 references with contact information by July 26, 2018 to Connie Rosemont, Senior Search Consultant, and Marilyn Hoffman, Principal, at: searchandref@museum-search.com.  References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant, and all applications and nominations are kept confidential.  EOE.

ABOUT MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT AND THE REGION

Mystic, Connecticut is an historic and picturesque New England village comprised of land from the affluent towns of Groton and Stonington on either side of the Mystic River.  It is situated in southeastern Connecticut along the bustling I-95 corridor, midway between New York City and Boston (each two hours away).  Amtrak has a train station in Mystic that connects to New York and Boston, with stops in New Haven and Providence.  Hartford, CT and Worcester, MA are each a one-hour drive north.

Mystic is steeped in early colonial and maritime history, and residents have a strong sense of historic pride, local identity, and awe of the beauty of the tidal Mystic River.  Mystic was the summer home of the Mystic Art Colony at the turn of the 20th century, where its architectural charm and natural marine beauty inspired a significant group of American artists, and where a thriving artist community remains active today.  The Mystic/Groton/Stonington area is now a major tourist destination with attractions including Mystic Seaport, the nation’s largest maritime museum; the Mystic Aquarium; nearby Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino; the Dennison Pequotsepos Nature Preserve; two movie theaters, 3 breweries, several nearby vineyards, and a wide assortment of restaurants, boutiques and antique stores. 

The coastal area offers a vibrant local and regional arts scene, with many art galleries and museums across a 40-mile radius, from Old Saybrook, CT to Westerly, RI, including the Florence Griswold Museum and the Lyman Allyn Museum.  There is also a broad array of theater, dance and performing arts venues near-at-hand, and 37 colleges and universities are located within a 50-mile radius of Mystic, including both 2- and 4-year schools and nearby Connecticut College in New London. 

The region is economically thriving.  Pfizer and General Dynamics Electric Boat (a submarine manufacturer) are significant local employers, and the Naval Submarine Base sits in New London, 10 miles away.  Medical care is available at two local hospitals, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London and Backus Hospital in Norwich, CT, with specialty care available at the academic Yale-New Haven Hospital.  Mystic’s population demographics have changed in the past decade, moving from a largely summer seasonal influx to a year-round community of professionals and, increasingly, retired people.  A strong maritime presence, with the river and ocean near-at-hand, offers opportunities for fishing, sailing, boating and whale-watching.  Outdoor recreation opportunities also include biking, hiking, and trails at several nature preserves.  The public school systems are among the best in the state, with many options across neighboring towns.  The state of Connecticut is the fourth wealthiest in the nation. 

 View of the River from rear patio of the museum.

View of the River from rear patio of the museum.