Vero Beach Museum of Art

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VERO BEACH MUSEUM OF ART

SENIOR CURATOR

Vero Beach, FL

Application Deadline: November 18, 2019


OVERVIEW

The Vero Beach Museum of Art (VBMA) seeks a Senior Curator to lead the Curatorial Department at the premier visual-arts institution on Florida’s central Atlantic coast. The VBMA serves over 78,000 visitors annually, reflecting its seasonal, national and international visitors and its resident community. Its diverse programs include changing exhibitions, film programs, and an international lecture series, and a state-of-the-art Museum Art School facility serves budding artists of all ages. The collection historically featured art from the early twentieth century but is growing its holdings of contemporary art with recent acquisitions of works by Fred Wilson, Candida Hofer and Jaume Plensa.

The VBMA was founded in 1978 as the Center for the Arts and has grown rapidly over the years.  In 1986 it opened its doors to a new building. In 1999 the Museum increased the size of the facility to a total of 54,509 square feet, and in 2002 its name was changed to the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Additional growth came in 2007 and again in 2011-2012 with the creation of the Alice and Jim Beckwith Sculpture Park, a covered Atrium, new entrance vestibule, and a 20,000-square-foot Exhibitions and Collections wing. Today the VBMA comprises nearly 76,000 square feet of space, seven acres of grounds including the Sculpture Park, and a 12,000-square-foot Museum Art School facility. The VBMA first received AAM accreditation in 1997, renewed in 2008, and is poised to grow its audiences and attendance consistent with the growth of the region. The Museum has a budget of $5 million and a staff of 50, with a team of 4 full- and part-time employees in the curatorial department. 

The Senior Curator reports to Executive Director Brady Roberts and is responsible for leading and shaping the curatorial goals and objectives consistent with the Museum’s mission and strategic plan. The Senior Curator will ensure collaboration among the curatorial, education, and programming departments of the Museum to deliver high-quality, inclusive exhibitions and related programs. They will bring fresh perspectives to art exhibitions, lead the development and growth of the collection and create opportunities to build support, engagement and new audiences through the curatorial program. Working with the Executive Director, this is an opportunity to advance the VBMA’s reputation and impact in the region and nationally. 

Qualified candidates will be versed in modern and/or contemporary art or American art and have a record of creating exhibitions that demonstrate creativity, fresh perspectives on the art-historical canon, and the ability to form partnerships with other museums. Knowledge of European art is also a plus. They will be a champion of audience engagement and education, and have an accessible style of communication. The Senior Curator will be proactive, a self-starter and collaborative by nature. The VBMA highly values its cross-departmental team approach to program development and problem solving. Attention to details, multi-tasking, and follow-through are essential skills. Experience with donor and collector cultivation is a plus. 

Primary responsibilities include originating exhibitions and helping identify and manage a broad range of exhibitions organized by partner institutions; collection development; related program development; budget management; and oversight of collections, conservation and installation staff. Direct responsibilities also include identifying grant sources/foundations and assisting with grant-writing narrative. National-level engagement with relevant collectors, galleries and foundations is an important aspect of the position, and scholarly research, publication, and presentations to the Museum’s audiences are additional opportunities. 

COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS 

The curatorial department is responsible for presenting three major exhibitions per year along with smaller exhibitions and related public programming coordinated with the relevant departments. Examples of recent exhibitions include: Made in Germany: Art Since 1980 from the Rubell Family Collection; Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement. Upcoming exhibitions include L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters, and From Homer to Hopper: American Art from the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. The annual curatorial department budget is approximately $800,000 depending on exhibition cycles. Single exhibition costs range from $100,000 to $400,000 plus marketing expenses.  

The VBMA dedicates $4.5 million of its $30-million endowment to acquisitions, generating $200,000 annually for purchases. Moreover, the Athena Society, founded in 2004, raises approximately $500,000 annually to support art acquisitions. In addition, exhibition-dedicated endowment funds generate around $460,000 annually and, historically, annual sponsorships total an additional $300,000-$400,000 to support exhibitions. Visit: https://www.vbmuseum.org/

The permanent collection includes nearly 1,000 objects, featuring paintings, sculpture, photography, video, works on paper, and glass. A collection strength is American Modernism, and efforts are underway to grow the contemporary art component of the collection. Sculpture is also an ongoing area of interest, given the Museum’s beautiful grounds and recent expansion of its Beckwith Sculpture Park. Collection care and management is a key priority.

POSITION SUMMARY

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Senior Curator must demonstrate management and leadership skills, and be able to engage and collaborate across Museum departments. Evidence of strategic leadership and team-building is important, as is ability to deliver high-caliber exhibitions and experiences to the audiences of the Museum. The Senior Curator must be proactive by nature, a creative problem solver, manage multiple tasks and responsibilities, and enthusiastically support team efforts. 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: 

  • In consultation with the Executive Director oversee all aspects of exhibition development, planning and presentation 

  • Work collaboratively with key stakeholder departments and the Executive Director to develop a multi-year master exhibition calendar 

  • Arrange guest speakers for exhibition openings. Conduct press previews at opening.

  • Oversee the collections of the Museum, including collections-management policy, conservation best practices, acquisitions and deaccessions from the collection 

  • Recommend acquisitions to the Executive Director, and manage the affairs of the Collection Committee including creating agendas, making presentations and creating reports  

  • Oversee curatorial activities, including all information relating to collections, temporary exhibitions, loans, shipping, art handling and records processing 

  • Coordinate research on artists and supervise as necessary living artists featured in exhibitions 

  • Supervise and evaluate curatorial department staff; lead meetings and organize agendas 

  • Work with the Executive Director and Development Department to coordinate all donor relations, solicitations and cultivations relevant to the department 

  • Work collaboratively across all departments to ensure clear communication, cooperation and strengthening of a team-centered work culture 

  • Work with relevant departments to ensure diverse audience development 

  • Maintain department-relevant website content and have social media presence for museum

  • Travel as necessary to conduct the business of the curatorial department, represent the Museum at conferences, and participate in VBMA donor travel programs 

QUALIFICATIONS: 

Specific qualifications include: 

  • Master’s degree in Art History in a related content area (American art or Modern and/or Contemporary art is a plus) 

  • Minimum of 5 years’ curatorial experience 

  • Exemplary curatorial record demonstrating range of accomplishments, especially in acquisitions and exhibitions, including research, development, and publications. 

  • Evidence of managerial, organizational, and administrative skills 

  • Excellent written, verbal, and listening skills; ability to communicate clearly and professionally 

  • Ability to cultivate collectors and potential donors, and support development efforts 

  • Tactful and diplomatic, a team builder 

  • Ethical, responsible, follows best-practice policies and processes

  • Proficient computer skills in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Collection database and software knowledge preferred 

  • Willingness to travel in order to work with other museums, collectors, and gallerists

ABOUT VERO BEACH AND THE REGION 

Vero Beach is part of the “Treasure Coast” region of Florida and has increasingly been recognized as a global destination. “Treasure Coast” is a reference to the early 18th-century Spanish treasure fleet of ships lost off the coast in a hurricane in 1715. Though the region has been long inhabited, its real population boom occurred in the 20th century, and the Vero Beach-Sebastian region population now stands at 151,000 and is expected to reach 176,000 by 2030. As noted by BestPlaces.net, “Sebastian and Vero Beach are among the few remaining Florida East Coast places maintaining a small-town flavor not overly tilted towards tourists or retirees.” Visit: https://www.verobeachoba.com/visitors-guide.  

Vero Beach is 90 minutes north of Palm Beach and two hours north of Miami. It is about 90 minutes south of Orlando and its world-class attractions. Orlando international airport has connections to all major US cities, and there are also direct flights from Vero Beach Regional Airport to New York City.  

Vero Beach, located in Indian River County, is part of the thriving Atlantic Coast region stretching 250 miles from Daytona to Miami. Vero Beach has a tropical climate with moderating ocean breezes along with over 234 days of sunshine annually that make life in central coastal Florida a pleasure. Indian River County has 26 miles of wide, sandy beaches and the region’s acres of citrus groves produce 7.5 million bushels of fruit annually shipped all over the world. The County also has over 100,000 acres of conservation land in the Blue Cypress and Fort Drum preserves. The unparalleled Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve are near Miami.  

There are many public and private school options in the Vero Beach and Indian River Community School District. The District’s public high-school graduation rates – in the 90+ percentiles – consistently outperform other districts. Additionally, the area offers world-class healthcare services with the recent partnership between Cleveland Clinic and Indian River Memorial Hospital. 

Nominations and Applications are Welcome

This is a very attractive opportunity to work in a senior position at a highly regarded AAM-accredited museum. Nominations and applications are welcome in strict confidence by contacting Dan Keegan or Marilyn Hoffman at searchandref@museum-search.com.   

How to Apply

All applications and nominations are kept confidential. Email cover letter and résumé (Word documents preferred), salary requirement, and names of 3 references and the nature of the relationships, with contact information by November 18, 2019, to: Dan Keegan, Museum Search & Reference, searchandref@museum-search.com. EOE. References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant.