Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator job at The Fabric Workshop and Museum | Philadelphia | Art Jobs

Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator

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$72,000 - $77,000

Founded in 1977, the Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is an internationally acclaimed contemporary art museum devoted to the creation and presentation of innovative works of art. FWM presents ambitious exhibitions and educational programming which convey a story of contemporary art that unites process with finished works.

FWM’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program provides artists at all stages of their careers the opportunity to collaborate with FWM’s Studio staff as they experiment with new materials and new media, often taking their work in unexpected directions. FWM’s permanent collection includes completed works of art, material research, samples, prototypes, and photography and video of artists making and speaking about their work and artistic process. The Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator will organize compelling exhibitions featuring work made through the AIR program and drawn from FWM’s collections.

The Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator serves as the senior curator and manager for all exhibitions and collections operations at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM). The Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator works with the Executive Director to provide artistic direction and ensure it carefully aligns with FWM’s mission. They develop the exhibitions program of FWM by guiding the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, draw from FWM's permanent collections to curate or organize compelling exhibitions, and work with guest curators and partner venues on occasion. They are responsible for scholarship and the advancement of ideas related to contemporary art and work closely with other members of the senior staff to deliver FWM's mission, to develop support for its programs, and to meet the goals of its strategic plan. They cultivate and maintain a visible presence in the national, international, and local art communities. Like all department heads, the Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator is expected to foster and actively participate in the collegial dialogue and sharing of professional opinions related to contemporary art and the museum field within and beyond FWM.  

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:  

Exhibitions & Collections 

  • Originates approximately 3 exhibitions of varying scales per year.
    • Develops AIR and exhibition proposals 1-3 years in advance of exhibition dates for review and approval by the Executive Director, and in dialogue with the Director of Studio Operations, and—when appropriate—Artist Advisory Committee and community members/partners. 
    • Works with the Executive Director, FWM Studio, Education department, and Exhibitions department to brainstorm, conceptualize, and shape the AIR projects, with the goal of exhibition and related public programs.
    • Positions AIRs' work and FWM’s permanent collection in larger cultural, historical, and aesthetic contexts through content development and interpretation.
    • Serves as a contact, along with the Director of Studio Operations (or Project Coordinator), for each AIR. 
    • Engages with the Education department and other staff (as required) to produce and analyze exhibition-related programming, educational materials, and interpretive materials that identify emerging ideas and speak to diverse audiences. 
    • Collaborates with guest curators and other partners as necessary. 
    • Oversees the work of the Exhibition Manager in placing and coordinating FWM exhibitions at host venues. 
  • Works cross-departmentally, and closely with the Registrar, to lead the development and implementation of a master plan for care and preservation of the permanent collection.
    • Liaises with Collections Management Committee and Executive Director to recommend acquisition of new works, the dispersal of unaccessioned multiples and editions, as well as consider other issues pertaining to the permanent collection that require Board approval. 
  • Develops and oversees the production of FWM publications and other major printed material.
    • Coordinates with graphic designers, artists, contributing writers, editors, and photographers to manage deadlines, budgets, and project needs. 
  • Supports the work of the Artist Advisory Committee and Collections Management Committees and their Chair(s) with consistent meetings and communications. 

Public Information 

  • Serves as lead spokesperson for FWM's exhibitions. 
  • Provides information regarding exhibitions and curatorial programs to the Communications Manager, in order to develop marketing strategies.  

Institutional Advancement 

  • Participates in the field through lectures, panels, conferences, and publications at FWM and elsewhere. 
    • Cultivates and maintains strong relationships with artists, donors, galleries, press, and colleagues at other institutions. 
  • Working alongside the Executive Director and Director of Development, takes an active role in the identification of possible funding sources, in grant preparation and reporting, and in donor cultivation. 
    • Participates in the planning and execution of programs for affiliate support groups such as FWM members and circles. 
    • Performs research and outreach related to elements of FWM’s history and artists included in fundraising activities.
    • Collaborates with the Shopworks Coordinator to identify works that can be commercially licensed from FWM’s permanent collection and conceptualize limited editions that function as an extension of AIR exhibitions.
  • Supports adherence to organizational mission in all activities, which is informed by extensive knowledge of FWM’s institutional history, including past projects, as well as emerging trends in the field. 
  • Drafts, maintains, and tracks the annual expense budget for Exhibitions Department. 
  • Performs other related duties as assigned by Executive Director. 

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES: 

  • Directly supervises 2 employees within the Exhibitions department. 
  • Indirectly supervises 7 additional employees within the Exhibitions department: Visitor Services Assistants. 
  • Serves as staff liaison to Artist Advisory Committee and Collections Management Committee. 
  • Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. 

COMPETENCIES: 

  • Leadership—Exhibits confidence in self and others; Inspires and motivates others to perform well; Effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Accepts feedback from others; Gives appropriate recognition to others. 
  • Project Management—Develops project plans; Coordinates projects; Communicates changes and progress; Completes projects on time and budget; Manages project team activities. 
  • Oral & Written Communication—Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Presents numerical data effectively; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings; Able to read and interpret written information. 
  • Diversity—Demonstrates knowledge of EEO policy; Shows respect and sensitivity for cultural differences; Educates others on the value of diversity; Promotes a harassment-free environment; Builds a diverse workforce. 
  • Organizational Support—Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Benefits organization through outside activities; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity. 
  • Strategic Thinking—Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals; Understands organization's strengths & weaknesses; Analyzes market and competition; Identifies external threats and opportunities; Adapts strategy to changing conditions. 
  • Innovation—Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention. 

QUALIFICIATIONS: 

  • BA or BFA required, MA in Art History or Curatorial Studies or MFA preferred. In the absence of these qualifications, the Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator must show: 
    • Extensive knowledge of contemporary art and culture 
    • Understanding of critical histories and theories of race, gender, and socio-economic factors in the production, reception, and institutionalization of art 
    • Broad knowledge of world art from all periods and all media 
  • Demonstrated ability to work with artists in the creation of new works. 
  • 5 year’s experience organizing exhibitions and contemporary art projects, preferably within an institutional context. 
  • Superior public speaking ability, as well as excellent writing and editing skills. 
  • Self-motivated, flexible, and dedicated. 
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively. 
  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills with attention to detail. 
  • Ability to work on several projects at once and change priorities on short notice. 
  • Understanding of collections management and publication production process. 
  • Comfort with the convergence of curatorial, education, development (fundraising), communications (marketing), and studio departments and their work. 

PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT: 

  • Occasionally required to walk 
  • Continually required to sit 
  • Continually required to utilize hand and finger dexterity 
  • Continually required to talk or hear 
  • Continually utilize visual acuity to operate equipment, read technical information, and/or use a keyboard 
  • Occasionally exposed to wet and/or humid conditions (non-weather) 
  • Occasionally work around fumes, airborne particles, or toxic chemicals 
  • Occasionally exposed to outside weather conditions 

The ideal candidate for the Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator position will exhibit a deep understanding of what it means for artists to create new work for public display and how to serve as a conduit for artistic collaboration between FWM and its AIRs. The Director of Exhibitions & Collections/Curator will bring to FWM the proven ability, or endeavor, to: 

  • Thrive in an unconventional curatorial role within a unique institution.
    • Support a culture of collaboration in programming and among staff.
    • Contribute to new, forward-thinking, multi-vocal strategies for exhibition development and interpretation.  
  • Expand access to FWM’s exhibitions and collections; increase inclusionary measures for people of all abilities, cultures, identities, socio-economic statuses; and promote FWM as a site of social impact through investigations of materiality and techniques.
  • Center both artists and publics in programming.
  • Maintain a deep commitment to artistic practice and the role of artists in society. 

This full-time position takes place via hybrid work arrangement for the foreseeable future. All full-time FWM staff work on-site Tuesday – Thursday and off-site Monday and Friday as responsibilities allow. The salary range starts at $72,000 - $77,000 annually and benefits include medical, vision, and dental; access to retirement savings; generous vacation time, sick/personal days, and paid holidays; and access to professional development opportunities, employee assistance program, FWM membership, FWM Museum Shop employee discount, and American Alliance of Museums membership.

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