Art Preparator- Davison Art Center and Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University

Position Type: Full-time

Full position posting:


Wesleyan University is home to three galleries – The Davison Art Center Gallery, set to open in 2024; the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery; and the College for East Asian Studies (CEAS) Gallery. The Davison Art Center (DAC) holds Wesleyan University’s collection of over 25,000 artworks, consisting primarily of prints and photographs, and is one of the country’s leading university graphic arts collections. The Zilkha Gallery is a ~4,000 sq. ft. purpose-built space with a focus on exhibiting contemporary art and originating solo artist or group exhibitions. Each exhibition is installed/constructed on site in dialog with the unique architectural space of the gallery. The College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) gallery maintains a focus on the art and cultural history of Japan, China, and Korea. Exhibitions vary from a focus on works from the CEAS collections to exhibitions with solo artists. Reporting to the Curator of the DAC and the Associate Director of Visual Arts in Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, the Art Preparator is responsible for art preparation, exhibition installation, deinstallation, packing and unpacking, shipping preparation, and maintenance of exhibitions and the permanent collection. The first major project for the Art Preparator will be to work with DAC staff to move the collection to its new storage area and set up operations there. The Art Preparator will work with the DAC full-time until the completion of this project. The Art Preparator will also be an important voice in planning a new gallery for the DAC, set to open in 2024. Responsibilities include:

Installing and maintaining exhibitions of historical and contemporary art. This includes the designing and fabrication of exhibition elements such as pedestals, platforms, and frames; painting gallery walls; mounting and installing labels, signs, posters, and other exhibition graphics; hanging and mounting artwork; exhibition lighting. Completely de-install exhibitions when they conclude. Maintaining exhibition areas during and in between exhibitions. Assisting with exhibition planning and helping to maintain exhibition schedules and calendars. Working with contemporary artists to realize complex installations assisting with in-house carpentry and light construction in Zilkha Gallery’s woodshop and/or working closely with the Associate Director of Visual Arts and the Exhibition Manager to arrange external fabricators. Helping to manage DAC gallery monitors and training them on exhibition needs, opening/closing procedures, and condition concerns. Advising undergraduate senior thesis majors in the Art Studio program on object and installation preparation Providing technical training on installation equipment (lift) for senior thesis majors. Supervising installation of senior thesis exhibitions.

Preparing collection and loaned art objects for exhibition, storage, and transport. This includes matting and framing in accordance with museum-standard archival methods. Packing, moving, and maintaining collections. Researching and implementing storage, transport, and display methods. Constructing art crates as needed. Maintaining appropriate collection documentation, including updating and managing DACcollection records in EmbARK. Supervising student employees and temporary/contract staff as needed. Soliciting quotes from contractors as needed. Assisting with packing and shipping arrangements. Monitoring the health of collection storage and exhibition environments, especially in regard to lighting and climate control; cleaning and tidying them as necessary. Together with the DAC Curator and Registrar & Collections Manager, directing the maintenance of collection objects. Together with the DAC Curator and Registrar & Collections Manager, determining conservation and framing needs. Ordering art preparation and exhibition supplies. Assisting with the completion of condition reports. Serving as a courier for art transport as needed.

OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES Helping to managing access to the DAC Print Reference Library and Study Room, and retrieving, tracking, and returning artwork to storage locations. Helping to oversee collections security. Assisting with the maintenance of departmental budgets and monitoring expenses. Staffing, training and supervising interns and other student employees. Other duties as assigned.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS Bachelors degree and a minimum of four years of experience in art preparation and handling (with a focus on paper-based artwork). A minimum of three years’ experience installing/deinstalling exhibitions, including hanging framed artworks, mounting exhibition design elements, lighting, and preparing and maintaining galleries for exhibition. Knowledge of professional art storage and display methods, techniques, and procedures. Knowledge of museum security procedures and professional practices. Skill in carpentry and exhibition element fabrication. Familiarity with art fabrication processes and materials. Proficiency in macOS, Microsoft Word, and spreadsheet software such as Excel. Experience with exhibition logistics. Ability to lift and carry art storage boxes weighing up to 50 lbs., including on a stepstool or rolling steps. Ability to work on a 14-ft. ladder to adjust and repair lighting. Superior time management and organization skills. A demonstrated high level of attention to detail. Valid driver’s license. Ability to work occasional evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays as needed. Demonstrated commitment to work within a diverse environment and to interact openly with individuals of different backgrounds. Must be able to perform the responsibilities listed above with a reasonable accommodation if needed.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS Experience working or training with a paper conservator is strongly preferred. Experience moving an art collection. Expertise in one or more museum collection management systems.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Any and all offers to external applicants are contingent on the candidate’s completion of a pre-employment background check screening to the satisfaction of Wesleyan University   SCHEDULE Applications close June 4, 2021  

TO APPLY Visit Wesleyan’s employment application portal: Only applications submitted via Wesleyan’s employment application portal will be considered.

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