The Assistant Curator is part of the Fine Arts Gallery at Vanderbilt University and is a key individual contributor responsible for acting as a project manager, and, occasionally, as curator or co-curator for six to eight exhibitions a year. The position develops a strong knowledge of the large object collection in order to build partnerships for class visits and engagements across campus. The Assistant Curator manages the application, interview, and scheduling process for two interns annually, and recruits, hires, trains, and manages student workers for the gallery. Reporting to the Director, the position interacts with both internal and external stakeholders.
About the Work Unit:
The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery presents a series of exhibitions each year that demonstrate the broad scope of Eastern and Western art, from antiquity through old master traditions, and continuing through modern and contemporary art practices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Gallery’s mission is to promote engagement with the visual arts among students and the greater community through exhibitions, collections, research, and instruction. With an emphasis on an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional approach to all of its activities, the gallery is committed to supporting the academic enterprise of Vanderbilt University as a whole, while advancing artistic excellence.
Key Functions and Expected Performance:
- Develops and maintains budgets and timely payments to vendors; drafts and distributes communications relating to exhibition funding when private donations and grants are involved.
- Develops and communicates deadlines using exhibition development checklist; maintains calendar with key dates for exhibition development as well as programs and class/group visits; recruits and coordinates class and group visits and partners for programs.
- Works with registrar to arrange for shipping, contracts, insurance, and condition reporting of loans; assembles materials for meetings with Vanderbilt designers, edits design materials, and arranges for distribution and installation of design materials; secures image permissions from necessary parties; provides manual labor associated with the installation of exhibits, including painting, framing, lighting, hanging, and so on.
- Drafts press releases and media kits and ensures their timely assembly and distribution; drafts, edits, and produces exhibition labels; works with registrar to maintain accurate paper and digital files for exhibition archives, including press clippings.
- Manages event planning logistics for opening reception and exhibition-related programming; participates in leading tours of exhibitions with the Director.
- Develops a strong knowledge of the 7,100+ object collection in order to build partnerships for class visits and engagement across campus.
- Leads or co-leads class visits to the Art Study Lab; conducts research on collections objects and sub-collections as needed.
- Working with the registrar, provides the following: maintains accurate and thorough electronic and paper files on objects; accessions art and creates timely communications with donors; works on loans of the collection to outside institutions.
- Working with the gallery director, provides the following: works on conservation projects and contracting conservators; develops a collections plan informed by broad faculty input; implements the collections plan, including relevant de-accession projects.
- Works with outside researchers on scheduling and ensuring object availability; curates small case displays of collection objects.
- Manages application, interview, and scheduling process for two interns annually; develops relevant and achievable projects and coaches students to success.
- Manages communications with and attendance of student interns; adjusts the goals of the internship program, with input from the gallery director.
- Recruits, hires, trains, and manages student workers for the gallery; acts as a line manager and approves timesheets; develops schedules and sets appropriate expectations.
- Communicates regularly with students in order to hire for future semesters in a timely way; recruits student workers for off-schedule shifts for special events; assigns administrative research projects, as appropriate.
Web and Digital Initiatives
- Maintains gallery website (WordPress), regularly updating it for current and upcoming exhibitions, special hours, and news; liaises with tech support, as needed; develops touchscreen materials as needed for exhibitions using BrightSpace software.
- Contracts and uploads files to Culture Spots when audio is essential to exhibitions; regularly posts to social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and trains students to help as appropriate; researches, manages and implements any other digital media, as needed.
- Maintains balances of gallery operating budget and endowment funds, regularly communicating with gallery director; researches and procures office, exhibition, and other supplies; contracts and ensures payment for outside vendors (i.e. sign producers, conservators, art handlers, shippers, etc.).
- Assists gallery director with facilities issues that may arise.
- Maintains e-mail list for communications via Emma email marketing platform; prepares agenda and minutes for staff and committee meetings; maintains data on class visits, visitor numbers, and other metrics, as relevant; compiles annual report.
This position has supervisory responsibility over student staff and interns; the position reports administratively and functionally to the Director.
Education and Certifications:
A Master’s degree in art history, art, museum studies, or a related field from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.
Experience and Skills:
- Knowledge of museum standards and best practices for the care, handling, and display of works of art and historical objects is necessary.
- Proficiency in both Mac and PC platforms is necessary.
- Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills and ability to build professional relationships is necessary.
- Strong writing and editing skills are necessary.
- Ability to lift, move, and pack items up to 25lbs is necessary.
- Experience with project management and/or event planning is necessary.
- Experience planning for risk management is necessary.
- Diligent attention to detail is necessary.
- Ability to manage multiple projects with competing deadlines simultaneously is necessary.
- Skill in being a flexible and enthusiastic team player is necessary.
- Two years of professional experience in a museum or gallery is preferred.
- Experience implementing and advocating for museum standards and best practices for the care, handling, and display of works of art and historical objects is preferred.
- Demonstrated ability to write compellingly about art is preferred.
- Experience managing others, including managing up is preferred.
- A strong visual memory is preferred.
About Vanderbilt Benefits:
In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, Vanderbilt University offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor’s degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt’s benefits at VU Benefits Overview.
Job requires Master’s Degree and 6 Months of experience or the equivalent.
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