The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery is in an exciting period of growth. With new leadership and university support to expand the role of the arts at Vanderbilt, the Fine Arts Gallery is re-envisioning the future of collections, exhibitions, and programming. Through creative partnerships we seek to deepen student and faculty engagement with the arts on campus, advance visual literacy, increase the exposure of the collection, create more opportunities for interdisciplinary research, and enhance access to collections and resources, including marginalized and hidden histories and cultures.
The Fine Arts Gallery is seeking a team member to re-envision our curatorial agenda. The Curator is a key contributor responsible for two to four exhibitions annually that reflect critical inquiry, creative research, and an engagement with the most pressing issues of today. The curator conducts research to develop a strong knowledge of the broad collection in order to build partnerships for class visits and engagement across campus. Reporting to the Director, the position interacts with both internal and external stakeholders. The Curator will re-imagine the Fine Arts Gallery’s curatorial vision, exhibition program, and collection consistent with our mission and values of diversity, accessibility, and inclusion.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Conceptualizes and develops creative and scholarly exhibitions that demonstrate a commitment to the teaching and research mission of the University and engage the most pressing issues of today.
- 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; coordinates 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.
Web and Digital Initiatives
- Works in collaboration with other team members to build our digital presence including exhibitions, catalogues, scholarship, and social media.
- Building a strategy for building and managing the collection, including acquisition policies and procedures, deaccessioning, and stewarding donors to the collection.
- Building a vision and strategy for the gallery’s exhibition program.
- 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.
Hiring manager requests a cover letter and resume be attached as part of application materials.
- A Master’s degree in art history, art, museum studies, or a related field from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary. A PhD is preferred.
- At least five years of professional experience in a museum or gallery with a record of exhibitions is necessary.
- 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.
- 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.
Please apply online at:
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.
Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.
Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.
Vanderbilt is a community of talented and diverse staff & faculty!
At Vanderbilt University , our work – regardless of title or role – is in service to an important and noble mission in which every member of our community serves in advancing knowledge and transforming lives on a daily basis. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, on a 330+ acre campus and arboretum dating back to 1873, Vanderbilt is proud to have been named as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” as well as a top employer in Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area by Forbes for several years running. We welcome those who are interested in learning and growing professionally with an employer that strives to create, foster and sustain opportunities as an employer of choice through:
- Working and growing together as a community of communities… we are One Vanderbilt.
- Providing a work environment where every staff and faculty member can be their authentic and best self, while providing the resources and opportunities to learn and grow.
- Encouraging development, collaboration, and partnership both internally and externally while fostering the value that every member of the Vanderbilt community can lead and grow regardless of title or position.
We understand you have a choice when choosing where to work and pursue a career. We understand you are unique and have a story. We want to hear it. We encourage you to apply today so that you might become a part of our story.
Vanderbilt University has made the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and our surrounding communities a top priority. As part of that commitment, the University requires all employees to (1) participate in any required on-campus COVID-19 testing protocol as may then be in effect, or (2) show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
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