Director, Fine Arts Gallery – Vanderbilt University

About the Role

Vanderbilt University is seeking a creative, innovative, inspiring, and forward-thinking leader to serve as our next Director, Fine Arts Gallery. It is an exciting time at Vanderbilt as the University looks to identify opportunities to advance its approach to the integration of art across campus and increase engagement with art in the classroom, residential colleges, and surrounding community. The next Director of the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery, in collaboration with the University Arts Council, Gallery staff and stakeholders, will work to develop and execute a vision for the future while securing progress and spurring growth.

About the Work Unit

Founded in 1928, the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery is housed in a Beaux-Arts historic building designed by McKim, Mead, and White. The University Fine Arts Gallery Collection contains over 8,000 objects which 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. Administratively housed within the Vanderbilt Libraries, the Gallery’s collection is a critical component of the multiple rare and distinctive collections in the areas of medicine, music, literature, world history and culture, political science, and religion.

The Gallery’s mission is to promote engagement with the visual arts among students, faculty, staff, and the greater community through exhibitions, collections, research, and instruction. With an emphasis on an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional approach of all 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:

The Director of the Fine Arts Gallery will work under the supervision of the Office of the Provost, oversee an FTE team of two plus student workers and fellows, and be responsible for the innovation of the fine arts gallery and expansion of arts across campus and in the community.

Specific responsibilities and oversight include:

  • Lead and inspire team to present art as a transformative vehicle to spark inquiry and engage the University community and public through the presentation of diverse and robust programming, while partnering with the University Arts Council and Libraries to shape and further institutional goals, supporting the Immersion Vanderbilt mission of a learning experience that extends beyond the classroom; develop and maintain Gallery-wide strategic goals, systems, policies, and procedures; manage Gallery operations including preparing and operating within annual and capital budgets.
  • Work closely with the University Art Collections Governance Subcommittee and the University Arts Council to provide an innovative vision and approach to the development of the fine arts gallery’s programs and services as a teaching collection for faculty, students, researchers, and the community; ensure smooth operation of the Gallery including exhibitions, acquisitions, events, and programs.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with arts organizations in the University community and beyond; seek new partnerships and beneficial collaborations both locally and regionally.
  • Enhance the collection cataloguing system and play a critical role in the development, maintenance, and use of collection information.
  • Promote the use of physical and electronic collections; collaborates with Libraries on collection management, exhibitions, and public programming; uses social media and other emerging technology to engage users.
  • Enhance the active growth of the institution through private, corporate, and grant funding. Lead efforts to initiate, write, and submit grants for gallery initiatives; cultivate donors and maintain relationships.

Requirements of an Ideal Candidate

  • Master’s degree in art history from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary. PhD is preferred.
  • At least eight (8) years of relevant professional experience in a university museum or gallery, including at least five (5) years in a supervisory capacity is necessary.
  • Demonstrated ability to craft an innovative vision for the gallery, including formulating a strategic plan for the expansion and integration of gallery pieces and exhibits across campus, developing a fresh perspective to the content and format of existing programs, and initiating new projects to engage existing and broader constituencies in meaningful experience is necessary.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively and effectively with faculty, students, and staff; and ability to establish partnerships with key external organizations and/or leadership to develop dynamic collaborations, interdisciplinary approaches, and expanded audiences is necessary.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of gallery collection development practices in art and architectural history, art, design, and curatorial studies is necessary.
  • Significant management experience in a museum or gallery, with a proven record of effective communication, staff supervision, and budget expertise, is necessary; a record of assisting with or accomplishing successful fundraising, including soliciting major gifts, overseeing events and writing grants is preferred.
  • Superior organizational skills, verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to articulate and present information to various and diverse audiences is necessary.
  • Demonstrated commitment to cultural competences and enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion on campus via institutional research methods and practices is necessary.

 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. 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.

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 and located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university’s students and faculty frequently cite Nashville and the surrounding area as one of the many perks of being a part of the Vanderbilt community. Vanderbilt University is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded, and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt named #85 on “America’s Best Large Employers”, the top employer in Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area for the 2nd year in a row in 2019 (Forbes), and as one of “America’s Best Employers for Women” in 2018 (Forbes).

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