Director of Marketing and Public Relations – University of Michigan Museum of Art

About UMMA

Founded in 1946, the University of Michigan Museum of Art is free and fully accessible to the public, providing local, regional, and national audiences with unique opportunities to explore, reflect, learn, and connect around art. Recently ranked the number one public university art museum in the country, UMMA welcomes more than 240,000 visitors every year and serves over 40,000 of these visitors through 900 annual educational and public programs. UMMA’s permanent collections include more than 21,000 objects acquired over 150 years; special exhibitions, which number between 12 and 15 annually, feature both emerging and internationally acclaimed artists.

Under the direction of Christina Olsen who was appointed Museum Director in 2017, UMMA is experiencing great momentum and a dramatically higher level of ambition. With a renewed focus on campus collaborations, nationally important exhibitions, and building its capacity for research and partnerships, UMMA has launched several strategic initiatives that expand the role of a campus museum. The Museum has also strengthened its core work in teaching and learning and its commitment to service to the campus and community. It produces groundbreaking research, offers broad and deep access to collections and teaching resources, and catalyzes experimentation across academic silos.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Museum Director, with a dotted line to the Deputy Director for Advancement and Chief Strategy Officer, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations creates and implements an effective marketing and publicity strategy that conveys UMMA’s institutional vision and produces broad­based awareness and engagement for its diverse audiences. He/she is responsible for setting and guiding all marketing and public relations efforts, including owned, earned, paid, and digital media. The individual is a member of the senior management team, working collaboratively and as a key partner on a variety of strategic initiatives.

UMMA seeks a sophisticated, creative communicator to translate sometimes complex ideas into articulate and compelling stories for both general and specialized audiences.

For full consideration please provide a resume, with cover letter, describing how your experience and qualifications relate to the position requirements here.

UMMA seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to sustain the excellence of the university, and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives and ways of knowing and learning.


Duties and Responsibilities

Marketing and Strategy (55%)

  • Directs brand management and institutional identity materials. Develops multi­year marketing plan for increasing the visibility of the Museum regionally and nationally. Works collaboratively with the Museum Director and management team to establish goals, marketing initiatives, and metrics that support and further UMMA’s strategic direction and that expand audiences and build awareness.
  •  Develops, implements, and evaluates an annual marketing and public relations plan for publicizing a diverse array of events, programs, and news stories, including exhibitions that may have target niche markets. Ensures the coordination and unification of all Museum marketing activity.
  •  Communicates frequently with staff members from other departments to understand the goals of exhibitions, public programs, and other projects in order to create appropriate marketing strategies for them.
  •  Oversees the development and implementation of external­facing communications vehicles, with a particular emphasis on social media and the website, the Museum magazine, institutional advertisements, and other forms of digital media. Works collaboratively with other UMMA staff on the development of brochures, e­newsletters, event invitations, and other materials.
  •  Directs all digital marketing efforts, including website, e­newsletters, and social media strategy and implementation.

Public Relations (30%)

  •  Serves as the Museum’s primary liaison with all news media including local, regional, national, and international outlets. Cultivates relationships with key media professionals.
  •  Builds knowledge and network of arts media writers and outlets, and national publications that cover the arts. Develops key partnerships with University and community partners, including the U­M Vice President for Communications, Alumni Association, and Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, to promote UMMA’s activities and raise its profile.
  •  Writes press releases, fact sheets, and talking points for UMMA’s exhibitions, programs, and initiatives. Prepares and oversees distribution of public relations materials for the media and others.
  •  Builds and maintains a complete and up­to­date mailing list of media outlets, key individuals, and organizations that are kept informed of UMMA activities.

Administration (15%)

  •  Supervises the Communications Coordinator and hires outside contractors (e.g., writers, designers, publicists, videographers) to further UMMA’s brand. Supervises temporary employees and interns as needed.
  •  Builds, mentors, and leads the marketing and public relations team to deliver on institutional goals.
  •  Manages the Marketing and Public Relations Department’s budget.
  •  Serves on various committees and task forces as assigned.
  •  Ensures the proper archiving of the Museum’s materials.

Required Qualifications

A combination of experience and education that demonstrates possession of the necessary knowledge and abilities for this position is required as noted:

  •  B.A. degree in relevant field such as marketing, education, business, or nonprofit management is required; M.B.A./M.A./M.S. in a relevant field preferred.
  •  At least five years’ experience in progressively responsible marketing, media relations, and/or editorial positions are necessary, preferably in a museum, higher education, or other non­profit setting.
  •  Proven ability to contribute to ideation and creativity working with a team.
  •  Must have experience supervising regional and national public relations campaigns.
  •  Must demonstrate success in managing marketing, brand strategy, and the writing, editing, and production of newsletters, press releases, and marketing materials.
  •  Experience successfully integrating digital media into strategic initiatives.
  •  Excellent writing, editing, and proofreading skills, and the ability to complete projects on deadline.
  •  Good judgment, poise, and creativity under pressure while working collaboratively in a matrix environment.
  •  Knowledge of and familiarity with the Chicago Manual of Style, AP style, and the conventions of print production and web publishing.
  •  Experience with MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, and web editing software.

Desired Qualifications

  •  Previous experience in leading audience development, marketing, public programming, or educational initiatives grounded in current audience research, evaluation, museum collections, or curatorial content.
  •  Proven ability to juggle tasks of competing attention, shifting focus seamlessly from big­picture strategy to urgent deadline­driven projects.
  •  Successful track record in collaborative work experience, in managing up, out, and down, and in anticipating needs of colleagues.
  •  Familiarity and experience with use of art historical terms, methods, and perspectives.
  •  Working knowledge of university policies and procedures.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art seeks to transform individual and civic life by promoting the discovery, contemplation, and enjoyment of the art of our world.

 The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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