Director, Stuart Collection – UC San Diego

Stuart Collection

The Stuart Collection seeks to enrich the cultural, intellectual, and scholarly life of the University of California (UC) San Diego campus and of the San Diego community by building and maintaining a unique collection of site-specific works by leading contemporary artists. The collection results from innovative partnerships between the university, the Stuart Collection, and international artists under an agreement, forged in 1982 and renewed in 2003, where the entire campus may be considered as sites for commissioned sculpture and other pioneering works. The Stuart Collection is distinguished from a traditional sculpture garden by its diversity of artists, contemporary perspectives, and social relevance. It has initiated and completed an impressive range of projects in an enthusiastic partnership with the UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts and financial support from the Stuart Foundation, Friends of the Stuart Collection, National Endowment for the Arts, UC San Diego, and many other organizations, foundations, and individuals.

An important factor in creating a sense of belonging and a vibrant, welcoming campus for students, faculty, and staff is the use of physical space, including the activation of outdoor spaces through culturally diverse art. In addition to the 21 existing installations, the newest project, Concordance, by artist Ann Hamilton is well underway. Embedded in a prominent campus walkway, Hamilton’s work features the writings of authors and scholars from diverse backgrounds. The writing focuses on themes such as social justice and revolution, environmental activism, technological advancement, and cultural mythology, with a feminist narrative transcribed by Kumeyaay scholars running throughout the length of the piece.

The Stuart Collection regularly collaborates with arts entities on campus when considering locations that would be a natural fit, geographically and philosophically, with other resources that are part of the campus’ fabric. The selection of artists and projects for commissions is guided by the Director of the Stuart Collection and the Stuart Collection Advisory Council, which is composed of art professionals of international stature. Throughout the proposal, design, and construction processes, artists select and tailor their work to a specific UC San Diego site. Great care is taken to incorporate the university’s short- and long-range plans while maintaining the integrity of the art and providing provocative, thoughtful, and carefully considered additions to campus life. Many of the artists who have designed works for the collection are associated with movements or attitudes that are seldom represented in public sculpture collections.

The Friends of the Stuart Collection (Friends) was formed in 1998 to ensure the growth and preservation of UC San Diego’s internationally recognized outdoor sculpture collection. Support from the Friends has enabled the restoration of Niki de Saint Phalle’s Sun God and the publication of Landmarks: Sculpture Commissions for the Stuart Collection at the University of California San Diego, a book documenting the first 20 years of the Stuart Collection. It has also supported the completion of Kiki Smith’s Standing, John Baldessari’s READ/WRITE/THINK/DREAM, Tim Hawkinson’s Bear, Barbara Kruger’s Another, and Do Ho Suh’s Fallen Star, among many other initiatives. Members of the Friends are invited to travel nationally and internationally, meet artists and preview works of art, attend exclusive special events, and join private tours to actively learn about, participate in, and support the Stuart Collection.

UC San Diego

The mission of UC San Diego is to transform California and a diverse global society by educating, generating and disseminating knowledge and creative works, and engaging in public service. The 1,200-acre UC San Diego campus is undergoing a physical transformation with the addition of new buildings and bridges and the arrival of the light rail trolley, making the university and the Stuart Collection broadly accessible to the San Diego community. The shift in the campus’s physical appearance will be profound, yet the impact will span far beyond just new construction. It will serve to enhance the student experience, enrich the campus community, and spark research and innovation.

Since its establishment in 1960, UC San Diego has emerged as one of the leading institutions of higher education and research in the United States. With a wide range of academic departments, programs, institutes, and research centers, UC San Diego provides a stimulating scholarly and educational environment across traditional disciplines and interdisciplinary specialties. The university also operates UC San Diego Health, San Diego’s only academic medical center. UC San Diego’s rich academic portfolio includes:

  • College, and Seventh College
  • academic Divisions and Schools: Division of Arts & Humanities, Division of Biological Sciences, Jacobs School of Engineering, Division of Physical Sciences, Division of Social Sciences, Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, Rady School of Management, School of Global Policy & Strategy, School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The arts are embedded into the ethos of the UC San Diego community. In addition to the Stuart Collection, programs across campus give students and the broader community opportunities to experiment and experience culture in new ways. From bringing diverse global artists to campus to attending student productions, UC San Diego fosters the community’s passion for the arts. The Conrad Prebys Music Center, ArtPower, and Arthur C. Clarke Center for the Human Imagination are only a few examples of the vibrancy of the arts at UC San Diego. Additionally, the Department of Visual Arts ranks among the world’s leading art schools. Founded on the principle that the production, critical analysis, and history of art are interrelated activities, UC San Diego offers undergraduate and graduate programs in both art practice and art history. Students are encouraged to collaborate with each other and to work across various disciplines to produce innovative art and research that reflect and challenge current ideas and practices. Many undergraduate students go on to complete graduate degrees at top international institutions.

UC San Diego enrolls a diverse student body of 40,066 (as of fall 2020), including 31,842 undergraduates and 8,641 graduate students. The university’s focus on student success, inclusive instruction, and social mobility serves students of wide-ranging socioeconomic, cultural, and academic backgrounds. Over one-third of new matriculants identify as first-generation college students and nearly one-third are from historically underrepresented groups. UC San Diego has made great strides toward becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). With a full-time LatinX/ChicanX undergraduate student enrollment of 20 percent as of fall 2020, UC San Diego is considered an Emerging HSI. This puts UC San Diego close to the minimum 25 percent full-time Latinx/ChicanX undergraduate enrollment required to be eligible for HSI designation by the United States Department of Education.

UC San Diego is dedicated to learning, teaching, and serving society through education, research, and public service. Its international reputation for excellence is due in large part to the cooperative and entrepreneurial nature of the UC San Diego community. UC San Diego faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to be creative and are rewarded for both individual and collaborative achievements. To foster the best possible working and learning environment, UC San Diego strives to maintain a climate of fairness, cooperation, and professionalism. These Principles of Community are vital to the success of the university and the well-being of its constituents. UC San Diego faculty, staff, and students are expected to practice these basic principles as individuals and in groups.


UC San Diego is located on the ancestral homelands of the Kumeyaay Nation. The Kumeyaay people continue to have an important and thriving presence in the region and are integral to the fabric of the university. San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second largest in California. The transborder community of San Diego has a diverse population of 1.5 million people, a near-perfect climate, and provides easy access to beaches, mountains, deserts, and the Mexican border, with students commuting from Tijuana to UC San Diego each day. San Diego is also a vibrant cultural center, featuring world-class museums, theater, and music imbued with the traditions of the many cultures that coexist within the city limits.

The UC San Diego campus is located in La Jolla, a seaside neighborhood in northern San Diego, situated on a dramatic mesa above the Pacific Ocean. It contains natural chaparral-filled canyons, eucalyptus groves, urban plazas, and green lawns. The campus architecture includes California cottages, World War II barracks, and structures from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as more recent buildings influenced by postmodern architecture.

Strategies for the campus’ future are aimed at fully realizing UC San Diego’s ambition to be an inclusive and welcoming destination for accessible arts and culture, lifelong education, engaged research, and outstanding patient care—fulfilling its mission to serve the broader community. In alignment with the campus-wide Strategic Plan, the development of UC San Diego’s Downtown Center makes this an exciting time to be on campus and connected to the vibrancy of the San Diego area. The arrival of a light rail trolley will further connect the main campus to downtown. As an extension of the existing Metropolitan Transit System Blue Line Trolley, it will offer a one-seat, no transfer ride from the international border and communities south of Downtown San Diego all the way to the university community. This new service will enhance direct public access to other regional activity centers and improve travel options to employment, educational, medical, and retail centers for residents, commuters, and visitors. The overall impact will enhance the student experience, support environmental initiatives to minimize carbon emissions, enrich the campus community, spark research and innovation, and provide greater campus access to the thriving communities of the greater San Diego region.

Position Summary

The Director will be responsible for the conceptualization, curation, and development of the Stuart Collection; cultivation of contemporary artists and projects that are socially conscious and relevant; maintenance and conservation of the existing collection; and execution of successful fundraising programs that fully support the collection. Reporting to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (EVC), the Director will hold a highly visible leadership position in public art on campus, nationally, and internationally. This individual will develop and direct public relations, educational outreach, and public service programming that promotes the collection, creates deeper appreciation for UC San Diego, and advances the understanding of art and culture in the context of broader international conversations. To accomplish this, the Director will engage with the Stuart Collection Advisory Council, motivate the Friends and lead them on national and international artistic and social explorations; collaborate with other arts leaders on campus through an equity-minded leadership style, demonstrate a commitment to enhancing diversity and promoting inclusion, and embody the highest degree of ethics. The Director will also be responsible for upholding the collection’s reputation and artistic integrity, continuing its expansion, and making it known to the world. The Stuart Collection is recognized for its great works by important artists, and the Director must ensure that it is publicly visible and accessible to the widest possible global community.

Roles and Responsibilities

Collection Development and Management

  • Lead the commissioning, curation, installation, maintenance, and management of a world-recognized collection of contemporary, site-specific sculpture and installation art—a unique campus asset that distinguishes UC San Diego from universities around the country and the world.
  • Play a key role in long-range institutional planning in a collaborative and engaging manner.
  • Manage the process of commissioning new projects, including initiating artistic proposals for new projects from the highest caliber artists, evaluating viability of proposed projects in coordination with the Campus Art Assessment Advisory Committee, and actively engaging in the role of fundraising and sponsorship.
  • Guide the process of ongoing maintenance and conservation, including hiring qualified individuals who are sensitive to conservation techniques, and coordinate with project artists and campus personnel.
  • Cultivate and maintain productive relationships with artists, ensuring ongoing artist involvement in providing sufficient technical assistance for project installation and maintenance.
  • Provide expert and sensitive support to artists involved in developing proposals, including assistance on the nature of outdoor sculpture collections, with knowledgeable coaching to produce outstanding results.
  • Inspire and support the activities of the Friends and the Advisory Council, including management of their business activities.
  • Perform and oversee curatorial activities, supervise professional staff members, and develop plans for programs and collection conceptualization, commissioning, and installation efforts.
  • Manage the process of site selection, including coordination with appropriate campus personnel such as the EVC and Vice Chancellor – Chief Financial Officer.
  • Actively participate in early review and advisement on all art to be considered for public spaces on campus, in close collaboration with the Campus Art Assessment Advisory Committee, Art Strategy Group, Campus Architect, and others that focus diversity of artists, campus aesthetics, and the overall integration of the arts.
  • Stay abreast of trends in the field of international contemporary art, including collections, artistic endeavors, and efforts similar to the Stuart Collection nationally and internationally.
  • Embrace other collection development and management responsibilities as needed.

Fundraising and Donor Stewardship

  • Plan, implement, and lead strategies for the identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, tracking, and stewardship of donors and university resources that support the Stuart Collection.
  • Raise funds necessary for all works and programs, under the direction of the EVC and in coordination with University Advancement.
  • Manage and oversee department budgets and mobilize human, technological, and financial resources needed to advance the Stuart Collection, including maintaining financial records and historical documentation for all projects.
  • Provide leadership to implement successful donor relations, stewardship programs, and initiatives that ensure regular contact with donors through various activities and consistent communication, especially face-to-face meetings.
  • Devise persuasive written and oral presentations to donors, adhering to campus policies and procedures governing gifts and gift acceptance policies.
  • Serve as the principal investigator and researcher for the Stuart Collection and research and submit grant applications and other funding requests to a large and diverse assortment of funding sources, including the National Endowment for the Arts and public, private, community, and corporate foundations.
  • Develop and write proposals and/or informal descriptions related to gift ideas, in consultation with campus leaders, the EVC, and University Advancement, to identify needs and develop specific proposals and solicitation methods.
  • Ensure that proposals correspond to each prospect’s interest and shepherd these initiatives through the various stages of review and partnership to ensure positive outcomes.
  • Embrace other fundraising and donor stewardship responsibilities as needed.

Public Relations

  • Guide the identification, cultivation, and organization of support groups for the collection, including ongoing networking, community conversations, and proactive engagement.
  • Solicit and maintain local supporters, identify and cultivate group leaders, and organize events and activities, including major national and international trips to keep these groups engaged and interested in supporting the Stuart Collection.
  • Ensure the Stuart Collection has active national exposure and art world credentials, maintaining contacts necessary to successfully promote its vision and reputation through activities such as advising public art projects, lecturing widely, and serving on boards of directors, grant panels, and public art juries.
  • Maintain excellent professional relationships with local and national art publications and critics who produce reviews when new works are installed.
  • Research and write catalogs and other interpretive materials.
  • Oversee the collection’s award-winning website and revitalize its global reach.
  • Design, develop, and implement a full scope of public relations programs, including social media campaigns, marketing materials, programs and films for UCSD TV and other broadcasts, and ongoing announcements and invitations to a variety of events.
  • Embrace other public relations responsibilities as needed.

Educational and Public Service Programming

  • Invigorate a wide range of collaborative relationships with local, state, national, and international arts and culture organizations, related arts service associations, and independent agencies.
  • Actively engage with the Department of Visual Arts, including advising on student projects and periodically guest lecturing as appropriate.
  • Conceive, organize, and promote events and exhibitions with local agencies, including the Inter-Museum Promotion Council, INSITE—a San Diego/Tijuana program promoting the work of international artists, San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, Port Authority, and Centre City Development Corporation.
  • Innovate and execute other creative and imaginative opportunities to promote the Stuart Collection, such as the recent development of a major full-scale, hardbound book about the collection.
  • Independently conceptualize and implement educational initiatives with local schools in deep collaboration with others both on and off campus.
  • Activate community outreach efforts, including ongoing tours for school groups, university friends, visiting scholars, university and museum groups around the country, collectors, and international visitors.
  • Embrace other educational and public service programming responsibilities as needed.

Approaches and Competencies

The Director will be a dynamic, innovative, and visionary leader who is a passionate advocate for contemporary art and community engagement. Engaged in the world, socially conscious, and connected beyond the contemporary art field, this individual will be influential and persuasive. Collaborative, service oriented, and receptive to new concepts and approaches, the Director will be keenly aware of emerging themes and trends in contemporary art, including those that are embedded in equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as what is occurring in the world around them. This individual will be an excellent communicator who proactively engages diverse stakeholders locally and globally. Versatile, flexible, and adaptable to changing circumstances, the Director will prioritize activities that best serve the broader UC San Diego community. A thoughtful listener and inspiring speaker, this individual will be an enlightened strategist, committed to building meaningful relationships with an array of people around the world. The Director will engage the community as a fearless advocate focused on intellectual growth, expanded knowledge, and creative thinking.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership – The ingenuity to inspire others with a clear sense of purpose and direction, creating an environment that allows others to be successful while making decisions that advance the Stuart Collection’s mission.
  • Futuristic Thinking and Self Starting – The creativity to imagine, envision, plan, and actualize visionary concepts and contemporary themes that are in alignment with creative placemaking.
  • Diplomacy – The capacity to listen to multiple points of view, tactfully handling sensitive or difficult issues and facilitating beneficial outcomes that are mutually satisfactory.
  • Teamwork and Flexibility– The dexterity to work towards consensus and participatory decision making; recognizing and appreciating faculty, staff, and student perspectives; flexibly adapting; and effectively resolving issues that may limit forward momentum.
  • Interpersonal Skills – The ability to effectively communicate, build rapport, regularly interact, and relate well to artists, students, faculty, staff, donors, and many others in an extremely diverse community.


Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Demonstrated experience in maintaining an active national profile and art world credentials necessary to successfully promote the reputation and development of a highly regarded collection is required. Experience in the selection, evaluation, and exhibition of objects and demonstrated expertise developing and managing an outdoor sculpture collection of museum quality are necessary. This includes but is not limited to artist identification, proposal development, site selection, project installation, and long-term maintenance and conservation. Qualified candidates will have significant experience in museum curatorial practices with specialization in an area related to the collection and a background in commissioning, connoisseurship, conservation, preservation, and the ethical and legal standards for art acquisition. Broad experience leading and participating in collaborative events and exhibitions with museums, libraries, universities, and other public and private entities that promote the arts in some fashion is required. Candidates must possess the ability to take a long-range approach, make independent decisions, set priorities, and bring strong organizational skills. An advanced degree in a related area or equivalent experience and training in current contemporary art trends, collections management, and artistic endeavors nationally and internationally is needed.

Additional requirements include donor cultivation and relationship-building skills with demonstrated ability to develop and maintain excellent relations with artists, patrons, museum directors, collections, writers, and publishers locally, nationally, and internationally. Expertise maintaining excellent relations with and providing support to an external advisory group whose aim is to promote the support of UC San Diego programs and develop an active and successful donor community is needed. Success in fundraising in an organization that relies predominantly on donations for both operations and program development is expected. Extensive experience in all aspects of public relations as it pertains to promoting museum collections and educational outreach programs (i.e. writing press releases; producing, promoting, and participating in film and radio programs; developing and distributing brochures and other promotional material) is highly desirable.

Expectations also include excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to speak publicly. A capacity to interact well with students, faculty, staff, artists, donors, collectors, and the general public and to work at a high level of activity is advantageous. Flexibility to travel frequently and a commitment to confidentiality are necessary.

A demonstrated contribution and commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access is critical and mandatory.

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Demonstrated experience in a university environment with direction of management and business processes is preferred, including financial management, purchasing, payroll, and facilities management. Experience organizing, managing, and providing support and education for guided tour programs using volunteers and part-time employees as tour guides is necessary.

Compensation and Benefits

UC’s total compensation program for this position is comprised of salary commensurate with experience, as well as health and welfare, retirement benefits that include a generous pension plan, and other retirement savings options. Additional benefits include employee discounts to local businesses, insurance, bank and credit unions, wellness programs, employee assistance programs (EAP), and many other benefits and resources. UC benefits are recognized as being among the best, representing as much as 40 percent of employees’ total annual compensation, depending on the type of appointment.

Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations

To submit a cover letter, resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, and Contributions to Diversity Statement (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit The purpose of the Contributions to Diversity Statement is to identify candidates who have the professional skills, experience, and/or willingness to engage in activities that will advance institutional diversity and equity. For guidelines, samples, and evaluation methods, click here. Candidates advancing in the selection process will also be required to complete UC San Diego’s HireOnLine application, verify education, and pass a criminal background check. For questions, general inquiries, anticipated salary range, or candidate nominations related to this opportunity, please contact:

Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President

8581 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 406

Los Angeles, CA 90069-4120

Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201


UC San Diego is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer. Diversity is a defining feature of the University of California, which embraces it as a source of strength. Differences of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, abilities, experience, and more—enhance the university’s ability to achieve its core missions of public service, teaching, and research. UC San Diego welcomes faculty, staff, and students from all backgrounds and wants everyone at UC San Diego to feel respected and valued.

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