Founded in 1994, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art presents a variety of creative exhibitions, installations, and educational programs to promote its Permanent Collection of modern and contemporary works of art from around the world. The Museum’s mission is to offer innovative and enriching experiences through contemporary art in a free and welcoming environment. The Museum stimulates dialogue to foster understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art, and to present significant works of art as educational resources. In shaping its Permanent Collection, the Museum strives to reflect the vitality, complexity, and unfolding patterns within modern and contemporary art. In selecting its exhibitions, the Museum strives to represent a global perspective, cultural diversity, and inclusiveness. In its educational programs (which include lectures, workshops with visiting artists, tours, family days, demonstrations, and performances in a variety of media), the Museum strives to provide opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

The Museum is located in the vibrant and expanding arts and educational district of Kansas City that includes the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Kansas City Art Institute, Rockhurst University, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Linda Hall Library, and Stowers Institute of Medical Research.

The Museum’s audience consists of the general public as well as art specialists and students from the greater Kansas City region and beyond. In all of its efforts, Kemper Museum seeks to achieve the highest standard of scholarship and excellence in keeping with the most current standards of the museum profession.

Kemper Museum’s operating budget is $5 million, and the Museum welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually. To learn more about Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, visit  www.kemperart.org.


The Executive Director leads all activities required to fulfill Kemper Museum’s mission of engaging the Museum’s community locally and beyond. The Executive Director is responsible for maintaining a healthy organization, building strong partnerships to advance programs and support, and fostering a vibrant and inspiring place to visit and learn. In addition to overseeing efforts to ensure that the Museum’s smooth operations and quality programming continue, the Executive Director is the primary leader of fundraising for the organization and works closely with the Board to build an expanding network of supporters.

Opportunities and Challenges

As Kemper Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2019, the Executive Director must develop a long-term vision and plan to advance the Museum’s future and sustainability. The priorities will be to develop international partnerships, to grow the patron and donor community, and to build the case for expansion of Kemper Museum’s campus.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Major Responsibilities

Vision and Strategic Leadership

  • Guide the Board, staff, and other stakeholders to ensure the organization’s vision and strategic plan remain current, relevant, and responsive to the changing landscape.
  • Develop, oversee, and refine the implementation of the Museum’s strategic plan.
  • Provide leadership and opportunities for broad engagement of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Embrace and maintain an atmosphere of open discourse and knowledge sharing among the Museum’s diverse constituency of Board members, staff, donors, volunteers, and community partners.
  • Identify and forge partnerships with other community-based organizations whose mission, vision, and values are complementary.
  • Direct the Museum’s physical expansion and community engagement process to ensure its programmatic and financial success.

Museology and Collections

  • Guide the development and stewardship of the Museum’s Permanent Collection and its collection management policy.
  • Supervise the Museum’s internal systems, policies, and resources to ensure the management, public safety, and security of its collection.
  • Identify and cultivate potential donors to the collection with Board and staff leadership.
  • Work with the Director of Curatorial Affairs to provide leadership and guidance to the exhibition program in tandem with curatorial staff and trustees, and in accordance with the Museum’s mission and vision.
  • Ensure that the Education Department develops and maintains a comprehensive program of initiatives that is responsive to the needs of a changing community.
  • Perform periodic evaluations to ensure the relevance, integration, and impact of the Museum’s programs and educational initiatives.

Institutional Growth and Advancement

  • Serve as chief spokesperson for the Museum and represent its interest to the public.
  • Ensure that comprehensive and effective funding programs exist to promote the Museum’s activities and increase the financial support available for its operations.
  • Provide personal leadership in the Museum’s fundraising efforts, working closely with the Board of Directors and staff.
  • Develop a comprehensive annual fundraising plan and identify, cultivate, and solicit major donors, including foundation grant opportunities.
  • Energize the Board’s participation in the Museum’s fundraising and outreach efforts to increase capital and annual fund donations.
  • Devise and implement an effective strategy with Board leadership to retain members and recruit new members as needed, and in accordance with the Museum’s bylaws.
  • Create outreach programs to constituencies that encourage attendance, membership, and further involvement in the life of the Museum.
  • Work with the Director of Advancement to grow membership and increase revenue from all available earned and contributed sources.
  • Work with the Director of Marketing and Communications to ensure and promote Kemper Museum’s identity.
  • Act as the public face and voice of the Museum in all matters in which the organization has a significant interest.

Administrative, Financial, and Operations Management

  • Identify and initiate change as needed to maintain a vital and efficient organization.
  • Oversee the implementation of annual plans for the Museum, incorporating progress toward strategic and financial goals.
  • With the Director of Finance and Accounting, provide regular reports to the Board of Trustees as to the operations, management, planning, exhibitions and events, acquisitions, budget, and fundraising.
  • Manage the recruitment, employment, and supervision of a variety of human resources, including paid staff, contractors, consultants, and volunteers.
  • Encourage and facilitate on-going professional development of staff.
  • Set and maintain high standards for staff performance, along with a system of metrics to ensure accountability.
  • Establish sound human resource policies and practices, including effective communication channels, mentoring, and retention strategies.
  • Maintain a positive, professional environment that attracts, retains, motivates, and supports a diverse staff of highly qualified, team-oriented personnel.
  • Oversee the negotiation of all contracts and agreements, prepare official correspondence, and execute legal documents in consultation with Board leadership as needed.
  • Ensure that buildings and grounds of the Museum are maintained in a manner that preserves assets, historical value, and a welcoming environment for visitors.
  • Develop the agenda for Board meetings, reporting on organizational progress and challenges.
  • Serve as liaison for effective communication between Board and staff.
  • Ensure sound financial practices, including realistic budgeting, prudent management of financial resources, and employment of the Museum’s assets for the most effective long-term fulfillment of its mission.

Key Qualifications

Leadership: Inspires excellence in colleagues, providing vision to peers and subordinates; giving appropriate recognition and feedback; displaying passion and optimism; and mobilizing others to fulfill goals and objectives.

Management Skills: Includes staff in planning and facilitates input for improvement of process, taking responsibility for all Museum activities; mentoring staff and their professional growth; and soliciting and applying feedback internally and externally.

Professionalism/Ethics: Sets institutional standards, treating colleagues with respect; working with integrity; and holding the highest ethical values.

Judgment: Provides clarity and astute decision-making skills to establish strategy for pursuing institutional goals with colleagues and stakeholders.

Oral/Written Communication: Maintains excellent communications, demonstrating strong presentation skills; overseeing editorial standards for all publications and printed materials; and effectively presenting information and financial data.

Specific Requirements Include:

  • Master’s degree required and equivalent experience in museums or other related fields.
  • Demonstrated curatorial experience and knowledge of art history with a focus in modern and contemporary art.
  • Minimum 7-10 years of senior level experience and well-developed organizational, financial, and project leadership skills.
  • Demonstrated management skills with an aptitude to mentor, motivate, and hold accountable a dedicated staff and Board.
  • Ability to build and nurture relationships with a wide range of individuals from artists to academics to collectors to business and civic leaders.
  • Proven fundraising ability from a variety of sources, including successful experience cultivating and soliciting gifts from individuals.
  • Ability to interpret and articulate financial statements and financial performance.


Applicants should submit a resume, a one-page narrative describing interest and experience, and the names of three references. Applications will be reviewed by Management Consultants for the Arts, an executive search firm working with Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Candidate recommendations are welcome.

Send resume and accompanying materials to:

Linda Sweet and Bill Appleton

Subject: Kemper Museum

Email: MgtConArts@gmail.com

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Categories: Job Postings