J. Sanford Miller Family Director – Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia

The University of Virginia (UVA) seeks a collaborative, creative, and strategic leader to serve as the J. Sanford Miller Family Director of The Fralin Museum of Art. Together with UVA’s Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, The Fralin Museum anchors a dynamic arts ecosystem within a research university with a distinctive commitment to undergraduate teaching, and in active engagement with the vibrant and progressive Charlottesville arts community.

The next Director will arrive at The Fralin at a moment of tremendous promise, joining dedicated staff, and colleagues at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection to consider what shape University art museums might take in the 21st century. The Director will have the opportunity to participate in planning for an anticipated new Center for the Arts, which is envisioned to include new space to house the University’s museums.  While still dependent on securing state and philanthropic support, the proposed project will allow the University to envision a new home for integrated arts programs in an exciting multi-disciplinary precinct. Among the animating questions on the horizon: How might we best position the University of Virginia to be a leader in the visual arts and the study of indigenous cultures? What opportunities might we have to plan both for our current collections and for emergent forms of digital and new media?

vision, and oversight of The Fralin and its staff. In close collaboration with colleagues at the Kluge-Ruhe, the Director advances the University Art Museums’ efforts to provide intellectually rigorous, robustly inclusive, inspiring encounters with works of art for UVA students, faculty, and staff, along with an expansively conceived Charlottesville arts community. The Director will bring to the position an enthusiasm for the Charlottesville- and regionally-focused community engagement work of the Directorship. The Director serves the University’s core research and teaching missions in guiding the museum to highlight inquiry, present groundbreaking exhibitions and arts scholarship, and support the formation of a new generation of artists, researchers, and arts professionals.

The Director will have the opportunity to enhance collections, create programs that will engage the full academic enterprise, and design a compelling community-engaged arts program. In collaboration with colleagues across the creative and performing arts units, the Director will play an integral role in shaping a strategic vision for expanding arts programs across the University and promoting interdisciplinary initiatives between the Museums and the University.  


The Director will bring a keen awareness of the critical need for museums to adapt and thrive in the digital age, and a deep commitment to leading the museum into the digital age while fostering strong interdisciplinary practice.

The Director will bring an agile, creative, collaborative disposition to the work of imagining co-located University Art Museums and will actively engage and inspire supporters in all aspects of UVA’s and the museum’s fundraising to enhance the museum’s programming and operations.    

The Director will empower, support, lead, and develop a dedicated professional staff. They will ensure that strategic objectives are collectively agreed upon, effectively implemented, and realized in a fiscally responsible manner. The Director will advance the University’s commitment to Inclusive Excellence, supporting The Fralin’s ongoing work in DEAI internally and strengthen the internal culture. The Director will consistently serve as a visible, accessible, inspiring leader and manager.

A PDF of the full position description is available here.


The ideal candidate will demonstrate a collaborative leadership style, broad vision and curiosity, empathy, and a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. The candidate will bring a track record of senior-level leadership experience and the ability to motivate staff, donors, board members, and the broader community around a shared vision. They will be a superb communicator and listener, as well as have an eagerness to cultivate relationships both internally and externally. A Master’s degree is required, PhD preferred, in Art History or a related field. Additional qualifications include the following:

Leadership and Management

  • Proven leader of both people and programs; record of strategic planning and implementation.
  • Progressive track record of successful, passionate leadership as a scholar and curator of innovative art exhibitions.
  • Significant experience in an art museum setting and a proven ability to collaborate within a complex organization.
  • Commitment to academic culture, with sincere and informed interest in the intellectual project of the University, and its faculty, students, and programs, and a desire to advance and amplify their goals.
  • The leader will have an open, accessible, and transparent approach to management, along with significant experience in building teams and fostering the capacities of the members of those teams.

Strategy and Vision

  • Proven record of strategic planning and implementation.
  • Experience developing or contributing to an organization’s forward-looking strategy, building the financial and operational support for its implementation.
  • Able to create and articulate an inspiring vision for the future of The Fralin, working in partnership with the staff, the Board, and other stakeholders.

Fundraising and Donor Engagement

  • An enthusiastic fundraiser who proactively builds philanthropic relationships and enjoys making a case for support.
  • Experience building an institution’s funding base, in partnership with the Board, to increase and diversify financial support from individual donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders.
  • Ability to inspire a vision and to create plans for The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia
  • Talent to communicate that vision to the university community, prospective donors, and foundations.

Collaboration and Relationship Building

  • Brings exceptional interpersonal and relationship-building skills and the ability to establish strong relationships in both the University community and externally with prospects, donors, and other friends of the museum and of the arts at UVA.
  • Experience as a compelling spokesperson and ambassador both in private and public sectors. 
  • Able to communicate superbly and inspire the community through both powerful optimism and genuine listening; demonstrates strong emotional intelligence.

Inclusive Management and Advocacy for DEAI

  • Recruits and develops top talent, delegates effectively, and manages performance with accountability; fosters a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, teamwork, and empowerment; and will have the ability to counsel and coach the senior management team and curatorial leadership for success.
  • Must be able to create excitement and lead with inspiration, balanced with the judgment to provide consistent guidance and wellness to internal staff.
  • Brings deep personal commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in all aspects of the organization’s work; seeks to build an organization that is substantively diverse and reflective of the community; works to ensure diverse voices are a part of decision-making.
  • Embodies a strong commitment to advancing the museum’s reach by leveraging digital technologies and cultivating collaborative partnerships across diverse disciplines.
  • Brings a deep commitment to shaping the future of the museum by embracing innovative digital initiatives and delivering new experiences that captivate and inspire diverse audiences in the 21st century.

Further, the candidate should possess the ability to:

  • Work collaboratively with curators to establish interpretive goals for exhibitions.
  • Show a record of achievement in management, creativity, and business acumen.
  • Demonstrate the ability to build relationships and lead collaborative initiatives internally and externally to leverage support for and participation in programs.
  • Work with international, federal, state, and local constituencies in advancing the philanthropic objectives of a complex organization.

To apply, Workday applications should include a letter of interest and resume. The search will be carried out with full confidentiality. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Managing Director, Susan Gaines at sht2n@virginia.edu.

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