Jane Dale Owen Director and Chief Curator, Blaffer Art Museum


The Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston seeks a visionary leader to hold the position of Jane Dale Owen Director and Chief Curator of the Blaffer Art Museum.

The mission of the Blaffer Art Museum is to create experiences with contemporary art and artists that ignite wonder and curiosity, challenge preconceptions, and expand ways of seeing and thinking in order to nourish the human spirit and drive empathy, understanding, and engagement with today’s world.

The successful candidate must be a gifted curator and experienced manager, capable of orchestrating exceptional exhibitions, public programs, and educational experiences while attracting funding and other support from the cultural and philanthropic communities. The Blaffer Art Museum is a visible and highly regarded component in the University of Houston’s broad commitment to the fine arts; the Director will be responsible for articulating an innovative, compelling, interdisciplinary curatorial vision. The Director must be an engaging leader with an international perspective; capable of building relationships and fostering broad engagement with faculty, students, community members, and donors; and prepared to draw on strong relationships in the contemporary art world to advance the reputation of the Museum, College, and the University.

The Blaffer, which offers free admission to visitors, is a premier non-collecting institution with a history of engaging international contemporary artists who have placed the museum at the center of a global dialogue on the arts and established the University of Houston and the City of Houston as important cultural incubators and destinations. The Blaffer has organized or co-organized wide-ranging exhibitions that have traveled to major institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Kunsthalle Zurich, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among many others. Renovated in 2012, the Blaffer offers flexible exhibition, performance, and multi-media spaces to support the presentation of art in all media and a wide range of collaborative and interdisciplinary events and activities.

A.  As Museum Director, efficiently and effectively manage the Blaffer Art Museum, in coordination with the Dean of the McGovern College of the Arts.

  • Oversee Museum operations, including management of budgets and finances, hiring of staff in coordination with college protocols, and the management of facilities and personnel.
  • In collaboration with the McGovern College of the Arts, develop annual contributed revenues that will ensure the financial stability of the Museum; cultivate external grant funding; cultivate funding from private and individual sources.
  • Engage the Blaffer Advisory Board.
  • Liaise with media and sponsors, in collaboration with University and McGovern College communications staff.

B.  As Chief Curator, implement a unique and independent curatorial vision that distinguishes the Blaffer Art Museum as an innovative university art museum, distinct from other contemporary and university museums, including other contemporary museums in the city of Houston.

  • Create innovative exhibitions, programs, and initiatives that engage a wide range of diverse audiences locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally—including audiences on the University of Houston campus and in the city of Houston.
  • Cultivate relationships with leading artists, scholars, and other figures in the national and international contemporary art worlds—including productive relationships with institutional peers from among the professional organizations of the city of Houston.
  • Identify important emerging contemporary artists and potential collaborators.
  • Leverage the Blaffer and its programming to elevate the profile of the Museum, the College, and the University.

C. As an Academic Administrator at the University of Houston, serve as the Blaffer’s chief liaison with the university and the global academic communities, ensuring the museum’s impact on campus, locally, nationally, and internationally.

  • Actively engage the University of Houston academic and student communities, establishing and maintaining positive working relationships and contributing to the vibrant cultural and academic life of the campus.
  • Embrace and pursue the unique opportunities available at the University of Houston and in the broader academic environment, including opportunities to link the museum broadly with academic programming in the arts and to leverage the museum to support the University of Houston’s mission of community engagement.
  • Produce scholarly research and publications that contribute to the contemporary art dialogue and enhance the reputation of the Museum and the College.
  • Represent the Museum in the scholarly community by participating in panels, symposia, and other forums; supervise administrative matters related to these activities.

Candidate Profile:

The successful candidate will possess will possess qualifications commensurate with an appointment as Research Professor (Assistant, Associate, or Full) of Art History, including at least a master’s degree in art history, curatorial studies, or other relevant field or research area; and will have an international perspective with a specialization in contemporary art. Salary is commensurate with experience. The University of Houston offers faculty members an attractive and comprehensive range of fringe benefits.

The candidate must have museum experience in the contemporary art world, including experience with curatorial practice, exhibition planning, development of catalogs and other published materials, educational programming, operations, fundraising, public relations or marketing, and budget management. The candidate must be a collaborative manager with a team-building style that engages a broad range of constituencies. The candidate must be proactive and committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in staffing, culture, programming, and outreach.

The candidate will have demonstrated excellent communication and presentation skills; have a record of curating progressive, substantial exhibitions of both public and academic shows; and possess the ability to establish rapport with university faculty and relate intellectually with a wide range of disciplines. He or she will travel on behalf of the museum. Experience in an academic environment is preferred, but not necessary.

The University of Houston:

The University of Houston is located in the heart of the city of Houston, a thriving arts metropolis for the twenty-first century. With one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation, the University of Houston seeks to recruit and retain a diverse community of scholars and seeks candidates who will contribute creatively to the University’s multicultural environment. The University of Houston is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer; minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The University of Houston is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

Applications must be submitted online at jobs.uh.edu.

The search committee will begin reviewing applications immediately. Preference will be given to applications received before September 30.


Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts

Office of the Dean

University of Houston

3333 Cullen Blvd.

Houston, TX 77204

713-743-3294 / kgmdean@central.uh.edu

Categories: Job Postings