The John Wieland 1958 Director of the Mead Art Museum will be an engaging, dynamic, pragmatic, and collaborative leader adept at building relationships with a wide range of constituents including students, faculty, administration, alumni, community members, and members of the Mead Art Museum Advisory Board. A skilled administrator well-versed in instituting operational best practices, the next Director will oversee planning, budget, and staffing in support of a robust exhibition schedule, educational programs, and collection management. As the leader of a campus-based museum, the Director must embrace the Museum’s mission “to stimulate thought, inspire creativity, provide insight, interrogate preconceptions, and invite contemplation through interaction with the original works of art that the Mead collects, researches, interprets, exhibits, publishes, and preserves.” Central to that mission is the Museum’s position as a significant resource to the Amherst College community. The Mead’s next Director must be committed to fostering current and envisioning new learning opportunities by organizing a vibrant and creative exhibition schedule, including in-house exhibitions drawn from the Museum’s holdings, as well as incoming loan and traveling exhibitions. The Director should foster conversations that engage the Museum’s historic holdings as well as contemporary art and artists, contemporary scholarly trends, including digital humanities. Under the new Director, the Mead should realize the unique potential of an academic museum to explore contested ground, and to challenge fixed perceptions by promoting access and equity, and by leveraging its standing on campus, across the Five Colleges, and with peer institutions. The Director will strategize and work to purchase and secure donations of works of art that will further diversify the Museum’s collection, including to better reflect the global art world and better stimulate the interests of a racially, socioeconomically, and ethnically diverse and international student body, working with College faculty to optimize the educational impact of acquisitions. The Director will also coordinate with the College’s Advancement Office on fundraising. The Mead should be positioned as an innovative leader among academic museums, expanding and re-envisioning the role of the visual arts in the academic and co-curricular life of the College.
About Mead Art Museum
Named for its founder, William Rutherford Mead (an 1867 graduate of Amherst College and a partner in the storied architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White), the Mead holds the art collection of Amherst College, celebrated for its early American portraits and Hudson River School landscapes, a selection of European master paintings and prints, Russian avant-garde art, ancient Assyrian relief carvings, British Jacobean paneled room, and collections of Yoruba sculpture, Mexican folk art, and Japanese prints. Recent acquisitions have served to build the contemporary art collection as well. The Mead Art Museum is situated in the vibrant Five Colleges academic community of western Massachusetts and is a member of Museums10; the Mead serves as a laboratory for interdisciplinary research and object-based pedagogy. Eight galleries feature regularly changing exhibitions and installations spanning a wide range of historical periods and artistic media. The Museum’s collection has been documented photographically; these images and basic catalogue information are available online in a searchable database. The Amherst College Museums Summer Internship Program is a collaborative initiative of three campus museums—The Beneski Museum of Natural History, The Mead Art Museum, and The Emily Dickinson Museum— with the support of the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning’s Careers in Arts & Communication. Now in its fourth year, the program had a vibrant return to in-person work which allowed many of the program’s learning goals to be renewed and evolved. Pre- and post-internship feedback surveys revealed marked growth in skill development, a more well-informed perspective on career goals, and an increased understanding of the range of roles and functions in museums. Additional information about Mead Art Museum, including a complete schedule of exhibitions and events, is available on the Museum’s website.
About the College
Founded in 1821 and located in Amherst, Massachusetts, Amherst College prepares its students to use ideas to make a difference in the world. Amherst has demonstrated steadfast confidence in the value of the liberal arts and the importance of critical thinking. Today, its financial aid program is among the most substantial in the nation, and its student body is among the most diverse. Small classes, an open curriculum, and a singular focus on undergraduate education ensure that leading scholars engage daily with talented, curious students, equipping them for leadership in an increasingly global and complex world. Amherst has 1,970 students, and the College’s student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. The Amherst faculty comprises more than 200 full-time scholar-teachers. Amherst offers 42 majors in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Amherst College is an integral part of the town of Amherst, often cited as one of the best college towns in America. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the town of Amherst is home to more college students and more cultural events than any region in New England except metro Boston. It’s also home to a remarkable range of opportunities and activities including restaurants, museums, music clubs and concerts, eclectic cafes, independent bookstores, farmer’s markets, and a proudly alternative culture fostered by a politically active and socially conscious population. For further information about Amherst College, please visit https://www.amherst.edu/.
Diversity and Inclusion
Amherst is one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country. The institution is committed to inclusivity and ensuring that all students feel they belong. In 2020-2021, Amherst’s student body came from 48 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 66 countries. Forty-nine percent of its students self-identify as students of color. Sixty-one percent of its students receive financial aid. For more information on Amherst’s demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, please visit: https://www.amherst.edu/amherst-story/diversity.
The Director of the Mead Art Museum oversees 9 full- and 1 part-time staff, as well as student museum educators, who are part of the student museum internship program. Direct reports to the Director currently include the Dwight and Kirsten Poler Head of Education and Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programs, the Curator of American Art and Art of the Americas, a Curator of Russian and European Art (currently vacant), and the Administrative Manager. The Director will report to the Provost and Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein. Specifically, the next Director will have the following overall responsibilities: • Leadership, governance, strategy—Collaborate with the Provost’s Office and Museum Advisory Board on vision; develop a new five-year strategic plan for the museum; strategize how to secure funds and donations in support of the Museum’s continued excellence, growth, and reach. • Operations—Enact museum-focused best practices to ensure that organizational structure, processes, and procedures work together to support collaboration, innovation, and integration with the academic life of the College. • Exhibitions and collections—Define the vision for the exhibition program and guide execution; oversee publications and publicity; initiate strategic planning for collection management, including care of collections, acquisitions, digitization and open access, and research while prioritizing and spearheading accessibility of collections onsite and online. • Educational programming—Oversee a dynamic educational program that invites students into the Mead, whether as museum education interns or through classes, events, or other forms of engagement. • Partnerships and shared exhibitions—Develop new and build upon existing partnerships within and across the campus community, with arts organizations, artists, leaders, and volunteers in the broader community; collaborate with museums and arts/cultural organizations on shared and traveling exhibitions. • Team leadership—Attract, mentor, retain, motivate, and manage exceptional staff members, while fostering an open, collegial organizational culture. • Education, outreach, engagement—Define vision for continued excellence in academic engagement across the disciplines. Collaborate with community partners on new programming. • External relations—Serve as primary spokesperson and public advocate for the Museum related to acquisitions, exhibitions, and programs; build and strengthen Museum’s media profile. • Budget and management—Manage $2.5-$3 million annual budget; closely collaborate with College Advancement on fundraising and securing grants and acquisitions for the Museum’s exhibitions, collections, and education and public programs. • Facilities—In partnership with campus and community leaders, connect programmatic concepts with facilities planning and use.
The next Director of the Mead Art Museum will be a strategic, inventive, and collaborative leader who is inspired by the mission of the Mead Art Museum and can inspire others as well. Top candidates will demonstrate at least seven years of progressively increasing organizational leadership within environments where relationship building and influencing skills are critical to success. Our client seeks candidates with leadership experience in an art museum setting, within arts institutions, or similar organizations; experience within academic settings is a plus. Other must-have qualities include a talent and enthusiasm for outreach and partnership, and a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in their approach to exhibitions, collections, audience engagement, and mentorship. An advanced degree in art or art history, museum education, arts management, or other relevant field or research area is preferred; deep professional and leadership experience in a comparable setting will also be seriously considered. The ideal candidate should possess the following professional expertise, leadership competencies, and personal qualities: Strategic Leader and Student-Centered Advocate: The Director will be a dynamic and outward-facing leader motivated by the opportunity to engage young people in a deepened, intentional relationship with visual culture. They will bring an entrepreneurial and enthusiastic spirit, ability to partner with colleagues at the College, in the local community, and with members of the broader art and museum world. This individual will serve as a visible and effective advocate for the critical role that the visual arts play in the educational and public mission of Amherst College and in the lives of undergraduates. This individual will be a proven strategic thinker with the foresight and capacity to understand and balance complex and discrete priorities and needs. This leader should be comfortable operating within and energized by an environment that values academic engagement and intellectual vitality. Capable of providing stability when faced with important and quickly changing circumstances, the Director will be a consultative thought leader and an excellent listener. Mission Alignment and Expertise: The Director will demonstrate a passion for art, an appreciation for the creative process, and dedication and enthusiasm for serving students and lifelong learners at all levels. This individual must be someone who values the Mead Art Museum’s educational mission and the integration of the museum into the Amherst College curriculum and community. The Director must also be deeply committed to research and scholarship. Simultaneously, they should cultivate collaborative opportunities within the broader art and art museum world. The Director will help set the vision for rigorous, compelling exhibitions, educational programs, and publications that expand scholarly inquiry and audience engagement. They will have a solid grasp and keen awareness of national and international trends and best practices in art museums and within the broader art world. Innovative, Forward-Looking Leader: The Director will bring interest and experience in exploring the intersections of technology, digital/computational humanities, digital and other new art forms, and the museum; they will advocate for the Mead as a hub for computational humanistic research. Further, the Director will have the agility to engage the Amherst community in responsive dialogue around art’s place in the issues of our time. Operational Abilities: The Director will have a record of successful oversight and management of budgets and understanding of museum functions and operations. They will promote a culture of excellence and high-quality execution at all levels within the institution, providing outstanding stewardship for the advancement of the Mead Art Museum. Experienced with budget, financial, and personnel management, this individual will have the perspective to consider the impact of decisions, strategic plans or initiatives, and programs on the organization, to understand capacity, and to make sound recommendations accordingly. Skilled and Inspirational Manager: The Director will be a decisive, results-driven leader with a collegial, team-oriented working style, open and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities. This emotionally intelligent individual will have a proven record of visible, effective leadership and management and the demonstrated ability to professionally develop, mentor, support, and retain a strong team that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability, and efficiency. They will be a motivator, able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance, and strong morale, empowering and cultivating staff through active and effective communication, feedback, and delegation, while actively promoting teamwork and collaboration. External Relations and Relationship Building: The Director will have a compelling public and campus presence and be skilled at developing, building, and sustaining relationships. They will have a demonstrated ability to connect with and build bridges among the various constituents within and across a range of contexts, including students, faculty, administrators, alumni, the Advisory Board, leaders of arts and cultural organizations, and members of the Amherst/Pioneer Valley community. The Director will have excellent written and verbal communication skills and the facility to connect genuinely with audiences of varying levels of expertise, as well as the ability to plan and execute a successful marketing and communications strategy to elevate the profile of the Mead. They will have the capacity to serve as an active and sensitive listener, and to thrive as the Mead Art Museum’s foremost champion and advocate, persuading others to support and advance the Museum’s mission. With personal and professional integrity of the highest degree and holding public interest and public trust in the highest regard, the Director will possess a high comfort level operating in the public arena which includes valuing outward engagement, being at ease with people, and accepting the public demands made upon a leader with visibility in the community. Credibility and Recognition: The successful candidate will have recognized distinction in the field, professional standing with peer institutions, and the stature to represent Amherst and the Mead to all. Preference will be given to candidates with significant professional, academic, and/or scholarly achievements, including accomplishments in the field of art history, museum education, arts leadership, or a related field.
Compensation & Benefits
The salary range for this role begins at $150,000. Compensation includes an excellent benefits package, including $15,000 per child per year towards tuition for undergraduate education, and is commensurate with experience.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Naree W.S. Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here https://apptrkr.com/2953825 or email Tenley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential. ….. Amherst College does not discriminate in its admission or employment policies and practices on the basis of factors such as race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, color, religion, national origin, disability or veteran status. The College complies with federal and state legislation and regulations regarding non-discrimination. About Koya Partners Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. For more information about Koya Partners, visit http://www.koyapartners.com.
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