The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is a 250-acre National Historic Landmark, iconic living museum, educational institution, and cultural attraction. NYBG is the largest public garden located in a United States city and has been an advocate for the plant world since its founding in 1891. Anchored in the Bronx, visitors come to NYBG to connect with nature and for renowned plant-based exhibitions, science, cultural programs, and lectures. Innovative children’s education programs promote environmental sustainability and nutrition awareness. These programs educate the next generation of botanists while engaging classes inspire adults to follow a new career path or remain lifelong learners.
NYBG is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment and further recognizes that diversity in its workforce, education, and science programs fosters excellence in its mission of advocating for the plants of the world. NYBG is led by a 61-member board of trustees. For the fiscal year ending June 2020, NYBG had a total reported revenue of $87.6 million, with total expenses of $83.2 million.
Exhibitions and Programming at NYBG
NYBG has been an advocate for the plant world for more than 130 years since its founding as an urban oasis. In addition to 50 acres of old growth forest, there are 50 specialty gardens and collections comprising more than one million plants, along with the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the nation’s preeminent glasshouse. NYBG showcases groundbreaking multidisciplinary exhibitions and programs featuring both local and world-renowned artists. In 2021, more than a million visitors experienced the immersive installations of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Previous exhibitions have included the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, Roberto Burle Marx, Dale Chihuly, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, and Henry Moore. Longstanding annual exhibitions include the Orchid Show and the Holiday Train Show.
Exhibitions and programming closely relate scientific exploration and innovation, the visual arts, architecture, and cultural and aesthetic movements. Through the development of pioneering interdisciplinary, multimedia exhibitions of plants, books and manuscripts, and works of art, NYBG exhibitions have revealed the inextricable links between plants and people and have illuminated the importance of gardens to human health and to the lives and work of renowned artists and thinkers.
Hundreds of multidisciplinary programs complementing NYBG exhibitions and events are offered annually. These have included daily tours, home gardening demonstrations, music and dance performances, poetry readings, festivals, and weekend and evening exhibition viewings with enhanced content and food and beverage offerings. Special family programming has included concerts, live animal programs during Fall Forest Weekends, and Holiday Train Show theater performances.
NYBG pursues its mission through its role as a museum of living plant collections arranged in gardens and landscapes through its comprehensive education programs in horticulture and plant science. One of the world’s most comprehensive plant research and conservation programs, NYBG has amassed unrivaled research collections and, as a living museum, has taught millions of visitors of all ages to love and respect the plants of the world. The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is the largest botanical and horticultural library in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 11 million archival items spanning 10 centuries. Currently, 100 PhD-level scientists are engaged in 250 international collaborations in 49 countries. NYBG is one of the top two freestanding botanical gardens in the world where plant and fungal research is conducted. The second largest in the world, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium houses 7.8 million plant specimens, representing all groups of plants and fungi from around the world.
Reporting to the President of NYBG and a member of the executive leadership team, the Vice President for Exhibitions and Programming (VPEP) will develop an integrated vision for a broad array of NYBG’s exhibitions and programs and will be responsible for overseeing planning, development, and implementation. Exhibitions and public programming play a unique role in bringing NYBG and its mission to life for a wide range of visitors, while also supporting the organization’s earned revenue initiatives. The VPEP will closely collaborate with all departments to ensure that inclusive, engaging, and unique experiences are provided for all audiences and communities. This individual will ensure that the interpretation of all exhibitions and programming is integrated, relevant, and impactful. Additionally, this position supports, through actions and conduct, NYBG’s inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility initiatives and helps build and maintain an inclusive organizational culture.
Roles and Responsibilities
Exhibition and Program Vision and Strategy
- Shape the vision for inclusive and comprehensive exhibitions and programming that supports NYBG’s mission.
- Serve as a key member of the executive leadership team, ensuring the successful implementation of strategic plans, service delivery, and the integration of exhibitions and programmatic activities.
- Develop exhibition program narratives, objectives, and budgets for funding proposals, working closely with the Development and Marketing departments.
- Collaborate across the organization to promote positive interdepartmental planning, communication, and innovation that supports powerful multidisciplinary, engaging exhibitions and programming.
- Ideate and develop new exhibitions and programs that engage a roster of local, national, and international up-and-coming and world-class artists and collaborators with an exhibition and programming proposal process.
- Participate in strategic and site master planning.
Managerial Oversight and Departmental Collaboration
- Supervise the Exhibitions and Public Programming teams.
- Collaborate with all NYBG departments to facilitate, coordinate, and implement NYBG events, fundraising, public service activities, and educational activities developed across the organization.
- Lead, integrate, and coordinate, as applicable, all activities related to the development, implementation, and interpretation of exhibitions and programs with other NYBG divisions, including 1) Public programs, such as festivals, concerts, demonstration, markets, workshops, lectures tours, and other activities, that engage a wide audience in NYBG’s presentation and impact and 2) landscape and collections wayfinding media for visitors such as signage, print material, audio guides, apps, and NYBG website.
- Manage budgets for all areas of responsibility, share P&L responsibility with NYBG’s earned income team, and oversee the exhibition and program calendar with an ongoing evaluation process to track progress and performance.
- Establish exhibition and program priorities and success metrics that are aligned with organizational and strategic priorities.
- Grow, manage, and mentor a diverse and talented staff of professionals to ensure visitors, patrons, artists, and community members have an inclusive and enjoyable experience.
Partnerships, Engagement, and Resources
- Develop and support strategic partnerships with new and existing organizations to present and promote seasonal programs and calendars.
- Convene internal and external advisory groups to develop equitable programs, create consistency in programing across areas, and build marketable annual programs.
- Serve as an ambassador and advocate connecting a broad range of stakeholders and communities in exhibitions and programming decisions and discussions.
- Cultivate effective relationships with local, regional, national, and international producers, artists, and organizations to ensure diverse and accessible programming onsite and online.
- Represent the department at selected board of trustees meetings and other meetings and events as requested.
- Work with NYBG staff and supervises the recruitment and hiring of outside consultants and collaborators for planning, production, and installation work for exhibitions and programming.
- Represent NYBG’s exhibitions and programs in media as requested.
Traits and Characteristics
The VPEP will bring creativity, innovation, and business acumen to current and potential exhibition and programming opportunities at NYBG. They will be receptive to new ideas and collaborative in their approach as they work across the organization and engage outside consultants and partners. A versatile and people-oriented professional, the VPEP will ensure NYBG will continue to welcome their communities of visitors with engaging, impactful exhibitions and programs. They will value artistic and educational programming immersed in artistic vibrancy.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Teamwork – The aptitude to organize and inspire people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction and cooperating with others to meet objectives.
- Problem Solving – The capacity to define, analyze, and diagnose key components of a problem to formulate a solution.
- Diplomacy – The dexterity to effectively and tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues.
- Time and Priority Management – The ability to prioritize and complete tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
- Flexibility and Resiliency – The adeptness to quickly recover from adversity and to readily modify, respond, and adapt to change with minimal resistance.
The successful candidate will have a combination of at least five years of experience in exhibition planning and implementation and management experience in public spaces that serve the arts or multidisciplinary engagement. The VPEP should have excellent supervisory skills in managing large-scale projects with an emphasis on logistics, contractor oversight, revenue generation, and resource allocation. A bachelor’s degree is required and the VPEP should exhibit progressive levels of leadership and responsibilities. Proficient verbal and written communication skills are necessary. The capacity to collaborate, implement long-range projects, and execute exhibitions and programs to meet the demands of NYBG’s calendar are needed.
Compensation and Benefits
This position offers a competitive salary in the range of $230,000 to $275,000. A generous benefits package includes medical and dental insurance, 401(k) plan, paid vacation time, sick leave, and annual holidays. Relocation assistance is negotiable.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Jane V. Hsu, Senior Advisor
1040 First Avenue, Suite 352
New York, NY 10022
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 223
NYBG is committed to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible work environment and further recognizes that diversity in the workforce fosters excellence in its mission of advocating for the plants of the world. Leveraging the strong foundation of existing policies and practices, NYBG will advance inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility through a number of institutional initiatives. Its aspiration is to continue to cultivate a workforce and institution that is as diverse as the communities it serves and the audiences it engages.
NYBG is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. NYBG does not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, and veteran or disability status. Underrepresented communities, Black, Indigenous, persons of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
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