Chief Curator
The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) seeks a creative leader with expertise in modern and contemporary art and design.

The ideal candidate will possess a sense of adventure and creativity with a sophisticated understanding of art, design and museum curatorial principles and practices. They will have demonstrated experience as a thoughtful risk taker with a record of converting vision into working programs and a track record of inventive exhibitions. They will be familiar with and excited by new technologies, on-line experiences and new fields of study such as digital humanities. They’ll be known for their collaborative approach, flexibility, collegiality, and enthusiasm for sharing art, design, and creativity with a varied constituency. They will have superior presentation skills and demonstrate strong leadership presence and willingness to engage and connect with a variety of stakeholders, including the Museum Board, Accessions Committee, colleagues, a diverse set of external partners, and the general public. They will possess the highest ethical standards, and strong leadership skills including: strategic thinking; financial acumen; organizational effectiveness; and a passion for staff development.

Chief Curator Job Responsibilities:
Curatorial & Programming

  • Lead the development of a balanced and dynamic exhibition program.
  • Organize original exhibitions and identify and coordinate incoming traveling exhibitions.
  • Focus on late 19th-century to contemporary art and design.
  • Collaborate with the Leadership Team and curatorial staff.
  • Lead the growth and enhancement of the permanent collection.
    • Opportunity to develop the collection and leave a legacy.
    • Cultivate collectors, donors, and artists.
    • Serve as staff liaison to the Accessions Committee of the Board on matters related to the collections, providing recommendations for accessions and de-accessions.
  • Lead presentation and new interpretations of the collection, in concert with education and curatorial staff.
  • Collaborate in the preparation of interpretive materials for new exhibitions, multimedia scripts, brochure texts, and catalogues.
  • Collaborate with the programing team to ensure alignment of the curatorial vision with GRAM’s interpretive, guest-services, and community-outreach goals.
  • Provide programming support (lectures, workshops, etc.), as required.
  • Perform other duties as required to ensure the effective operation of the Museum’s Curatorial department and to fulfill GRAM’s Mission.
Leadership & Administration

  • Serve as a member of the Museum’s Leadership Team and participate in Executive/Finance Committee and full Board meetings.
  • Supervise the Curatorial department, including 2 curatorial staff, the registrar, and 4 collections management/preparation staff.
  • Develop, implement, and manage budgets and resources for department and related Museum-wide programs.
  • Partner with Advancement Department on donor cultivation and development of grant proposals.
  • Represent the Museum in the community and in professional organizations to pro-actively enhance GRAM’s relationships with the creative community, the general public, and other institutions locally, regionally, and nationally.
Required Skills and Abilities:
  • Deep and current knowledge of art and design in one’s specialty, within the period of 1850 to today.
  • Strong knowledge of museum curatorial principles and practices.
  • A track record of creativity evidenced by developing successful exhibitions. A thoughtful risk-taker who can convert vision into working programs and inventive exhibitions — not necessarily cutting-edge, but balanced to expose broad audiences to the best.
  • Enthusiasm for sharing art, design, and creativity with multiple constituencies. Enjoys introducing contemporary and less familiar art and ideas to broad general audiences.
  • Collaborative approach, with the flexibility and collegiality to engage and connect with a variety of stakeholders, including colleagues and peers, the Museum Board, Accessions Committee, volunteers, varied external partners, and the general public.
  • Ability to collaborate with Learning and Audience Engagement Department and to build and welcome regional and national audiences.
  • Familiarity with and open to using new technologies, on-line experiences, and new fields of study such as digital humanities.
  • A mentor with passion for staff development.
  • Superior communications skills, both written and verbal.
  • Leadership skills, including strategic thinking, organizational effectiveness, and stretching a budget.

Experience and Qualifications:
  • Minimum of 7 years of curatorial experience. Two years or more of management–level museum experience preferred.
  • Track record of effective exhibitions, including shows that were well attended and received by the general public, as well as by peers.
  • Advanced degree preferred in Art History or related field with concentration on art or design since 1850. Bachelor’s Degree in field required.
  • Experience and interpersonal skills to approach donors and work with trustees.

How to Apply

• Apply in confidence. Send résumé, cover letter including a narrative describing interest in and experience for this particular job, salary requirement, and names with contact information of 3 references to: by April 14, 2014. Nominations welcome.

• GRAM is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to diversity.