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Job Listing: Senior Curator

Job Postings ,
ICA at VCU - Richmond, VA
Closes: Open until filled
Organizational Overview

At VCU, we Make it Real through learning, research, creativity, service and discovery — the hallmarks of the VCU experience. A premier, urban, public research university nationally recognized as one of the best employers for diversity, VCU is a great place to work. It’s a place of opportunity, where your success is supported and your career can thrive. VCU offers employees a generous leave package, career paths for advancement, competitive pay, and an opportunity to do mission-driven work.

Position Primary Purpose and General Responsibilities

The Senior Curator will commission, develop, oversee and implement the exhibitions and programs for the ICA. The Senior Curator will be responsible for commissioning new work and working with living artists, as well as championing and stewarding projects through ideation, the full production process, and exhibition.

The Senior Curator will be responsible for forging and maintaining effective working relationships with a variety of stakeholders, board members, vendors, and ICA staff. The Senior Curator will support, supervise, and evaluate several staff members, which may include a curatorial assistant and interns, and interact with students, faculty, donors, volunteers, and the public.

Duties and Responsibilities
The Senior Curator will produce, promote, support and present contemporary arts and stimulate critical discussion around the arts and broad cultural issues. Working closely with the ICA Executive Director and ICA staff, the Senior Curator will develop, oversee, and implement the overarching artistic vision for the Institute. This role will be responsible for commissioning new work and developing an ambitious and innovative interdisciplinary slate of exhibitions, programs, public events, special projects, publications, and artist residencies that engage the University, students, faculty, the broader Richmond community, and beyond.
The primary purpose and general responsibilities can be consolidated into three broad categories:

Program Development and Delivery:

  • Work with the Executive Director and Curatorial team to develop annual programs that support the ICA’s mission of creating productive opportunities for artists, valuable new experiences for audiences and critical steps in the advancement of contemporary art
  • Provide high-level leadership, strategy development, planning and management for new initiatives ensuring goals and strategies for exhibitions and programs are consistent with overall strategic planning
  • Responsible for identifying and developing exhibitions, projects, and events that expand audiences, increase the visibility of VCU and the ICA, employ innovative curatorial strategies to promote contemporary artists, and reflect current artistic, cultural and social concerns, locally, nationally and internationally
  • Work with the ICA’s Exhibition and Administration Department in the development and project management of exhibitions, projects, and events
  • Provide dynamic new contexts and frameworks for contemporary practice and provide meaningful support to artists; pushing boundaries in the field and generating new concepts that are the forefront of contemporary art and relevant for institution-making as we see it today
  • Generate forward-thinking ideas and creative work that’s new and exciting but also meaningful and worthwhile, with an understanding of digital media, publishing and redistribution strategies
  • Work closely with the Communications & Content Strategy team to communicate, promote, and publicize the ICA’s exhibitions and programs; considering the Institute’s overall content strategy when developing new work
  • Partner with the Development office to assist with fundraising activities for exhibitions and programs including securing grants, planning of fundraising events, sponsorship, and gifts
  • Identify grant opportunities and create relationships with funding bodies; understand the landscape of granting organizations relevant to the ICA’s mission
  • Develop work with grants in mind and recognize those opportunities within the curatorial team; guide the creative staff in developing projects into award-winning endeavors

Management Responsibility:

  • Assess and determines proper course of action for all sensitive situations and recognize when issues need to be elevated to the Director of the ICA
  • Implement creative vision through partnership with multiple team across the ICA; the ability to create connections between teams and bring staff and partners along on the journey from ideation to creation to execution
  • Provide creation leadership through collaboration and technical and organizational transparency (work-related and ethical) and provide critical thought around institutional structure
  • Demonstrate comprehension of innate value of all skills and expertise across the ICA; champion differences that are an asset to the institution
  • Exercise an understanding and sensitivity to the unique body of faculty, staff, students, artists, performers, and advisory board members, and exhibit professional ethics for working deeply with diverse constituency
  • Make routine decisions using discretion and judgment and shows initiative with little outside supervision
  • Identify and analyze project and program funding opportunities
  • Assist the Executive Director with strategic and business planning
  • Provide clear, direct communication among staff who are producing projects; practice equitable and articulate coordination during production
  • Show creative thinking above and beyond exhibitions—consider how projects will be made, how they will it live in their designated spaces
  • Demonstrate a commitment to commissioning work; champion and steward projects from start to finish, including providing guidance on what happens to the work after the exhibition (placing it in other institutions, generating ideas for redistributing the work in a tactical way)

Partnerships, Education & Stakeholder Relations:

  • Routinely engage key constituencies including students, faculty, the community, including local business, industry, and non-profit leaders, artists, designers, performers, board members, and volunteers and encourages service on ICA committees to foster community partnerships and engagement
  • Initiate and maintain strong relationships with relevant museums, galleries, cultural institutions, community groups, universities and stakeholders to enhance organizational profile and outreach
  • Work with key staff to develop strategic community partnerships and educational programs that meet the needs of our constituencies and extend the reach of the ICA into the city’s various communities and surrounding areas
  • Understand the audience for ICA programs and work with the Visitor Experience team to develop programs and modalities for the programs that recognize the audience and invite them to engage with the ICA through research, community collaboration, etc.
  • Establish effective working relationships with staff and other key stakeholders and demonstrate creative leadership
  • Work as part of a team to cultivate and steward relationships with donors, sponsors and funding bodies as required
  • Serve as a resource to VCU’s School of Arts in such activities as producing work that becomes a resource for students, generating new ideas for education and programming, fostering relationships, helping with research programs or teaching, exploring opportunities for creative initiatives, or working with students in developing exhibition programming

Minimum Hiring Standards
  • Master’s degree in education, art, history, architecture, museum studies, curatorial studies, or a related field
  • 5 to 10 years of high-level experience working in museums, contemporary art focused festivals, nonprofit art organizations, or galleries,
  • Demonstrable knowledge of current contemporary arts practices and the broader cultural sector, both nationally and internationally
  • Demonstrated experience developing and implementing long range strategic plans along with oversight of the curatorial, education, registration, and art preparation areas
  • Experience managing operating budgets up to $2 million dollars
  • Practical project management experience with exhibitions, publications, and programs from conceptualization through execution with proven results
  • Evidence of strong working relationships with a diverse range of contemporary artists, dealers, curators, scholars, collectors, and journalists
  • Demonstrated experience and interest in identifying and working with groups and cultures that have traditionally been omitted from the canon (for example: underrepresented communities)
  • Experience working with living artists on commissioned projects and have a deep understanding of the production aspect of exhibitions and projects
  • Familiarity with current market for contemporary art and an awareness of ethical practices and legal and contractual issues regarding contemporary art
  • Demonstrated experience working in an environment that fosters diversity, inclusion and belonging among faculty, staff, and students, or a commitment to do so as a staff member at the ICA
  • Demonstrate a commitment to making diversity a priority when building relationships outside of the ICA and providing creative and professional opportunities for vendors, community organizations, creative partners, freelance, contract and student workers)
  • Successful track record with donor cultivation, grant writing, marketing and public
    • relations initiatives
  • Experience collaborating with key constituents to build strong campus, local, regional,
    • national, and international relationships
  • Proven ability working within a diverse university setting and engaging students and
    • faculty to ensure alignment of exhibition program and thematic investigations in relation to research and teaching priorities across diverse disciplines
  • Excellent verbal/written communication and customer service skills
  • Ability to problem solve using sound judgment and professional discretion
  • Proven ability to develop presentation materials for conferences, lectures, and other
    • essential meetings
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and take initiative
  • Demonstrated strong work ethic and time management skills
  • Strong organizational skills required and ability to attend to details
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize work, handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines
  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student environment or commitment to do so as a staff member at VCU

Preferred Hiring Standards
  • Experience writing and editing publications for museums, galleries or art institutions
  • Experience working with international and indigenious artists or venues
  • Research interest in the global south and diaspora

Anticipated Hiring Range

Job Open Date

Open Until Filled