Director, Archives of American Art
Director, Archives of American Art
Job Location: District of Columbia
Date Created: 07-22-2020
The Archives’ Director is empowered to focus on key priorities to enhance the work of the Archives and its impact in the field of art and art history. These include expanding relationships with practicing artists and artists’ foundations; ensuring the capacity for a growing collection of “born digital” materials; continuing to diversify the Archives’ collections to reflect the still-evolving field of American art; securing funds to endow critical positions and collecting initiatives; and planning for the next capital campaign. The strategic plan spans 2019 to 2023; annual reports for 2015 through 2019 are available here
. The endowment currently stands at $24 million, and the annual operating budget is $6.5 million. The staff of approximately 50 comprises Trust-funded, federal, and contractor team members.
MAIN FOCUS, PRIORITIES, AND KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
The Archives of American Art is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with another research center in New York City, and microfilm repositories in Boston, MA; Fort Worth, TX; and San Francisco and San Marino, CA. With a collection of over 30 million items, the Archives is the largest and most widely used resource in the world on the history of American art and is a leader in the digitization of and public accessibility to archival collections. The Archives produces exhibitions for and maintains the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture housed in the Old Patent Office in Washington, D.C. The Archives documents living artists and important figures in the art world through an on-going oral history project, produces an annual awards program, publishes a scholarly journal twice a year, and organizes other publications and scholarly and public programs. The Director of the Archives of American Art has responsibility for the overall planning, development, direction, and management of all programs and activities of the Archives, and is advised by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents. The Director is appointed by the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and reports on all matters relating to the Archives through the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Museums and Culture.
The Archives of American Art seeks a leader who understands the value of and is committed to advancing the mission of collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America. The next Director must be able to convey their passion for this enterprise to the public and to potential donors, continuing to elevate the national profile of the Archives of American Art as a leader among institutions of its kind.
Top candidates will demonstrate collaborative and compelling leadership, with the ability to build support for a robust strategic vision across a range of constituencies including staff, board members, Smithsonian Institution leadership, and funding organizations and individuals. The Archives is invested in continuing to diversify collections and audiences and increasing access to the holdings; we are seeking a leader for whom these are clear priorities.
A critical success factor will be the ability to build relationships effectively in a variety of spheres of influence – with team members and Smithsonian colleagues; partnering with the Board of Trustees; within the field of American art; with living artists; and with foundations and other donors dedicated to American art. The Director of the Archives is the organization’s spokesperson, the “face and voice” who serves as an effective advocate for the critical role the organization plays in advancing the field.
The next leader should demonstrate a solid track record as a fundraiser, with an understanding of the key elements of a high-functioning development shop. Foundation support has been crucial to operations at the Archives, so continuing to steward these existing relationships along with making new connections to other foundations is required. In addition, the next Director will aim to connect the Archives’ mission with funders outside of the realm of foundations, particularly individual donors. Finding new and reliable supplementary funding sources will be increasingly important in the years to come to sustain the work of the team.
Successful candidates must be interested in the opportunity to advocate for and cultivate the visibility of the Archives of American Art within the larger Smithsonian Institution ecosystem. Candidates should embrace the opportunity to work collaboratively and productively with the directors at other Smithsonian Institution units, especially those that have the most crossover with the Archives’ mission: the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the National Portrait Gallery.
In leading a team of experienced and committed staff members, the next Director will be an excellent listener with a high level of emotional intelligence who respects the staff’s expertise, supports their professional development, prioritizes the retention of skilled staff members, and is transparent about decision making. Retention will involve transitioning more contract positions into permanent roles and ensuring that staff members’ pay grades are commensurate with their professional experience and skill level.
Naree Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here
or email Tenley directly at email@example.com
. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
ABOUT KOYA LEADERSHIP PARTNERS
Koya Leadership Partners is a retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that partners exclusively with mission-driven clients, institutions of higher education, and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our clients and ensuring they have the strategies to support them. Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, please visit www.koyapartners.com.
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