The University of Georgia (UGA), the flagship public, land-grant and sea-grant university of the state of Georgia, seeks an experienced and energetic leader to serve as the next Director of the Georgia Museum of Art (GMOA or Museum). Reporting to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Director will provide strong leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the GMOA.
The GMOA shares the mission of the University of Georgia to support and to promote teaching, research, and service. Specifically, as a repository and educational instrument of the visual arts, the Museum exists to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret significant works of art.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
Founded in 1785 as the first public university in the country, the University of Georgia is one of the leading public research universities in the nation and the world. In fall 2022, UGA enrolled 40,118 students, employed more than 3,000 faculty, and had an annual budget of nearly $2 billion. UGA’s faculty excel in fundamental and applied research, innovation, and technology transfer; and deliver outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional education; and support communities in Georgia and around the globe through public service and engagement.
Total annual research expenditures at the University have increased 41 percent since fiscal year 2013, and research expenditures now stand at $494 million for fiscal year 2021. UGA’s main campus is in Athens, Georgia, 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, with extended campuses located in Griffin, Tifton, Buckhead, and Gwinnett, as well as residential campuses in Washington, DC; Cortona; Italy; and Oxford, England. The University has numerous regional, national, and international partnerships for research, education, and service, and an extensive and dedicated network of nearly 350,000 living alumni across the globe.
The University of Georgia currently is number 16 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 ranking of the best public universities in the nation, marking the seventh consecutive year that UGA has placed in the top 20. The University of Georgia has goals to continue to advance its national and international standing in research and scholarship by leveraging the excellence of all its faculty and the comprehensive nature of its public, land- and sea-grant missions.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA MUSEUM OF ART
The GMOA is both an academic museum and, since 1982, the official art museum of the state of Georgia. The permanent collection consists of American paintings, primarily 19th and 20th century; American, European, and Asian works on paper; the Samuel H. Kress Study Collection of Italian Renaissance paintings; and growing collections of southern decorative arts, Asian art, Russian art, contemporary art, and photography. From the time it was opened to the public in 1948, the Museum has grown consistently both in the size of its collection and in the size of its facilities. Included in the collection are works by such luminaries as Frank Weston Benson, William Merritt Chase, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Jacob Lawrence, and Theodore Robinson.
Today, the Museum houses over 17,000 objects in its permanent collection – a dramatic leap from the core of 100 paintings donated by the Museum’s founder, Alfred Heber Holbrook. In 2012, Brenda and Larry Thompson donated 100 works of art by African American artists to the collection, mirroring Holbrook’s original gift. They also established an endowment to fund the position of Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art.
Other transformative gifts include the Daura Collection, made in 2002 when Martha Randolph Daura donated more than 600 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures, as well as archival material related to the career of Catalan-American artist Pierre Daura (1896-1976). The donation also included an endowment to support the Daura Study Center and the Pierre Daura Curator of European Art. In 2017, a gift from William Parker of over 2,300 works of Russian art established the Parker Collection of Russian Art. Mr. Parker also endowed the position of Parker Curator of Russian Art. Initiatives in contemporary art at the Museum have grown significantly since 2019, with a gift of cutting-edge art of the past three decades, including works from Damien Hirst, Daniel Arsham, Shannon Ebner, David Altjmed and Mike Kelley, from John and Sara Shlesinger, as well as major donations in 2020 of photography since 1960.
Since the early 1970s, the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, a support group of more than 1,200 members, have hosted fundraisers and openings for exhibitions and have sponsored exhibitions and educational programs at the Museum. The GMOA has become a leader, in particular, among university museums, and its educational programs have been the most tangible example of the balance it strives to achieve among state, local, and university audiences as it seeks to fulfill its trifold mission of teaching, research, and service.
The GMOA reflects its dual designation as an academic museum with its role as the official state art Museum of Georgia. Its schedule balances the academic study of the history of art and a broader array of popular exhibitions that appeal to all audiences. The GMOA occupies a 79,000-square-foot contemporary building in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the University’s burgeoning east campus, which also includes the School of Music, the Performing Arts Center, and the Lamar Dodd School of Art.
Through the Museum’s endowment and other quasi and non-endowed funds totaling approximately $18.5 million, the GMOA has a dedicated and collaborative team of 37 full-time employees with an operating budget of approximately $4 million.
Reporting to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Director will provide leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the Georgia Museum of Art and be a principled advocate for the institution’s tripartite mission, “to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.” Of paramount importance is that the Director be a leader who can support the dual mission of the GMOA as an academic institution that creates and shares scholarship and as the official state Museum of art with a strong sense of public service and engagement.
The Director will drive excellence in the Museum’s curatorial, educational, and programmatic endeavors while ensuring the alignment of financial resources and operational priorities, near and long term. In partnership with the Museum’s curatorial and management team, and through dynamic thought-provoking exhibitions and collections, scholarship, educational activities, programs, and outreach, the Director will continue to enhance the GMOA’s relevance and position on the UGA campus, across the state of Georgia, and beyond.
The Director should have a deep understanding of fundraising principles and strategy with experience building philanthropic relationships. They must be able to provide high-touch engagement across a range of constituents. Additionally, the Director should be adept at cultivating major gifts from individual donors and stewarding the institution’s most significant past and current donors, while also engaging with potential supporters.
With attention to the day-to-day management of the GMOA, and in support of the Museum’s staff and their professional development, the Director will ideate, communicate, and benchmark what success looks like for the GMOA going forward.
PRIORITIES AND ONGOING RESPONSIBILITIES
With a mandate to update and elevate the GMOA, the Director has the following priorities and ongoing responsibilities:
- Working in partnership with the provost’s office, faculty, and GMOA staff and stakeholders, conceptualize and lead the development of a strategic plan that will advance the Museum’s mission, define the scope and direction of exhibitions and programming, attract new and diverse attendances, and ensure institutional clarity around the plan’s key initiatives;
- Foster synergies and collaboration, and deepen connections within the Performing and Visual Arts Complex, which includes the School of Music, the Performing Arts Center, and the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and across the UGA campus at large; build relationships with non-arts-related academic departments and encourage the expanded use of the Museum as an extension of the classroom;
- Be enthusiastic in support of the academic mission of UGA and its commitment to experiential, object-based learning and cultural enrichment; support and enhance the GMOA’s commitment to teaching and education for schools, youth, and families, the community, and the University; ensure the integration of exhibition and educational objectives;
- Engage the GMOA’s Board of Advisors and the Friends and the GMOA; understand each group’s strengths and capabilities and bring forth their best ideas, efforts, resources, and contacts; develop effective communications; redefine or clarify roles as necessary;
- Assess and strengthen the GMOA’s collection through careful acquisitions and deaccessions; quickly establish relationships with the collectors and the Boards who support the Museum’s collection-building efforts;
- Review the GMOA’s organizational structure; look at positions and evaluate roles and responsibilities; revamp policies and procedures as necessary;
- Prioritize and champion key policies, procedures, and staffing efforts which reflect the GMOA’s deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; support the Museum’s and the University’s continuing efforts to put in place improved standards and best practices around DEIA;
- Lead a robust and collaborative budget-planning process driven by strategic priorities; become familiar with the GMOA’s current grants and endowments, unrestricted sources of support, and allocation of resources; instill a sense of financial ownership, clarity, and discipline at the curatorial/departmental level.
IDEAL EXPERIENCE AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
The ideal candidate will have or be the following:
- Significant strategic leadership and managerial experience in a museum, art school, or academic environment; proficiency in working within the context of an academic environment along with the ability and desire to work with faculty and students across disciplines in a university setting;
- A facility with establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with a variety of representatives of public and private organizations, members of boards, foundations, commissions and support groups, civic and government officials, and the public;
- Knowledge of AAM standards and practices; knowledge of and networks in the art world and its key participants; the ability to evaluate and select works of art relevant to the tripartite mission of the GMOA; an understanding of and commitment to teaching collections and an ability to translate that into meaningful collaborations and exhibitions;
- Knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to arts education, educational outreach, networking, and thought-provoking programming that attracts and engages students and faculty, as well as local, regional, and statewide constituents;
- A skilled administrator, with a collaborative working style; demonstrated ability to organize, lead, and support a professional staff, including experience managing operations and budgets;
- A terminal degree; or a graduate degree in art history or equivalent, coupled with significant relevant experience;
The ideal candidate will also have or be:
- A trusted leader, who exudes credibility and stature, with ethics above reproach; able to define and refine institutional culture through actions and best practices;
- Nimble, with a proven ability to articulate needs and champion the interests of the GMOA, while working effectively and cooperatively with campus partners;
- An inspiring leader and team builder; committed to bringing cultural experiences to a wide and diverse audience;
- Soft skills that align with an ability to build and nurture relationships with a range of people; a forward thinker who understands the subtleties of motivating, directing, delegating, handling, and prioritizing multiple activities and responsibilities;
- Highly personable, charismatic, and energetic; able to build consensus and generate enthusiasm; good judgment and a sense of humor in order to maintain perspective and balance.
Please send applications, or nominations, to Mark Tarnacki and Addie Jones at GMOA@PhillipsOppenheim.com.
The University of Georgia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, genetic information, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or protected veteran status. Persons needing accommodations or assistance with the accessibility of materials related to this search are encouraged to contact Central HR (HRWeb@uga.edu). Please do not contact the department or search committee with such requests.