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Jane Dale Owen Director and Chief Curator, Blaffer Art Museum - (FAC003371)

University of Houston
Houston, Texas, United States
Salary Not Specified
Date posted
Apr 11, 2024

The Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston seeks an innovative and visionary leader to hold the position of Jane Dale Owen Director and Chief Curator of the Blaffer Art Museum.

The mission of the Blaffer Art Museum is to create experiences with contemporary art and artists that ignite wonder and curiosity, challenge preconceptions, and expand ways of seeing and thinking in order to nourish the human spirit and drive empathy, understanding, and engagement with today’s world. Having recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its 1973 founding, the Blaffer Art Museum seeks to advance the understanding of contemporary art through exhibitions, publications, and public programs. As the gateway between the University of Houston’s central campus and the city of Houston, the Blaffer is a catalyst for creative innovation, experimentation, and scholarship. Its exhibitions and programs are free and open to the public, create community through dialogue and participation, and inspire an appreciation for the visual arts as a vital force in shaping contemporary culture.

The Director of the Blaffer Art Museum reports directly to the Dean of the McGovern College of the Arts. The ideal candidate will possess exceptional curatorial skills and managerial experience, enabling them to curate outstanding exhibitions, develop engaging public programs, and facilitate educational experiences while also securing funding and support from cultural and philanthropic communities.

The Blaffer Art Museum holds a prominent and respected position within the University of Houston's comprehensive dedication to the visual and performing arts. As such, the Director will play a pivotal role in articulating an innovative and interdisciplinary curatorial vision that aligns seamlessly with both the University's overarching vision and the specific goals of the McGovern College. It is essential that the Director possesses strong leadership qualities, a global perspective, and the ability to cultivate relationships and foster extensive engagement with faculty, students, community members, and donors. Additionally, the Director should leverage their robust connections within the contemporary art world to enhance the reputation and standing of the Museum, the College, and the University as a whole.

Responsibilities include:

1. As the Museum Director, oversee the efficient and effective management of the Blaffer Art Museum in collaboration with the Dean and leadership of the McGovern College of the Arts. Key responsibilities include managing day-to-day museum operations, including budgeting, financial management, staff recruitment following University protocols, and overseeing facilities and personnel; developing annual contributed revenues to ensure the museum's financial stability, including cultivating external grant funding and support from private and individual sources; engaging with the Blaffer Advisory Board to leverage their expertise and support; and collaborating with University of Houston and McGovern College communications staff to liaise with media and sponsors effectively.

2. In the capacity of Chief Curator, implement a distinctive and independent curatorial vision that positions the Blaffer Art Museum as an innovative art institution on a university campus, setting it apart from other contemporary and university-based museums, including those within the city of Houston. Responsibilities include creating innovative exhibitions, programs, and initiatives that engage a variety of audiences locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, including the University of Houston campus and the city of Houston; cultivating relationships with prominent artists, scholars, and influencers in the national and international contemporary art scenes, including fostering productive relationships with institutional peers in Houston's professional art organizations; identifying emerging contemporary artists and potential collaborators to enrich the museum's programming; and utilizing the museum and its programming to enhance the visibility and reputation of the Museum, the College, and the University.

3. As an Academic Administrator at the University of Houston, serve as the primary liaison between the Blaffer Art Museum and the university's academic and global communities, ensuring the museum's impact on campus, locally, nationally, and internationally. Responsibilities include actively engaging with the University of Houston academic and student communities to establish and maintain positive working relationships and contribute to the vibrant life of the campus; exploring and seizing unique opportunities available at the University of Houston and within the broader academic environment, including integrating the museum broadly with academic programming in the arts and leveraging the museum to support the University of Houston's mission of community engagement; producing scholarly research and publications that contribute to the contemporary art dialogue and enhance the reputation of the Museum and the College; and representing the Museum in the scholarly community by participating in panels, symposia, and other forums, and overseeing administrative matters related to these activities.

The University of Houston is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution and recognizes protected classes of race, color, sex (including pregnancy), genetic information, religion, age (40 and above), national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or status, and gender expression as required by federal law. Veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Qualifications :

The ideal candidate for this position will meet the qualifications suitable for an appointment as a Research Professor (Assistant, Associate, or Full) of Art History, with a minimum of a master’s degree in art history, curatorial studies, or a related field, demonstrating an international perspective and a specialization in contemporary art. Rank and salary commensurate with experience.

Essential qualifications include museum experience in the contemporary art realm, encompassing expertise in curatorial practices, exhibition planning, publication development, educational programming, operational management, fundraising, public relations/marketing, and budget oversight. The candidate should exhibit collaborative leadership skills, fostering team cohesion across a variety of constituencies. Proactivity and a commitment to engaging a wide spectrum of audiences reflective of the museum's locale are paramount.

The candidate should demonstrate exceptional communication and presentation abilities, a proven track record of curating innovative exhibitions, and the capacity to establish meaningful connections with university faculty and engage intellectually with various disciplines. The Director will be required to travel on behalf of the museum. While experience in an academic setting is preferred, it is not mandatory.

Notes to Applicant: Official transcripts are required for a faculty appointment and will be requested of an appointee. All positions at the University of Houston are security sensitive and will require a criminal history check

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