The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College seeks candidates who are creative, scholarly, and motivated to engage diverse audiences through art for the Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas position. Building on a collection of over 20,000 artworks with strengths in Japanese, Russian, and, above all, American art, the Mead has reimagined the museum in the last four years through nationally-recognized exhibitions, groundbreaking contemporary gifts and acquisitions that diversify its collection, and new educational initiatives centered on social justice that reinforce the Mead’s robust student programs. The Curator position and the global expansion of American art to include the Americas is a critical part of the Mead’s reimagining.
The Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas is a full time, year-round position, job group and level RI-3. Amherst College has profoundly transformed its student body in terms of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and nationality, among other areas. Today, nearly one-quarter of Amherst’s students are Pell Grant recipients; 45 percent of our students identify as domestic students of color. Our expectation is that the successful candidate will excel at working in a community that is broadly diverse with regard to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and religion. The Mead’s recent strategic plan reinforces these values by seeking to: promote access, equity and community; embolden the artistic program; and enhance curriculum alignment.
The Curator oversees and leads the vision of the museum’s collection, exhibitions, and programs for American art and arts of the Americas. The Curator reports to the John Wieland 1958 Director and Chief Curator and collaborates with the Mead’s professional team of nine, including one full-‐time curatorial staff (Curator of Russian and European Art), and five museum colleagues who actively participate in curatorial activities and programs (Dwight and Kirsten Poler & Andrew W. Mellon Head of Education and Curator of Academic Programs, who oversees education programs and interpretation, the Study Room Manager & European Print Specialist, the Collections Manager, the Preparator, and the Museum Writer and Editor).
The Curator will work collegially as part of a team, managing, growing and refining a high-quality and diverse permanent collection of American art and arts of the Americas. In addition to developing the Mead’s outstanding American collection, the Curator will create an original collection strategy and exhibition program; plan and manage long-‐term exhibitions calendar in areas of specialization; establish protocols related to collections and exhibitions; and generate innovative concepts for exhibition, programmatic and editorial projects.
Takes appropriate actions to support a diverse workforce and participates in the College’s efforts to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.
Summary of Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
- Curatorial – Develop original exhibitions that recast the canon, generate curriculum opportunities, and inspire new scholarship with the Mead’s permanent collection of American Art and Arts of the Americas. Publish in exhibition catalogues and other publication outlets, helping to promote the Mead’s permanent collection and recent acquisitions. Additional duties in relation to the American Art and Arts of the Americas, include contributing to the museum’s collection committee meetings and Curatorial Working Group; updating the exhibitions calendar in curatorial areas; authoring accessions, database entries, and exhibitions proposals.
- Research – Oversee the care, management, and research priorities of the American art, Dwight J. Morrow collection of Mexican art; research and formulate a comprehensive collection plan for Arts of the Americas that will be used to build, refine, and strengthen the existing collection and forge new paths in contemporary art. Make recommendations for key acquisitions based on a priority list of collection needs outlined in collection plans. Collaborate with the Frost Library to promote greater knowledge of Native American history, culture, and artifacts. Assist students, faculty, researchers, museum colleagues, and the Head of Education and Academic Programs with research related to American Art and Arts of the Americas collection.
- Administrative – Develop and manage multi-‐year budgets related to exhibitions and publications projects, and take an active role in fundraising, marketing, and programming; cultivate collectors and maintain knowledge of art market; and write grant proposals and exhibition travel proposals to support projects.
- Outreach – Welcome and engage audiences through exhibitions, programs, writing, teaching, and scholarship. Present gallery talks and public lectures at the Mead; presenting in areas of expertise, including representing the museum by attending local, regional, and national conferences and professional meetings. Participate and attend faculty and staff programs and serve of faculty and staff committees.
- Supervision – Mentor, train, and supervise undergraduate or graduate student interns.