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Director of Interpretation and Audience Engagement [New Orleans Museum of Art]

Posted by Amanda Gustin on September 20, 1971 in job announcements |

The New Orleans Museum of Art seeks a

DIRECTOR OF INTERPRETATION AND AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

BACKGROUND:
In 1910, Isaac Delgado offered a gift to the City Park Commission to
create a “temple of art for rich and poor alike.” The Isaac Delgado
Museum of Art, a neoclassical building designed by Samuel Marx, opened
their doors to the public the following year. Expansions in the 1970s
and 1980s tripled the size of the Museum and in 1989, the Board of
Trustees voted to change the Museum’s name to the New Orleans Museum of
Art. In 1993, the “new” NOMA reopened to the public: a state of the art
facility of 130,850 square feet. The permanent collection has over
40,000 works of art with a range of objects from the Italian Renaissance
to the modern era, and especially known for its collections of European
and American art, African art, Chinese ceramics, and Central American
art from the pre-Columbian and Spanish eras. In 2003, the five-acre
Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden opened with fifty permanently
installed objects including works by Louise Bourgeois, Rodin, and
Barbara Hepworth. Today we have over sixty sculptures, and the number
continues to grow. At no cost to visitors, this garden functions as a
place of relaxation and contemplation and symbolizes the central role
the Museum plays in the city of New Orleans. A century since its doors
opened, NOMA has become the premier art museum of the Gulf South.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the collection
was fortunately spared. However, the damage that was caused to the
Sculpture Garden and building forced the Museum to close for seven
months. NOMA reopened as quickly as possible, serving as a beacon of
hope for the city of New Orleans. Having functioned in that capacity for
the past six years, the Museum is finally planning for its future once
again. It is imperative to understand Katrina–it affected every
person and organization in New Orleans, only within the past few years
has the city and the Museum begun to emerge from the devastation, and it
is now that the Museum can finally focus on the process of rebuilding
its staff, programs, and spaces.
The mission of the New Orleans Museum of Art is to inspire the love of
art: to collect, preserve, exhibit, and present excellence in visual
arts while educating, challenging and engaging a diverse public.
The Museum once again has active K-12 educational programs for the
students in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. NOMA has
consistently worked with teachers from schools across the spectrum of
the New Orleans school district: charter, recovery, public and private.
An active docent program with 60 active docents (docent training is
offered throughout the year) provides tours for students that are
tailored to fit specific class and curricula needs. Regular teacher
workshops are also available to assist educators in using the Museum as
a teaching resource. Most recently, the newly configured department of
Interpretation and Audience Engagement is collaborating with Young
Audiences of New Orleans to create a program that focuses on language
arts education for underserved students, and will be tested during the
summer and introduced into the schools in the fall of 2011. This
education effort conforms to Louisiana curricular requirements. Other
youth programs include art classes and summer art camps that introduce
participants to the Museum’s collection and follow up with a correlative
hands-on art experience. NOMA’s Friday evenings also offer children’s
art activities. Student internships, in cooperation with the many
universities and colleges in the area, are available during the summer
in all of the Museum’s departments. Family workshops, which had been a
staple of the Education Department, will soon be reinstated.

NOMA also offers a variety of adult programs that invite active public
engagement. Friday nights have been popular with events that include
everyt
hing from artist lectures to movie screenings and Shakespeareaplays in the
Sculpture Garden. “Inspired by New Orleans” is another
program planned to bring writers, musicians, architects, and artists
together to create a rich dialogue about the ways in which New Orleans
has inspired their work. All of these events have begun to attract large
audiences and engage the community.
The Museum’s exhibition program is both active and versatile, bringing
significant national touring exhibitions to New Orleans and
distinguished exhibitions organized by its curatorial staff. Current
exhibitions includeAncestors of the Congo Square: African Art in the New
Orleans Museum of Art, Read My Pins: The Madeline Albright Collection,
and Swoon: Thalassa. In addition, this year the Museum is celebrating
its 100th anniversary with a focus on objects from its outstanding
permanent collection and a fall exhibition of over 100 gifts and
promised gifts to the collection.
Governed by a Board of Trustees, the Museum is a private institution
created for the public good. NOMA serves 115,000 visitors annually and
employs approximately 63 full time and 10 part time staff. It operates
with a budget of over $6 million. The department currently has three
full time staff.

POSITION SUMMARY:
The Director of Interpretation and Audience Engagement must be ready to
reinvigorate and re-imagine the New Orleans Museum of Art’s newly
configured Department of Interpretation and Audience Engagement, a
department that was reduced in scope as a result of Hurricane Katrina
and the economic downturn. S/he is responsible for developing,
implementing and managing a well-conceived education program for the
Museum that will enhance the level of understanding and relevance of the
Museum’s collections to a full range of audiences. S/he must be an
enthusiastic supporter of public engagement and public accessibility and
ready to engage the many constituencies and stakeholders of the museum.
The Director of Interpretation and Audience Engagement reports to the
Museum’s Executive Director.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Administrative and Programmatic Responsibilities
1. Participates in strategic planning of the Museum’s programs with the
executive director and other members of the senior management team.
2. Prepares and manages department budget.
3. Works with Executive Director, department heads, and curators to
establish short- and long-term goals for programs related to the
collection and exhibitions for the museum’s audience.
4. Supervises the staff in the department of Interpretation and Audience
Engagement to ensure the smooth operation of all aspects of the
department, and is responsible for recruitment, training, development,
and performance of staff.
5. Works as a member of a team to plan exhibitions and to write, edit
and produce educational material for collections and exhibitions.
6. Working with the interpretation and audience engagement staff,
develops and oversees plans for children and adults programs as well as
school programs.
7. Knowledgeable about K-12 curriculum and understands the needs of
teachers in order to provide meaningful educational programs.
8. Reinvigorates and provides leadership to the existing docent program
by enhancing the training program in both art history and visual inquiry
strategies.
9. Works with interpretation and curatorial staff to evaluate all
programs for quality, audience attendance, educational content, cost
effectiveness, etc.
10. Works as a member of a team with curators and interpretation staff
to identify and engage guest speakers for exhibition-related programs.
11. Works with the development department to secure funding, equipment
and other resources necessary to attain departmental goals.
12. Oversees, and as appropriate researches, writes, and develops a full
range of interpretive materials including brochures, audio guides,
videos, advanced technology aids, and other educational tools.
Creative Partnerships
13. Acts as the chief spokesperson for the depart
ment, representing it
to its many constituencies both inte14. Builds relationships in the
community, encouraging and developing
collaborations with appropriate organizations and maintaining a high
professional profile locally and nationally

QUALIFICATIONS:
The new Director of Interpretation and Audience Engagement must have a
strong vision and commitment to innovative educational programming. S/he
must be imaginative and be a leader with a deep passion for the visual
arts and art education. S/he must be able to work effectively with the
curators to help implement interpretive plans that make the art
accessible to audiences in the galleries. S/he must work collaboratively
with schoolteachers to integrate Museum programs into the curriculum.
S/he must also be an effective manager and team player who can work
successfully in a dynamic and collaborative environment and must have a
track record in developing and implementing innovative programs that
reflect knowledge of current issues in museum education and of the
evolving role of art museums in their communities. S/he must have:
1. Minimum of a Master’s Degree in Art History, Art Education, or
related field.
2. Leadership and managerial skills and the ability to supervise.
3. Excellent written and oral communication skills.
4. A strong marketing orientation and budgeting skills.
5. Strategic thinker and good implementer.
6. Minimum 5-7 years management of an art museum
interpretation/education program.
7. A successful track record securing grants and other funds for
interpretation programs.
8. Conversant with current technologies and how they can be used as
educational devices throughout the Museum.

COMPENSATION: The position will offer a competitive salary and a good
benefit package.

START DATE: Fall/Winter 2011

PROCEDURE FOR APPLICATION:
Send resume and cover letter indicating interest, qualifications, and
list of references to the email listed:

Diane Frankel
Management Consultants for the Arts
Box NOMA
400 Main Street, Suite 400
Stamford, CT 06901
Email to: Mcawall2@aol.com

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