The Currier Museum of Art, the most prominent cultural institution and largest art museum in the State of New Hampshire, is seeking a new Director/CEO. This visionary leader will serve as the strategic and operational head of the Museum and as an advocate and spokesperson. She/he will bring a love of the visual arts, a discerning eye for acquisitions and well-defined skills in art museum administration, programming and fundraising.
First known as the Currier Gallery of Art, the Museum opened to the public in 1929. It was founded through the bequests of a former New Hampshire Governor, Moody Currier, and his third wife, Hannah. Governor Currier was not an art collector, but he believed that Manchester, his home and the largest city in New Hampshire, should have an art museum. His bequest provided the funds to construct a building and establish an operating endowment. Farsighted trustees and knowledgeable directors were committed to acquiring works of the highest caliber to fill the Museum’s galleries. These early acquisitions formed the core of the Currier collection, which now contains 13,000 works of art. The permanent collection focuses on European and American painting, a strong collection of historical and contemporary regional fine and decorative arts and sculpture from late Gothic to the present. Highlights include important works by European masters Tiepolo, Constable, Monet, Picasso and Matisse and American artists Bierstadt, Heade, Sheeler, Hopper, O’Keeffe, di Suvero and LeWitt. The Currier regularly lends its collections nationally and internationally. The Museum is AAM accredited and an AAMD member.
Since 1929, the Currier Museum has expanded twice and grown to 75,000 square feet. In 1982, two pavilions designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer were built to house the growing collections. A 33,000 square foot addition by Ann Beha Architects opened in March 2008. This expansion provided additional space for special exhibitions, added two classrooms for educational programming, a 180-seat auditorium, and the new glass?enclosed Charlotte and Ruth Anderson Lobby. The expansion also added the 3,700 square foot Henry Melville Fuller Winter Garden Café, a unique venue for events accommodating up to 200 people. On one side of the room, the beautiful mosaics surrounding the former entrance are now completely visible from within, and on the other side of the room, the commission of a wall painting by Sol Lewitt creates a dialogue between early 20th century and late 20th century American art, two important areas of the permanent collection.
The Currier has a lively and wide-ranging exhibition program accompanied by in?depth education and public programs. Past exhibitions have included Andy Warhol: Pop Politics (2008), From Homer to Hopper (2010) and Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey (2014). In 2014, the Currier mounted the exhibition: M.C. Escher: Reality & Illusion, a retrospective for which the Currier was the exclusive New England venue. The show broke attendance records. Maxfield Parrish: The Power of the Print now on view will be followed in spring 2016 by Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, organized by the Brooklyn Museum.
Over the years, the Currier has received a number of generous bequests from devoted supporters. In 2001, longtime trustee Henry Melville Fuller bequeathed $43 million, with half establishing the first acquisition endowment and the balance added to the operating endowment. Gifts by Ed and Mary Scheier and others added substantial funds to the acquisition endowments. The total Museum endowment is $80 million, of which $40.2 million is restricted for acquisitions. The annual draw-down creates a substantial allowance for purchases.
The Currier was the beneficiary of an extraordinary gift in 1988. Isadore J. and Lucille Zimmerman bequeathed a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Usonian house they commissioned in 1949. Wright designed the house, interiors, furnishings and gardens. The Zimmermans’ gift also included their personal collection of modern art, pottery and sculpture, and a fund to support the preservation of the house. The Zimmerman House is the only Wright house in New England open to the public and draws international visitors.
Since the Museum’s beginnings in 1929, education for school-aged children has been a hallmark of the Currier’s mission. Today, the Currier serves over 7,000 students in educator-led tours and studio activities in the galleries and museum classrooms. In 1939, the Museum established the Currier Art Center to bring a wide range of studio?based art education programs to Manchester and environs for students of all ages. In 1998, the Art Center moved to a building across the street from the main Museum building. Each year, between 1,300 and 1,800 students take studio courses and workshops in sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics and a variety of other media taught by a professional staff of 20 to 25. The students served in an outreach capacity represent 20-30% of the total student body of the Currier Art Center.
The Museum’s FY16 operating budget is $4,597,000. The Currier has a 33-person full?time staff. There are three full-time curators. The Currier has an active and supportive 18?person Board of Trustees and six Trustees Emeriti. The Advisory Council has 35 members and the Guild of Volunteers 102.
The Director/CEO will report to the Board of Trustees through the President of the Board. The Director/CEO will have full responsibility, authority and accountability for implementing a clear vision for the future of the Museum, building on its strengths and capitalizing on new opportunities. She/he will serve on ad hoc and permanent committees of the Board and will work collaboratively with the Board to achieve the Museum’s mission and goals.
The Director/CEO will ensure the Museum’s continued excellence through the application of the highest standards to the exhibition, research, interpretation and enhancement of its internationally renowned collection. She/he will enhance the development of innovative audience learning experiences. The Director/CEO will ensure continued fiscal soundness through astute strategic planning, fundraising and business management.
Reporting to the Director/CEO are the Director of Development; Director of Public Relations & Marketing; Director of Art Education; Director of Operations & Human Resources; Chief Financial Officer and Director of Collections and Exhibitions.
The Director/CEO will serve as the leading advocate and spokesperson for the Museum, promoting its policies, values and programs; and will engage with community, arts and other organizations, establishing connections in the four key regions within the state.
The Director/CEO is responsible for providing the Currier with strategic, collaborative leadership, vision and effective management and programmatic inspiration guided by its mission and values; for implementing Museum policies; for overseeing daily functions of the Museum and promoting practices that encourage and facilitate open communication, cooperation, satisfaction and teamwork; and for implementing fundraising plans to support its operations, programs and to increase endowment. She/he will:
- Assess the current operating structure including program implementation and staffing requirements; ensure an infrastructure that will assist in achieving the Museum’s stated goals and objectives.
- Work with the Board and the Director of Development to raise funds from individuals, foundations, corporations and government sources in support of the Museum’s operations and programs and to grow the endowment; establish positive relationships with existing donors and identify and cultivate new donors.
- Cultivate relationships and sustain collaborative partnerships within the immediate community, regionally, nationally and internationally to grow a diverse audience base and increase awareness of the Museum’s excellent collections and reputation for outstanding exhibitions and education programs.
- Ensure that comprehensive marketing efforts are well-funded and successful in promoting exhibitions and education programs, and in increasing visitation and Museum memberships.
- Maintain a financially stable organization through solid business practices and fundraising.
- Work collaboratively with the Director of Collections and Exhibitions and the curatorial staff to provide strategic oversight for the development of the collections, planning of exhibitions, and to cultivate professional and private contacts for gifts and loans of art.
- Work closely and collaboratively with the Director of Art Education on all matters relating to Museum and Art Center education programs, including the prioritization of establishing and maintaining effective educational programs that reach a wide audience and student base.
- Maintain frequent communication with the Board and staff; ensure a positive and successful organizational structure.
- Work with the Governance Committee to identify, cultivate and recruit new Board members.
- Assess the effectiveness of existing technologies and embrace new ones as needed.
Just fifty miles north of Boston, Manchester offers a rich combination of history, industry and culture. Its current population is estimated at 110,400. The metropolitan area of Manchester?Nashua-Concord has 405,000 residents, or one-third of the population of the State of New Hampshire. Manchester is near the beautiful White Mountains, with its abundant rivers and lakes, and only an hour from Portsmouth and the Seacoast. Manchester’s climate and surroundings make it a popular skiing and hiking hub.
Manchester is an important legal and banking center in New England. The city also has a vibrant and growing high tech sector. Developed in the last 10-15 years, it includes companies like Dyn, Autodesk and SilverTech, which are attracting a younger demographic to the workforce and the area. With this influx of tech entrepreneurs, the Manchester school system has pioneered a “STEAM Ahead NH” initiative that is modernizing public education in the state. NH is home to 29 schools ranked as some of the best by US News, including Hopkinton, Hollis?Brookline, Bow, Exeter and Bedford, all within commuting distance to Manchester.
Manchester is the center of a growing health-care industry. It includes Dartmouth?Hitchcock, a non-profit academic health system that serves a patient population of 1.9 million in New England; Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers; and the nationally recognized New England Heart Institute (NEHI).
Manchester’s public and private schools collaborate with several area universities to enhance preparation for college acceptance and early university credits. Among the universities in Manchester are Southern New Hampshire University with almost 10,000 students; a branch of the University of New Hampshire with 1,000 students (part of the New Hampshire State University system); New Hampshire Institute of Art; Saint Anselm College; the Hellenic American University and Springfield College.
Manchester’s downtown has become a desirable commercial and residential center, with historic homes and mills repurposed for startups, galleries, restaurants, shopping, condominium living and higher education. The 12,000-seat Verizon Wireless Arena, opened in 2001, is the area’s premiere entertainment venue and the centerpiece of the downtown district. In addition to concerts and other sporting events, the Verizon hosts an Eastern Conference Hockey team, the Manchester Monarchs. Across town along the river is the 6,500 seat Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, home to New Hampshire’s minor league baseball team, the NH Fisher Cats.
In addition to the Currier Museum of Art, the New Hampshire Institute of Art, the Millyard Museum and the historic Palace Theatre are among Manchester’s cultural and historical institutions. Manchester also has a growing community of young artists.
The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is served by most major carriers, with direct flights to Baltimore, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, New York City, Newark, Denver, Chicago and many other cities. Bus service is available to Boston and Amtrak service is accessible in Boston.
Qualifications and Personal Characteristics
The Director/CEO must be a socially adept and confident leader who enjoys interacting with a wide range of people. She/he will have at least 10 years of senior level experience in an art museum that includes curatorial, staff management, financial administration and fundraising. A Master’s degree in Art History is required.
In addition, the following qualifications and characteristics are highly desired:
- Outstanding people management skills and the ability to develop a cohesive team
- Connections to the art field including museum leaders, scholars and relevant professional associations
- Knowledge of collections management, conservation and accession policies; a discerning and trained eye for acquisitions and collection development
- Dedication, discipline and ambition to turn vision into achievement
- Ability to inspire and build confidence inside and outside the Museum among a broad range of constituencies
- Demonstrated experience raising money from individuals, foundations, corporations and government
- A personality that enjoys social interaction
- Energy, motivation, hands-on-work and a good sense of humor
Address all inquiries and recommendations in confidence
to the retained search consultants (emails are preferred):
Freda Mindlin or Nancy Kaufman
Opportunity Resources Inc.
New York, NY
- Manchester, New Hampshire, 03104, United States
- January 6, 2016
- Currier Museum of Art Director/CEO
- Currier Museum of Art
- Master’s Degree
- Over 10 Years