Posted on 11/6/23
Reporting To: Board of Directors
Direct Reports: Senior Operations Officer; Chief Curator; Director, Kirk Newman Art School; Director of Advancement; Director of Museum Education & Community Engagement; Director of Finance & Personnel; Director of Facilities
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Estimated Salary Range: $200,000-250,000
Founded in 1924, with a vision “that the visual arts are for everyone,” the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (“KIA”) continues to serve its community as a valued cultural resource and has earned international praise for the quality of its collection and presentation of diverse and important artworks. Occupying 72,000 square feet within its Mies van der Rohe-inspired building, the KIA encompasses a two-story lobby gallery, auditorium, classrooms and galleries, a gallery shop featuring artwork by area artists and international artisans, library, offices, and an interactive gallery for children. The KIA holds nearly 5,000 fine artworks in its permanent collection, with an emphasis on 20th-century American art and a significant number of 18th- and 19th-century American works, European works on paper, as well as African, Chinese, Japanese, pre-Columbian, and Oceanic works. Through its 10 galleries, the KIA presents a robust schedule of exhibitions organized by partner institutions from across the nation, original exhibitions exploring the depths of its permanent collection and the diversity of cultures represented in the U.S., as well as juried exhibitions of regional artists of all ages.
Since 1931, the KIA has also been home to the Kirk Newman Art School, a beloved community-based, non-degree center of visual arts instruction. The Art School reaches 3,000 students of all ages and backgrounds annually through a wide-range of classes and camps, including photography, digital media, design, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, painting and drawing, printmaking, fiber, glass fusing, foreign language, creative writing, and wellness. Since 2015, the Art School has offered a nine-month post-baccalaureate residency for aspiring artists who want to grow and strengthen their art practice in a supportive community with access to professional studio facilities and guidance. In 2022, the Art School began offering a “gap year” for recent high school graduates. Qualified students can earn a certificate in Global Creative Studies and earn credits toward a degree at Kalamazoo Valley Community College through this unique nine-month curriculum.
Today, the KIA has grown to a $4.2 million operating budget with a strong endowment. Highly regarded in the region for its exceptional collection, the KIA reinstalled its American art galleries in 2020, presenting 50% women artists and 40% artists of color in the installation entitled Unveiling American Genius. The KIA’s Joy Light East Asian gallery is the only exhibition space in Southwest Michigan committed to the ongoing presentation of traditional and contemporary arts of China, Japan, and Korea. The KIA’s 10,000-volume art library is also an integral part of the Institute’s programs because it is a lending library for students and the community and hosts a series of book discussions annually. Sightlines, the official art magazine of the art museum at KIA is produced quarterly and available online.
The KIA will celebrate its centennial in 2024 with a series of events throughout the year. The KIA is also preparing to embark on a consecutive pair of capital development projects that will transform the institution, creating new opportunities for mission fulfillment and improving the overall experience of guests, staff, and students. The first, an approximately $5 million project to be completed by July 2024, will expand and repurpose a section of the ground floor of the current building and add tasteful landscape architecture to the outside. The second, likely a $40-60 million project, will acquire property adjacent to the current building, construct a brand-new building, and add to the KIA endowment.
About the City
Kalamazoo is conveniently located in West Michigan, approximately a two-hour drive to Detroit or Chicago either direction. The community boasts three colleges and universities – Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College – and a prodigious healthcare sector. The low cost of living attracts people from around the country, and residents can enjoy all four seasons of the year. The Kalamazoo Promise offers graduates from the Kalamazoo Public Schools who meet the basic requirements up to 100% of tuition and mandatory fees for any in-state public community college or university. For the second consecutive year in 2023, SMU DataArts ranked Kalamazoo as a Top 40 Arts-Vibrant Community.
Scope and Responsibilities
The incoming Executive Director will have the extraordinary opportunity to lead the KIA into a new phase of its history, partnering with the board and senior leaders in envisioning and achieving new and increased levels of impact and relevance. The new Executive Director will inherit an organization beloved by its community, with an international profile, a dedicated team of talented staff, and substantial assets, at a time of strong finances and mass expansion. As the KIA approaches its centennial celebration in 2024, the Executive Director will have the unique privilege of leveraging the year-long festivities into sustained support for the next hundred years of mission fulfillment.
The Executive Director will provide the vision, leadership, and direction for all operations at KIA. Among the many exciting opportunities and responsibilities for the Executive Director are:
Other specific responsibilities include:
Key Selection Criteria
Potential candidates should have at least ten years of demonstrated successful leadership experience with art museums or visual art centers.
Specifically, the ideal candidate will possess:
Personal / Professional Attributes
New York, NY