A key member of Oklahoma Contemporary’s leadership team, the Director of Curatorial Affairs oversees an exhibition program that appeals to the organization’s varied audiences and stakeholders. The Director of Curatorial Affairs is an adept collaborator and administrator leading a team in realizing an ambitious program — large- and small-scale exhibitions, outdoor commissions, publications, public programs — with contemporary artists of regional, national and international renown. Oklahoma Contemporary is a non-collecting arts center with a mission to encourage artistic expression in all its forms through education, exhibitions, and performance. With a recently inaugurated 4.6-acre campus in downtown Oklahoma City, this fiscal year the organization is staffed by approximately 40 full- and 40 part-time staff and has an overall budget of approximately $6.4 million. Oklahoma Contemporary’s campus includes a 54,000 square foot building with two exhibition galleries, a learning gallery, performance and dance spaces, classrooms, a community lounge, café, outdoor sculpture areas and an adjacent 10,000 square foot Studio School. The Director of Curatorial Affairs, under the Director, develops a program and processes that advance the organization and its vision of instilling in the public a lifetime appreciation of the arts and enthusiasm for creative practice.
The ideal candidate is enthusiastic about shaping and implementing a program centered on living artists that excites the Director, the Exhibitions Committee, the team and the broader community of stakeholders and visitors. A skilled collaborator and administrator, the Director of Curatorial Affairs looks forward to producing exhibitions and related publications and programs with local relevance and broad appeal, through mentoring and leading a team, including junior staff, in a fast-paced, start-up environment.
The Director of Curatorial Affairs is a poised communicator with a wide network in contemporary art, is exceptionally organized, pays tremendous attention to detail, is a strong leader and a skilled writer and editor, and has a track record of working with a team to establish and maintain processes that ensure timely, successful projects on-budget. The Director of Curatorial Affairs reports to the Director; works closely with the Deputy Director and leaders of other departments (Communications, Education, Operations, Finance, Development), and leads a team that currently includes: Associate Curator, Curatorial Assistant, Exhibitions Manager, Registrar and part-time Preparator.
Essential Job Functions
- Ensure the timely delivery of all aspects of exhibitions, from ideation to realization.
- Oversee development and implementation of 18- to 24-month advance exhibition schedule, in collaboration with Director and Exhibitions Committee chaired by the organization’s founder.
- Schedule includes: large and small exhibitions curated by staff, traveling exhibitions, commissioned outdoor projects and associated publications and public programs.
Writing and Editing
- Oversee, contribute to, and edit all exhibition-related texts, including proposals, presentations, labels, didactics and content for website, press releases and grants.
- Oversee all stages of exhibition-related texts and publishing, from writing, proofreading and fact-checking to publication coordination and contracting publishers.
Development and Community Relations
- Demonstrate exceptional diplomacy skills.
- Participate in donor and community relations through cultivation and attendance at events, including receptions, programs and fundraisers.
- Lead contact for Exhibitions Committee.
- Participate in donor-related travel events as needed.
- Lead presentations and tours for constituents.
- Support exhibition-related efforts and needs of Development department, including grants.
- Cultivate relationships local and nationally.
- Manage and mentor team, including hiring and development of inter-departmental processes.
- Manage departmental budgets, timelines and reports.
- Oversee contracts for artists, guest curators and writers, translators and editors.
- Oversee shipping and preparatory work.
- Other duties as assigned.
Education and Experience
- Master’s degree in art history, curatorial/museum studies or a related field.
- At least five years curatorial experience at an art museum or contemporary art institution.
- Knowledge of, and experience in, the field of contemporary art.
- Experience managing exhibitions and related projects.
- Experience mentoring a diverse team.
- Experience establishing processes, ideally in a fast-paced start-up environment.
- Experience working in an environment with an active founder is a plus.
- Meticulous attention to detail and exceptional organizational skills.
- Strong writing, editing and research skills.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Ability to anticipate and meet deadlines and manage shifting priorities.
- Discretion in confidential matters.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite, including Excel and PowerPoint.
- Knowledge of SketchUp a plus.
- Fluency in Spanish and/or Vietnamese a plus.
Oklahoma Contemporary values, respects and encourages applications from candidates who typically do not see themselves represented in the museum field. A successful candidate should have many of the qualities listed in our job postings and the desire and capacity to learn the rest on the job. If much, but not all, of a job posting describes you, then we welcome your application. Oklahoma Contemporary believes that diversity is a strength and strives for our organization to reflect the voices of various communities.
- $90,000–$110,000, commensurate with experience.
- Excellent benefits package includes health care, dental, vision and a 403b matching plan.
- Professional development opportunities, including research travel, are included.
Limitations and Disclaimer
The above job description is meant to describe the general nature and level of work being performed. It is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required for the position.
Other Requirements and Working Conditions
- Use of a computer/monitor, telephone and copier daily
- Willingness to work evenings and weekends
- Team environment with frequent group meeting participation
Submit a cover letter and CV here.
Application review will begin immediately. All applications received by Nov. 28 will be considered. Only those candidates selected for interview will be contacted.
Oklahoma Contemporary strives to demonstrate leadership by modeling excellence and best practices for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. We believe in the power of human creativity and value the opportunities for connection and learning that exist when cultures and communities come together in collaboration and understanding.
We commit to championing policies and practices that value diversity, foster cultural equity and create an accessible and inclusive environment. Oklahoma Contemporary does not discriminate based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status or religion. We recognize our strengths lie in the broad range of people who contribute their time and talents to our mission and are dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive place for them to explore creativity.
About Oklahoma Contemporary
Oklahoma Contemporary is an inclusive center for the arts where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience art, encounter new ideas and ignite their creative potential. Through visual art exhibitions, performances, public programs, community-building initiatives, outdoor installations and special events, Oklahoma Contemporary creates opportunities for everyone to come together in celebration of contemporary culture and artistic expression. With year-round classes and seasonal youth camps across multiple disciplines, the arts center’s education programs encourage youth and adults to express their ideas across a variety of media and learn new skills. Oklahoma Contemporary believes that art is for everyone and places accessibility and education at the center of all programming. Admission to exhibitions is always free. Oklahoma Contemporary is a regional 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by businessman and philanthropist Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers.
About Oklahoma City
In the middle of its fourth decade of an enormously successful urban renewal plan, Oklahoma City is in a period of exciting growth. This growth has spurred developments in the city’s recreation and nightlife, with the construction of new parks, bike trails, restaurants, breweries and bars. In the urban core, commercial centers have been developed, revitalizing residential neighborhoods with charming yet affordable historic homes. The construction of Oklahoma Contemporary’s new campus represents a significant commitment on the part of the city and its inhabitants to a new era in contemporary culture.