Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (NAMA) Director of Education and Interpretive Programs

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1 February 2011 Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (NAMA) Director of Education and Interpretive Programs The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art seeks an experienced arts educator to lead the museum s Education department, shape innovative experiences for students and patrons of all ages, and to engage cross-departmental teams that together design exciting interpretive experiences and public programs for NAMA visitors. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is recognized as one of the world s finest encyclopedic art museums. Located in Kansas City, Missouri and founded in 1933, the museum serves the community by providing access and insight into its renowned art collections, special exhibitions and through various education programs and events. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is: dedicated to the enjoyment and understanding of the visual arts and the varied cultures they present. It is committed through its collections and programs to being a vital partner in the educational and cultural life of Kansas City and a preeminent institution both nationally and internationally. The museum s world-renowned collections encompass more than 33,500 art objects, including masterpieces from diverse world cultures spanning 5,000 years of history. Among the museum s better-known holdings is its magnificent collection of Asian art, especially the arts of China and also significant holdings from Japan, South and Southeast Asia; European art; American art; American Indian art; African art; an extraordinary photography collection; and strong modern and contemporary collections with a major emphasis on sculpture that supports the Kansas City Sculpture Park, home to more than thirty monumental works. The Nelson- Atkins attracts some 350,000 visitors annually, and is recognized as an important economic engine in the region. The Education department is essential in accomplishing the mission of the Nelson-Atkins. The museum favors collaborative partnerships with its various leaders, other institutions, collectors and the Kansas City community as a whole. While NAMA curators shape exhibitions with reference to the art and cultural heritage of our world, NAMA educators consider both the varied interests of visitors and how different types of audiences acquire knowledge. Together with the media and communication specialists of the Nelson-Atkins, educators and curators shape unique and enriching experiences through gallery and classroom-based programming, digital media, large-scale community festivals and lifelong learning opportunities. In this work, the museum s Spencer Art Reference Library and the Ford Learning Center function as invaluable resources that are also accessible to the public in various ways. The Director of Education and Interpretive Programs will play a critical role in advancing the museum s strategy of engaging new audiences, continually improving and refreshing the experience of current visitors and patrons, and in developing approaches that serve as a model for other museums nationally and internationally. This department also leads the museum s effort to transform each cadre of visitors into engaged partners that regularly enjoy the museum s collections and programs. By integrating tools that evaluate audience experiences and interests into the work of the Education department, the Director of Education and Interpretive Programs will deliver invaluable intelligence to curatorial and other departments, and so position the Nelson-Atkins to better serve the community. Continued growth and vitality of the Education department depends on quality programming that is embraced by the Kansas City community, the creativity of proposed new initiatives, and

2 success in generating additional financial support. The entire Nelson-Atkins team is committed to forging ongoing and lively relationship between the museum, visitors and the community. BACKGROUND The recent completion of the 165,000 square foot Bloch Building by Steven Holl Architects marked a major milestone in the ongoing institution-wide transformation of the Nelson-Atkins. The building was ranked No.1 by Time Magazine on the 10 Best (New and Upcoming) Architectural Marvels list. The project also encompassed the renovation of the existing neoclassical building and the expansion of the museum s renowned Kansas City Sculpture Park, and increased museum space by 71% by providing new galleries, educational facilities and support spaces. In the process, over $370 million was raised for the renovation, expansion and the endowment, ensuring that the institution continues to attract and engage the next generation of audiences, and is equipped to present and interpret art of the past, present and future. In September of 2010, the museum named Julián Zugazagoitia as its fifth Director and CEO in its 78 year history. A native of Mexico City, Zugazagoitia received his PhD from the Sorbonne and speaks six languages. He served with New York s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and was most recently the Director and Chief Executive Officer of El Museo del Barrio in New York, a leading institution in the field of Latin American and Latino Art. Zugazagoitia is a dynamic leader who enjoys working with curators and children, connoisseurs and students, patrons and donors. Building upon the foundation established by the Board of Directors and previous NAMA Directors, Julián Zugazagoitia s vision is to deliver an exciting array of exhibition and education programming through strong collaborations internally and externally. The Kansas City metropolitan area places great emphasis on both contemporary and classic arts and culture. Renowned classic arts organizations in the city include the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Symphony, Lyric Opera, and Ballet. Opening in 2011, the new Kaufmann Center for Performing Arts (designed by lead architect Moshe Safdie and acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota) will bring to Kansas City a world class performance venue worthy of these great companies. Kansas City is the home of live music ranging from jazz and blues to rock and country, while the Crossroads Art District is a historic downtown neighborhood that has been shaped into a showplace for art galleries, public arts and architecture that also integrates a restaurant and small business district. The Kansas City Art Institute, an accredited four year college of fine arts and design founded in 1885, plays a prominent role in advancing the study of studio arts; while the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art highlights the collection of Bebe and R. Crosby Kemper Jr. and installations of cutting edge contemporary artists from around the world. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art stands out among these institutions and museums across the world for its outstanding collections, exhibitions and programming. The museum employs 287 professionals, including 33 full-time staff in the Education department. There are presently over 100 highly trained and committed docents. The current annual operating budget is approximately $22 million, of which about $2.3 million is allocated to activities related to education and interpretation. NAMA devotes considerable resources to the team s efforts to create experiences, ideas and information that NAMA visitors enjoy and that enriches their lives. BASIC FUNCTION Reporting to the Director and CEO of the Museum, the Director of Education and Interpretive Programs (DEIP) leads the museum-wide effort and vision to develop educational and 2

3 interpretative programs that create transformative experiences of art and culture for museum visitors. The Education department is organized to address the needs visitors through Youth and Family Programs; School and Youth-Serving Organizations; Studio Programs; Adult Programs; and Interpretive Media. The Library and Research Services area of the Education department includes The Spencer Art Reference Library, dedicated to the history of art and open to the public; the Archives, also open to the public, but serving a more specialized community of scholars, and the Visual Resources Library providing an encyclopedia image collection used by the staff for lectures, presentations and research. This position requires a hands-on professional who will personally grapple with and resolve issues, acts as an evangelist for arts education, and who encourages others in the department to be equally engaged and supportive. The DEIP will develop an extensive partnership with the curators, collaborating efforts in all educational program development. The DEIP will partner extensively with other senior leaders who manage the organization s marketing and communications, advancement, and finance functions; with board members, docents and other volunteers; and with groups external to NAMA, but which serve the educational needs of children, youth and adults with different backgrounds. The DEIP and the Education department work in particularly close collaboration with the Trustee Education Committee and with the organization s docents, who are at the forefront of providing in-gallery experiences. The docents have gone through a highly competitive selection process and completed a rigorous two-year training to fulfill their duties as docents, all in support of NAMA s educational mission. The Education department will be responsible for developing tools to evaluate and analyze current and potential NAMA audiences, with particular reference to how differences in the personal experiences of visitors affect their perception of exhibitions, and how people of different age groups, learning styles and educational backgrounds absorb information. This knowledge will inform the efforts of the NAMA team to create and deliver experiences, ideas and information that engage and enrich NAMA visitors. Fundraising, along with strong financial management of education and interpretation programming, is integrated into this position. The DEIP is expected to form a strong and productive relationship with the Development department and collaborate on fundraising initiatives related to education and exhibitions. This includes participation in funding discussions in the course of routinely interacting with private, foundation, school and government funders. The DEIP will be responsible for ensuring that all department projects and spending remains within budgetary constraints, and will proactively collaborate with the COO to ensure that education and interpretation spending remains aligned with the organization s overall financial strategy. The relationship between the museum s marketing and communication group and education/interpretation group is particularly close, with each developing and disseminating information related to exhibitions, collections and membership. While the marketing group ensures that NAMA s constituents remain aware of the museum, they also help to shape content that is deployed through printed materials, the internet and through electronic devices 3

4 located in the museum. Strong cooperation between these departments is important to the overall visitor experience. The Director of Education and Interpretive Programs is a member of the Executive Leadership Team which develops the overarching strategy of the institution in collaboration with the Board of Trustees. It is critically important that the DEIP gain the trust and confidence of the Director and CEO, the Chair of the Board and the Chair of the Trustee Education Committee. PRIORITIES Understand the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art as a whole its history, culture, structure, collections, exhibitions, programs, projects, visitors, volunteers, docents, and the surrounding communities, including individuals and organizations served through education programming and the partners of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Review the current state of play of the museum s education programming and library services, and take charge of in-process department work related to the permanent collection, current and planned special exhibitions, events, performances and demonstrations, educational publications, docent tours, and school programming; develop an in-depth understanding of NAMA s interpretive philosophy; actively collaborate with curators and conservators in developing exhibition and education projects; Establish productive and collaborative working relationships with colleagues, board members, patrons and volunteers; sustain and strengthen a culture of trust, communication, entrepreneurship, teamwork and integrity; serve as an internal advocate for the organization s education programs; Appropriately manage various relationships with school, university, and other community groups, and with other museums; serve as a visible proponent for NAMA s education programs locally, nationally and internationally assuring that the interests of the Nelson- Atkins Museum are advanced and fully understood, and are at the forefront of educational excellence and innovation; enthusiastically assume an active role in the Kansas City community to put a recognizable, branded face to Education at the Nelson- Atkins ; Work closely with the Director and CEO, Development department and the COO on fundraising initiatives and to implement responsible program plans and cost controls; identify current and potential sources of program funding and pursue them in close coordination with the appropriate leaders within the Development group; Attend internal and external meetings; prepare regular status reports on education programming, with particular emphasis on metrics of impact and visitor satisfaction; participate in discussions related to NAMA s overall operating strategy. IDEAL EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS The ideal candidate should have the following experience and qualifications: Proven managerial, problem-solving and planning capabilities, along with at least five years of significant leadership experience in education/interpretation within an art museum, or in a relevant field that exposes art to diverse audiences; experience as a 4

5 curator or in a visual arts setting will be a distinct advantage for this role, as will a passion for conveying the history and world of visual arts and artists to Kansas City s diverse audiences; Knowledge of education best-practices from across various disciplines (not just for the visual arts); understanding of diverse pedagogical approaches to education and art education; familiarity with learning styles and developmental stages; an ability to bring to bear a broad range of educational tools and methods; facility and comfort with both innovative, personal, and high-touch educational experiences that drives new and refreshed experiences; A mature level of judgment and decision-making in a changing, forward-thinking operating and visitor-focused environment; the ability to explain education and interpretation concepts and approaches to people who are not specialists and to engage their support; ability to think critically, work independently and resolve complex problems; a high energy level; ability to manage multiple activities and responsibilities; A record of success in attracting and retaining talented educators; a high degree of patience, attention to detail, good humor and fortitude in managing relationships; demonstrated ability to forge mutually-respectful and effective relationships with a diverse group of personalities; Outstanding oral and written communication skills, including the means to address issues in non-confrontational and non-polarizing ways, but nevertheless with determination; a track record as an effective communicator; the presence and credibility to serve as an effective spokesperson for the Nelson-Atkins in matters relating to education and interpretation; A track record of participating in professional activities and leadership in the field; Experience working with and developing programs for urban youth; An advanced degree is preferred. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS The successful candidate should be: A mission-driven individual with a passion for education and art; analytical and strategic, yet tactically skilled in translating ideas and principals into practical programming; A team builder confident and competent, with strong skills in management and leadership; one who understands the subtleties of motivating and directing a diverse group of personalities with different work styles; A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to analyze and formulate disparate information into sound, well-organized plans; An individual with outstanding human qualities; one who is straightforward, shares information easily, listens as well as gives advice, and respects the abilities of others; someone who imparts trust, integrity and solidity and guides others in a similar vein; 5

6 A graceful communicator and tactful diplomat that cultivates trust and engages the active support of constituents; someone that is able to represent and advance the Nelson-Atkins interests with determination; Results-oriented, adept at seeing the big-picture, planning, prioritizing, organizing and following through; a hard worker with a high energy level; emotionally mature with a sense of humor and an ability to maintain balance and perspective. For more information please contact Lisa Grossman (650) or Mark Oppenheim (415) or m/oppenheim Associates 221 Main Street, Suite 540 San Francisco, CA

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