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Director/Senior Curator

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Syracuse University seeks a dynamic and experienced art professional for the position of Director and Senior Curator of the Syracuse University Art Galleries. SUArt Galleries is the University’s fine arts museum, offering the university community and the general public a dynamic schedule of engaging and thought-provoking exhibitions, all of them enriched by public programs. With its emphasis on American art and interpretation, and a focus on exploring art in its historical, cultural, and social contexts, the SUArt Galleries serves as a museum-laboratory for our students and university community, with free admission for all.

SUArt is part of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC) that includes several other visual art centers across campus including Light Work, Special Collections Research Center at Bird Library, The Community Folk Art Center, Point of Contact Gallery, the Photography and Literacy Project, and the Urban Video Project. Syracuse University has a long history of support for the visual arts and was the first University in the United States to award a BFA degree in the visual arts. Many important visual artists have graduated from SU including Sol LeWitt, Bill Viola, Marilyn Minter, and LaToya Ruby Frazier, as well as many important museum professionals including Paul Schimmel, Ned Rifkin, Mary Schmidt Campbell, and David Ross among many others.

SUArt Galleries is the steward of the University Art Collection, which is comprised of a diverse and encyclopedic group of over 45,000 fine art and ethnographic objects by international makers. A major strength of the collection is works on paper, specifically prints ranging from the 15th through 20th-century, featuring complete graphic outputs of the printmakers Karl Schrag and Seong Moy.  Additional important collections include 20th-century American paintings and prints, including works by Reginald Marsh, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Amos Paul Kennedy, and Winslow Homer, 20th-century photography, including Berenice Abbott, Gordon Parks, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and 19th-century European painting with works by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, over 400 pieces of tribal and court art from western Africa , Pre-Columbian ceramics and fabrics, and folk art from the subcontinent India.

SUArt Galleries engages the community with the presentation of 15-20 exhibitions per academic year at the main campus galleries.  These exhibitions vary from projects curated from the university’s encyclopedic permanent collection by curatorial staff, faculty, or students, to temporary exhibitions from outside collections examining a broad spectrum of visual arts themes, subjects and time periods.  Recent exhibitions include Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth (2008), William Kentridge: Nose and other Subjects (2014), Margaret Bourke-White: Moments in History (2014), Kiki Smith and Paper: The Body, The Muse, and the Sprit (2018), Rodin: The Human Experience (2018), and Dox Thrash, Black Life, and the Carborundum Mezzotint, as well as the annual spring Master of Fine Arts Thesis exhibition.

In addition to the main campus programs, SUArt Galleries manages the Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at Syracuse University Lubin House in New York City. The Palitz Gallery presents 5-6 exhibitions annually that highlight a wide array of themes and includes exhibitions curated by CMAC venues; work by accomplished and emerging artists, faculty, alumni; and the presentation of the annual Wynn Newhouse Awards exhibition featuring a diverse array of contemporary artists who happen to have disabilities.  SUArt Galleries also manages an active outgoing loan program and a Traveling Exhibition program that allows the collections and scholarship of the department to reach national and international audiences.

The Role

The Director oversees the SUArt Galleries and all of its operations in order to provide strategic and collaborative leadership and vision.  The Director is responsible for developing and maintaining the University Art Collection, producing high-quality exhibitions, publications, scholarship and other programs in the SUArt Galleries and the Palitz Gallery.  This work directly supports the academic mission of the University to increase the awareness and appreciation of the visual arts for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the general public.

The Director serves as the principal ambassador for the Galleries and Art Collection. They serve as an advocate for knowledge that can be gained from the direct study of and engagement with works of art and material culture.  The Director will apply highly developed creative and problem-solving skills and use high-level persuasion and negotiation skills to meet these goals to build on existing relationships with faculty and local/ regional, national, and international communities to advance the aims of the Academic Strategic Plan at Syracuse University.

The Director will provide collaborative leadership and vision for the artistic direction, exhibition strategy, educational approach, and acquisition plans for SUArt.  The director should have a demonstrated knowledge of the printmaking genre and history, as well as be highly capable to organize exhibitions exploring other genres including contemporary art, photojournalism, and others that may have interest to the University community.  The Director also will be engaged in art scholarship to organize, edit and write essays, catalogues and other publications.  In doing so, the Director will ensure that the mission is clearly understood and that its strategic objectives are fully articulated and effectively pursued.
The Director will work with all appropriate departments at the University to maintain the exhibition and collection storage facilities.  Additionally, they will maintain and promote the active Campus Loan Program and the collection of public art on campus.  These programs, which use Syracuse University buildings and grounds as settings for works of art, a ‘museum without walls,’ gives visual and physical form to the University’s belief that creativity and knowledge are best served by celebrating freedom of speech and expression, embracing diversity, and fostering tolerance for opposing points of view.

The Director has primary responsibility for all aspects of the Galleries operation and management, including fiscal and personnel management, as well as raising funds to support the galleries. The Director is responsible for providing leadership, vision, and guidance to six full time staff members, including Associate Director, Curator of Collections, Registrar, Preparator, Designer, and Administrative Specialist, in addition to overseeing several part-time staff, interns, and graduate students. The Director works with staff to implement appropriate policies governing the conservation, documentation, security, and storage of, as well as physical and digital access to the collection.

The Director is responsible for expanding and caring for the University Art Collection through the application of professional practices and by pursuing donations and effectively managing fiscal resources and established endowments. The Director is accountable for budget planning and controlling expenditures for the SUArt Galleries, Palitz Gallery, and the University Art Collection. The Director will also identify, engage, and promote donor activity for the Art Collection and Galleries and prepare annual documentation of the Collections assets for financial, accounting and donor relations departments on campus.
An instrumental leader on campus, the Director reports to the Executive Director of the Coalition of Museum and Art Center, and works closely with the Acquisition and Exhibitions Committee. In collaboration with academic and administrative departments on campus, the Director proactively engages students through teaching and exhibition and related programming.

The successful candidate should have a Master’s degree in art history or related field, Ph.D. or equivalent preferred, with significant (5-10 years) museum experience (or equivalent combination of education and experience), including curatorial practice and exhibition planning, education programming, operations, fundraising, public relations and/or marketing, and budget management. They should possess a record of accomplishment of successful fundraising, as well as demonstrated knowledge of the visual arts, collections care, and professional practice as outline by the American Alliance of Museums. The successful candidate should also have experience in the process and maintenance of accreditation from the American Alliance of Museum.


About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private research university, with over 14,000 full-time undergraduate and over 4,000 full¬time graduate students representing the 50 states and 124 foreign countries. Founded in 1870, it is home to 11 schools and colleges offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Education, Engineering and Computer Science, Human Services and Health Professions, Information Studies, Law, Management, Citizenship and Public Affairs, Public Communications, and Visual and Performing Arts. Syracuse is a medium-sized city situated in the geographic center of New York State approximately 250 miles northwest of New York City. The metro-area population totals approximately 500,000 and offers many social, cultural, and recreational options, including parks, museums, festivals, a symphony orchestra, professional regional theater, and numerous malls and movie theaters. Syracuse and Central New York present a wide range of seasonal recreation and attractions ranging from water skiing and snow skiing, hiking in the Adirondacks, touring the historic sites and wineries along the Finger Lakes to biking trails along the Erie Canal. According to the latest edition of the Places Rated Almanac, Syracuse ranks in the top 10% of Best Places to Live.


Syracuse University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution. The University prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law to the extent prohibited by law. This nondiscrimination policy covers admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in University programs, services, and activities.

Commitment to Supporting and Hiring Veterans

Syracuse University has a long history of veteran support through education, transition, and hiring. Syracuse University was ranked #1 in New York State and 17th in the nation at the end of 1947 in veteran enrollment as a result of participating in the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944 - the original GI Bill. Today, SU is strongly committed to the Yellow Ribbon Program which is a provision of the Post 9/11 GI Bill to assist in tuition educational benefits and other support. In addition, SU provides a career path for veterans to become Syracuse University employees.

Salary Range: 
$90,000- $100,000, plus benefits

About This Job

  • Syracuse University Art Galleries
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Category: Professional
  • Salary Range: $90,000- $100,000, plus benefits
  • Posted: January 2, 2019