Current Opportunities

Executive Director & CEO

Position Description

The Contemporary Austin seeks to hire an Executive Director and CEO to execute the artistic mission of the museum and advance its institutional goals through donor support. This person will provide the leadership and vision for The Contemporary Austin, an organization committed to commissioning new work and supporting experimentation in contemporary art.  The Executive Director and CEO will be responsible for balancing the programmatic focus and culture of two distinct spaces:  an exhibition gallery space in downtown Austin and a 12-acre outdoor sculpture park on Lake Austin.  Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director and CEO will be an enthusiastic spokesperson who can represent The Contemporary’s interests in the local Austin community, with patrons and foundations, as well as to regional, national, and international arts constituents.  The Executive Director and CEO will be an effective fundraiser who will expand the museum’s base of financial support. 


Immediate Priorities

It is expected that the Executive Director and CEO will be an inspiring yet pragmatic leader who can generate ideas as well as empower and support others to achieve them.  He or she will have the following priorities:


  • Learn The Contemporary Austin’s history, culture, collection, exhibitions, educational and public programs, operations, and constituents; understand the institution’s base of support;
  • Lead ongoing strategic planning, evaluating aspects of future operations and programs at Laguna Gloria and the museum’s downtown location;
  • Forge strong working relationships with the president and other trustees to enhance their support for the institution; likewise, get to know and gain the trust of The Contemporary staff and other stakeholders; collaborate closely with the board and staff to facilitate smooth integration;
  • Thoroughly understand the financial dynamics of the organization and proactively address ongoing fundraising needs; ensure that sound fundraising strategies are in place; steward existing patrons as well as new donors;
  • Evaluate all existing programming with a fresh eye and, working with board and staff, make changes as needed;
  • Find ways to expand and deepen The Contemporary’s connection with a wide range of constituencies local and beyond; be an active participant and leader in Austin’s cultural scene and position the museum as a convener and catalyst; identify opportunities to collaborate across a broad spectrum of the city’s cultural institutions including with local artists



Ongoing Responsibilities

  • Manage, motivate, mentor, and evaluate staff; maintain a collegial staff structure; encourage staff’s professional development and standards;
  • With the support of a Deputy Director and other senior staff, ensure that the day-to-day operations are efficiently administered in a fiscally responsible manner;
  • Develop short and long-range plans and continually ensure that policies are evaluated, implemented, and congruent with institutional goals and industry best practices;
  • Embrace the role of primary spokesperson and chief fundraiser for The Contemporary; nurture and support the board’s role in fundraising;
  • Develop strategies for programs and exhibitions that increase attendance and the engagement of The Contemporary’s constituents; ensure integration of exhibition and education objectives; be actively involved in public programs;
  • Continue to develop plans for sculpture park that provide a rotation of new and fresh works on loan; cultivate relationships with potential lenders for this purpose;
  • Encourage the board’s interest in best practices and recognition for excellence; keep trustees informed on a regular basis; help identify and cultivate the next generation of board leadership.


Ideal Qualifications and Characteristics

The ideal candidate will be optimistic, creative, and enthusiastic about the potential for The Contemporary Austin and will have or be the following:


  • Significant curatorial experience and background in art history; an understanding of and commitment to modern and contemporary art; knowledge of the art world and its key stakeholders; an ability to translate this into meaningful collaborations and exhibitions for the institution;
  • An active and involved leader; strategic, inspiring and collaborative; demonstrated aptitude to mentor, motivate and hold accountable a dedicated staff and board;
  • Senior staff-level administrative experience in an art museum known for quality and excellence; competence and experience handling multiple sites and revenue streams; comfortable in kunsthalle and traditional museum environments;
  • Demonstrated ability in crafting innovative and fiscally sound exhibitions and educational programming that speaks to and reflects the broad range of interests of the institution’s constituencies;
  • Ability to build and sustain relationships with a wide range of individuals from artists to academics to collectors to business and civic leaders;
  • Proven fundraising ability from a variety of sources, including successful experience cultivating and soliciting gifts from individuals;
  • Direct experience with capital fundraising and architectural program planning for new spaces;
  • Financial acumen commensurate with running a museum of the size and stature of The Contemporary Austin; able to interpret and articulate financial statements and financial performance;
  • Demonstrated skill as an effective spokesperson and ambassador for an institution or program, both verbally and in writing;
  • Conversant in the use of technology and digital media in promoting programming and reaching audiences;
  • Ability to negotiate graciously, yet remain clear, decisive, proactive, and fair; someone who possesses an understanding of the subtleties of motivating, directing, and working with a group of committed and sometimes strong personalities, yet who can also hold his or her own;
  • Integrity; an engaging professional who is committed to excellence, practices good judgment, and sets high ethical standards.


Museum Description

Showcasing two renowned and architecturally unique locations, The Contemporary Austin brings multidisciplinary exhibitions, engaging programs, and enticing special events to the city's visual arts landscape. The historic Jones Center in downtown Austin features nearly 8,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space in addition to a 3rd story roof deck ideal for public programs and events. Laguna Gloria is situated on a 12-acre historic property, offering an art-in-nature experience like no other, including the landmark Driscoll Villa, the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, the Moody Welcome Pavilions, the Art School at Laguna Gloria, an artist-designed museum shop, and a café.



Austin is home to a thriving arts and culture scene.  Located in Central Texas, it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the United States with a population of one million. Its mild climate and 300 days of sunshine annually provide year-round opportunities to maintain an active lifestyle. With vibrant entertainment and diverse cultures, inspiring cuisine and stunning outdoor settings, Austin is a hub for creativity and innovation. 

To be considered for this position, send cover letter and resume or CV to with subject line Executive Director and CEO.

Salary Range: 
commensurate with experience

About This Job

  • The Contemporary Austin
  • Austin, TX
  • Category: Professional
  • Salary Range: commensurate with experience
  • Posted: May 9, 2019