Carolyn Muzzy Director, Colby College Museum of Art
ABOUT THE COLBY COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART
Colby College Museum of Art (website)
Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art (a.k.a. Colby Museum of Art and Colby Museum) has undergone a period of momentous growth over the past decade that has led to its renown as one of the leading institutions of American art in the world and arguably the finest college art museum in the country. While it leads in the areas expected of preeminent college art museums—depth and breadth of collection, integration into the curriculum, and strength of public programs—the Colby Museum has distinguished itself through several recent developments and initiatives that make the position of Director a remarkable opportunity for an innovative, ambitious museum professional.
In close alignment with the College’s 2016 plan Eminent Colby, which aimed to strengthen Colby’s position as one of the highly recognized leaders among American colleges, the Colby College Museum of Art launched a five-year strategic plan in 2018. Under the leadership of Director Sharon Corwin, the Museum has achieved significant successes in accomplishing these priorities, including attracting and supporting a diverse and inclusive community; enhancing universal and global student experiences; strengthening a commitment to the arts, creativity, and innovation; and contributing to the revitalization of Waterville. The Colby Museum plays a central role in realizing and enhancing this strategic vision through the Museum’s outstanding collections and exhibitions, connections to local and global audiences, and scholarly and creative opportunities afforded by the Lunder Institute for American Art.
The Colby Museum’s mission is deeply tied to the mission of the College through partnerships with the faculty and Colby’s academic centers and institutes, broad student engagement, a leading program that integrates the collection into coursework across the disciplines, and its structure and institutional positioning.
In 2016, in conjunction with the work of Colby College’s presidential task force on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Colby College Museum of Art integrated its commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in all strategic and programmatic areas of the Museum by ensuring a multiplicity of perspectives and backgrounds are represented on the staff and board; increasing outreach to diverse audiences and developing inclusive and diverse programs; and building a broad-based, expansive collection.
The Museum’s 2018–2022 Strategic Plan set forth strategic priorities reflective of the group’s recommendations. It outlines the Museum’s dedication to building a singular collection of American art, expanding its diversity, bolstering access, and increasing capacity while practicing the highest standards of maintenance and care. In alignment with the College’s liberal arts curriculum, the Museum organizes internationally recognized and locally relevant exhibitions that introduce new, more expansive narratives, reinforce its educational mission, and raise the profile of Colby through global partnerships.
Since 2018, the Museum has realized many objectives set forth in the document, striking a deft balance among mounting high-profile exhibitions, supporting curricular goals, reinterpreting the collection, and fostering scholarship in the field of American art. Expanding the narratives told in the galleries and centering marginalized perspectives are at the core of the Colby Museum of Art’s intertwined exhibition and collection strategies.
Given the recent expansion of programs and reach—and upcoming opportunities to build on this work—the Colby College Museum of Art directorship offers a level of complexity rarely available in art museum leadership positions. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to manage the intricacies of the role, to capitalize on existing, and build new, momentum, and to bridge mutually reinforcing projects.
About Colby College
Founded in 1813, Colby is one of America's most selective colleges. Serving only undergraduates, Colby’s liberal arts program offers the innovation and reach of a great research university with an integrated, opportunity-rich student experience guided by close interaction with world-class faculty scholars. Students pursue intellectual passions, choosing among 58 majors or developing their own.
Colby’s innovative and ambitious campaign, Dare Northward, is supporting deeper connections between the College and the world as well as a fully inclusive experience for all Colby students. To date, the College has raised $543M toward its $750M campaign goal. The campaign has allowed Colby to invest significantly in student programs, including the creation of DavisConnects, which facilitates global, internship, and research opportunities for all students; and in financial aid, to ensure that deserving students from all backgrounds are able to afford a Colby education. Through Colby Commitment, the contribution for parents/guardians from families with less than $65,000 annual household income have an expected contribution of $0; and through the Fair Shot Fund parents/guardians with up to $150,000 annual household income can expect an annual contribution of no more than $15,000. Colby’s financial aid packages meet 100% of demonstrated need and include grants instead of loans.
Colby is a global college rooted in its home of Waterville, Maine. The College welcomes a community of 2,000 dedicated and diverse students from more than 80 countries and makes international study and opportunities a universal element of the education. Colby’s location provides unique access to world-class research institutions and civic engagement experiences.
Recent investments include a downtown residential complex where residents participate in an enhanced civic engagement program and a 350,000 square foot, state of the art athletics and recreation center, opening this year, supporting efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles across the community. Colby is in the design phase of the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts, described above, in addition to the downtown arts projects which are at various stages of development.
MAIN FOCUS, PRIORITIES, AND KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
Reporting directly to the Colby College President David Greene, the next Carolyn Muzzy Director of Colby College Museum of Art will be an engaging, dynamic, and collaborative leader adept at building relationships with a wide range of constituents including students, faculty, administration, community members, members of the Colby College Board of Trustees and Museum Board of Governors, and donors. The Muzzy Director will continue to build a distinctive national profile for the Museum and create connections with major art museums around the US and globally, as well as other academic and regional museums.
Specifically, the next Director will have the following overall responsibilities:
• Leadership, governance, strategy—Collaborate with Museum Board of Governors leadership on vision; develop strategies for the Museum’s continued excellence, growth, and reach
• Exhibitions and collections—Define the vision for the exhibition program and guide execution; oversee publications and publicity; steward the care of the collections including conservation, preservation, and storage needs
• Partnerships and shared exhibitions—Develop new and build upon existing partnerships within and across the campus community, with arts organizations, artists, leaders, and volunteers in the broader community; collaborate with museums and arts/cultural organizations on shared and traveling exhibitions
• Lunder Institute—Oversee the continued development of programs for artists and scholars and build the national and international profile of the Lunder Institute; expand opportunities and reach through the downtown arts collaborative
• Team leadership—Attract, mentor, retain, motivate, and manage exceptional staff members, while continuing to foster an open, collaborative, and collegial organizational culture
• Education, outreach, engagement—Define vision for continued excellence in academic engagement across the disciplines. Continue growth of outreach programs, including through forthcoming arts collaborative and the Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville. Collaborate with community partners on new programming
• External relations—Serve as primary spokesperson for the Museum related to acquisitions, philanthropic announcements, capital projects, exhibitions and programs; build on strength of Museum’s media profile
• Fundraising and stewardship—Build and grow relationships with supporters and donors; oversee Friends of Art and associated fundraisers and events, including the Summer Luncheon; continue growth of fundraising programs and participation; sustain strong partnership with central advancement in support of the Museum and fundraising efforts
• Budget and management—Manage $4.2M annual budget
• Facilities—In partnership with campus and community leaders, connect programmatic concepts with facilities planning and use; identify and strategize around opportunities for future expansion and growth of the Museum
The next Muzzy Director of the Colby Museum will be an ambitious, inventive, and collaborative leader who is inspired by the mission of the Colby College Museum of Art and can inspire others as well. Top candidates will demonstrate at least ten years of progressively increasing organizational leadership within environments where relationship building and influencing skills are critical to success. Our client seeks candidates with leadership experience in an art museum setting, within arts institutions, or similar organizations. Other must-have qualities include a talent and enthusiasm for outreach and partnership, and a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in their approach to exhibitions, collections, audience engagement, and mentorship.
An advanced degree in art or art history, museum education, arts management, or other relevant field or research area is preferred; deep professional and leadership experience in a comparable setting will also be seriously considered.
The ideal candidate should possess the following professional expertise, leadership competencies, and personal qualities:
Strategic and Visionary: The Director will be a dynamic and charismatic leader with an entrepreneurial and enthusiastic spirit, ability to partner with colleagues at the College, in the local community, and with members of the broader art and museum world. This individual will serve as a visible and effective advocate for the critical role that the arts play in the overall educational and public mission of Colby College. This individual will be a proven strategic thinker with the foresight and capacity to understand and balance complex and discrete priorities and needs. This leader should be comfortable operating within and energized by an environment that values academic engagement and intellectual vitality. Capable of providing stability and exuding confidence when faced with important and quickly changing circumstances, the Director will be a consultative thought leader.
Mission Fit and Expertise: The Director will demonstrate a passion for art, an appreciation for the creative process, and dedication and enthusiasm for serving students and lifelong learners at all levels. This individual must be someone who values the Colby Museum’s educational mission and the integration of the museum into the Colby College curriculum. The Director must also be deeply committed to research and scholarship. Simultaneously, they should cultivate collaborative opportunities within the broader art and art museum world.
The Director will help set the vision for rigorous, compelling exhibitions, programs, and publications that expand scholarly inquiry and audience engagement. They will have a solid grasp and keen awareness of national and international trends and best practices in art museums and within the broader art world.
Skilled and Inspirational Manager: The Director will be a decisive, results-driven leader with a collegial, team-oriented working style, open and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities. This individual will have a proven record of visible, effective leadership and management and the demonstrated ability to professionally develop, mentor, and retain a strong team that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability, and efficiency. They will be a motivator, able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance, and strong morale, empowering and cultivating staff through active and effective communication, feedback, and delegation, while actively promoting teamwork and collaboration.
External Relations and Relationship Building: The Director will have a compelling public presence and be skilled at developing, building, and sustaining relationships. They will have a demonstrated ability to connect with and build bridges among the various stakeholders within and across a range of contexts, including students, faculty, administrators, the Board of Governors, leaders of arts and cultural organizations, major donors, and members of the Waterville community. The Director will have excellent written and verbal communication skills and the facility to connect genuinely with audiences of varying levels of expertise. They will have the capacity to serve as an active and sensitive listener, and to thrive as the Colby Museum’s foremost champion and advocate, persuading stakeholders to support and advance the Museum’s mission.
With personal and professional integrity of the highest degree and holding public interest and public trust in the highest regard, the Director will possess a high comfort level operating in the public arena which includes valuing outward engagement, being at ease with people, and accepting the public demands made upon a leader with visibility in the community.
Credibility and Recognition: The successful candidate will have recognized distinction in the field, significant standing with peer institutions, and the stature to represent the Colby to all stakeholders. Preference will be given to candidates with significant professional, academic, and/or scholarly achievements, including accomplishments in the field of art history, museum education, arts leadership, or a related field.
Development and Fundraising: The Director will be an engaging fundraiser with demonstrated success in cultivation and stewardship. This individual will possess the capacity and mindset to build strong relationships within the community and to deepen collaborations with central advancement, current and potential donors, and the Museum’s Board of Governors. Ideally this leader will have prior experience with various fundraising and communications channels, including major gifts and capital campaigns, foundations, and corporations, and the ability to provide high-touch engagement with all of Colby’s constituents.
Operational Abilities: The Director will have a record of successful oversight and management of budgets and understanding of museum functions and operations. They will promote a culture of excellence and high-quality execution at all levels within the institution, providing outstanding stewardship for the advancement of the Colby College Museum of Art. Experienced with budget, financial, and personnel management, this individual will have the perspective to consider the impact of decisions, strategic plans or initiatives, and programs on the organization, and to make sound recommendations accordingly.
Naree Viner and Stephen Milbauer of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Stephen directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
At Koya, we don’t just accept difference – we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve. Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences.
ABOUT KOYA LEADERSHIP PARTNERS
Koya Leadership Partners is a retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that partners exclusively with mission-driven clients, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our clients and ensuring they have the strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.