The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (Museum) is the first museum in the United States to focus exclusively on quilts and textiles as an art form and stands proudly in the worlds of both art and craft. The Museum’s mission is to share and celebrate the art and culture of textiles, with a vision to become a world-class museum valuing excellence, accessibility, and a welcoming experience. Now at a critical juncture for strategic growth, the Museum’s board of directors has expanded and diversified, guiding a process to explore capital and program expansion, accreditation through the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and an enhanced commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The Museum owns a 13,500-square-foot building in the South First Arts (SoFA) District of San Jose, a sought-after area for new residential, commercial, and cultural development. The Museum is actively exploring partnerships to transform its physical home and expand its role as an anchor institution in the area. The Museum presents original exhibitions to address a wide variety of present-day issues. Recent topics include gun violence, cultural histories, and climate change. Through compelling exhibitions of historical and contemporary textiles, artists talks, and an educational outreach program, the Museum is a vital driver of San Jose’s arts, culture, and entertainment community. The Museum historically draws 12,000 local, national, and international visitors and serves 500 K-12 students and their families annually. On SoFA First Fridays when admission is free to the public, the Museum typically attracts more than 500 visitors in an evening.
The Museum made multiple strategic pivots during the pandemic. Most visibly, it partnered with five other national and international textile arts organizations to present popular weekly Textile Talks, which won new audiences and new sponsors. At the same time, the Museum created local partnerships by providing art kits to 3,500 families receiving food support from community, grassroots, and social service agencies. The Museum’s board and staff leadership teams actively participated in the 2019-2021 AAM Facing Change Initiative to diversify museum boards and leadership, amplifying the Museum’s commitment to building an inclusive culture that more closely reflects the San Jose community.
The Museum’s California-focused permanent collection is comprised of more than 1,400 objects, including historic and contemporary quilts and other fiber art, world textiles, and wearable art. Over its 44-year history, the collection has received significant gifts, including 87 quilts from the Marbaum Collection, 200 molas from the Kuna people of Panama, and more than 40 quilts from the P & B Collection, Jonathan Shannon Collection, and Porcella Collection of World Textiles, exemplifying the influence of international textiles on San Francisco Bay Area fiber artists. Joan Schulze, Flo Oy Wong, Ed Rossbach, Katherine Westphal, Joe Cunningham, Linda Gass, and Michael James are among the contemporary artists represented in the growing collection.
The Museum has been able to retain its full staff throughout the pandemic and is committed to building new resources for program and staff growth. The Museum is governed by a 17-member board of directors. Museum Director Nancy Bavor announced her retirement after eight successful years with the organization, the last four as Museum Director. Her tenure has laid the foundation for the next transformative chapter of growth. The Museum’s operating budget for 2021-22 is approximately $750,000.
With more than one million residents, San Jose is the largest city in Northern California and known as the metropolitan hub of Silicon Valley. It features a Mediterranean climate, innovative technology, sports, culture, and historic neighborhoods. Japantown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, and Little Saigon are among the 18 neighborhoods that celebrate San Jose’s ethnic and cultural diversity. Two-thirds of San Jose’s residents are either foreign-born or have foreign-born parents and represent 176 of the 194 nations of the world. Metropolitan San Jose includes 15,000 acres of parkland and 60 miles of hiking trails.
Major global tech companies with a significant presence in San Jose include Adobe Inc., eBay, Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, PayPal, and Zoom. The city continues to grow and is now welcoming a major expansion by Google, which is developing a new 80-acre campus, 4,000 new homes, 15 acres of parkland and a more than a 30,000-square-foot community center approximately two miles from the Museum.
San José State University, located a few blocks away from the Museum, is part of the California state university system and offers intellectual, artistic, and commercial opportunities to the broader community as well as its 30,000 students. San Jose residents have access to many of Stanford University's academic resources, health system, and the Cantor Arts Center, about 20 minutes from downtown.
The Museum is joined in the SoFA District by the Institute of Contemporary Art San Jose, MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana), City Lights Theater Company, San Jose Stage, and other arts organizations, restaurants, and businesses. Other nearby museums and theaters include the San José Museum of Art, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, The Tech Interactive, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, California Theater, and the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.
Sources: census.gov; sanjose.org; sanjosehistory.org
The new Director will shape the Museum’s vision and strategic direction and lead a significant and historic capital, financial, and programmatic expansion. Embracing and orchestrating opportunities identified by the board and staff and outlined in the strategic plan, the Director will guide and expand the Museum through a robust capital program, expansion of revenues, and ongoing programs designed to serve the San Jose community. This individual will maximize new revenue while stewarding and recognizing existing supporters of the Museum. The Director will oversee the local, national, and international reputation of the Museum and champion its mission, building trust and positive relationships with diverse constituencies. The Director will shape and realize the full potential of the Museum for the next decade, building a culture of teamwork, innovation, and collaboration with the board, staff, community, and other museum stakeholders.
Roles and Responsibilities
Visionary Leadership and Strategic Direction
Shape a compelling vision and strategy to guide the Museum in its mission to share and celebrate the art and culture of textiles, including plans for AAM accreditation, capital expansion, and an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Lead the facilities master plan and fundraising strategy to support the expansion of the Museum’s physical home, leveraging its current property ownership and location.
Continue to expand and develop the board, engaging new civic voices in leadership and supporting active opportunities for directors to bring their professional and community resources to the Museum.
Guide the Museum’s exhibitions, programs, collecting, and educational activities with a commitment to both excellence and service to the artists, audiences, students, and the organization’s other stakeholders.
Build and maintain a high-performing staff team, set clear direction, and mentor, evaluate, and support a culture of ongoing learning and belonging.
Actively engage with a comprehensive network of local arts professionals, artists, collectors, and grassroots/civic organizations and participate in relevant activities to support the Museum’s mission and strategic goals.
Strengthen the Museum’s brand through a clear and responsive communications strategy.
Develop a multi-year vision and strategy to increase fundraising and earned revenue, including restricted and unrestricted support from individual, government, foundation, and corporate donors for capital projects, exhibitions, collections, endowment, and annual operating support.
Forge, steward, and sustain institutional partnerships at the regional, national, and international levels to maximize financial support for operations and special initiatives.
Guide, cultivate, and increase membership and sources of revenue aligned with the mission of the Museum.
Cultivate and inspire legacy gifts to the Museum through the June Hamilton Legacy Circle, in concert with a plan for an endowment.
Represent the Museum in person and through public talks and communication, actively seeking opportunities to engage with the broader community and participating in events that inspire donors and cultivate increased support.
Initiate a new program for corporate sponsorship and membership.
Cultivate a welcoming space for all visitors across race, age, ethnicity, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, religion, geography, and culture.
Develop an active community presence, building positive connections and authentic relationships, and understand opportunities for new initiatives and partnerships that support museum attendance and participation.
Recognize and rectify ways in which fundraising upholds systems of power.
Engage board members, donors, and members as allies to support programs that focus on diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, partnering with funders who prioritize and uphold these values.
Planning, Organization, and Operations
Ensure the development of an engaging exhibition program that is consistent with the organization’s mission and a collection management program that supports the preservation and growth of the permanent collection.
Lead the Museum through an inclusive strategic and facilities planning process, updating the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan to address the current opportunities, ambitions, and values of the Museum.
Prepare and manage an annual operating budget and provide ongoing updates on financial operations to ensure the most effective use of resources, aligned with standard accounting practices.
Interview, hire, and mentor staff, assign work, and provide performance appraisals on a regular basis in compliance with federal and state employment laws and AAM best practices.
Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so that it can fulfill its policy- and decision-making responsibilities.
Ensure that the necessary organizational and operational structure, policies, systems controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
Develop and foster an internal culture that maintains the highest standards for customer service, excellence of visitor experience, and fiscal, operational, and organizational integrity.
Traits and Characteristics
The Director will be a dynamic and assertive leader who values collaboration. This individual will be people-oriented with a commitment to building and expanding the organization. A versatile leader, the Director will balance tasks and projects with a sense of urgency. This individual will be a passionate influencer and negotiator, demonstrating resilience and flexibility. The Director will bring energy and an appreciation for the Museum’s core textile medium, as well as art and arts education in general. As a savvy financial leader, the ideal candidate will be an ambitious and energetic fundraiser.
Other key competencies include:
Leadership – The ability to organize and motivate others to accomplish goals while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders. The imagination to address opportunities and evaluate risks.
Planning and Organizing – The capacity to set and prioritize relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives. An ability to anticipate effects, outcomes, and risks and then manage resources with wisdom and flexibility.
Diplomacy and Influencing Others – The dexterity to effectively and tactfully handle difficult situations and treat everyone with respect and equity. The capacity to maintain positive relationships with genuine concern and appreciation for others. The ability to motivate and engage others to support the work of the Museum.
Professional and Personal Accountability – The flexibility to prioritize, delegate, and ensure completion of the tasks necessary to meet or exceed the agreed upon expectations of the role and to assume accountability for decisions and actions.
A bachelor’s degree is required with a minimum of five years of senior management experience. Qualified candidates must have demonstrated success in a leadership position, ideally in a cultural organization, and a proven track record as an effective fundraiser. The selected individual will also have a track record of building new programs with limited resources and be comfortable with ‘start-up’ thinking as the Museum emerges from the pandemic. Capital expansion and museum leadership experience is a plus.
Compensation and Benefits
The Museum provides a competitive and equitable compensation package, with a salary range between $110,000 and $125,000, commensurate with experience. A comprehensive range of benefits includes paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, health insurance, and the quality of life that the San Jose Area has to offer.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Nan Keeton, Senior Vice President
Arts Consulting Group
268 Bush Street, Suite 4100
San Francisco, CA 94104
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 203
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles is a progressive, equal opportunity employer.
All candidates are encouraged to apply.