The Frye Art Museum is a living legacy of visionary patronage and civic responsibility, committed to artistic inquiry and a rich visitor experience. A catalyst for engagement with contemporary art and artists is the Founding Collection of Charles and Emma Frye. Located in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood since 1952, the Frye Art Museum (The Frye) is the city’s only free art museum.
The museum's Founding Collection of 232 oil paintings reflects the distinctive vision of museum founders Charles and Emma Frye and celebrates late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century European and American art. In addition, the museum owns an extensive collection of artworks purchased or gifted to the museum since its opening. Today, the Frye reflects Seattle's evolving identity through exhibitions, programs, and community engagement, showcasing local and global artists who are exploring the issues of our time as well as contemporary scholarship on historical subject matter. By taking calculated risks, The Frye uncovers new voices, facilitate conversation, and provide a forum for relevant social dialogues.
The Frye Art Museum continues to build its collection through purchases and gifts, both deepening existing areas of strength and diversifying holdings to reflect the museum’s expansive curatorial program and Seattle’s globalized presence. Acquisitions of the last ten years demonstrate the museum’s commitment to growing and contextualizing its distinctive historical collections of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and American art while broadening its holdings of contemporary works to embrace previously underrepresented identities, perspectives, and forms of expression.
Reporting to The Frye’s Board of Trustees, this Executive Director will serve as the driver of The Frye’s artistic and organizational vision, with support from the Board and input from the staff and community. They will oversee the development of a truly compelling strategy for the museum that deepen and expand The Frye’s connection with the Seattle community and impact as a distinct cultural and community hub. Ultimately, the Board of The Frye is looking for a leader who is captivated by the opportunity to advance an iconic institution successfully, and who embraces a spirit of unity and creativity in all aspects of its programming and operations.
Under this Executive Director’s guidance, The Frye will strengthen its leadership role as an artistic player, refining and cementing the unique space, relationships, and impact the Museum creates in the community. Implicit within this will be the Executive Director’s ability to draw upon their expertise in art, as well as knowledge of and connectivity to local and national communities of artists and other contemporary art institutions.
Critical to the Executive Director’s success will be the ability to build authentic relationships across the diversity of communities in and around Seattle and galvanize community support for the museum. The Executive Director will approach fundraising with significant activity and clarity of purpose. Ensuring a wide range of donors feel included and involved, the new Executive Director will increase and diversify financial support from individual donors, foundations, corporations and, where relevant, government funders, for annual operations and growth of the Museum’s endowment.
The Executive Director will empower and lead a dedicated professional staff. They will ensure that strategic objectives are collectively agreed upon, effectively implemented, and realized in a fiscally responsible manner. The Executive Director will inspire the volunteers and support organizations to work in concert with the strategic goals of the Museum.
The ideal candidate for the next Executive Director will demonstrate a collaborative leadership style, entrepreneurial drive, empathy, and a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. The candidate will bring a track record of senior-level leadership experience and the candidate will have the ability to motivate staff, donors, the community of Seattle—as well as national arts leaders interested in what an arts platform like The Frye can mean to its community—around a shared vision. They will be an excellent communicator and listener, as well as have an eagerness to cultivate relationships both internally and externally. They will have an understanding of the role of museums in the 21st century, including digital strategies for audience engagement.
The next leader of the Museum will have shown a high level of achievement in developing or contributing to a compelling and forward-looking strategy for an organization, building the financial, operational, and ideological support for its implementation, and skillfully balancing and aligning the needs of multiple interests. In particular, they should have experience managing institutions in transition, and will be energized by building the Museum’s strategy for the future, as well as advancing its stature, recognition, and audience engagement locally and more broadly. The ideal candidate will be a natural team builder with the energy, optimism, and drive to lead The Frye into the future.
In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight:
Vision & Strategy
Collaboration & Building Relationships
Inclusive Management and Advocacy for DEI
Fundraising and Donor Engagement
Russell Reynolds Associates has been exclusively retained for this search. Prospective candidates are invited to submit application materials to the following address: TheFrye@russellreynolds.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.