Society of Illustrators

Executive Director, New York, NY


The Society of Illustrators' mission is to promote the art of illustration, to appreciate its history and evolving nature through exhibitions, lectures, and education, and to contribute the service of its members to the welfare of the community at large.

Founded in 1901, the Society of Illustrators is a nonprofit membership organization established to promote the art and appreciation of illustrationpast, present, and future. The Society, in its current New York Citylocation since 1939, houses the Museum of Illustration,which features three open-to-the-public galleries, a library, and a dining room.

With about 800 active members, illustrator members, and other membership categories, the Society maintains a permanent collection of 2,500 works cataloged for scholarly use and displayed periodically.While most of the exhibitions represent the best of current illustration, the Society has positioned itself asa center for learning and professional development, and the repository for the history of American illustration. The Society's Hall of Fame recognizes artists for their distinguished achievementand is a virtual"Who's Who" including Norman Rockwell, Rube Goldberg, Thomas Blackshear, Roz Chast, Charles Dana Gibson, N.C. Wyeth,Maxfield Parrish, Mary Petty, Howard Pyle, George Herriman, Winslow Homer, Barbara Nessim, Frederic Remington, James Montgomery Flagg, Al Hirschfield, Maurice Sendak, and Thomas Nast.

Through its exhibitions, lecture series, special events and workshops, K-12 and other educational and online programs, and outreach to its members and the general public, the Society fosters a sense of community and open discussion and demonstrates its ongoing commitment to supporting the art of illustration. The Society recognizes the industry's top achievements through its juried competitions and annual exhibitions,which encompass all genres and every medium and range of practitioners, from students to legendary illustrators.

Annual events featured in the Museum of American Illustration's galleriesincludethe Annual Exhibition (best illustrations of the year), Student Scholarship Competition, Zankel Scholar and Eisner Scholar which feature art by college-level students nationwide, Members Open Exhibition, and Original Art Exhibition which celebrates the fine art of children's book illustration.Finally, the Society of Illustrators hosts an annual weekend event, MoCCAArts Fest, which is a two-day multimedia event and Manhattan's largest independent comics and cartoon festival.

For more information, visit www.societyillustrators.org.


The Executive Directorof the Society of Illustrators will provide the leadership, vision, strategy, and management necessary to ensure the effective delivery of the organization's exhibitions,programs,and operations. While managing the day-to-day internal operating responsibilities, the Executive Director will also create and implement plans to expand the Society's funding base, generating financial support from individuals, foundations, and corporate sponsors. The individual will work to build the membership base, broadly reaching out to professionalillustrators and others in the field, articulating the value and benefits of Society membership, and engaging them to participate in the organization's activities.

The Executive Director will manage internal operations and financial reporting, strengthen communications, and align program, exhibition, and operational objectives with budgetary and financial realities.

Reporting to and working with the Presidentand the Board, the Director will guide and motivate an energetic and dedicated staff and manage a $2 million budget. It is expected that the Executive Director will be a leader/manager who will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for the Society and the Museum andpromote and focus on illustration as an art form that has and continues to contribute to the rich cultural fabric of the country.


The Executive Director will be expected topreserve and further the Society of Illustrators'rich history and purpose. In doing so,the Executive Director will:

  • Pursue a deep understanding of the organization – its mission, membership base, collection, exhibitions, history, culture, and programs;'¯understand the organization's underlying revenue base and potential.

  • Establish a strong working partnership with the President and the Board; gain their trust and confidence and forge relationships that will bring forth their best ideas and efforts to support and enhance the Society's programs, exhibitions, and fundraising activities; set the agenda and facilitate Board meetings.

  • Work with the Board and the Membership Chair to create strategies that increase membership and focus on a demographically balanced outreach; ensure that the Society's programs and services address the needs and interests of illustrators and complement the organization's mission and purpose.

  • Create and sustain a well-organized infrastructure; delegate authority, set priorities, and ensure, by effective leadership, that the day-to-day operations, member services, exhibitions, facilities, and programs are professional and efficiently administered.

  • Establish a sound funding base for the Society, generating new donors and other sources of revenue; ensure that systems are in place to support all fundraising efforts.

  • Manage the Society and the Museum in a fiscally responsible manner; improve cash management while strengthening financial oversight and reporting; create short-term and long-range business plans that capitalize on the organization's untapped potential.

  • Participate in and attend Authors Coalition of America (ACA) meetings on behalf of the Society (the Society is a member of the organization and receives funds regularly from foreign reprographics).

  • Manage, motivate, nurture, and evaluate staff; build and maintain a collegial environment and delegate appropriate responsibility; holding staff accountable, work to create an environment of collaboration and positive energy.

  • Oversee the preservation and maintenance of the Society's physical plant; prioritize expenditures for the upkeep of the building and the collection; determine the best use of available space for exhibitions; set priorities/strategies to enhance revenue without overtaxing the building and its resources.

  • Work closely with the Board and staff to design and promote exhibitions that will appeal to the general public, increase revenue, and strengthen marketing and communications efforts; develop new ways for the Society's programs and exhibitions to reach the broadest possible audience through increased advertising, maintain a vibrant online presence,and ensure the integration of the Society's exhibition and educational objectives.The Executive Director will provide oversight for the development of a long-range exhibition schedule.


The Executive Director should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Proven leadership, problem-solving, planning, and fiscal capability as a manager within a museum, membership organization, nonprofit cultural, educational,or academic institution or the like, with demonstrated interest in or connection to illustration and the visual arts.

  • Knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to arts education, educational outreach, networking, and thought-provoking programming that attracts and engages students and developing artists of all ages.

  • A solid track record in creating and implementing a strategy for fundraising,marketing, and generating support from individual donors, corporations, and foundations.

  • Demonstrable success as a steward of responsible growth with a record of achievement in building institutions and bringing about change in exciting and creative ways.

  • The skill,confidence, and diplomacy to work effectively with an engaged and passionate board and dedicated members, coupled with the experience to create and maintain constructive partnerships with a variety of constituents.

  • Knowledge of digital and web-based technology and how it is used to achieve greater outreach and a higher level of communication.

  • Experience working hands-on and collaboratively in an organization with limited resources.


The ideal candidate will also be:

  • A creative and collaborative leader who canarticulate and implement vision and policy; a team buildercommitted to the mission of the Society and its role in connecting with, educating, and serving a diverse and evolving audience and membership base.

  • Persuasive and resourceful, with the instincts to anticipate and act on events that may create opportunities for raising funds, expanding visibility, and promoting the Society.

  • A diplomat who can negotiate and navigate change graciously while remaining clear, decisive, pro-active, and fair; someone who possesses an understanding of the subtleties of motivating, directing, and working within a membership organization.

  • A skilled manager of people who can delegate, as well ashandleand prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities with clarity and confidence.

  • An individual with a high energy level; willing to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of activities ranging from day to day to the highly creative.

  • Mature, with good judgment and a sense of humor to maintain perspective and balance.

The Society of Illustrators is an equal opportunity employer and is strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in every sense of the word – from background and birthplace to experience and ideas. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, veteran, or disability status.

Compensation range: $150,000 to $180,000

Please send nominations or applications including cover letters and CVs to Mark Tarnacki at Society@PhillipsOppenheim.com.