The Frick Pittsburgh

Executive Director, Pittsburgh, PA


Continuing the legacy of Helen Clay Frick, we will offer one of the best experiences of art, history, and nature in a welcoming environment that inspires and delights.


The Frick Pittsburgh is a unique institution. Established over a number of years with both the direct and indirect influence of its founder, Helen Clay Frick, it currently comprises a five-and-a-half acre garden estate in the East End of Pittsburgh that includes the historic Frick family home Clayton (1892), the Frick Art Museum (1970), and a Car and Carriage Museum (1997, expanded 2015). Additional public facilities include the LEED' certified Grable Visitor Center (2014), Education and Community Centers (2015), and the Frick Caf (1994). Other historic buildings on the site with varying uses include the Greenhouse and Playhouse (both ca. 1900) and two early' 20th-century domestic houses used for administration: Haller House and Lexington House.

The Frick offers free admission to its grounds, buildings, and permanent collections, but charges admission for docent' led tours of Clayton and, since 2016, certain special exhibitions. Overall, the Frick welcomes more than 125,000 visitors annually. The permanent collections numbering several thousand pieces include the historic contents of Clayton, the car and carriage collection, and a substantial collection of paintings, works on paper, furniture, and decorative arts acquired by both Henry Clay Frick and his daughter Helen Clay Frick. Strengths of this collection include outstanding 18th' century French furniture and paintings, early Italian Renaissance panel paintings, important bronzes and sculptures, and a significant group of Chinese ceramics.

The majority of the Frick's educational and public programs occur onsite, but there is also a well' developed outreach program to schools, communities, and organizations in the region. These programs serve approximately 16,000 annually. Broad oversight of the museum is provided by the Frick Board, comprised of 24 Term Trustees (appointed by the Board) and six Family Trustees (direct descendants of Henry Clay Frick, appointed by the board of the Helen Clay Frick Foundation). Key to any understanding of the strategic needs and goals of the Frick is a recognition that it is (and, to many, surprisingly) a young institution. Although the Frick Art Museum was opened to the public in 1970, the entire entity was only established in 1993 after the death of Helen Clay Frick and subsequent restoration and opening of Clayton to the public.

The Frick's current strategic plan (2017-2022 and Beyond) is succinct, yet comprehensive: www.thefrickpittsburgh.org/strategicplan. The plan and the two-year planning process attempted to observe the wishes and legacy of Helen Clay Frick, while also offering a progressive vision for a 21st' century museum with new and diverse audiences in a city that is itself undergoing a remarkable transformation. From the outset, it was universally agreed amongst all involved in the planning process that the purpose of the Frick was not just to preserve the legacy of Helen Clay Frick, but rather to use this legacy as the means to achieve great and good things.

There is also an awareness that, despite its history and storied past, the Frick has the potential to be a nimble institution, with lively and changing programs and to serve as a home for innovative ideas. Indeed, the opportunities for the Frick to excel and become a leader in the field informed much of the discussion around the planning process.

The Frick greatly expanded its visibility and audiences over the past few years, in part through the presentation of engaging touring exhibitions. The combination of the relative youth of the institution, variety of different offerings, collections, and buildings, and evolving perceptions at the Board, Frick family, and staff levels, brings us today to an organization that is still developing its identity and remains full of potential.

The Frick Pittsburgh (www.thefrickpittsburgh.org) has an annual operating budget of approximately $7 million and is managed by 30 full' time and 100 part' time staff.


The Executive Director will provide the strategic leadership, creativity, management, and direction necessary to advance the mission of the Frick Pittsburgh, and pursue a clear and impactful vision for the organization going forward. The Executive Director will embrace the Frick's sense of place, particularly Henry Clay Frick and his family's role in the emergence of Pittsburgh as an industrial center and the history of Clayton itself as an iconic example of Gilded Age living.

Overseeing a complex, multisite venue, the Executive Director will serve as a visible ambassador for the Frick and have a strong desire to engage with the greater Pittsburgh community on multiple levels. The Executive Director will ensure excellence in the Frick's curatorial, educational, marketing, and operational endeavors, finding creative ways to deliver outstanding programming and engage the community in order to tell the Frick story, while nurturing and balancing the institution's rich history, diverse collections and beautiful grounds.

The Executive Director will be responsible for the overall financial condition of the institution, including annual and long-term plans and budgets, securing philanthropic support and maximizing sources of earned income. They will engage Trustees and staff in a focused assessment of the current and future infrastructure and operating requirements of the campus and collection and respond accordingly.

To achieve these goals, the Executive Director must demonstrate a strong commitment to the Frick's continued emergence as an outstanding presenter of art exhibitions and public programming, while ensuring a sustainable base of financial support and a vision for amplifying the appeal of all components of the Frick Pittsburgh to the broadest possible audience.


The Executive Director will capitalize on the Frick's legacy and potential and have the following priorities and responsibilities:

  • Take ownership of the Frick's strategic plan; review and evaluate the current plan, and working with Board and staff, refine and adapt it as necessary; understand that it is not set in stone and the next Executive Director will make it theirs and run with it;

  • Define the vision for the museum's curatorial program; oversee the development of an ambitious and exciting exhibition and program schedule; identify and secure exhibitions that will continue to raise the profile of the Frick, attract new and more diverse audiences and donors, and reflect the institution's commitment to education and community engagement;

  • Capitalizing on the renaissance of the city, establish connections and relationships in civic, philanthropic, cultural, historic preservation, and educational communities that will better position the Frick within Pittsburgh's cultural landscape and provide potential opportunities for partnerships and collaborations;

  • Enthusiastically assume a highly visible role in fundraising, including developing and implementing cultivation strategies that increase the Frick's base of support from individual, foundation, government and corporate sources; tap into donors with specific interests, e.g. fine and decorative arts, Gilded Age history, carriage and auto collecting etc.;

  • Understand the business of the Frick: its budget, resources, investments, partnerships, and other sources of support; lead planning efforts which bring clarity to short- and long-term goals and objectives; establish a baseline for success across all programs, resources, and other activities to measure progress;

  • Foster a strong working relationship with the Board and its leadership; understand their strengths and capabilities and bring forth their best ideas, efforts, resources, and contacts;

  • Take a lead in planning, marketing, and promoting special events and exhibitions; develop compelling ways to market and promote the Frick's activities to its member base and increase the appeal of the institution to new members;

  • Motivate, inspire, and communicate effectively and frequently with the staff; understand their strengths and concerns, and encourage each member's professional growth and contributions; hold them accountable and responsible for their actions and their positions; listen to staff and harness their energy and ideas; foster a culture of creativity, collaboration, strategic thinking, transparency, and accountability;

  • Ensure administrative and human resource policies and procedures are timely, up to date,and in line with standards of best practice; provide dashboard metrics for success; encourage and facilitate cross-departmental programming;

  • Take in hand the approach and oversight for the campus buildings' care and maintenance and find the money to do those projects; continue to assess the capital needs around deferred maintenance and create a plan and secure the funding to address those needs.


The ideal candidate will have a deep interest in and a passion for the current and future role of the Frick Pittsburgh, and should have or be the following:

  • An inspirational leader with vision and well-honed management skills, along with a demonstrated ability to see the big picture, manage multiple priorities and engagement strategies, and translate ideas into workable actions and priorities; the confidence to engage, inspire, and unite others; able to break down silos and manage effectively in all directions;

  • A team builder with a record of achievement in bringing about change in exciting and creative ways; someone who will motivate staff to be creative with the goal of making the Frick more relevant, accessible, and meaningful; able to grow an organization in size, impact, and visibility, while aligning ambitions with organizational capacity and fiscal resources;

  • Senior-level experience in a museum or associated institution that is known for its quality and excellence; while experience with a historic house is not required, it is expected that the Executive Director will be an enthusiastic advocate for Clayton;

  • Working relationships with the national and international arts community, including knowledge of museum trends; able to leverage professional connections in the museum world to attract interesting partnerships and collaborations; experience in attracting, organizing and/or presenting major exhibitions with the ability to build on the Frick's emerging reputation for offering innovative and refreshing exhibitions and programming;

  • A persuasive and accomplished fundraiser, with strong external relations skills and the ability to identify potential partnerships and other revenue-generating opportunities; previous experience conducting a capital/endowment campaign is a plus;

  • Financial acumen commensurate with running a multi-site cultural institution the size and stature of the Frick; competency in budgeting and other financial matters is essential; able to interpret and articulate financial statements and financial performance; proven project-management skills that transfer to capital and infrastructure improvement efforts;

  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills, including the ability to address issues in non-confrontational and non-polarizing ways; superior presentation skills that are effective with a range of audiences, including staff, business, cultural, and community leaders, the media, and the general public;

  • A master's degree in art history or a related discipline, coupled with a passion for and broad knowledge of visual art; experience dealing with historic buildings is a plus, along with some background in capital projects and renovation of historic properties;

  • Someone who inspires others; who is firm but fair with strong interpersonal skills; a good listener who is approachable and ready to listen to all sides and then make a decision based on all information; concise, clear, and direct in their communication; able to say no.

  • A hands-on leader and consensus builder with a collaborative working style; a person who will quickly gain the respect and credibility of all key constituencies; an outgoing people person who will warmly embrace the staff and the community;

  • Persuasive, resourceful, charismatic, and energetic; able to delegate and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities with clarity and confidence.

Please send applications or nominations to Mark Tarnacki and Becky Klein at TheFrickPittsburgh@PhillipsOppenheim.com.