University of California, Irvine Institute and Museum for California Art

Museum Director, Irvine, CA


The Institute and Museum for California Art (IMCA)

Already one of the most accomplished and successful public research universities in the country, the University of California, Irvine, is establishing the Institute and Museum for California Art (IMCA), a global center for the exhibition and study of California art. The UCI IMCA includes both the Museum and Institute, each with its own director. The two entities are linked in their mission to engage California art and culture with the campus, surrounding community, and beyond.

The UCI IMCA will be housed in a new facility of approximately 100,000 square feet, to be constructed on one of the most prominent sites of the campus. This location is an indication of the importance of the IMCA to the University as the keystone for a planned Arts and Cultural District that will also include two performing arts theaters, a sculpture garden, and a conservation lab. The project will be funded at a level comparable to such facilities at other major research universities and commensurate with the quality of the collection and aspirations of the campus to leadership in this field. Early planning of the facility and site has already begun; completion of the IMCA building is anticipated within five years. Until then, the IMCA will be housed in an interim facility located near campus.


The Museum will be dedicated to the curation, conservation, and exhibition of the UCI Collection which, already consisting of nearly 5,000 original artworks, is one of the most comprehensive collections of California art. Having been established by the gift of the Irvine Museum Collection of California Impressionism and plein air art and the Buck Collection of California art, the IMCA Collection ranges from the 19th century to the present day and includes works by several artists who taught at UCI. Together the collections include definitive art objects by many major California artists including Carlos Almaraz, Vija Celmins, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Ed and Kathy Kienholz, Joseph Kleitsch, Edgar Payne, Granville Redmond, Guy Rose and William Wendt. The vision is to build on these two collections in breadth and depth, across all genres of art produced in California.

Southern California's increasingly dynamic arts scene, focused on Orange County's diversity, love of independent thinking, and entrepreneurial innovation, is grounded in this influential creative legacy and a generous, can-do community; Orange County patrons consistently support highly ambitious goals grounded in excellence, which are embodied by UCI and the IMCA. For more information, please see IMCA's website: https://imca.uci.edu/


ity of California, Irvine (UCI) was founded in 1965 with a mission to catalyze the community and enhance lives through rigorous academics, cutting-edge research, and dedicated public service. UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and #7-ranked public university by the latest U.S. News & World Report. Today, it offers 192 degree programs, with 29 graduate programs ranked among the nation's top 50, has produced three Nobel laureates, and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot.

UCI has more than 30,000 students; it is among the most diverse major research universities in the United States, including designation as a Hispanic-serving university. It is committed to an economically diverse student body as well, with the highest-percentage of Pell-grant recipients of any AAU university and a student body composed of over 50 percent first-generation students. UCI's commitment to ethnic and economic diversity has resulted in its being ranked as the country's #1 university for realizing the American Dream by The New York Times and the #3 university in the United States by Money Magazine. UCI was among the top five of all American universities for the number of undergraduate applications received for 2018-19. It is located in one of the world's most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.


The IMCA Museum Director ( Director') will be instrumental in forming and articulating the Museum's vision and mission as IMCA comes into existence. Working with the IMCA Institute Director, the Museum Director will provide an informed and inspired creative vision and an artistic direction commensurate with UCI's current accomplishments as one of the best public research universities in the world and its aspirations into the 21st century. The Director will take the curatorial and administrative lead in shaping the Museum's role as a superlative arts institution, define the scope and direction of the institution's exhibitions and public programming, and engage with important and diverse constituencies. The Director will work closely with the Institute Director to establish the IMCA as the preeminent site for the public exhibition, professional conservation, educational outreach, academic research, and aesthetic study of California art's role in California culture in the region, state, nation, and beyond.

The Director will maintain the highest professional standards set by the field. She or he will seek opportunities for research and learning experiences for the University community and for the Orange County region, including elementary and secondary students and lifelong learners. At the same time, the Director will manage and prioritize the sometimes-competing interests of donors, administrators, faculty, collectors, and community leaders. In collaboration with the Institute Director, the Museum Director will coordinate the resources of the Collection with the research agenda of scholars on campus and from around the world pursuing the study of California art.

The Museum Director and Institute Director will report to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. The Museum Director will ultimately be responsible for daily operations and management of 30 to 35 staff positions. He or She will be a compelling ambassador who will galvanize excitement and build active participation and support from community members interested in innovative and independent thinking, networking with all areas of research and teaching at UCI, devising the marketing and audience development plan to introduce the IMCA to regional and international audiences, and create a financial and fundraising plan that provides for financial stability, supported by the UCI Office of Advancement.


The UCI IMCA Museum Director must be an inspiring yet pragmatic leader, fundraiser, and manager who can generate ideas as well as empower and support others to implement them. The Director will have the following priorities:

  • Develop, along with IMCA and campus leadership, key museum staff, and volunteers, a programmatic vision for the IMCA that reflects a commitment to excellence, accessibility to a wide range of audiences, and dedication to programming that will foster an appetite for art;
  • Participate in the design and construction of the IMCA building. The provisional plan calls for a 100,000-square-foot structure, with a minimum of 45,000 square feet dedicated to exhibition space;
  • Work with IMCA and UCI administration to establish and work with a Fundraising Committee charged with supporting the IMCA project;
  • Oversee an Acquisitions Committee which will be tasked with building on the excellent founding IMCA collection;
  • Embrace new technology and digital media in order to meet audiences when and where they want to learn;
  • Work with campus and IMCA leaders to plan for and execute the opening of the IMCA with the broadest possible audience participation and coverage;
  • Develop and formalize appropriate roles for support organizations including the Advisory Board and the IMCA Campaign Committee, among others, to allow active collaboration; encourage the various committees' interest in advances in best practices and a recognition for excellence; provide information on a regular basis; help identify and cultivate the next generation of leaders;
  • Forge strong and sustainable working relationships with UCI's Chancellor, Provost, and Deans; get to know and gain the trust of department heads, faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders to insure broad support for the IMCA; position the IMCA to be an integral participant in campus and community life;
  • Embrace the role of primary spokesperson and chief fundraiser for the Museum, proactively addressing development needs including the building of a substantial endowment fund and cultivating existing as well as new patrons while ensuring that sound fundraising strategies are in place; garner media attention in national markets for institutional accomplishments;
  • Understand and shape the financial dynamics of the IMCA; ensure, by effective leadership and management, that the day-to-day operations are efficiently administered in a fiscally responsible manner;
  • Identify avenues for introducing the Museum collections to the broadest audience possible; be an active participant and leader in the cultural arena, and position the Museum as a convener and catalyst; identify opportunities to collaborate across a wide spectrum of regional, national, and international cultural institutions;
  • Hire, manage, motivate, and evaluate staff and maintain a collegial and supportive staff structure; encourage staff's desire for professional development and rigorous standards; take a leadership role in diversification of the professional pipeline and audience in alignment with UCI's notably diverse student population and regional community;
  • Develop short- and long-range plans for the Museum, and continually ensure that policies are congruent with the highest institutional goals and industry best practices and are regularly evaluated.


The ideal candidate will be optimistic, creative, and enthusiastic about the potential for the IMCA and will have or be the following:

  • Demonstrated commitment to fostering a welcoming and productive environment for professionals from a wide audience diverse in age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, political affiliation, and disability; demonstrated effectiveness as a spokesperson and ambassador for an institution and its programs; excellent verbal and writing skills;
  • Senior staff-level administrative experience in an art museum known for high quality and excellence; experience working with and devising research around significant collections;
  • A deep knowledge of and commitment to California art; knowledge of the art world and its key players; an ability to translate this into meaningful collaborations and exhibitions for the institution that speak to the internal campus, external audiences, and the national stage;
  • Active, energetic, visible, strategic, inspiring, and collaborative leadership; ability to negotiate graciously yet remain clear, decisive, proactive, and fair; an understanding of the subtleties of motivating, directing, and working with others;
  • Financial acumen commensurate with running a facility the size and stature of the IMCA; able to interpret and articulate financial statements and financial performance;
  • Ability to build and nurture relationships with a wide range of individuals from artists to academics to collectors to business and civic leaders; proven fundraising ability from a variety of sources, including successful experience cultivating and soliciting gifts from individuals; capital and endowment campaign experience;
  • Experience in the demanding social schedule of a cultural leader; capacity to become a visible presence on campus and beyond;
  • A master's or doctoral degree in an appropriate discipline; professional experience in an academic environment is a decided plus; knowledge of American Alliance of Museums (AAM) standards required; participation in national professional organizations as conference presenter, convener, etc.;
  • Conversant in the use of technology and digital media in promoting an institution, reaching the broadest possible audiences, and creating innovative and engaging exhibitions and programs;
  • Direct experience planning and implementing programming, participation in, or familiarity and comfort around a major construction or capital project.

The University of California, Irvine is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

Applications and nominations are requested to be submitted to the attention of Sarah James and Becky Klein at UCIIMCA@PhillipsOppenheim.com.