Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, Minneapolis, MN



The Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs plays a central role in overseeing the Walker's artistic and educational programming to position the Walker Art Center as a vital, catalytic voice in contemporary culture. Collaborating closely with the Executive Director and curatorial teams, this individual works to conceive, plan, and present the institution's distinctive, internationally-recognized programs, providing artistic/curatorial direction and organizational leadership to the Visual Arts; Performing Arts; Moving Image; and Education and Public Programs departments. This individual oversees the artistic and programming goals of each department, encouraging interdepartmental planning to meet the mission of the Walker and advance an interdisciplinary vision established in the Walker's long-range plan. The role requires a leader with a multi-year approach to program planning, an eye toward fostering programmatic experimentation, research, scholarship, collaboration across program areas, and inventive approaches to audience engagement. This individual provides leadership to departments mentioned above to champion artists and promote innovative and timely programming presented on a variety of onsite platforms (stage, gallery, cinema, and outdoor), as well as in print and online. This individual serves as an active and engaged partner with the Walker's digital and communications teams developing strategy and focusing on content management and dissemination to bring wider recognition, currency, and access to the Walker's rich program offerings across the disciplines. This position requires one to champion broad institutional initiatives, take an editorial approach to the arc of Walker scholarship and programs, and to serve as a vocal spokesperson and advocate for the Walker's overall artistic program.

As part of the Executive Director's executive team, the individual in this role builds teams that promote new artistic programs, acquisitions, publications, interpretation initiatives, artist-based residencies, and commissions. Among other responsibilities, this individual : works strategically with staff across the institution to promote visibility and circulation of Walker programs and research globally; maintains independent contributions to and visibility within the field with participation in professional conferences, symposia, juries, and national/international events; leads continued efforts to program art and events throughout the Walker public spaces and outdoor campus, including the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; promotes and supports institution-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; attends and participates in Board of Trustee meetings as needed; and works directly with trustees, donors, patrons, and other colleagues in the field, both nationally and internationally, to advance the Walker's mission and collection building interests.

A. Artistic Leadership and Integrated Program Planning
Work closely with Executive Director and program department heads to set the artistic and philosophical priorities for the institution and its interdisciplinary mission.
Lead monthly programming strategy meetings that include curators/programmers across the curatorial disciplines to set institutional program priorities and ensure that an integrated approach to exhibitions, research, collections development, interpretation, public programs, and publications is fostered institutionally.
Meet regularly with senior curators and heads of Education and Design in order to lead and coordinate conversations concerning program development and to advance shared goals.
Work to position the Walker as a leader for new models of curatorial practice, including fellowships and residencies designed to bring new voices to the Walker platform.
Travel as needed to advance curatorial projects and other institutional initiatives; represent the Walker at major art world events globally.

B. Staff Leadership:
Lead staff by fostering and encouraging innovation around new models for partnering (both internally and externally), and for exploring new creative relationships with artists central to the Walker's mission.
Encourage and facilitate a culture of collaboration across programmatic and supporting departments to ensure effective communication, efficiencies, and accountability.
Clearly and quickly work through the complexity of key issues, problems and opportunities to affect actions; guide staff to proactively build and align stakeholders, capabilities, and resources to achieve institutional objectives.
Lead cross-departmental efforts toward long-range planning to align with the organization's mission and vision.
Work closely with senior leadership to attract, develop, and retain talent to ensure that people with the right skills and motivations to meet institutional needs are in the right place at the right time.
Proactively model the importance of timely collegial interaction, personal accountability, communication, and exchange across disciplinary boundaries.
Foster collaborative interdepartmental relationships for programming, fundraising, budgeting, marketing and communications, research, audience development, education, public programs and program services.

C. Editorial Leadership
Work closely with senior leaders managing the Walker's communications and marketing channels in print and online to ensure a strategic approach to disseminating Walker artistic program content and scholarship.
Work closely with the Web Editor to develop and shape seasonal content plans and work closely with staff across programmatic areas to generate and contribute content on a timely and regular basis.
Actively blog, publish feature stories, contribute and provide leadership to the ongoing Living Collections Catalogue on-line initiative.

D. Program Development and Planning
Work closely with Executive Director and Visual Arts team, to oversee the content and planning of the Walker's long-term exhibition calendar.
Work closely with the Senior Curator and Director of Exhibitions Management, Visual Arts to strategize on and implement the Walker's touring exhibition program and other earned income, and to develop the annual exhibition program budget.
Work closely with department heads of Performing Arts, Moving Image, and Education and Public Programs, in shaping the programming and exhibition decisions including partnerships, co-productions, and commissions.
Develop and lead institutional strategies for all publishing to produce the highest quality print and digital publications reflecting Walker Art Center as a top-tier research institution.
Guide and encourage curatorial staff to generate timely and important exhibitions and programs that will tour internationally, advance new scholarship, and assert the Walker's mission.
Work closely with senior leadership to ensure that there is a mix of adventurous, groundbreaking programming and exhibitions of critical, scholarly, and public note, as well as periodic exhibitions/programming that serve as gateways for new audiences.

E. Collection Development and Stewardship
Work closely with the Executive Director and Visual Arts team to provide leadership and shape the long-term collections development and acquisitions plan.
Coordinate curatorial efforts toward setting annual goals and priorities for purchases and gifts solicitations.
Serve as chief liaison to the Acquisitions Committee of the Walker's Board of Trustees.
Regularly propose works of art for acquisition into the Walker's Visual Arts permanent collection.
Lead efforts to develop a long-term vision that moves toward greater integration and maintenance of the Walker's various collections, including the Visual Arts Permanent Collection, Ruben Bentson Film Archive, and Library/ Archives.
Cultivate donors locally and internationally and actively solicit gifts of art for the Walker's collection.
Lead the registration and library departments' efforts to care for and conserve the Walker's various collections, to include the digitization of the records and archives of the collection;

F. Strategic Planning and Budget Oversight
Work closely with the Executive Director and senior leadership to shape and convey the organization's vision, strategic plan and annual institutional priorities;
Develop budget/programming priorities for the entire artistic program on an annual and multi-year basis; work closely with the senior curators to develop departmental budgets in support of larger institutional program goals and artistic vision.
Manage program areas to ensure budget deadlines are timely and representative of established priorities.
Oversee the administration of the annual budgets for the programming/curatorial departments, in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer, to ensure budget goals are met at the end of each fiscal year.

G. Fundraising
Work closely with the Executive Director and Chief of Advancement to cultivate and solicit donors to support institutional priorities.
Work closely with colleagues in the Development Department to develop fundraising strategies and secure contributions for individual projects, broader cross-disciplinary initiatives, and annual operating support.
Manage program areas to ensure that fundraising goals are met.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by individuals assigned to this position; they do not purport to describe all functions of the position. Walker employees may be assigned other duties and the essential functions of the position may change or be changed with or without notice.


8 years' experience as an artistic director or senior curator with established arts organizations.
Progressively responsible experience in museum management including exhibition and artistic program coordination and presentation, collections and acquisitions development, interpretation and public programs, project management, team leadership, staff supervision, and budget development/administration.
Ability to use a team approach to plan and produce complex, interdisciplinary programming.
Extensive knowledge and relationships in the contemporary art field across disciplines; familiarity with contemporary film/video, performing arts, and web based artistic media.
Demonstrated track record with scholarship and publications.
Experience in recommending art acquisitions, organization of exhibitions, preparation of catalogues, and supervision of gallery installations and other programmatic events.
Wide-ranging international experience; ability and enthusiasm for working with diverse artistic and community groups.
Strong leadership, interpersonal, planning, and organizational skills; excellent written and oral communication skills; solid public speaking, negotiation, problem solving, and meeting management skills.
Demonstrated commitment to principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in programming, staff, and audience experience.
Knowledge of fundraising principles and practices in the arts.
Degree required; advanced degree preferred.

Please send applications or nominations to Sarah James at ProgramWalker@PhillipsOppenheim.com.