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BACKGROUND:

Due to open to the public in 2016, Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan (Remai Modern) is a direction-setting modern art museum taking shape at River Landing in downtown Saskatoon, Canada. Inspired by the local landscape and the rich history of architectural modernism, the renowned Canadian architectural firm KPMB has designed a 130,000 square foot museum that will be an architectural centerpiece for the city.

Wrapping around the Persephone Theatre, the museum will be the largest in the province and five times the size of Saskatoon’s current Mendel Art Gallery, which will close in 2015. Remai Modern will take over the collection of 7,700 works of art in the Mendel Collection, which has been supplemented by a $20 million collection of Picasso linocut prints donated by the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation to Remai Modern. The Foundation also donated a further $30 million to the gallery, $15 million toward the construction cost and $15 million for future international programming. The combined donation is amongst the largest to an art gallery in Canadian history.

The new building is supported by all levels of government and, most importantly, by generous donors, including families and corporations. To date over $100 million has been pledged toward the cost of construction of the gallery, including an underground parking garage. Construction began in April 2013. The gallery’s first Executive Director and CEO commenced duties the following month. The museum will be a vibrant, imaginative and prescient institution committed to affirming the powerful role that art and artists play in questioning, interpreting and defining the modern era.

ORGANIZATIONAL OPPORTUNITY:

The Director of Programs/Chief Curator will play a key role in the establishment of the gallery. As a member of the Leadership Team, the position works closely with the CEO on the development of program models and programs across all areas including collections, conservation, exhibitions, research, publications, performance, engagement and education.

As a thought leader fully engaged with new developments in both art and museum practice internationally, the Director of Programs/Chief Curator will create a bold vision for the museum, driven by interests in artists, scholarship, innovation and public engagement.

SCOPE AND MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES:

Core Function:

Reporting to the Executive Director and CEO, the position is responsible for leading a team in executing the strategy and related annual plan in all program areas ensuring high standards of excellence.

Specific Functions:

  1. As a member of the Leadership Team participates in strategic planning and works with the CEO and Directors to ensure the museum meets its vision and mandate;
  2. Works with the CEO and Programs Team to develop program strategy and models across all program areas including collections, conservation, exhibitions, research, publications, performance, engagement and education;

  3. Executes the strategy and related annual plan in all program areas ensuring high standards of excellence and that programs and related projects are delivered on time and on budget;
  4. Develops and manages all budgets of the Programs Department and prepares revenue and expense budgets, monitors progress and reports, along with the Director of Finance & Operations, to the CEO;
  5. Recruits, directs, supervises, trains, develops and evaluates the performance of Programs Department staff, including curators, educators, program administrators, collections staff, and preparators;
  6. Develops and implements operational and program policies of the Programs Department;
  7. Manages relationships, contracts and deliverables determined by the Programs annual plan;
  8. Executes a collections development strategy and recommends acquisitions;
  9. Advocates through written and oral communication for the institution and its mandate in all relevant professional and public forums;
  10. Contributes scholarship to and develops exhibitions, projects and engagement programs as defined in the Programs annual plan;
  11. Leads Patron’s tours and supports fundraising approaches as required by the Development Department;
  12. Works with Director of Development to ensure that all applications to arts funding and cultural agencies meet the requirements of the agencies and the mandate of Remai Modern;
  13. Ensures editorial direction, design, production and distribution of all gallery publications meets the vision and strategic marketing direction of the Remai Modern;
  14. Cultivates and builds relationships with collectors, donors, curators, academics, publishers educators and relevant colleagues;
  15. Supports the preparation of media/press briefings, speeches, presentations and talking points for the CEO, Board of Directors and Campaign Committee and the Leadership Team and acts as a media spokesperson as required;
  16. Prepares reports for the Board and Board committees;
  17. Performs other related duties as assigned.

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

Candidates will have a strong background in managing staff, budgets, teams and complex projects; be a skilled advocate for the institution and its mandate; be able to support fundraising initiatives and have extensive networks in the field, including artists, collectors, donors, publishers, curators, and educators. S/he will have a track record of inventive projects and a passion for rethinking the possibilities for an art museum in the 21st century.

Specific qualifications include:

  • Master’s degree in art history or related field, PhD or equivalent preferred;

  • Minimum of 7 years of management-level museum experience;

  • Minimum of 3 years of experience at the senior leadership level;

  • Eight years curatorial or program development experience;

  • Demonstrated ability to develop and execute a sustainable multi-year program;

  • Demonstrated experience managing substantial department, project and program budgets;

  • Experience overseeing the design and production of print and web-based materials and publications;

  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff;

  • Ability to express ideas and concepts effectively, orally and in writing, including the ability to prepare and present oral, written and audio-visual reports of a specialized nature and the ability to create a persuasive case to garner support for key programs and projects;

  • Demonstrated skill in the use of a computer using the Microsoft Office Suite and collection management systems;
  • Demonstrated ability to build and foster effective relationships with trustees, volunteers, artists, collectors, donors and sponsors;
  • Demonstrated ability to direct, manage and support staff in achieving desired results;
  • Ability to maintain a high level of professionalism, discretion, and confidentiality;
  • Demonstrated organizational and planning skills.

LOCATION:

Saskatoon is a city in central SaskatchewanCanada, on the South Saskatchewan River. With an estimated metropolitan area population of 300,000, it is the largest city in the province and one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. The economy of Saskatoon has experienced strong growth in the last decade and is associated with potash, oil, agriculture and uranium. The world’s largest publicly traded uranium and potash companies have corporate headquarters in Saskatoon.

In 1944 Saskatchewan elected the only Socialist government in North America. Medicare was born in Saskatchewan in 1962. It was the first government-controlled, universal, comprehensive single-payer medical insurance plan in North America.

In 1948 the arts funding agency The Saskatchewan Arts Board was established by the Government of Saskatchewan and was the first agency of its kind in North America. In the visual arts Saskatchewan is known for the Emma Lake workshops that drew passionate support from critic Clement Greenberg and attracted leading lights of abstract painting such as Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Frank Stella as well as other important artists such as Anthony Caro and John Cage. The Mendel Art Gallery opened in 1964, with an exhibition of the collection of its lead patron Fred Mendel. Included were works by Braque, Chagall, Ernst, Picabia and Rouault among many others.

The Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan gained momentum in 2009, when Saskatoon’s City Council announced, with the Federal and Provincial governments, the intention to construct a purpose-built art museum in the city’s south downtown at River Landing.

START DATE:

This is a new position and will be filled at the earliest possible date.

PROCEDURE FOR APPLICATION:

Applications (including a cover letter, resume and the names of three references) as well as nominations and expressions of interest should be submitted to Management Consultants for the Arts, an executive search firm working with the museum’s Executive Director/CEO

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

All inquiries should be directed to Linda Sweet, Partner or Diane Frankel, Associate via email to mcawall2@gmail.com.

 

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