Director and CEO
The New Britain Museum of American Art, a major art collection and beloved community resource in central Connecticut, is seeking a strong, creative and confident partner as Director/CEO to unite Board and staff in crafting and implementing a strategic direction and to gain support in leading the Museum into its next era of artistic service. Celebrating nearly 120 years of collecting and exhibiting American art, the NBMAA draws upon its deep and renowned array of artworks to tell the unfolding story of America’s creative diversity, exploring cultural history and examining new ideas in contemporary art through exhibitions, programs and events. The successful candidate will be a team-oriented collaborator who excels at bringing individuals together around a unified vision. A people-person with a genuine welcoming spirit, the Director/CEO will enjoy engaging with the diverse constituents that surround the Museum locally and regionally and seek to broaden relationships with new audiences. They will be an experienced and strategic manager, skilled and comfortable in staff and board relations, while building upon and solidifying the team with deftness and sensitivity.
Firmly rooted in the history and culture of New Britain, NBMAA is an important contributor to the quality of life in the local community but draws its audiences from the wider Hartford County area, the state, and the greater Northeast region. The Museum is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and will continue its work to reflect multidimensional audiences through creative programming and acquisitions, as well as in hiring and in governance, building unity internally and opening pathways across its community. The Museum signals welcome. The beautiful Ann Beha designed Chase Building built in 2006, added 43,000 sq. ft of gallery and program spaces, a shop, cafe’ and terraces. A campaign funded Ann Beha 2015 addition seamlessly expanded galleries, classrooms and studios. In 2021, the Landers House, the original home of the Museum, was renovated to include a maker’s space, event space and offices. Together there is a total of 53,000 sq. ft of active museum space. An outdoor sculpture garden on the 2-acre campus blends almost seamlessly with the neighboring Olmsted-designed Walnut Hill Park, whose adjacency allows for Museum/public partnership events, such as the recent Juneteenth Celebration with programs outside and inside the Museum. At 4,000 members, support is strong and the financial position is solid. Currently, 30-35 dedicated FTE employees operate within a budget of $3.5-$4M, supported in part by a $28M endowment. The next Director will partner with staff and Board to reassess and create a strategic plan that examines and leverages the Museum’s many strengths and resources to envision and implement an exciting future, including potential growth in earned income, endowment, and professional staff, and stimulating acquisitions and exhibitions.
With over 8,300 works of art in a wide range of media from the colonial period to the present day, the Museum’s world renowned collections are stewarded by curatorial and collections staff and enriched through active programming by the educational team and the large and dedicated docent corp. Among the many highlights are the Sanford B.D. Low Illustration collection featuring Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle and Maxfield Parrish, as well as 300 years of master works including from the Peale family, Albert Bierstadt, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, Robert Motherwell, Christo and Sol LeWitt, as well as contemporary artists like Titus Kaphar and Kara Walker. A major installation of Thomas Hart Benton’s five-panel mural, The Arts of Life in America,1932 (above), has a dedicated gallery. The Museum and its public are rightfully proud of the permanent collection and continue to plumb its depth in exhibitions and programming, build upon its strengths and fill gaps as needed. The new Director will have strong curatorial instincts and help find balance in the presentation of the collections with a continuing calendar of rotating exhibitions that augment, complement, contrast and inform.
Opportunities of the Position
The next Director has the exciting opportunity to partner with a dedicated staff, Board, and volunteers to deepen a strong legacy in the community, state and region, drawing from a rich collection and harnessing a stable financial base, to ensure continued relevance and hone mission-driven programming.
The New Britain Museum of American Art Director/CEO will be expected to:
• Have a strong foundation in American Art.
• Be a consensus-builder, modeling transparency and partnership.
• Have a deep understanding of the museum business model; be agile with non-profit budgeting, museum operations, and plan on meeting measurable goals.
• Recognize, respect and support the staff team.
• Plan for and gain support for building the organization in key areas such as curatorial, operations, and development.
• Have ideas for increasing contributed and earned income.
• Be an active friend- and fund-raiser, comfortable with donors, corporate leaders, volunteers, and first-time visitors.
• Be a creative, strategic thinker and confident decision maker.
• Care deeply about connecting with and welcoming community.
• Be committed to advancing diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of the Museum’s work.
• Have a strong network of peers and allies.
• Be a creative and enthusiastic promoter of the New Britain Museum of American Art.
Education and Experience
• At least five years of successful museum management required.
• Advanced degree in the arts is strongly preferred; business training a plus.
• A broad understanding and appreciation of American art and contemporary issues of the field.
• Must have a significant track record of curatorial experience and advancing engagement between art and communities.
• A strong national network of museum professional contacts is desired.
• Persuasive communication skills both oral and written are a must.
• $200,000 – $225,000 per annum (commensurate with experience).
• Competitive benefit package includes medical, dental, a 403b plan and paid time off.
To apply in confidence, email 1) a letter expressing interest in this particular position and giving brief examples of past related experience; 2) a résumé; 3) names of three references with contact information (not contacted without prior permission). All applications and nominations are kept confidential. Submit application by October 4, 2021 to retained search firm: Lora Urbanelli, Museum Search & Reference, [email protected] For additional information visit: http://museum-search.com/open-searches/. Nominations are welcome.
The New Britain Museum of American Art is committed to fair and accessible employment practices, and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for this search.
Short-listed candidates subsequently may be asked to provide publication or work samples.
The New Britain Museum of American Art
The NBMAA brings art and people together, reflecting local and regional diversity, to examine the unfolding story of America through art and history. Located since 1937 next to New Britain’s historic Walnut Hill Park, the New Britain Museum of American Art traces its beginnings to 1853 with the establishment of the New Britain Institute which displayed original art works for the benefit of the public. In 1903 John Butler Talcott donated funds for the establishment of an endowment to purchase American art for the enjoyment and education of the community, especially the immigrant workers who came to work in the many factories that made New Britain the “Hardware Capital of the World.” Today, the collection numbers over 8,300 oils, watercolors, drawings, graphics and sculpture spanning 300 years of American history, with an impressive depth and quality – holdings of national importance.
About New Britain, CT
Celebrating its Sesquicentennial, New Britain is a diverse community with a proud immigrant and manufacturing history, including Stanley Black & Decker. It is home to several art museums, community theatres, 1,200 acres of park land, small businesses and a vibrant downtown area that includes Central Connecticut State University with over 12,000 enrolled students. Cost of living in greater New Britain / Hartford area is lower than other areas of the Northeast. Connecticut and greater New England abound in natural beauty and abundant resources, with proximity to hundreds of hiking trails, river sports and mountain activities, and the Long Island Sound is 40 minutes away. Located in the center of the state, New Britain is less than 10 miles southwest of Hartford, and 2 hours equidistant from Boston, Providence and New York.