Director of Visitor Experience
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) is one of the largest centers of contemporary and performing art in the United States. A visit to MASS MoCA involves multiple environments with vast indoor and outdoor gallery spaces showcasing work that embraces all forms of art, including music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new mediums that cross all arts disciplines. The MASS MoCA experience impressively juxtaposes art housed in the light-filled spaces of the former Sprague Electric Company and 19th century courtyards, all nestled in the hills of the North Adams area of the Berkshire valley. Visitors will find their mind, body, and spirit inspired by the art and performances.
MASS MoCA opened its doors in 1999, converting the industrial structure built by Arnold Print Works in 1860 to 19 galleries and 100,000 square feet of exhibition space. Since its opening, MASS MoCA has expanded twice, in 2008 and 2017. The expansions have more than doubled its space to 250,000 square feet of open and naturally lit galleries. The vast exhibition spaces allow both well-known and emerging artists to show large-scale and immersive works. Employing a team of 156 people at full capacity, the MASS MoCA campus offers multiple dining options, local foods, a microbrewery, and free parking for visitors.
MASS MoCA showcases bold visual and performing art, while also creating a stimulating center of creativity and commerce that brings life and a creative economy to the local community of North Adams. Approximately 75 performances are offered year-round, including live music, film, contemporary dance, theater, and multiple-day music festivals. In addition, MASS MoCA is proud to support developmental residencies in all genres. These new works provide audiences exposure to all stages of art making, rehearsals and works in progress, artists in residence, sculptural fabrication, and developmental workshops.
MASS MoCA offers a wide range of participatory learning opportunities for students, teenagers, teachers, adults, and families. Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio, presents exhibitions and educational experiences in collaboration with leading artists. The program focuses on contemporary social issues and expanding notions of art and art materials. Programs include school-time performances, artist talks, guided tours, art camps, and the annual Teen Invitational exhibition for local students. Many of these programs seek to address the needs of the local community.
North Adams is one of the 30 towns and two cities that make up the Western Massachusetts region known as the Berkshires. Recognized for its rich cultural offerings in a rural setting, the Berkshires provides a highly desirable lifestyle. Just a few hours’ drive from Hartford, Albany, New York City, and Boston, the region features bucolic surroundings with access to many larger city amenities.
Historically an agricultural economy, the Berkshires’ growing healthcare, educational services, and tourism and hospitality sectors, as well as its strong creative economy, have attracted both entrepreneurs and investors. The Berkshires has long been a home and an inspiration to artists and arts lovers. The Clark Art Institute, Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Shakespeare & Company, Norman Rockwell Museum, and many others offer world-class experiences.
Berkshire County appeals to year-round residents and vacationers alike. Its award-winning healthcare system and providers are recognized among the nation’s best. The Cancer Center at Berkshire Medical Center was recently ranked among the top 1 percent in the country. The local public school system and the nearby Williams College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts offer strong community partnerships. There are also highly rated private college preparatory schools, including Berkshire School and Miss Hall’s School. A culinary mecca with some of the best farm-to-table dining in the country, the Berkshires features innovative restaurants, breweries, and wineries that draw sophisticated diners from all over the country. There are also plenty of outdoor recreational options, including biking, kayaking, and exceptional skiing. Situated at the base of Mount Greylock, the area provides a superb network of more 70 miles of designated trails, including an 11.5-mile section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, single-track mountain biking, skiing, and nationally renowned road-biking.
Sources: explorenorthadams.com; berkshires.org
Collaborating with staff across the institution, the Director of Visitor Experience (DVE), will provide leadership to define the standards and ethos for the visitor experience, ensuring that it is warm, attentive, inspiring, meaningful, memorable, and fun. As a steward of the MASS MoCA mission, the DVE will support the museum’s strategic objectives of creating extraordinary cultural experiences and programs, with a focus on staff development, operations, cultural competency, and community relations. Reporting to the Deputy Director and serving as a conduit for translating the museum’s mission into action, the DVE will have the primary day-to-day responsibility for understanding the needs of MASS MoCA’s diverse and intergenerational audiences. This individual will supervise the work of admission, box office, gallery attendant staffing and training, group tours, and all matters related to the visitor experience. Close institutional partners include Director of Education, Director of Communications, Membership and Stewardship Manager, and Visual and Performing Arts leadership. The DVE will work collaboratively to design and develop high-quality, responsive, and welcoming experiences for MASS MoCA visitors and performing arts events attendees and facilitate pleasant and user-friendly ticketing experiences both virtually and in-house.
Roles and Responsibilities
Leadership and Innovation
Act as an ambassador for the institution and its role in service to the public, both internally and externally.
Contribute to and support MASS MoCA’s strategic plan, annual priorities, and institutional initiatives such as diversity, equity, access, and inclusion advancement.
Contribute to a positive organizational culture based on mutual respect and a spirit of collegiality, cooperation, and openness to many perspectives.
Participate in a culture of ongoing learning, collaboration, innovation, creativity, and community engagement.
Align improvement actions across all staff and operations to achieve strategic goals.
Participate in and help drive institutional planning that touches on all aspects of visitor experiences of the visual art, performing art, and educational programming.
Design, implement, and evaluate public and community programming.
Engagement Strategy and Vision
Lead strategic-level oversight of all visitor experience-related activities and programs so that they align with the MASS MoCA’s mission and brand.
Support MASS MoCA’s mission, values, vision, and core commitment to the visitor experience, community engagement, and institutional relevancy for the future.
Envision and deliver a visitor experience that sets the standard for MASS MoCA.
Lead diversity and inclusion best practices to ensure that all visitors feel seen, respected, warmly welcomed, and comfortable in the museum.
Represent the visitor as a key stakeholder across all areas of the museum and bring that voice to the table, with a direct line of sight on visitor needs and feedback.
Support visitor engagement strategy with data and align how each department defines the visitor experience.
Evaluate and improve the museum visitor experience and ensure the necessary organizational structure and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for sustainability.
Drive a culture that creates a positive and welcoming first impression, enabling efficient admission, and build and implement strategies that encourage repeat visitations and admissions to performing arts programs.
Build and direct tactics for increasing admissions and group sales locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Promote interactions with visitors to gain new members through onsite conversion of admissions to membership, renew lapsed members, and upgrade current members.
Drive visitor data collection efforts to positively impact MASS MoCA’s ability to more effectively target its offerings and increase admissions in-house and online.
Partner with the Communications team to develop and analyze visitor surveys and feedback.
Collaborate with the Director of Education, Director of Communications, and front-facing teams across the organization to continuously improve visitor satisfaction metrics to deliver as much joy, meaning, and fun to every patron as MASS MoCA can possibly muster.
Provide the highest quality of engagement for all visitors.
Organizational Resiliency and Team Empowerment
Oversee all day-to-day operations and programming by directing appropriate staff members and developing strategies, procedures, and goals that will grow program areas.
Collaborate with MASS MoCA’s leadership team and colleagues to center diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in Visitor Experience operations, activities, and decision making.
Oversee front-of-house operations, including general admission, box office staffing, gallery attendant staffing and training, volunteers, and group tours (both its hosting and growth of the group tour business).
Manage all matters related to the visitor experience, schedule and evaluate staff, and track visitor usage patterns and experience data.
Ensure that visitor concerns are quickly addressed in accordance with the institution’s mission and voice, observe and monitor visitor activity on campus, and support public programs.
Recruit, supervise, and mentor front-of-house staff and volunteers.
Assemble and analyze relevant admissions data and prepare and deliver weekly, monthly, and other reports as requested.
Design and implement staff training in collaboration with the Education team to ensure that all front-line staff effectively communicates with audiences from a wide range of backgrounds around MASS MoCA’s uniquely relevant, timely, and sometimes challenging exhibition/program content.
Implement policies and programs that foster diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in the workplace.
Build a collaborative, positive-thinking team that understands accountabilities and achieves established goals.
Participate in local, regional, and national industry meetings and conferences to share and implement current best practices and industry standards with staff.
Traits and Characteristics
The DVE will bring creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness to the position. The ideal candidate will possess strong leadership skills with a proven track record as a competent manager and sophisticated skills in problem-solving, organizational strategy, and budget development and management. They will have the ability to multitask and make decisions in a fast-paced environment, along with a willingness to work side by side with the team to ensure the successful completion of all tasks. A dynamic and resilient leader, the DVE will value teamwork, continuous improvement, and collaboration with others. They will act as a coach for the professional development of staff and as an effective team motivator. The DVE will have a passion for outstanding customer service, communication, and project management skills for institution-wide planning and coordination.
Other key competencies include:
Diplomacy – The commitment to demonstrate respect for others, treat others fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and maintain positive relationships.
Teamwork – The capacity to build consensus and guide the team in support of their values and those of the organization.
Employee Development and Coaching – The aptitude to create active participation and proactive engagement from a variety of internal and external stakeholders while facilitating, supporting, and contributing to the growth of others.
Appreciating and Understanding Others – The emotional intelligence to identify with and care about artists and audiences for the sake of artistic excellence and colleagues.
Personal Accountability – The capacity to prioritize and complete tasks necessary to meet or exceed the agreed upon expectations of the role and to assume accountability for personal actions.
Planning and Organizing – The aptitude to analyze all aspects of a situation to make consistently sound and timely decisions, including addressing difficult situations head-on, and to establish forward-looking courses of action.
Self-Starting and Resiliency – The ability to demonstrate initiative, to begin working on tasks under pressure, and to meet deadlines.
A bachelor’s degree in museum education, nonprofit management, or museum studies (or equivalent work experience) is required. Five to seven years of experience directing a visitor/public customer service operation with a demonstrated track record of success in cultural organizations is preferred. Related experience within a nonprofit, arts, performing arts, or educational organization is desired. Candidates must have direct experience managing staff and/or a similarly complex project management background. The successful candidate will possess a proficiency in Tessitura or comparable software systems. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, as well as oral presentation skills, are necessary. Strong scheduling, time management, and organizational skills are needed. Fluency in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint) and social media platforms is preferred.
Compensation and Benefits
MASS MoCA provides competitive compensation for an organization of its size, with an anticipated salary range between $80,000 and $100,000, and a standard benefits package that includes health insurance, paid time off, and paid holidays.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Senior Vice President
Arts Consulting Group
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Email [email protected]