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Director of Learning and Creativity
Albright-Knox Art Gallery (USA)
Appointed - Charlie Garling
Dec 9, 2021
Jan 31, 2022
DIRECTOR OF LEARNING AND CREATIVITY
ALBRIGHT-KNOX ART GALLERY
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is the sixth oldest public art museum in the United States, and one of the oldest anywhere dedicated to the art of our time. It was founded in December 1862 in Buffalo, NY and has long dedicated itself to emerging and established artists alike, whose influence has given rise to an extraordinary collection of modern and contemporary art. As the only major art museum in Western New York, the Albright-Knox is an anchor for civic, cultural, and creative energies and a destination for tourists from around the world.
Aerial view of the museum's campus, including a rendering of the new Gundlach Building, Great Lawn, and Indoor Town Square covered by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann's Common sky. Photo: Blake Dawson for Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York | Rendering courtesy of OMA
Today, the museum seeks local, national, and international partners with whom it will share and build its vision for the future. Since 2001, the Albright-Knox has explored the possibility of expanding and upgrading its facilities. Its original campus, which is set in a beautiful Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park, features the Robert and Elisabeth Wilmers Building, Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by E.B. Green and constructed in 1905, and the Seymour H. Knox Building, a high modernist building designed by Gordon Bunshaft and constructed in 1962. The goals of the expansion and renovation were to increase the museum’s space for the display of its collection and special exhibitions, enhance the visitor experience at the museum, create more space for education, dining, and social activities, and continue the integration of the campus within the landscape of Delaware Park.
In June 2016, the museum announced its selection of the award-winning firm OMA/Shohei Shigematsu as its architectural design partner for the project. That same month, the project’s capital campaign took a giant leap forward with an unprecedented matching challenge made possible by the extraordinary generosity of Jeffrey Gundlach. To date, Gundlach has contributed $62.5 million to the campaign—a stunning amount for the largest cultural endeavor ever undertaken in the Western New York region. In honor of his extraordinary generosity, the museum will be renamed the Buffalo AKG Art Museum upon its reopening in late 2022. The expansion will create a new work of signature architecture on the north end of its historic campus, the Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building, which will add 30,000 square feet of space for displaying special exhibitions and the museum’s world-renowned art collection.
View of the new Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building
The new building will include a coffee bar, a black box gallery, and a wraparound sculpture terrace that visually connects the interior of the building with the surrounding landscape. In addition to complementing Buffalo’s remarkable architectural legacy, the museum will improve its campus through several modifications. An underground parking structure will be constructed and above the parking lot, a Great Lawn will effectively repatriate more than half an acre of parkland.
Covering the 1962 Building’s open-air sculpture garden with Common sky, a breathtaking work of art by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann to create the Town Square, a new space for year-round civic engagement, the sculpture garden is open free of charge to the community during museum and program hours.
Common sky by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann
As part of the 10-year Albright-Knox Strategic Plan, the second strategic priority focuses on engaging communities by expanding and enhancing service to students throughout the region and especially in the Western New York Schools. The museum’s after-school programs are designed to augment educational opportunities for students in the city of Buffalo. Through the addition of a new Education Wing in the lower level of the Knox Building with five state-of-the-art classrooms, a rich menu of classes, events, and programming will enhance understanding of art while providing open, participatory, and creative educational experiences accessible to diverse audiences.
Architectural view of the new Education Wing in the lower level of the Knox Building with five state-of-the-art classrooms
These physical changes to the museum represent the first architecturally significant manifestation of Buffalo’s ongoing economic and cultural resurgence in the twenty first century. After breaking ground on November 22, 2019, the museum celebrated the completion of the Gundlach Building’s steel structure on July 7, 2021. The Buffalo AKG Art Museum is slated to open in late 2022.
Among the most important elements of this effort is the renaming of the museum’s Department of Learning and Creativity (previously known as the Department of Education and Community Engagement). This change was made in alignment with the new, expanded Learning and Creativity wing, making the museum an even greater source of engagement and inspiration for the community and the many visitors we serve. The Director of Learning & Creativity will work with other departments to develop, coordinate, implement and lead programs in this new groundbreaking space.
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the county seat of Erie County and is the second most populous city in the State of New York. Buffalo is replete with historic buildings, skyscrapers, churches and mansions with 80 buildings that are registered in the National Register of Historic Places. The city’s park-scape (a collection of interconnected parkways and green spaces throughout the city) was created by Frederick Law Olmsted, and it also hosts two widely known art festivals: Elmwood Festival of The Arts and the Allentown Art Festival. Buffalo’s waterfront offers a range of walkways and restaurants and fun activities throughout the summer.
Director of Learning & Creativity
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery seeks a visionary, inclusive, and innovative leader to build and enhance the strategic vision for the museum’s Learning and Creativity Department, including the review of traditional museum education functions (School & Educator Programs, Youth, Teen and Family Programs, Adult Programs Accessibility and Community Programs) as appropriate. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery celebrates and fosters cross-departmental collaboration and dynamic, out-of-the box thinking.
The Director of Learning and Creativity reports to the Director. As a member of the Leadership Team, the Director of Learning and Creativity is an active participant in high-level discussions about museum operations, finances, and strategic decision-making. The Director of Learning and Creativity leads a department of six to seven full-time staff members and dozens of part-time staff and volunteer docents who work directly with the public to foster playful and enriching learning leading to inspirational knowledge and engagement. The Director of Learning and Creativity works in close collaboration with the Curatorial, Public Art, Advancement, and Communications & Community Engagement Departments and, as needed, with the Board of Directors, participating in Board meetings and relevant committee meetings. The Director of Learning and Creativity also develops national and international partnerships in alignment with the Albright-Knox’s strategic priorities.
The Director of Learning and Creativity oversees and develops creative, playful and engaging educational offerings, including classroom learning, interpretive planning for exhibitions, docent programs, and a variety of legacy programs. In consultation with the Director, other members of the Leadership Team, and Learning and Creativity Department staff, an immediate goal will be to develop a comprehensive suite of programs in preparation for the opening of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum and its operations thereafter.
The work of the Director of Learning and Creativity is guided by the museum’s vision, mission, values, and Strategic Plan, and by the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA), the museum’s organizational commitment to which is codified in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery IDEA Framework. The Director of Learning and Creativity embraces opportunities for professional development with an eagerness towards learning new skills and tactics and implementing novel approaches that will make the Buffalo AKG a leader among its peers nationally and globally. The Director will work across departments, developing in-gallery interpretation for all audiences. A keen interest in dynamic, engaging, and innovative programming will be critical to the Director of Learning and Creativity’s success.
Competencies and Qualifications:
- Master’s degree in Education, Art History or related field.
- Five plus years experience in managing others/progressive leadership with responsibilities in planning, development, and implementation of educational programs; Administrative experience is a plus
- Engaged knowledge of, interest in and demonstrated passion for modern and contemporary art museum practices.
- Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain of a wide variety of community partnerships centered on the needs of the diverse neighborhoods throughout the city and beyond.
- Demonstrated understanding and experience in the application and use of digital technology to engage, communicate, educate, inform, and attract visitors.
- Demonstrated knowledge of learning theories of all ages.
- Commitment, knowledge and application of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility best practices in programs to broaden audience participation.
- Experience in managing change/conflict.
- Staff recruitment, retention, and professional development experience.
Skills and Abilities:
- Exemplary interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills including highly developed public speaking skills.
- Willingness to develop and define this new role, seeking regular feedback.
- Have big picture and big ideas approach in working within the museum’s operational structure.
- Keenly interested in relationship building and team building with a variety of leaders in the community.
- Ability to evaluate and assess qualitative and quantitative data from surveys and create action plans from the results.
- Ability to generate and balance visionary thinking with practical, results-oriented approaches.
- Mission, vision, values-driven leader.
- Demonstrated creative problem-solving and collaboration skills.
- Demonstrated team leadership, management, and development skills.
- Proven capacity for successfully engaging in productive, challenging discussions.
- Superior project management skills, including organizing, prioritizing, and implementing.
- Department operations leadership including policy, budget, and data management.
- Active curiosity about new technologies and avenues for interpretation.
- Self-directed, able to work independently and efficiently.
- Demonstrated commitment to entry planning and continued situational awareness.
- Ability to maintain the highest level of confidentiality and discretion.
- Understand and maintain highest ethical standards related to organizational responsibilities and public accountability.
- Ability and willingness to work evenings and weekends.
- Committed to the Albright-Knox’s IDEA (Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Framework.
- Effective, empathetic ambassador of the Albright-Knox externally (nationally and internationally) to represent the innovative practices found within the museum and the Learning & Creativity Team.
- Ability to prepare a master schedule using appropriate software.
- Ability and willingness to develop national and international partnerships (includes international travel).
- Ability and willingness to support the fundraising efforts of the museum’s Advancement Department, for example by stewardship and engagement of existing and new donors.
- Mastery of Windows Office, including strong working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The compensation package will be attractive and commensurate with the candidate’s experience and skills.
In the interest of identifying the best candidates for this position the Director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has partnered with Search Associates to assist in this process. The application deadline is January 31, 2022 with interviews scheduled for February and March 2022 and the appointment of the new Director of Learning and Creativity in May 2022. The new Director of Learning and Creativity will commence the job immediately following the appointment.
Interested candidates should apply as soon as possible. Screening will start as soon as applications are received. Please note that the Director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery reserves the right---in the event that a truly superior candidate emerges early in the search process--to shorten the search and to make an earlier appointment. For this reason, it is important for interested candidates to apply in a timely manner.
Interested candidates should submit an application to include the following elements:
- A letter of application, explaining your strengths as a candidate and why you are interested in the Director of Learning and Creativity’s position at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
- A current résumé not to exceed 2 pages, addressing the preferred qualifications.
- A one to two page philosophy statement related to promoting Learning and Creativity within a museum environment.
- A one-page list of at least three references with phone numbers and email addresses (at least two of the referees must have recently supervised the applicant, and the other referees may be peers that the applicant has supervised).
- A maximum of three letters of reference (scanned at low resolution) that may already be in your possession is not a requirement but may be included in the application.
Candidates should email this information as a single PDF attachment to both Dr. Eric Sands email@example.com and Ms. Barbara Powers firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates wishing to learn more about the Albright-Knox Art Gallery should visit the museum’s website at https://www.albrightknox.org/.