Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art, Seattle Art Museum
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
Seattle, WA 98101
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM 2021
As a leading visual art institution in three unique locations, SAM shares its global collections, powerful exhibitions, and dynamic programs to engage, educate, and inspire. SAM was founded in 1933 with a focus on Asian art. By the late 1980s the museum had outgrown its original home, and after significant renovation and expansion campaigns, SAM is now one of the nation’s largest single museums experienced on three significant sites: the 1933 landmarked art deco building Asian Art Museum (re-opened 2020); the award-winning nine-acre Sculpture Park and Seattle’s largest downtown green space — a “Museum without walls,” free and open to all on the waterfront; and, the 118,000-square-foot expansion of its main, downtown location, including 232,000 square feet of additional space built for future expansion.
From a strong foundation of Asian art to noteworthy collections of African and Oceanic art, Northwest Coast Native American art, European and American art, and modern and contemporary art, the strength of SAM’s collection of approximately 25,000 objects lies in its diversity of media, cultures, and time periods, dating from antiquity to the present, and representing a wide range of global cultures and historical perspectives. The pandemic has not slowed SAM down, as it announced two recently gifted landmark collections from the Wright Family and The Friday Foundation.
After three decades of dynamic capital campaigns, SAM looks with excitement and enthusiasm to elevate and invest in art and program. The Deputy Director for Art will be critical to the success of its efforts. SAM has a $27 million operating budget, a $200 million endowment, an 11-member senior leadership team, a staff of 290, and a historically supportive and diverse Board of 65 active trustees. The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that it is located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people. For more information about SAM, please visit https://www.seattleartmuseum.org/
The Deputy Director for Art serves as a key member of the senior management team and must bring strong management and fundraising experience, a track record of dynamic exhibition projects, national and international networks, a desire to connect with local communities and collectors, as well as design a relevant and ambitious curatorial program. The position provides leadership of the museum’s collections and exhibition program, mentors curators to achieve artistic excellence and contribute to institutional health, and ensures that art departments uphold SAM’s mission, vision, and values.
SAM is dedicated to racial equity and strives for employees, volunteers, and interns who are passionate, qualified, and offer diverse perspectives. SAM prioritizes racial equity in the workplace because it knows that people of color are the most impacted when it comes to inequities. It is particularly interested in engaging with historically under-represented groups in the museum field as it strives to be inclusive and equitable. SAM is responsive to cultural communities and experiences, and its strategic plan goals address the role art plays in empowering social justice and structural change to promote equity in society.
The Deputy Director will work with the CEO, a department of 13, including seven curators, exhibition, publications, and libraries staff to develop vibrant, balanced artistic program in support of SAM’s mission, including collection development and installation, and exhibition program; partnering with (five) peers on the senior leadership team; cultivate and engage new and loyal collectors and funders for the benefit of the museum.
FLSA Status: Exempt
Direct Reports: curators; curatorial coordinator; librarian; senior exhibitions and publications manager; collections and provenance associate
Compensation: $235-280,000 annual salary range DOE
Exhibitions and Collections
Work with CEO, curators, and senior exhibitions and publications manager to develop a cohesive and compelling exhibition program in support of the museum’s mission that sets SAM apart and optimizes its unique strengths and sites.
Partner with fellow deputy directors, as appropriate, to ensure feasibility and implementation of programmatic decisions, as well as alignment of museum goals across divisions.
Approve and, with senior exhibitions and publications manager, monitor exhibition budgets.
Mentor and coach curatorial staff. Provide guidance on exhibition recommendations and work to refine excellence in artistic programs.
Present proposed special exhibitions with associated budgets to Officers Committee for approval.
Present annual exhibition program to Board, local press, and others as necessary.
Initiate, cultivate, and maintain contacts with collectors, donors, local constituents, national and international museum and artworld contacts. Support and encourage team to do same.
Ensure department produces notable programmatic scholarship as appropriate.
Present exhibitions to visitors; give lectures, train docents, and publish articles, as needed.
Strategize with development, curators, CEO to identify funding opportunities for SAM programs, especially as they relate to SAM exhibitions and collections. Work with curatorial team to realize same skills and objectives.
Plan, chair, or delegate all departmental and division meetings, as appropriate.
Oversee the Board’s Committee on the Collection; work with CEO and curators to make recommendations for purchases and gifts; with collection and provenance associate, develop and monitor collection priorities and funds; develop and follow policies and procedures.
Ensure vibrant and compelling presentation at all three sites.
Represent curatorial division on SAM internal Loan Committee.
Work closely with conservation department to prioritize care of the collection.
With CEO, provide overall leadership and direction, including long-term planning and excellence of the curatorial program.
Represent the museum in the community; work to increase the level of community awareness, interest, and appreciation for art and the museum.
Supervise SAM’s curators and curatorial staff, including librarians.
Keep current on the art scene, internationally and locally; maintain contacts with artists, dealers, collectors, colleagues, and museums to further SAM programs.
Actively stimulate accessions, exhibitions, and loans to SAM.
Control and manage non-compensation and compensation divisional budgets.
Travel when necessary for research and on cultivation trips with museum supporters to further SAM program.
Review curatorial and marketing materials concerning exhibitions and collections.
Participate in national, international, and regional professional activities as appropriate.
Conform to the code of ethics governing the museum profession, represent the museum with a high level of integrity and professionalism, adhere to museum policies and support management decisions in a positive, professional manner.
QUALIFICATIONS, KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES REQUIRED
Master’s degree in art history or equivalent preferred with 10 years’ prior relevant experience.
Self-directed, motivated, and team-oriented. Ability to work with the Board, donors, collectors, volunteers, the public, and co-workers professionally, sympathetically, and diplomatically.
Knowledge of current issues within the museum profession.
Proven record of leadership and ability to work productively with people across a broad spectrum, including a demonstrated commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Knowledge of selection, intrinsic and market value, conservation, and exhibition of works of art, and of the legal regulations governing collecting.
Understanding of budgeting principles and strategies.
Excellent written and oral communication skills; effective and at-ease public speaker.
Organizational ability with strong leadership, management, and supervisory skills. Ability to assess priorities and work well under pressure; excellent time management, problem-solving, and analytical skills, with a close attention to detail and to maintain confidentiality of sensitive information.
Ability to adhere to museum policies and support management decisions in a positive, professional manner.