• Virginia N. and Randall J. Barbato Deputy Director and Chief Curator Cleveland
  • CMA in Cleveland, OH, United States
  • jobs
  • 1 week ago

jobs description

The comprehensive collection that the Cleveland Museum of Art holds in trust for the public and the complementary exhibitions that it organizes throughout the year are fundamental to the CMA's mission to create transformative experiences through art for the broadest possible audience in accordance with the highest aesthetic, intellectual, and professional standards. The Virginia N. and Randall J... Barbato Deputy Director and Chief Curator is a key member of the museum's executive leadership team and oversees the growth, display, study, and care of the collection. Working with colleagues in the Exhibition, Design and Publications division and in Public and Academic Engagement, the Deputy Director and Chief Curator helps to develop and shape exhibitions, publications, interpretation, and academic programs.


The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is known nationally and internationally for the quality and scope of its collection, which comprises more than 60,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of human creativity. Incorporated in 1913, the CMA is today one of the most distinguished comprehensive art museums in the world and one of the most important in the country. Complementing its collections, the CMA's Ingalls Library and Museum Archives is one of the largest of its kind in the United States, with some 600,000 volumes in its collection.

In 2013, the museum completed a $320 million renovation and expansion project designed by architect Rafael Viñoly. The project, which was funded by a successful capital campaign, included the complete restoration of the museum's original 1916 building and 1971 Marcel Breuer addition, as well as the addition of two symmetrical wings to the east and west sides of the complex. Central to the design is a large, light-filled courtyard enclosed by an elegantly soaring roof. The CMA is now considered one of the most beautiful and impressive civic spaces in Northeast Ohio, and its galleries are among the finest of any museum.

The CMA has some 450 employees and a budget of approximately $69 million, of which a significant portion is restricted to acquisitions. Its endowment now stands at nearly $1 billion. Founded "for the benefit of all the people forever," the CMA remains free to all visitors, with attendance of approximately 700,000 annually.

The museum's most recent strategic plan, completed in 2017 and revised in 2022, stresses the primary importance of the collection as the foundation for everything that the museum does. It also underscores the primacy of the visitor experience; diversity in the museum's collection, programs, audience, and staff; and participation in the life of the city and surrounding community, balancing local responsibility with a national and international presence.


The Deputy Director and Chief Curator is responsible for providing leadership and oversight for all collection-related activities, policies, and procedures. The Chair of its four curatorial departments, with a total of some 20 curators, as well as its Director of Collections Management, Eric and Jane Nord Chief Conservator, Director of Performing Arts, and Director of the Ingalls Library and Museum Archives report directly to the Deputy Director and Chief Curator. The Deputy Director and Chief Curator maintains multiple lines of communication within the museum and with the full range of the museum's audiences, establishes priorities for the Collections division in keeping with the museum's mission, strategic plan, and budget, assists in fundraising activities, and prepares the budget for the division.

As a member of the executive management team, the Deputy Director and Chief Curator works closely with the Director/President/CEO and other executive staff to implement plans established with the Board of Trustees, participates in discussions concerning institutional priorities, general policies, and management issues, assists in the preparation of the institution's budget, and takes on special assignments as appropriate.

• Work with the Director/President/CEO and other senior staff to update and revise the strategic plan and guide its implementation.
• Assure effective management of staff within the Collections division, including organizational planning and development, hiring, employment, training, communication, compensation planning, and performance evaluation in order to attract, retain, and reward outstanding individuals capable of supporting the overall mission of the museum; promote personal, professional, and growth opportunities for all employees.
• Be a visible and active leader in the community, helping to increase and deepen the participation of diverse audiences in museum activities. Help forge meaningful relationships with individuals, groups, and institutions to extend the museum's programs to a wider community.
• Work closely with the Chief Learning Officer to further define the Keithley Institute for Art History, recently launched by the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University. Nancy and Joseph Keithley have generously provided permanent support to promote and solidify future endowments, revitalizing a collaborative art history program started by the museum and the University more than 50 years ago. Utilizing the museum's permanent collection and renowned art history library, the Keithley Institute will put Cleveland on the map as a training ground for future generations of museum curators and directors. The Deputy Director and Chief Curator will play a key role in shaping the pedagogy associated with this program.
• Work with the Director/President/CEO and individual curators to evaluate and, as necessary, revise plans for the development of the collection and, on an ongoing basis, ensure that objects of the highest quality and greatest strategic importance are added to the collection through purchases and gifts.
• Staff and organize quarterly presentations to the Board of Trustees' Collections Committee, including the presentation of proposed acquisitions, deaccessions, gifts, loans, and any other reports related to the collection.
• Establish goals for the display of the permanent collection, working with curators and other appropriate staff to ensure that its installation is among the most articulate visual arts presentations of any art museum.
• Work with the Chief Conservator to establish priorities for treatment and research.
• Work with the Director of Collections Management to ensure that professional standards and institutional procedures concerning transport, loans to and from the collection, art handling, risk management, imaging, and acquisitions are maintained and updated as appropriate.
• Work with the Director of the Ingalls Library and Museum Archives to continue to integrate the library and archives into the larger profile and the work of the museum and develop priorities for available resources to support curatorial priorities, exhibition activity, and the needs of other audiences, whether they be scholars or the general public.
• Actively work to advance the museum's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan through all aspects of Collection activities including acquisitions, exhibitions, and hiring of staff.
• Collaborate in the following areas:
• * Special Exhibitions: coordinates with the Director/President/CEO and Margaret and Loyal Wilson Chief Exhibition, Design and Publications Officer to ensure that the program favors a full and diverse range of coverage in subject matter, scholarship, popular appeal, and interpretive methods from installation to electronic media, gallery labels, and printed materials.
• Scholarly Publications: works with the Chief Exhibition, Design and Publications Officer to establish priorities, oversee budgets, and coordinate as appropriate with other museum areas, such as marketing, administration, and museum store on all publications published through the museum, including those related to permanent collections and special exhibitions.
• Interpretation: works with the Chief Learning Officer to establish standards and efficient processes for the interpretation of the collection.
• Development: works closely with the Chief Philanthropy Officer to establish fundraising priorities for the Collections division and ensures close communication and collaboration with development staff. This includes participation in fundraising discussions with private donors, foundations, and government funders.
• IT: works with the Chief Digital Information Officer and, as appropriate, other members of the Executive Team to ensure that the museum remains a leader with respect to the application of technology to interpretation, with responsibility for projects related to the collection

M. Ensures compliance with all laws and regulations regarding collections and collecting activities.

N. Maintains an active role in the art field through publications, lectures, travel, and communication with people in the field.

O. Pursues institutional goals as enumerated in the mission, strategic plan, and annual goal-setting documents.


The successful candidate must have an advanced degree in art history or a related field and must, above all, have a reputation as an imaginative, innovative, and ambitious leader in the museum field with a distinguished record of acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications, as well as experience as a manager. This individual must be a positive leader, capable manager of people, and skilled administrator with a keen and proven ability to translate plans into action through a broad range of activities. The successful candidate will be a creative thinker and a dynamic and enthusiastic individual with personal integrity, who is at once comfortable in a complex and collaborative environment and professional in all matters and dealings.

Specific requirements include:
• Advanced degree with experience in a management position, preferably in a comprehensive art museum; PhD strongly preferred.
• Recognized scholarly and curatorial ability;
• Knowledge of the art market, conservation field, and museum-education strategies essential;
• Ability to make strategic and qualitative judgments, especially in the area of art acquisition and conservation;
• Proven record of leadership in directing Curatorial programs;
• Excellent research, writing, and presentation skills;
• The ability to inspire staff, responsibly delegate tasks, and ensure a collaborative working environment;
• Proven ability to manage multiple projects and tasks and to establish credibility with the Director/President/CEO, Board members, staff, affiliate groups, and members of the community;
• Substantial knowledge and skill in managing large budgets and providing leadership for strategic-planning initiatives;
• Superior communication skills and strong organizational skills combined with the ability to handle multiple tasks with agility, thoroughness and good humor.


The position is currently open and will be filled at the earliest opportunity.


Letters of application must include the following:
• A cover letter that addresses the candidate's interest in the position.
• A description not to exceed three pages describing the applicant's area of research and its relationship to CMA's collections.
• A published paper or writing sample.
• A complete curriculum vitae of education, employment, honors, awards, and publications.
• The names and contact information of three references.


Cleveland OH USA


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