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Director, Parrish Art Museum

Parrish Art Museum

Water Mill, NY

Sep 16
Job Description

MISSION

Inspired by the natural setting and artistic life of Long Island’s East End, the Parrish Art Museum illuminates the creative process and how art and artists transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it. The Museum fosters connections among individuals, art, and artists through care and interpretation of the collection, the presentation of exhibitions, publications, educational initiatives, programs, and artists-in-residence. The Parrish is a center for cultural engagement, an inspiration and destination for the region, the nation, and the world.

THE ORGANIZATION

Founded in 1898 within one of the most concentrated creative communities in the United States, the Parrish Art Museum has been a vital cultural presence on the East End of Long Island from its inception. For more than a century, the Museum has endured and expanded – from a single exhibition hall in Southampton Village built by Samuel Longstreth Parrish as a showcase for his collection, to its relocation in 2012 to a spacious, light-filled, purpose-built facility in Water Mill, New York.

By the mid-1980s, it was clear that the Parrish had outgrown its original building, which lacked the basic infrastructure necessary for a professional museum, as well as the space to showcase both its collection and temporary exhibitions. In 2005, the museum purchased 14 acres in Water Mill, New York, and the Board of Trustees selected the internationally celebrated architectural firm, Herzog & de Meuron, to design a new and expanded building. In July 2010, the team broke ground and the 34,400-square-foot building opened to the public on November 10, 2012.

HISTORY AND COLLECTION

The natural context of light and landscape in Eastern Long Island have drawn artists to the region since the Long Island Railroad extended its service to Southampton in 1870. Members of New York’s Tile Club visited Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Montauk, Greenport, and Shelter Island in 1878, and William Merritt Chase established the Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art, the first school in America devoted to plein-air painting, in 1891. World War II saw the departure of many notable artists from Europe to the United States, and many of these émigrés visited the East End. American artists of the New York School followed, such as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, and Esteban Vicente. For the past 60 years, the East End has been home to a veritable pantheon of modern and contemporary artists, among them Fairfield Porter, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Roy Lichtenstein, April Gornik, Cindy Sherman, Eric Fischl, and Dorothea Rockburne. The collection also includes important historical artists as Childe Hassam, John Sloan, James Whistler, Dan Flavin, and John Chamberlain, as well as members of the dynamic contemporary art scene such as Ross Bleckner, Chuck Close, Jack Youngerman, and Joe Zucker. The Museum’s holdings now consist of more than 3,000 works ranging from early 19th-century landscape paintings through American Impressionism and into the 20th and 21st centuries, along with the archives of artists William Merritt Chase, Fairfield Porter, and James Brooks, whose estate the Parrish received in 2018.

To learn more about the Parrish Art Museum please visit: https://parrishart.org/

THE EAST END

The Parrish is located in a highly diverse, socioeconomically complex, and segregated area in Suffolk County on the East End of Long Island in New York State. Well known as the summer leisure destination of New York City’s wealthy, the global pandemic has converted a seasonal influx into a potentially permanent residential population. Galleries and auction houses have followed their clientele during COVID: Phillips, Sotheby’s, Pace, Hauser & Wirth, Skarstedt, Van de Weghe, Michael Werner, and South Etna Montauk, among others, have opened in the Hamptons this summer, adding a new source of energy to the already-vibrant art world on the East End.

The Parrish staff and trustees recognize that, despite the conventional understanding of the demographics of the Hamptons, this area of Long Island is experiencing challenges in social and economic inequity similar to those found in larger urban and suburban areas. A lack of affordable housing, an almost nonexistent middle class, youth flight due to limited job opportunities, and reduced interest in local community affairs by second homeowners are some of the issues facing the area.

THE POSITION

The Director, they will have the following priorities:

• Hone a Signature Voice and Vision for the Parrish: Develop rigorous and critically acclaimed exhibitions, public programs, and events that maintain and expand the Parrish Art Museum’s position as a leading art institution regionally and nationally; evaluate existing programming with a fresh eye and encourage programmatic innovation that distinguishes the museum in a crowded arena, thereby increasing attendance and the engagement of the Museum’s constituents, with a focus on the year-round as well as seasonal visitors and audiences, and ensuring that programs integrate exhibition and education objectives.
• Fundraising: Evaluate fundraising efforts to date, proactively initiating fundraising activities to diversify and expand private support for exhibitions, programming, and operations including appealing to younger audiences; exploring new revenue streams including earned, sponsorship, and foundation support that strategically optimize resources.
• Board Development: Cultivate, solicit, and steward new and existing members of the Board, clearly communicating expectations and opportunities and identifying ways to engage the Board as ambassadors to raise awareness of the Parrish Art Museum’s activities, making the Board an aspirational goal among supporters of the arts.
• Staff: Motivate, recognize, support, and supervise a committed staff, advancing morale and providing clear direction; delegate appropriate authority and hold individuals accountable for specific and collective performance.
• Finance: Oversee the museum’s financial operations; control its budget, ensuring that staff and programming perform within the allocated financial resources, manage cash flows and provide the Board with timely financial data for budgeting decisions and fundraising plans.
• Connectivity and Community: Maximize the resources and impact of the Museum by engaging in cooperative programming and joint ventures with other institutions locally, nationally, and internationally, finding ways to expand and deepen the Parrish’s connection with a wide range of constituencies, and play an active role in the cultural community of the East End, positioning the Museum as a convener and catalyst.
• Cultivation: Build and sustain relationships with a wide range of individuals who feel ownership in the Parrish, including residents, artists, gallerists, collectors, as well as cultural, business, and civic leaders, and the Museum’s extensive network of exhibited artists, connecting them to the Parrish Art Museum community.

THE PERSON

The Director will be:

• An artistic visionary with deep relationships across the international art community who has the ability and desire to connect with both established and new supporters; willing to take well-considered risks to continue prescient programming with broad appeal and scholarly intent and to communicate that intent persuasively.
• A senior-level museum administrator with experience in an art museum known for quality and excellence; comfortable in both kunsthalle and traditional museum environments.
• A willing and enthusiastic, talented, and tested fundraiser who has the ability to build and steward relationships on the East End, in New York City, and beyond with the geographically dispersed Board and audience and has a track record of success planning and hosting sophisticated international-caliber events.
• An entrepreneurial leader with well-honed interpersonal skills: a self-starter with strong organizational skills and a proven ability to focus and prioritize, who can inspire internally and externally, collaborate, mentor, and delegate.
• A compelling and effective communicator capable of persuasively positioning the sometimes-challenging issues inherent in today’s art to a broader public.
• A natural collaborator with a track record of proactive community engagement and a commitment to the collective good; an embedded resident of the community who will embrace the unique opportunity, beauty, and resources the Parrish and the Hamptons offer.
• An open, engaging professional who is committed to advancing the Museum and practices integrity, excellence, and good judgement.
• Able to negotiate graciously yet remain clear, decisive, proactive, and fair; someone who possesses an understanding of the subtleties of motivating, directing, and working with committed and sometimes strong personalities, yet who can also hold their own.
• Adept at harnessing existing and new digital tools to support operations, exhibitions, programs, and artists.
• Prepared to be flexible in response to the uncertainty that the events of 2020 have imposed on the world, recognizing that for the short term, any vision for the future must be seen through the lens of Covid-19 and its demands, and for the long term, a dedication to the tenets of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access are essential to sustaining the Museum.

Please send applications or nominations to Sarah James and Becky Klein
at Parrish@PhillipsOppenheim.com.

The Parrish Art Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership, parental status, military status, or any other non-merit factor.