Michelle Kasprzak's views on contemporary art curating

Job: Curator, Palo Alto Art Center

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, January 31. 2011 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

Curator, Palo Alto Art Center
Deadline: March 9, 2011

The Palo Alto Art Center seeks a dynamic, visionary, and energetic arts professional to serve as Curator (Producer Arts or Science Programs) during a pivotal point in our organization’s history. Since 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center has provided quality arts experiences to more than 70,000 people annually. With a closure for a much-needed renovation planned for spring 2011 and a subsequent reopening in a transformed facility, the Art Center is faced with a unique opportunity to expand and enrich our programs and outreach to new audiences.

The Palo Art Center provides opportunities for the artist in everyone and our nationally recognized exhibition program is intended to connect people to art, making art accessible to broad audiences. The mission of the Center is to foster creative process and thought by forging a greater appreciation and understanding of the arts through exhibitions, studio experiences, and related educational programming. We believe our mission is best achieved by connecting the experience of viewing art to the experience of making art. The Curator plays an essential role in generating exhibitions that inspire audiences to observe, to discuss, to learn, and to create. The resulting exhibitions form the basis of our successful education programs, such as Project LOOK!

Reporting to the Art Center Director, the Curator will be responsible for developing innovative and diverse thematic and solo exhibitions that will engage existing and target audiences. Secondary duties include the development of promotional and interpretive materials and public programs. The Curator also provides leadership for the exhibitions team, including a Curatorial Assistant, Registrar, and Preparator, along with an installation crew. The Curator promotes and raises support for exhibition programs with the Art Center Director and Art Center Foundation staff and board, by participating in the development of grants and the cultivation of donors. This position maintains active relationships with artists, community members, lenders, donors, and professional colleagues. The Curator is also responsible for managing the exhibitions program budget.

The ideal candidate will possess a significant breadth of knowledge and experience in the field of contemporary art. Background in a broad range of artistic practices, including work in diverse media (particularly media represented in the Art Center’s studio program), historical periods, and cultural traditions, is preferred. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated creativity and innovation in developing quality exhibitions and public programs. Strong writing and gallery presentation skills are also essential, as this position must communicate about art to volunteers, donors, staff, and community members. Excellent organization and project management skills are preferred. This position also requires the ability to successfully collaborate with other program staff, artists, lenders, volunteers, and community members.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s Degree in art, art history, museum studies, or related discipline and at least two years of professional experience.

Writing Sample Required:

Provide two writing samples: a) an example of a writing for a publication and b) an example of a writing for an interpretive text or label. Please submit your writing samples to sha[email protected] before the posting closing date.

Supplemental questions:
Considering the demographics of the Palo Alto area, propose an exhibition and related programs that you believe would be successful in engaging our audiences.

Working Conditions/Physical Requirements:

Work in an office environment in a publicly accessible building, answering of phones and sustained posture in a seated position for prolonged periods of time, ability to do some heavy lifting.

Special Requirements:

Possession of a driver’s license.

Work Hours and Schedule:

Full time, non-exempt position. This is a Service Employee International Union (SEIU) position with full benefits. Compensation: $29.75-$36.53 hourly

Application procedure:

Apply online at the City of Palo Alto website:

Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of online applications.
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