Position Summary: Lead position to acquire and site sculpture and related artwork for the permanent collection; develop themes and ideas for sculpture exhibitions; collaboratively select and secure objects for sculpture exhibitions; build art community relationships; and serve as an officer of the corporation and a member of the management team.
PLEASE NOTE: A letter of application and resume/CV are required application materials.
· Research, recommend, and acquire sculpture and related art within the context of our established collection practices and policies.
· Develop and organize sculpture exhibitions complementing our permanent collection. The sculpture exhibition program is devoted to sculptural traditions for the purposes of understanding, appreciating, and enjoying sculpture and related objects and materials.
· Take a lead role to ensure that donor agreements relating to all current and all future sculpture and art acquisitions are honored.
· Interface and take the lead staff role with the Sculpture Advisory Board Committee, which serves as an advisory body to this position for sculpture and art acquisitions and sculpture exhibitions. Advise the committee on its role of accessioning and deaccessioning artwork.
· Build strong relationships with artists, galleries, artists’ foundations and estates, and the national and international art community.
· Provide leadership to the Sculpture & Sculpture Exhibitions Department, including art preservation and conservation, financial stewardship, and departmental budgeting.
· Work collaboratively with the Director of Sculpture, Art Collections, Exhibitions & Installations; Vice President of Horticulture on sculpture sites; the Vice President of Architecture, Environment, Facilities & Technology on facility issues; the Director of Education to promote the understanding of artwork and exhibitions; the Director of Communications on the voice of all guest-facing communications.
· Serve on the Diversity & Inclusion and Long-Range Planning Board Committees.
- Be a highly effective teacher and communicator.
- Other duties as assigned by the President & CEO
· Master’s degree in art history or museum studies, Ph. D preferred. A concentration in sculpture and/or Modern and Contemporary Art is preferred.
· Proven track record of working with artists and galleries relative to acquisitions and exhibitions in a museum context.
· Accomplished lecturer and publisher relating to Modern and Contemporary Art.
· Embrace and adhere to Meijer Gardens’ mission, brand statement, operating model, policies, procedures, and guiding principles.
· Embrace the fact that we are a non-profit institution that serves the public and that we will work as a broad and diverse group of employee team members, volunteers, members, and guests.
· Possess superior writing and verbal skills to be used with members, guests, donors and the community through lectures, media events, public speaking events, essays, and presentations, physical and digital.
· A strong willingness to be current in the literature of Modern and Contemporary Art.
· Embrace the Meijer Gardens collaborative culture.
· Management of people and interdepartmental relationships.
Working Conditions: Must be willing to: work a flexible schedule including weekends and evenings; extensively travel and obtain a passport; to work in a fast paced, multi-faceted and culturally diverse museum environment. Required to operate computers and office equipment. Must have the mobility to move around in office, grounds, and exhibition areas and if able, lift 10 pounds frequently and up to 50 pounds occasionally.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
All candidates are required to submit to our background and drug screening process.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park promotes the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts.
Chief Curator Search Position Statement
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park seeks a Chief Curator. The Chief Curator will take the lead role to acquire and site sculpture and related artwork for the Meijer Gardens permanent collection; develop themes and ideas for sculpture exhibitions; collaboratively select and secure objects for the sculpture exhibition program; build artist relationships; and serve as an officer of the corporation and a member of the management team. The position of Chief Curator reports to David Hooker, President & Chief Executive Officer.
The Chief Curator will carry out duties within the framework of the Meijer Gardens mission to promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment, and the arts. The Chief Curator will continue our tradition of a commitment to diversity and inclusion in all we do, including representation in our permanent art collection and exhibition programming. The Chief Curator will also be a visible representative of Meijer Gardens to the Grand Rapids community and the art world through lectures, media events, donor events, public speaking events, essays, and presentations.
Expanding on the expectations listed in the job posting, the Chief Curator along with all employees and volunteers must embrace our mission, brand, operating model, and guiding principles. In the 1960’s our benefactor, Fred Meijer, put a strong emphasis on professional behavior and the treatment of others with dignity and respect. He was an early leader in promoting diversity and inclusion before these terms were commonly used as they are today. It is a tradition we continue and is embodied in our guiding principles listed below.
Meijer Gardens Guiding Principles:
1. We believe in a guest experience that is enjoyable, inspiring and rewarding.
2. We embrace curiosity and wonder in all aspects of the guest experience.
3. We believe in accessible facilities, grounds, programs and communications.
4. We believe in a positive and collaborative work environment.
5. We believe in a visual presentation based on quality, attention to detail and intentional design.
6. We strive to be recognized as one of the finest cultural institutions in the world.
7. We believe in being leaders within the cultural, art and horticulture communities we serve.
8. We believe in fostering diversity, respect, creativity and professionalism.
9. We believe in valuing and preserving our history to highlight the extraordinary story of Meijer Gardens.
10. We believe in clean and safe facilities and grounds.
11. We believe in being good stewards of the natural environment.
12. We believe in financial stability and sustainability to assure that Meijer Gardens can be enjoyed by future generations.
13. We honor our donors and volunteers by being good stewards of their many gifts.
One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Meijer Gardens regularly serves 600,000 visitors per year and, prior to the global pandemic, was regularly listed in the top 30 most-visited museums in the United States by The Art Newspaper. The main campus is home to a sculpture park featuring unique sculpture sites with artwork from internationally acclaimed artists such as Jean Arp, Claes Oldenburg, Coosje van Bruggen, Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Hunt, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Antony Gormley, Beverley Pepper, Ai Weiwei, Magdalena Abakanowicz, and Jaume Plensa, among others.
The facilities include Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; an award-winning interactive children’s garden; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; a farm garden replicating a 1930’s era Michigan farm; and a 2,300-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians. In June 2015, the eight–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden opened. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculptures by Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, David Nash, George Rickey, Giuseppe Penone, Masayuki Koorida and Zhang Huan.
The robust sculpture exhibition program hosts changing sculpture exhibitions each year by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Michelle Oka Donor, Mark di Suvero, Jonathan Borofsky, Alexander Calder, Rebecca Louis Law, Jim Dine, Zhang Huan, Masayuki Koorida, Beverly Pepper, and Dale Chihuly. Historical exhibitions have also been part of our programming, often complementing the opening of a new garden or feature. The sculpture exhibitions are presented primarily in our indoor galleries, but often include elements in our Sculpture Park and conservatories.
In the past 26 years, Meijer Gardens has built a world-class art collection and hosted exhibitions with some of the world’s leading artists. The professional staff have provided excellent stewardship of the generous gifts to the sculpture program. In addition, the staff has added significant value to these gifts by developing unique and award-winning sculpture sites and exhibitions. The person who becomes Chief Curator will have the opportunity to work with a highly accomplished and experienced staff of art professionals who excel in all areas including sculpture site design, exhibition design, art handling, conservation, and art preservation.
In 2016, Meijer Gardens began construction on a $115 million expansion of its facilities, gardens, and art collection. The expansion, called Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love, includes a 69,000 square-foot Welcome Center, a 23,000 square-foot Covenant Learning Center, a transportation center, an expanded and upgraded amphitheater, a 230-seat outdoor picnic pavilion, a rooftop sculpture garden, a completely redesigned, expanded, and rebuilt Volunteer Tribute Garden, a new and expanded English Perennial Garden, and reimagined parking lots.
Celebrated and award-winning New York based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA) serve as the lead architects for the project. Among their many achievements, TWBTA designed the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and currently serve as the lead architects for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Grand Rapids based Progressive AE serves as the lead engineer and are the lead architect for the Covenant Learning Center. Owen Ames Kimball is the builder and construction manager.
The Welcome Center will feature the Garden Pavilion room where a monumental-scale commissioned work by Jaume Plensa, titled Utopia, is being installed. This room is expected to open in December of this year. The Welcome Center also features new works by Yinka Shonibare, El Anatsui, Kenneth Snelson, and George Segal.
The new English Perennial Garden, designed by Julie Moir-Messervy, will feature works by Marshall Fredericks, Dietrich Klinge, Peter Randall-Page, and new additions by Cristina Iglesias and Monica Sosnowska.
In addition, the permanent sculpture galleries are being expanded and renovated along with significant internal existing building improvements. The first exhibition in the renovated galleries will be with Yinka Shonibare.
Consistent with our commitment to the natural environment, LEED certification is being sought for all eligible areas of the project. All elements of the project are expected to be ready in 2022.
The acquisition of sculpture is supported by a permanent endowment gifted by Fred and Lena Meijer. Capital campaigns intentionally include additional monies to acquire and conserve sculpture. Meijer Gardens has an art acquisition philosophy focused on works by established and emerging sculptors from the Modern tradition to the present. The permanent art collection is focused on the art historical movements from the mid-19th century to the present.
The 158-acre Meijer Gardens main campus contains all offerings open to the public. There is also a 200-acre Natural Environment Area. A vision for this property needs to be developed consistent with our mission.
To be included in our confidential search process, please submit your qualifications, resume and/or curriculum vitae, and letter of application to Angela Violet, Director of Human Resource Management via US Mail or to email@example.com , or apply online at http://www.meijergardens.org/contact/careers/ . Professional references will be required.