Curator- Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC

  • 18 Mar 2020 4:27 PM
    Message # 8840524
    Susan Perry (Administrator)

    Position: Curator

    The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) is seeking a collaborative curatorial leader with a strong academic background, a vision for embracing new trends and technologies, and who understands and embraces programming for diverse audiences.  The curator will work with CMA staff and leadership to help define and implement fresh presentations of our permanent collection, and create exhibitions and programming that inform, engage, and expand our audiences and that promote the CMA as a leading fine arts museum .  The curator  will share management of the work of the curatorial department that includes, but is not limited to, the museum’s annual exhibition program, research, writing, presentations, acquisitions, patron relations, and networking. Executive Director, Della Watkins, leads the museum's commitment to be welcoming, community-centered, vibrant, playful, and inspiring. In addition to these values, CMA staff and the board eagerly embrace diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion that contribute to an open environment for the communities we serve.  The person selected to fill this curatorial position will have demonstrated the capacity to promote these attributes.  

    About the Museum:

    The CMA, is the largest international art museum in the state of South Carolina, located a short distance to Charleston, SC, Greenville, SC and Charlotte, NC.  Columbia is the state capital and the second largest city in the state. In the heart of South Carolina at the convergence of three rivers the  area is home to thriving colleges and universities, award-winning hospital systems, and diverse and charming neighborhoods to suit any lifestyle. Several business and retail districts with outdoor cafés, coffee shops, art galleries, and shops present year-round opportunities for entertainment, socializing, and enjoying the outdoors. The city includes historic architecture of a bygone era while high-tech start-ups and artist venues thrive in the urban revitalization occurring in the lively downtown areas.

    Established in 1950, the CMA is exceptional in its impact, attracting both national and state recognition, and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. The museum now welcomes more than 135,000 visitors annually—including more than 28,000 children—and acts as a catalyst for community creativity and the redevelopment of Columbia’s  downtown district. In order to serve even more audiences, the CMA recently underwent a renovation of the 1998 facility, including new collection galleries with a progressive thematic layout, new studios for art-making, and cutting-edge program and event spaces. The newly renovated Boyd Plaza adjacent to the CMA provides an attractive outdoor art and people gathering space downtown.  The CMA is committed to the concept of an inclusive and participatory 21st  century museum, where art is meant to be experienced, not just seen.

    The CMA is a collecting institution and maintains a collection numbering approximately 7,000 works of art.  The CMA’s collecting emphasis is on American, Asian, European, and Contemporary art. The collection includes artists as aesthetically and stylistically varied as Sandro Botticelli, Renee Cox, Charles and Ray Eames, Sam Gilliam, Robert Henri, Claude Monet, Tintoretto, Pat Steir, and Andy Warhol. The governing Collections Committee has an eye to the future and embraces accessions of non-traditional art that includes ideas of visual conversations between works of art. The CMA encompasses 124,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, studios, public spaces, and storage.  The museum actively mounts approximately four special exhibitions per year, with a dynamic menu of related public and educational programs. The CMA operates with an approximately $5 million budget and a staff of 33 full-time and 42 part-time employees (including security and special event staff).  

    Scope of Work:

    ·       Collaboratively conceptualize and research an exhibition and collection strategy that supports the museum’s vision, mission, and values for discussion with the executive director and presentation to the board of trustees

    ·       Lead the annual planning of the exhibition schedule, including those exhibitions initiated by the CMA, traveling exhibitions, artist installations, private collections, and loans

    ·       Initiate relations with assigned institutions in developing exhibition loan contracts, work timetables, and installation schedules.

    ·       In coordination with exhibition designers and curator, oversee exhibition installation design, layout, and graphics

    ·       Review exhibition proposals and ideas for artistic merit, mission fit, budget and scheduling factors  

    ·       Actively solicit, cultivate, and steward relations with colleagues, donors, members, lenders, staff and guests

    ·       Encourage and facilitate a culture of collaboration across programmatic and supporting departments to ensure effective communication, efficiencies, and accountability

    ·       Develop, maintain, and strengthen relationships with members of the broader arts community including artists, curators, educators, writers, journalists, collectors, and cultural institutions both  nationally and internationally  

    ·       Provide expertise and information for assigned grant applications and for general fundraising activities in cooperation with Development staff. Help identify potential donors in conjunction with designated exhibitions

    ·       Ensure proper dissemination of exhibition schedule, visual materials, content and text for exhibition promotion, and related information to CMA departments as appropriate

    ·       Responsible for drafting and monitoring the curatorial departmental annual budget

    ·       Supervise and delegate curatorial and administrative duties to respective curatorial staff, as appropriate


    ·       MA in art history or related field, PhD preferred

    ·       8+ years of increasingly applied curatorial experience

    ·       5+ years of growth in management-level museum experience

    ·       Demonstrated excellence in conceiving and organizing successful exhibitions for new audiences

    ·       Demonstrated level of knowledge in the museum’s collecting areas including American, Asian, European and Contemporary art   

    ·       Proactively model the importance of timely collegial interaction, personal accountability, maturity, professionalism, communication, and exchange across disciplinary boundaries

    ·       Proven ability to foster and encourage innovation around new models for partnering (both internally and externally), and for exploring new creative relationships with artists central to the CMA mission

    ·       Effectively navigate through the complexity of key issues, challenges, and opportunities to affect actions; guide staff to proactively build and align stakeholders, capabilities, and resources to achieve institutional objectives

    ·       Demonstrated experience developing, communicating, and managing department projects, staff, budgets, and goals

    ·       Demonstrated experience in donor cultivation and stewardship  

    ·       Self-directed and motivated

    ·       Work with curatorial team to ensure care and conservation of works

    ·       Mastery of English language and the ability to plan and deliver oral and written communications that make an impact, persuade, and inform their intended audiences

    ·       Knowledge of research tools and methodologies

    ·       Monthly evening and weekend time and occasional travel

    ·       This position requires a criminal background check

    ·       A considerable amount of time sitting, standing, walking, climbing stairs, and reaching

    ·       Experience handling objects and tools

    ·       The ability to lift up to 30 pounds 


    The Columbia Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to diversity, accessibility, equity, and inclusion. Confidential inquiries, applications, and recommendations are welcome. Please email cover letter and resume to Mrs. Jeanna Dixon-McCray, at with “Curator” in the subject line.

    Salary Range:

    Commensurate with experience