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Executive Director, Columbia Museum of Art

  • 31 Mar 2017 1:31 PM
    Message # 4704823



    The year 2016 was a banner year for Columbia Museum of Art (CMA). The Museum successfully completed a $16 million capital campaign to fund renovations and expand exhibition, education and studio space. CMA was the recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Art Award as the top arts organization in the State of South Carolina and was also honored with the National Medal for Museum and Library Science at a White House ceremony.

    CMA is located in the heart of Columbia’s revitalized downtown, several blocks from the State Capital and the historic campus of the University of South Carolina; it is the cultural hub of the area.

    CMA’s collection now numbers over 7,000 works of art. Anchored by superb gifts from the Kress collection, it contains significant examples of 15th to 19th century European painting, including a Botticelli nativity, rare in any museum, and work by Monet, Guardi, Canaletto, Romney and Gilbert Stuart. The Museum also has significant holdings in European and American decorative arts from Medieval to 21st century and the largest public collection of Asian art in South Carolina.

    An expanding collection of 20th century art includes six works on paper by Jasper Johns, who spent his formative years in and around Columbia, and 600 objects gifted in 2012 by legendary New York collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel. The Museum actively collects African-American art and work by women artists.

    CMA encompasses 127,050 square feet, but had utilized only 70% of the space. The remaining 30% was reserved for future expansion. The 2017 renovation will add 12,000 square feet to the developed space and will include reinstallation of the galleries housing the permanent collection. When completed, instead of traditional chronological groupings, each gallery will have a specific theme which will mix historical periods, styles and geographical regions, providing an exciting foundation for the Museum’s educational programming.

    CMA’s educational programming serves children, adults and the area’s large college and academic population. From kindergarten readiness programs to musical performances and collaborations to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education, CMA uses art to help students enhance formal learning with creative thinking and problem‑solving skills both inside the Museum walls and in the city and region.

    CMA is deeply engaged in the community and leverages partnerships with other Columbia not-for-profits, including Historic Columbia, University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Trustus Theatre, and the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Museum has active the support of the Contemporaries (a young professionals’ patron organization) and the Friends of African American Arts & Culture.

    The CMA is widely admired as well-run with strong leadership and experienced staff and for the past seven years has run in the black. The CMA operates with a $4.2 million budget, a staff of 48 and a 34‑member Board of Directors.


    The CMA is seeking an Executive Director to lead the organization into a robust and dynamic future. The successful candidate will be a creative and visionary leader prepared to take the strengths of one of the leading regional art museums in the U.S. to the next level in collaboration with a dedicated staff and Board of Trustees.


    The Executive Director serves as the Museum’s chief executive officer, interacts frequently with the President of the Board and the Executive Committee, and has a working relationship with the Columbia Museum of Art Commission, a public body. The Executive Director will serve as the Museum’s primary public face and as an active, visible and collaborative member of the community at large.

    The Executive Director has the overall responsibility and authority for the day‑to‑day management of the Museum, formulating and communicating Museum priorities and ensuring the Museum’s continued financial viability through creative and effective development and fundraising.

    Among the Executive Director’s immediate priorities are overseeing the completion of the ongoing building renovations designed to make use of currently unoccupied space; coordinating the redesign and installation of Boyd Plaza, adjacent to the Museum and funded by a private donor (this important green space is a partnership project with the City of Columbia); and moving forward the Goals and Objectives of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan that will advance CMA’s role as a “Must See” cultural destination and community hub.


    The next Executive Director must have extensive museum business experience and demonstrated excellent leadership skills. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of ten years’ experience in a museum with preference given to an advanced degree in art history or museum studies; previous major fundraising responsibility and achievement in implementing large gift solicitation campaigns; demonstrated success in community outreach and engagement and ease in cultivating and managing relationships with diverse, multi-cultural populations; and a track record of motivating results-oriented teams and taking an organization through its next stage of growth. The successful candidate will have emotional intelligence, be motivational, energetic and strategic as well as collaborative and persuasive.

    Compensation and Benefits

    Competitive salary and excellent benefits.

    For a complete position description please click here.


    The metropolitan Columbia area, known as the Midlands, is one of the fastest- growing regions in the US, with over 800,000 residents.

    Columbia’s natural beauty includes an abundance of national, state and city parks and lakes. The Great Smoky Mountains, the Sea Islands of Georgia, Atlantic beaches and many historic sites are all within reach for day trips. Columbia is home to a wealth of educational institutions and a diverse economy with a growing health and technology sector.

    TO APPLY: The Columbia Museum of Art has retained Opportunity Resources Inc. to execute the search. Applications, including resumes and cover letters, and nominations should be sent to:; Attention: Freda Mindlin and Nancy Kaufman. All inquiries will be held in confidence.

    Last modified: 31 Mar 2017 1:32 PM | Freda Mindlin