Seeking Co-Director

Seeking Co-Director

Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture

Courtesy of Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture.

December 8, 2023
Seeking Co-Director
Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture
136 W 22nd St
New York, NY 10011
United States

Skowhegan seeks a Co-Director to join its full-time staff. They will play a critical role within a collaborative leadership team, and advance a model of working in partnership that dates back to Skowhegan’s founding.

Skowhegan was founded in 1946, by artists, for artists as a summer art school where promising and committed emerging artists would live with, and learn from, one another and a faculty of professional artists. Nearly eight decades later, Skowhegan continues to support emerging artists through its celebrated summer residency program which unfolds over nine-weeks on its rural, seasonal campus in central Maine. Its community, history, and impact are activated through programs and projects with alumni and faculty artists, through its archives, and through special events that extend the spirit, character and values of campus into the larger world. Today, Skowhegan has an operating budget of about $3.5 million, and endowment and investments of about $30 million. Campus is approximately 350-acres with over 90 buildings, including residences, a dining hall, common house, office, studio buildings, and educational facilities (lecture barn, fresco shop, sculpture shop, ceramics studio, media lab, library, flex space), as well as acres of forests, fields and lakefront.

Skowhegan’s shared leadership model is an essential aspect of its cooperative ethos and practice. One Co-Director, whose position Skowhegan seeks to fill, is primarily responsible for running the school. The other Co-Director is primarily responsible for running the organization. There are two Boards. The Board of Governors, visual artists of high professional standing who have attended Skowhegan as participants and/or faculty, oversee the artistic and educational program, including selection of participants and faculty. The Board of Trustees is the legal governing body, and has fiduciary responsibility to Skowhegan’s program, operations, and finances. Working in close partnership with the Boards, the Co-Directors establish the strategic vision and institutional priorities to advance Skowhegan. This collaborative practice is fundamental to the Skowhegan way of working.

The role
The primary responsibility of this Co-Director’s job is directing the nine-week summer session in Maine, including the year-round activities that support it, and working with the Governors. The Co-Director sets the tone for the session, and is involved with all aspects of the program’s operation, execution, and community building. From mid-May through August, the Co- Director is in full-time residence on campus in a private home provided by Skowhegan. September is a sabbatical month. From October until May, they work out of the New York City office, traveling to Maine as necessary.

This position reports to the Co-Chairs of the Board of Governors and to the President of the Board of Trustees. There are currently 37 Governors and 23 Trustees. Direct Reports: Year-Round Program Manager; ten to twelve Summer Program Staff (including Deans, Library, Sculpture & Ceramics, Media Lab, Fresco, Summer Program Coordinator, Counseling Dean), three to five Program Consultants (including to support equity and inclusion), eleven Faculty Artists.

Leadership & governance
This is a front-facing role, and the Co-Director should be a respected and knowledgeable leader in the field, and an active participant in conversations about contemporary art and arts education, advancing Skowhegan’s position at the vanguard of arts discourse.

Success in this role depends on developing a strong relationship with the Board of Governors to collaboratively steer the vision for the artistic and educational program. The Co-Director will work closely with the Board of Governors through board and committee work, as well as the nomination of new members and engagement of all members. They will also participate in quarterly Trustee and Joint Executive Committee meetings.

The Co-Directors, with the Boards, will set strategic vision and establish institutional priorities that align with Skowhegan’s mission and values.

Program management
Set the tone for the summer program by establishing an inclusive and open-minded approach, and modeling humanity, generosity, and trust for participants, faculty, and staff.

Provide leadership to recognize and diffuse the tension inevitable when 80 artists from deeply diverse backgrounds come together as strangers to live and explore creative growth.

Cultivate a community that supports both individual and collective growth, in which it is possible for artists of all backgrounds and practices to thrive, to learn from one another, and to benefit from the unique opportunity to live within a community of artists who are entering with vastly different experiences and concerns.

Develop policy and programs to support participants and the overall effective operation of the summer program.

Oversee, in close collaboration with the Board of Governors: the selection and invitation of faculty artists (five Resident, five Visiting, one Paul Mellon Fellow) and the participant application process and admission review (approximately 2,500 applicant artists; 65 accepted artists).

Allocate financial aid and matching school grants. Recruit, retain and mentor diverse program staff. Engage and support faculty, staff, participants, and governors.

Lead long and short-term strategic planning on individual shop areas (including Library, Media Lab, Fresco, Ceramics, Wood & Metal shops, Flex Space).

Support the Director of Residence Life in their work assessing and updating housing facilities, and operating the local food program.

Demonstrate a real and sustained commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in all aspects of work, and recognize that ensuring equity is an ongoing project requiring vigilance, active care and participation.

Work closely with the program staff and onsite mental health professional to ensure that protocols are clearly communicated to, and maintained by, all Participants, Faculty and Visitors to ensure community health and safety.

Sustain healthy & welcoming relationships with town, neighbors, and other Maine colleagues. Support alumni programming in partnership with relevant staff and Board.

Site management
Ensure that campus facilities are aligned with, and support, program goals and needs; delegate and support experienced professionals and maintain a healthy team dynamic. Participate in capital planning in collaboration with the Director of Facilities, Co-Director and Buildings & Grounds Committee. Develop emergency protocols for campus with the Director of Facilities and Director of Residential Life. Steward local natural resources in partnership with relevant staff and Board.

Financial management
Set the summer program budget in consultation with the Co-Director, and manage expenses, including distribution of emergency discretionary funds to participants. Support fundraising efforts in partnership with the Development Team and Boards, including participation in donor events and programs.

The individual
They must have a broad knowledge of contemporary art practice, and be a practitioner in arts administration or a closely related field. Supervisory experience, excellent communication skills, and the ability to work in partnership are essential. The successful candidate will combine these qualities with a commitment to the ideas expressed by Skowhegan’s mission and program structure. The Committee seeks individuals who can or may bring the following specific qualities to the opportunity:

–Minimum five years professional experience managing a team of five or more individuals;
–A deep commitment to, and support for, artists and the process of creation;
–The ability to collaborate with the Governors in their leadership;
–Experienced manager of teams; able to delegate, hold accountable, build trust, and support experienced staff;
–Ease and efficacy in both urban and rural communities;
–Emotionally grounded and secure; open, creative, resourceful, patient, decisive;
–Invested, yet able to model and set clear boundaries that ensure sustainability of personal and communal health;
–Ability to see and place Skowhegan in a larger continuum and world that sustains and supports its mission and purpose;
–Preserve and strengthen, yet not fossilize, a deeply sourced and valued culture.

Skowhegan is an equal opportunity employer. Skowhegan’s community is diverse, and we wish to foster that diversity in this workplace. Toward that end, Skowhegan does not discriminate against individuals in hiring, employment or promotion on the basis of race, religion, color, sex/gender, gender identity and gender expression, age, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, citizenship, disability status, veteran or military status, political belief, pregnancy, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law.

Compensation: The salary range for this position is 150,000–180,000 USD, plus competitive benefits.

To apply: Please send a letter of interest and a resume inclusive of relevant experience to search [​at​] Attn: Co-Director Search.

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Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture
December 8, 2023

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