Location: Seattle, Washington
Type: Full Time
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ABOUT THE HENRY ART GALLERY
The University of Washington seeks applicants for the position of John S. Behnke Director of The Henry Art Gallery. A leading contemporary art gallery with unparalleled collections, exhibits, and programs, the Henry Art Gallery (the Henry) envisions a world where art leads everyone to discover possibilities in themselves, others, and the world around them. The Henry Art Gallery was founded in 1926 as Washington State's first art museum by Seattle entrepreneur Horace C. Henry on the principle that art stimulates inquiry, fosters knowledge, and builds a healthy community. Horace Henry donated the collection of 178 works of art that he built with his late wife Susan, along with funding for the gallery’s construction. The permanent collection now contains over 28,000 objects, including costumes, textiles, ceramics, photographs, prints, videos, paintings, and works on paper. The Henry opened to the public on February 10, 1927, and completed a major expansion in 1997, quadrupling its size.
Located on the Seattle campus of the world-renowned University of Washington (UW), the Henry is internationally recognized for innovative and groundbreaking exhibitions, for being first in the field to champion emerging artists who go on to worldwide acclaim, and for premiering and sponsoring new works by artists of note. Today, the Henry empowers diverse artists to activate the museum as a studio and laboratory for creativity. The Henry Art Gallery has a rich history that includes partnerships with over 40 academic departments and units of the University of Washington, 35 community organizations, and regional partnerships, extending its position as a key cultural resource in the Pacific Northwest and a training ground in the visual arts for students, scholars, artists, and general audiences.
The Henry’s permanent collection includes both historical and contemporary artworks collected since the museum’s inception. Collections of particular note are the Albert Feldmann Collection of European Master Prints, the Joseph and Elaine Monsen Collection of Photography, the Stimson-Bullitt Collection of nineteenth-century prints, the Bill and Ruth True Collection of Contemporary Art, and the Washington Arts Consortium Collection of American Photographs, 1970–1980. In the Eleanor Henry Reed Collection Study Center — the only facility of its kind in the region and free to all — visitors can request to see specific works of interest. This center is a significant cultural resource for anyone seeking to learn from original works of art, and for students and researchers studying at the University of Washington and other academic institutions. Digital access to the permanent collection is also available on the Henry’s website.
The Henry presents exhibitions and programs that serve as a catalyst for discovery by visitors of all ages. Exhibitions are the cornerstone of how the Henry engages with the larger community. The Henry is committed to racial equity and social justice as the future for contemporary art. The gallery’s efforts to build an inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist organization informs all they do. Critically, the Henry is currently prioritizing works by BIPOC identifying artists, particularly Black, Latinx, and Native American artists, and is also focusing on increasing the number of works in their holdings by women and LGBTQ+ artists.
Public programs at the Henry include lectures, performances, workshops, and screenings that engage contemporary art practices and the complex ideas of our time. Developed in collaboration with the Henry’s community and artist partners, the gallery approaches their programs as opportunities for ongoing and deepening conversations with artists; local organizations; University of Washington faculty, staff, students, and student groups; and people of all ages. Digital publications and online resources increase equity, access, and the educational impact of the Henry’s premier exhibitions and programs.
As a unit of the UW’s College of Arts & Sciences, the Henry Art Gallery works closely in a public/private partnership between the UW and the Henry Gallery Association (HGA). Incorporated in 1970, the Henry Gallery Association is an independent nonprofit organization that supports the University of Washington with the Henry’s operations, management, and funding. The Henry Gallery Association provides advice and direction on many important areas including board governance, finance, operations, equity, collections, development, marketing, and special events.
In 2019, the Henry launched Art Unbound, a $5 million philanthropic campaign to commission artists to create new works, expand partnerships with educators, students, and people throughout their community, and center education and equity as a vital part of the museum experience. The campaign has focused on cultivating and soliciting major gifts and investments to originate groundbreaking exhibitions, commission new works, establish new scholarships, and foster a culture of creativity community wide. As of January 2023, this transformative campaign has raised $4.89 million and expects to close successfully by the end of June 2023.
The next John S. Behnke Director will be a collaborative and dynamic museum executive, who provides overall vision, leadership, and strategic direction for the Henry Art Gallery. The Director will be a recognized champion for groundbreaking exhibits, innovative arts programming, and supporting new artists, as well as leading the Henry’s dedicated mission to engage all people in the transformative power of contemporary art and ideas. The next Director will start from a highly advantageous position, inheriting a stable budget, a high-functioning senior staff, a passionate base of donors and patrons, a $24.3 million endowment, and vibrant support from the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest community. This position reports directly to Diane Harris, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and indirectly to Gabriel Solis, the Divisional Dean of Arts. In addition to a close partnership with CAS, the Director works closely with the independent, nonprofit Board of Trustees of the Henry Gallery Association on policy, programming, governance, fiscal health, and fundraising. This leader is expected to maintain strong relationships with the University of Washington, including productive and positive engagements with UW officials, the campus community, and civic leaders in Seattle.
As a champion of the Henry’s mission, the Director inspires an organizational culture of inclusiveness, collaboration, and critical inquiry. The Director oversees 47 staff including six senior-level staff: Director of Communications & Public Relations, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Director of Development, Director of Finance & Administration, Human Resources Manager, and Executive Assistant. With this team the Director cultivates the highest degree of professionalism and accountability and ensures effective management, efficient organizational structures and systems, and professional practices grounded in equity and excellence. The Director oversees the management of a $4.9 million operating budget, while constantly aligning the support of operations with the museum’s mission, vision, and values with a strong commitment to the Henry’s location on the campus of a major research university.
Alongside a deep, passionate commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the Henry Art Gallery and the University of Washington, the ideal candidate will bring a minimum of seven years of demonstrated senior-level leadership experience at successful arts, educational, and/or cultural institutions, including experience with fundraising, marketing, communications, program design, strategic planning, and board relations. Proven ability to successfully develop, mentor, and lead large, diverse teams in a spirit of inclusivity and collaboration. They will bring proven success in building productive, long-term relationships with senior university administrators, deans, faculty, staff, civic leaders, boards, volunteers, and donors. Strong cultural competence with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will be critical. This leader should also possess a shared, flexible leadership style that promotes creative problem-solving skills and risk-taking across teams; strong listening, communication, interpersonal, and motivational skills; and a strong record in fundraising, particularly major gift, foundation, and corporate funding. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college is required; an advanced degree in arts history, fine arts, or a related arts field is desirable.
ABOUT UW AND THE COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES
Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is consistently rated one of the world’s top institutions of higher learning, ranked 6th among the best global universities by U.S. News & World Report , and recently recognized by Reuters as one of the most innovative public universities in the world. With three campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, UW offers over 845 degree options across 474 programs to over 60,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students annually. In 2022, the University received $1.67 billion in total research awards, more than any other public university in the United States. UW has an annual budget of $9.49 billion and employs more than 4,300 faculty and nearly 27,000 staff. The outstanding faculty includes seven Nobel Prize winners and 17 MacArthur Fellows. Located just four miles north of downtown Seattle, the main campus offers stunning views of snow-capped Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains, as well as nearby Lake Washington.
The College of Arts & Sciences is at the heart of the University of Washington. As the UW’s largest college, Arts & Sciences produces more than half of all bachelor’s degrees on the Seattle campus. A third of their 24,000+ students are the first in their families to attend college. Faculty in 39 academic departments are dedicated to helping students think critically, communicate clearly, and engage diverse perspectives respectfully. In Arts & Sciences, their discoveries in learning, teaching, and research engage them with their local, national, and global communities — and with each other. Since September 1, 2021, the college has been led by Dean Dianne Harris.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
The salary range for this position is $255,000 to $285,000. Employment at the Henry Art Gallery is managed by the University of Washington. UW offers a highly competitive salary and a wide range of benefits as part of a total compensation package. For more information, explore the UW Benefits website. As an active player in Seattle’s and the Pacific Northwest’s vibrant arts and cultural communities, the Henry Art Gallery also offers a supportive, flexible, and inclusive work environment. Relocation will be provided for the successful candidate.
The University of Washington has retained Campbell & Company to conduct this search. A full position guide can be viewed here. To be considered for this opportunity, please send a letter of interest and resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org