Chief Curator and Director of National Academician (NA) Affairs, National Academy of Design (New York, NY)

Job Summary

Founded in 1825, the National Academy of Design promotes art and architecture in America. As the leading honorary society for visual artists and architects in the United States, we advocate for the arts as a tool for education, celebrate the role of artists and architects in public life, and serve as a catalyst for cultural conversations that propel society forward.

As it looks ahead to its 200th anniversary in 2025, the National Academy of Design is at an especially exciting moment of reinvention and possibility. Following the sale of its buildings on New York’s Museum Mile, and the subsequent creation of a board-restricted endowment, the National Academy is refocusing on the artists and architects who are at the core of its mission and developing a vibrant schedule of exhibitions and programs that builds on the Academy’s extraordinary history to explore critical issues in contemporary art, architecture, and culture.

The Academy is also developing new ways to activate and make more accessible its incomparable collection of American art. With nearly 8,000 works of painting, sculpture, drawing, architectural renderings and models, and more, the National Academy’s collection has been assembled almost entirely through donations by the artists and architects elected as National Academicians since 1825.


The National Academy of Design seeks a dynamic, innovative curator of contemporary art to serve as Chief Curator and Director of National Academician (NA) Affairs. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Chief Curator/Director of NA Affairs is a new position that will be responsible for oversight of all curatorial activities and serve as a primary point of contact for the approximately 450 living artists and architects currently serving as National Academicians. The Chief Curator/Director of NA Affairs is a member of the senior management team, and a key partner to the Executive Director in shaping the National Academy’s curatorial vision and developing the fundraising and communications to support it.

The Chief Curator/Director of NA Affairs will have a track record of successful exhibitions and curatorial projects, and extensive experience working with artists and architects. With a focus on American art and architecture of the past 75 years, the Chief Curator thinks critically and thoughtfully about how art, architecture, and culture can help us explore different issues and ideas in contemporary life. The position is a unique opportunity to join the leadership team of a historic institution at a moment of exciting change and reinvention.

Responsibilities & Duties

The responsibilities of the Chief Curator / Director of NA Affairs will include:

  • Work with executive director and curatorial team to develop and implement long-range curatorial vision and priorities
  • Work with curatorial team to set annual exhibition calendar
  • Curate exhibitions, artist commissions, and related projects and publications, with a specific focus on contemporary art and architecture
  • Work with curatorial and collections team to manage the donation and stewardship of Diploma Works by National Academicians
  • Develop close working relationships with National Academicians to help shape exhibitions programming and the collection
  • Provide vision and direction for National Academician Affairs, including the nomination and election of new Academicians, annual Induction Ceremony of new members, meetings, and more
  • Work directly with the Board of Governors, committees, and National Academicians to advance curatorial initiatives
  • Work with collections staff to develop innovative strategies for making the collection more accessible and available to researchers, scholars, and the public
  • Work with education and programs staff to develop thoughtful and innovative exhibition and collections programming
  • Work with executive director to develop annual departmental goals and budgets
  • Work with executive director and development staff on fundraising and donor stewardship
  • Identify and manage strategic institutional partnerships to extend the National Academy’s audience and reach

Necessary Knowledge & Skills

  • At least 10-15 years of progressively responsible curatorial, collections, and arts management experience
  • MA/PhD in art history, or related discipline, with a focus on contemporary American art preferred, or equivalent work experience
  • A track record of curating and producing exhibitions, curatorial projects, and publications with demonstrated impact
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with a track record of published articles, books, or other texts
  • Proven success in fundraising and donor stewardship
  • Ability to successfully manage departmental and project budgets
  • Working knowledge of TMS/TMS Collections a plus
  • Collaborative and open management style with success in managing teams and partnerships


Please submit a CV and 1-page cover letter, combined in one PDF named “Last Name_Chief Curator,” via email to Please include “Chief Curator” in the subject line. No phone calls please.


The National Academy of Design is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. We strongly encourage women, veterans, people with disabilities, people of color, and gender nonconforming candidates to apply. The National Academy of Design is an equal opportunity employer and considers all candidates for employment regardless of race, color, sex, age, gender identification, national origin, creed, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or political affiliation.