Curator of Art, Bruce Museum (Greenwich, CT)
The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, seeks a Curator of Art to collaborate in creating a bold vision for The New Bruce. A world-class community-based art and science institution, the Bruce has embarked on a transformative expansion and renovation, adding leading-edge galleries and inventive public spaces to educate, entertain, challenge, and delight. Currently under construction, the expanded Museum will have, for the first time in its nearly 110-year history, five new galleries dedicated to the display of its growing permanent art collection. Doubling the size of the existing Museum from 37,000 to over 80,000 sq. ft., the Bruce will add elegant, flexible new spaces for art exhibitions, triple current space for science exhibitions, create new education and community spaces, and dramatically expand storage capacity. Key to these plans is the creation of a deeper, richer, and more diverse permanent art collection. The next Curator of Art will be immediately engaged in preparations for the exciting inaugural installations that will mark the Museum’s reopening in the fall of 2022, and join in the historic re-branding of the Museum itself.
The collections and exhibitions of The New Bruce will focus on global art from 1850 to the present. The successful candidate will have a broad knowledge of American and European modernism, from Impressionism to contemporary art, including global contemporary art. They will be connected to contemporary artists and collectors and excited by current issues. They will have a wide intellectual curiosity and be open to interdisciplinary collaboration, ready for creative engagement with the sciences, humanities, and social topics. They will work collaboratively with the Curator of Science in exploring innovative ways to bring together art and science, creating a new and unique brand for the Museum that extends to the Metro NYC area, nationally, and internationally. Candidates should have a record of generating successful exhibitions at a variety of scales, and of cultivating donors and new gifts of art. The Curator of Art will administer a small department with potential appointed Curatorial Fellow. With an eye toward engaging the region’s many audiences, the Bruce has made a strong commitment to focusing on Community, Art, Science and Education. The Board and staff are focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and invite a new Curator of Art to participate in creating a fresh, collaborative and outward-facing approach.
The eclectic Bruce collection currently numbers about 20,000 objects including fine examples of 19th- and 20th-century American and European painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography, exceptional natural history collections, and world-class mineral specimens. The strength of the art collection is in regional painters like Childe Hassam and the Cos Cob Impressionists, and American and European artists of the 19th and 20th centuries including William Merritt Chase, Auguste Rodin, and Robert Rauschenberg. The Museum’s collections of pre-Columbian, Native American, and Asian art enable it to mount exhibitions of rich cultural diversity. The new Curator of Art will be instrumental in helping to expand and reshape the art collection, with a new focus on art in the modernist tradition, from 1850 to the present, and global contemporary art, updating and augmenting areas and artists currently under-represented and working with potential donors to secure gifts. This is a unique opportunity at an historic moment of change, expansion and redefinition.
Prior to the global pandemic and the ongoing construction, the Bruce was attracting about 70,000 visitors a year at the main Museum location and the popular Seaside Center, an environmental education site located on the beach 6 miles away in Greenwich Point Park. In a typical year, the Bruce presented more than a dozen exhibitions in art and science, organized two outdoor festivals featuring work by artists and craftspeople from around the country, and sponsored iCreate, an art exhibition for high school students. The pace of exhibitions will increase in the new building.
The Curator of Art will participate in creating a bold new vision and brand for The New Bruce. The Curator has the chance to create noted exhibitions of major artists and privately-held regional treasures, and to form a new permanent collection for The New Bruce. More than that—this is a unique opportunity to collaborate with curators, designers, and program staff, as well as leadership and the Board, in creating new paradigms for how art and science can be put together in thoughtful, imaginative, and surprising ways.
Candidates should appreciate teamwork and building relationships across departments and in the community in support of the overall mission. They must be comfortable mingling with board members and donors, leading activities of the Collectors Council, and interacting with affinity groups such as the Museum Council and Bruce Contemporaries. The successful candidate will have a track record of creating innovative exhibitions and publications, proven experience leading formal and informal moments of public engagement, and an infectious passion for addressing the important issues of the day.
The Bruce Museum
The Bruce Museum was originally built as a private home in 1853 for lawyer, clergyman and historian Francis Lister Hawks and purchased 5 years later by Robert Moffat Bruce, a wealthy textile merchant and member of the New York Cotton Exchange. In 1908, Bruce deeded his property to the Town of Greenwich, stipulating that it be used as “a natural history, historical, and art museum for the use and benefit of the public.” The first exhibition at the Bruce Museum took place in 1912 and featured works by the local Greenwich Society of Artists, several of whom were members of the Cos Cob Art Colony, now well established as an important part of the history of American painting. Works of the Cos Cob School form the nucleus of the Museum’s holdings of painting, watercolors, sketchbooks, and notebooks. Over the years, the Museum built its collection to nearly 20,000 objects representing the arts and sciences. Paralleling an interest in Connecticut artists, early directors pursued collections in the natural sciences, building particular strengths in the mineral and avian collections.
In 1992, the Bruce Museum undertook a complete renovation of its 139-year-old building, and in 2020 again broke ground on a modern addition that will double the space of the old building, creating permanent exhibition galleries and improved and elegant public spaces and amenities. Accredited in 1998 by the American Alliance of Museums, the Bruce sits high on a hill overlooking Greenwich Harbor and offers a changing array of exhibitions and educational programs that promote the understanding and appreciation of art and science.
Rendering of the Changing Science Galleries, Bruce Museum
Upon reopening in 2022, The New Bruce will embody extraordinary new art and science galleries and the campus will feature a sculpture garden, landscaped walking paths and inviting spaces for relaxation and contemplation — natural enhancements to the surrounding Bruce Park.
About Greenwich, CT
Greenwich is the southernmost and westernmost municipality in Connecticut, less than an hour north of New York City. A town of 61,000 people along the coast of the Long Island Sound, it is home to major financial institutions and a large population of Metro NYC commuters, as well as avid fishermen and boating enthusiasts. It is noted as one of the wealthiest towns in CT, and indeed the United States. In addition to the Bruce Museum, Greenwich is home to the Greenwich International Film Festival, which acts in coordination with nonprofits to promote socially conscious filmmaking in the city’s downtown in an annual June festival, in addition to screenings and events held year-round, as well as the Greenwich Historical Society, whose Bush-Holley House is home to the Cos Cob School of American Impressionism. The Greenwich Symphony Orchestra began in 1958 as the Greenwich Philharmonia; it became fully professional by 1967. The Greenwich Choral Society, founded in 1925, performs locally and elsewhere, including in New York City and Europe. In addition to the beaches overlooking the Sound, there are numerous green spaces through the town. The Babcock Preserve is nearly 300 acres of forestry and wetlands, where visitors can hike, cross country ski and even horseback ride on designated trails. Audubon Connecticut provides seven nature sanctuaries with dozens of miles of trails. And Greenwich Point provides panoramic parkland along the shoreline. There are numerous quaint bistros, seafood restaurants and waterside dining. While Greenwich’s cost of living is high, many staff members enjoy an easy commute from surrounding communities. Metro North runs right through town, with a train station within a 3-minute walk of the Museum.
The Curator of Art has the exciting opportunity to join a creative, tight-knit group of professionals as they re-envision, reinvent, and rebrand the Bruce Museum and expand into beautiful new galleries, grounds, and community spaces. They will work with others to grow and shape new collections and redefine the Bruce identity, examining the work of important artists and issues of the day, and combining art and science in compelling and innovative ways.
The Bruce Curator of Art will be expected to:
• Have a broad knowledge of and passion for fine art, always looking and learning.
• Be an inspiring communicator and excellent writer.
• Be motivated by the focus on Community Art Science Education.
• Be committed to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion.
• Create and oversee a dynamic program of art exhibitions in the new 4,500 sf gallery for changing exhibitions and a dedicated works on paper gallery
• Coordinate all aspects of exhibition development from conception, research, writing, loans, and installation, through public relations and interpretation.
• Have the vision, curiosity, and flexibility to create a wide range of exhibitions and programs – varied, diverse and inclusive.
• Bring a network of colleagues and contemporary connections to their work.
• Quickly join the team planning and executing the inaugural installations in the first-ever permanent collection galleries at the Bruce.
• Project excitement, energy, and empathy for all audiences.
• Work hard and flexibly to raise the visibility of the Bruce locally, regionally and nationally.
• Cultivate donors and bring in new collections.
• Participate in fundraising initiatives to meet the vision.
• Administer departmental functions, details, and manage a Fellowship position
Education & Experience Desired
• The Bruce believes there are many pathways to learning. No specific degrees are required, but a deep knowledge of art, passion, curiosity, and the ability to communicate these are essential. A broad understanding and appreciation of world art history and culture, and familiarity with global contemporary art are also expected.
• At least five or more years of robust experience desired, including a track record of successful exhibition and catalogue production.
• Must have experience and be comfortable engaging with the public and have persuasive communication skills both oral and written.
Desired Personal Characteristics
• Intelligent, respectful, flexible.
• Enthusiastic and amiable.
• Collaborative team player.
• Open-minded with a strength of purpose.
• Appreciation for and patience with building and funding a new vision.
• Hard-working, with a sense of balance and humor.
• At ease with both the general public and major donors.
• Ability to balance many projects at once.
• Highly organized, a capable administrator.
• $80,000 – $100,000 per annum (commensurate with experience).
• Full benefit coverage includes medical, dental, 401K plan, and paid time off.
How to Apply
Nominations are welcome.
To apply in confidence, email 1) a letter expressing interest in this particular position and giving brief examples of past related experience; 2) a resume; 3) names of three references with contact information. Submit application by May 31, 2021 to retained search firm: Lora Urbanelli, Museum Search & Reference, SearchandRef@museum-search.com.
For additional information visit: http://museum-search.com/open-searches/.
The Bruce Museum is committed to fair and accessible employment practices, and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for this search.
Short-listed candidates subsequently may be asked to provide publication or work samples.