The Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Learning and Audience Engagement

DRG - New York - Full time

Background

The Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1929 as a private art institution with an educational Regent’s charter and a primary mission to “help people enjoy, understand, and use the art of our time.” The founding Director, Alfred Barr, was himself an innovative educator, and by 1939 the Education Department had been formalized. Even in its infancy, MoMA Education had a nationally recognized presence in pedagogical innovation; it promoted civic responsibility and social inclusion with a pioneering War Veterans’ Art Center (1944-48), Children’s Art Carnivals, and used television to model creative approaches to teaching and parenting (1952-53).

During the 1980s and 90s, MoMA’s Education Department built programming to connect with communities in response to local needs and national crises, including experimental programs for people with disabilities and efforts to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic. In the 1990s, the Department partnered with the Harvard Graduate School of Education to develop a new method for engaging novice viewers with art. This developmental approach, the Visual Thinking Strategies, was considered a leading method for art education, and interest in training spread globally.

Today, MoMA’s Education Department remains a vital force within the institution and the field. The Department’s expertise in teaching and learning is regularly sought out and it has achieved a global reputation for innovation and leadership. The Department’s pedagogical approach is informed by constructivist, inquiry-based, and experimental methodologies which have had significant influence in modelling new ways of working collaboratively, breaking down silos, and putting visitors’ experiences with art at the center of the conversation. A commitment to qualitative and quantitative research methods is central to generating data and providing feedback that help shape decision-making and resource allocation in effective and efficient ways that respond to institutional priorities and audience needs.

The Education Department is structured as four teams: Community, Access, and School and Teen Programs, Family Programs and Initiatives, Adult and Academic Programs, and Interpretation, Research and Digital Learning. Each of these areas consists of a Director and staff dedicated to conceiving and delivering relevant programs.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the Education Department served over 270,000 people annually through on-site and off-site programs. The Department has embraced digital learning for decades, and the Museum currently offers ten massive open online courses (MOOCs) on Coursera, which reach over 1 million learners. It also has dedicated social media channels and many other digital learning initiatives on moma.org and beyond. Interpretive resources, including audio and labels, connect MoMA’s nearly 3 million on-site visitors every year to the art in MoMA’s collection and temporary exhibitions.

The Department also manages three classrooms and the content and programming for two participatory spaces, The Heyman Family Art Lab and the Paula and James Crown Creativity Lab.

For more information about MoMA, please visit www.moma.org.

Position

Working closely with MoMA’s David Rockefeller Director and reporting to the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, the Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Learning and Audience Engagement (DDLAE) will lead MoMA’s Education Department in broadening and deepening MoMA’s reach by reimagining museum education and audience engagement in a post-Covid, 21st century world.

As a member of the senior leadership team, the DDLAE will lead and oversee the design of bold and inspired educational strategy, programming, and community building experiences across the Museum that align with and amplify MoMA’s global mission as a leader in connecting audiences with art.

The DDLAE’s responsibilities include educational programming, external and community relations, fundraising and development, strategic planning, alignment with institutional goals, priorities, and programs, as well as operational, financial, and administrative management. This person will manage a $2.3 million operating budget (pre-COVID-19), and lead, mentor, and support a staff of 25. In line with MoMA’s culture as an innovation incubator, the ideal candidate will encourage thought partnership and experimentation, challenging their team to push creative bounds while adhering to budgetary constraints.

The DDLAE will be a seasoned, charismatic, and collaborative leader who will build, strengthen, and enhance relationships within the Museum and on local, national, and international levels. This leader will forge close, symbiotic partnerships with Curatorial, the Creative Team, Visitor Experience, Membership, Archives, Library, and Research Collections, Conservation, Publications, and MoMA PS1 that enhance and broaden the audience’s experience and interpretation of the Museum’s collection and exhibitions.

Given the diversity and complexity of MoMA’s organizational structure and workforce, the successful candidate will possess strong and persuasive communication skills, gravitas, and a diplomatic, dynamic, and extroverted personal style. This person will lead by example on issues of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusionand will align the Department’s audience engagement strategy as well as its people, processes, and policies with the Museum’s organizational values and aspirations to create a culture where anti-racism and cross-culturalism permeate every aspect of the Department’s work.

This position will require a highly creative, data-driven and digitally fluent educational or programmatic thought leader with the skills and temperament to foster inter and cross-departmental synergy, and a passion for connecting people of all ages and backgrounds with art and making it accessible to all. This is a unique opportunity for a bold, entrepreneurial leader to create and implement a vision for audience engagement that impacts every level of programming across the Museum and reenforces MoMA as the leader in the museum education field.

ResponsibilitiesStrategic Leadership:

  • Lead the vision and implementation of a comprehensive learning and engagement strategy that leverages the assets and expertise of MoMA and aligns with the Museum’s holistic educational objectives, priorities, and goals
  • Ensure that Education, along with other departmental thought leaders, maintains a valued and respected voice early and throughout all stages of discussion and decision making in order to deliver cohesive and integrated learning experiences for all Museum visitors
  • Oversee the day-to-day function of the Education department including structure, policies, and procedures, and develop recommendations for implementation and use of metrics and analytics to evaluate impact
  • Oversee analysis, preparation, and management of the Education budget to ensure alignment with departmental initiatives, organizational feasibility, and compliance with Finance

Vision, Innovation and Engagement:

  • Lead the design and implementation of programming that institutes effective pedagogical, structural, and operational changes to increase equitable access and meaningful engagement for visitors
  • Engage a variety of communication modalities and digital platforms to enhance already robust online and in-person program offerings and encourage innovative and creative initiatives that inspire new and broader audiences to explore art and the Museum
  • Employ the Museum’s collection and exhibition themes to engage current and new audiences around a variety of contemporary issues, spark learning, and promote social discourse
  • Leverage robust knowledge of performance metrics and data analytics to evaluate impact and success of current and proposed programs
  • Maintain MoMA’s Education Department as a global leader in museum education; drive ongoing research and experimentation that encourages innovation and pushes boundaries yet is grounded in best practices for program design and curriculum development

Collaboration and Relationship Building:

  • Collaborate with Education staff to develop, research, evaluate, and share education programs and initiatives that extend MoMA’s mission locally, nationally, and globally
  • Advocate for Education internally through coalition building and alignment of interests and goals; lead by example to build bridges that will engender trust and develop strong cross-departmental Museum relationships
  • Deepen and enhance MoMA’s engagement with local audiences through partnerships with peer institutions, government agencies, and city, state, and regional schools, districts, community organizations, foundations, and corporate leaders
  • Actively participate in dialogue, research, and exchange with museum education directors and peers, nationally and internationally; secure position as a vital and respected voice in a competitive peer environment
  • Cultivate ongoing relationships with potential funders and work closely with Development to initiate and coordinate fundraising efforts and reporting

Team Management:

  • Build a high-performing culture of accountability, trust, and collaboration that embraces change and ensures team members feel appreciated and have equal access to opportunity
  • Lead by example, providing a foundation of respect, support, stability, and positivity for the Education team ensuring they feel connected to institutional priorities and are kept abreast of decisions made at the senior leadership level
  • Empower staff through active communication and delegation; promote intra- and interdepartmental teamwork and foster a culture of experimentation that upholds MoMA’s locus as a creative lab; encourage the continued expansion of team’s knowledge of museum education, theory, and practice
  • Lead, coach, and mentor staff in developing themselves and their direct reports; be sensitive and responsiveness to diverse needs of staff and celebrate and learn from their varied life experiences and perspectives

Qualifications

  • Avid learner with in-depth knowledge of and experience with innovative pedagogical approaches for lifelong learning, including current educational trends with an emphasis on participatory and digital learning
  • Digitally adept; embraces technology and is attuned to the ways technology, education, and communications mutually support and improve the Museum’s overall objectives
  • Demonstrated grounding in or deep appreciation and passion for art and art history; ability to draw on a common language to connect with internal and external stakeholders
  • Proven organizational and administrative experience with budgets, staffing, deadlines, deliverables, and ability to think strategically about the resources needed for sustainability and growth
  • Outstanding presentation and communication skills; emotionally intelligent with the experience and proclivity to be a charismatic spokesperson, relationship builder, and fundraiser
  • Excellent coalition building skills with a keen ability to navigate a hierarchical complex multi-site organization, establish cross-functional relationships, and build consensus among multiple stakeholders in the face of competing agendas
  • An authentic and personal commitment to supporting MoMA’s efforts in the examination and eradication of structural racism in the Museum’s program content and development, hiring practices and workplace culture and a commitment to the populations served by MoMA
  • A politically astute, analytical, and systems-oriented leadership style with strong organizational and problem-solving skills; the ability to set clear priorities that support and enable sound decision making
  • Nimble and entrepreneurial; ability to be proactive and creative in overcoming obstacles and resource constraints
  • 15 years’ experience working in a museum setting preferred although deep professional and leadership experience in a comparable setting will also be seriously considered; minimum of 10 years of managerial experience
  • A bachelor’s degree is required in art history, museum studies, audience engagement, education technology, humanities, social sciences, or related field; an advanced degree is preferred

This position description is based upon material provided by The Museum of Modern Art, an equal opportunity employer who considers all candidates for employment regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, creed, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

Eboni S. Gates, Search Specialist

Debra Katz, Search Specialist

Ami Abramson, Chief Strategy Officer

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Role

C Level Executive Leadership

Experience Level

Senior Level

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