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Associate Director of the University Museum of Contemporary Art

UMass Amherst
United States, Massachusetts, Amherst
May 19, 2024

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

About the UMass Fine Arts Center

Since its founding in 1975, the UMass Fine Arts Center has been a central force in the cultural, social, and academic life of the University, the Five College campuses, and the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. The Fine Arts Center's combination of educational, visual, and performing arts programs not only makes us unique, but it also secures a very vital and necessary position for us to meet the diverse needs of scholars, faculty, students, alumni, and the broader community.

Job Summary

The Associate Director of the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst plays a crucial role in providing curatorial and organizational leadership for the museum's exhibitions and educational programming. Working closely with the Visual Arts Director and other stakeholders, this position ensures the museum's mission and strategic objectives are effectively implemented and aligned with its vision. This role offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the vibrant arts community at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and to foster engagement with contemporary art among diverse audiences.

Essential Functions

Curatorial Leadership



  • Leads the research, development, and production of collections, faculty, and student-led exhibitions, including flagship events such as the Annual Graduate Curatorial Exhibition, Bi-annual Dialogue with the Collection, and special academic partnership exhibitions.
  • Supports Visual Arts Director with research, development, and production on temporary exhibitions or special projects, as needed.
  • Collaborates closely with the Visual Arts Director to ensure exhibitions uphold the museum's vision and goals, fostering meaningful engagement with contemporary art.


Educational Programming



  • Directs the UMCA's education program planning in collaboration with the Director of Education and Engagement, overseeing initiatives that enrich visitor experiences and promote learning.
  • Works closely with the Visual Arts Education Coordinator to ensure the successful execution of educational programs and activities.
  • Designs and co-teaches the annual semester-long Collecting 101 program in partnership with the Collection Manager and Visual Arts Director, fostering a deeper understanding of art collection practices.
  • Recruits and mentors graduate interns and research assistants to support educational initiatives and contribute to exhibition development.


Partnership Development



  • Supports and expands collaborations with UMass faculty, academic departments, Student Affairs, the Five College community, and external partners, cultivating interdisciplinary engagement and community outreach.
  • Identifies opportunities for strategic partnerships that enhance the museum's impact and broaden its audience reach, aligning with the institution's mission and values.



Other Duties



  • Under the direction of the Visual Arts Director, oversees day-to-day management of UMCA operations and provides supervision of the UMCA staff including the Visual Arts Education Curator, Facilities Manager and Collection Manager to ensure the smooth execution of exhibition installations, events, and education programs.
  • Works closely with the Visual Arts Administrator to oversee the UMCA budget.
  • Collaborates with the Fine Arts Center marketing team to develop and implement marketing and publicity strategies for the UMCA, promoting exhibitions and programs effectively.
  • Works closely with the UMAF and Fine Arts Center on grant proposals.
  • When the Visual Arts Director is unavailable, acts as a spokesperson and advocate for the University Museum of Contemporary Art.



Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)



  • Bachelor's degree.
  • Five (5) years of professional experience in gallery or museum exhibition planning and curation.
  • Strong understanding of contemporary art practices and trends.
  • Demonstrated experience in exhibition development and management.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including faculty, students, and community partners.



Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

Experience in academic programming and partnership development.

Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical office/museum environment.

Work Schedule

Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5pm.

Salary Information

Level 27

PSU Hiring Ranges

Special Instructions to Applicants

Upload your resume along with your completed application. Our team will check references at the final stage of the interview process. Please be prepared to provide contact information for at least three (3) professional references. This position will remain open until filled or the advertised closing date, whichever occurs first. Early submissions are recommended.

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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