Palm Springs Art Museum provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.
The Chief Curator is responsible for directing the curatorial department, overseeing all exhibitions and publications, and developing, managing and displaying the permanent collection.
Reports to: Executive Director / CEO
Number of people supervised: 1
Positions supervised: Senior Curator
Classification: Full time, Exempt
The Palm Springs Art Museum (PSAM) returned from a long COVID closure with a new Executive Director / CEO and we are coming in strong to our next stage of growth and impact. We are looking for someone who wants to be a part of our executive team and work with us to make a difference in the evolution of our institution and our region. Our vision in this new chapter is to become an institution that is both forward-thinking and community-oriented, committed to both artistic excellence and widespread participation.
We are seeking a curator who doesn’t just have a good eye, but also good peripheral vision. We want someone who can present great exhibitions and make important acquisitions that guide the development of the collection. But we also want more. We want someone who can see the big picture, consider how exhibitions and collections fit within the broader institutional vision and be willing to listen to other team members and take into consideration other perspectives. The right candidate demonstrates flexibility and openness.
The Chief Curator has the opportunity to build their own department over time. They will help establish the rhythm and format of the exhibition program, and shape a collection, while curating large and small exhibitions, presenting exhibitions developed by other institutions, and coordinating special projects.
We are searching for a Chief Curator with expertise in Modern and Contemporary Art, which represents the majority of the museum’s collection and the focus of the exhibition program.
We hope to find someone who still has something to say through exhibitions, but who expresses their own curatorial voice while allowing others in their department to develop theirs, together embodying the evolving vision and voice of the museum.
Finally, as we head out on this new adventure, we are attempting to find a curator willing to roll up their sleeves, serve as both captain and crew, and build the ship while sailing. We want someone who believes that authentic and impactful exhibitions do not necessarily require massive budgets. We need a Chief Curator who wants to be part of a passionate group determined to do something meaningful for a community, advance an institution in its evolution, and make a difference in both the field and a region.
About Palm Springs Art Museum
The Palm Springs Art Museum has a long and proud tradition as the cultural hub of Southern California’s Coachella Valley. Established in 1938, the same year the city of Palm Springs was incorporated, PSAM has garnered an outsize reputation for the quality of its collections, exhibitions, education, and events. Today, the museum’s permanent collection includes more than 12,000 objects with an emphasis on modern and contemporary art, architecture and design, and art of the West in the Americas influenced by the region’s history, culture, and place.
From its earliest days, the city of Palm Springs and its surrounding area have been a magnet for creative people— from the turn of the century, when Impressionist painters came through to depict the desert en plein air, to the midcentury heyday, when Hollywood royalty came to play and modern architecture began to distinguish the area’s character; and to today’s newcomers, who also want to live more freely, openly, and expressively.
Our region—which includes nine cities in the Coachella Valley as well as the High Desert communities around Joshua Tree—has grown significantly over the past decade. The new desert explorers have largely chosen to leave cities and crowded environments to take advantage of the same attributes that have attracted newcomers to the area for generations: the distinctive light, majestic mountains, easy lifestyle and open spaces that let the mind wander and creativity to ensue. Notably, the surge of new inhabitants represents a demographic change in the Coachella Valley — a shift from older retirees toward younger full- and part-time residents in the prime of their professional lives.
In the desert, newcomers find a diverse population that includes several sovereign Indigenous Native American tribes, a large Mexican/Latinx population, and a significant African American community. Even freedom of gender expression took early root in Palm Springs and continues to be part of the mosaic. The museum is committed to greater inclusion and representation of these communities.
The museum is fortunate to be in good health currently, with robust visitation, strong financials, and a motivated board and staff. The community is showing up at capacity numbers every day, and many of our most generous and reliable supporters are contributing with a renewed sense of purpose.
PSAM’s physical presence comprises more than 130,000 square feet of space, including our main campus designed by architect E. Stewart Williams in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, as well as the other architectural gems: the Frey House II, the forthcoming Aluminaire building, and the Architecture and Design Center, situated in a historically significant modernist building in downtown Palm Springs. In addition to its 23 gallery spaces, our main building includes a beautiful, 428-seat theater, as well as a bistro and educational spaces. PSAM is also the steward of the Palm Desert Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum houses over 50,000 items in special collections, comprising archival and other materials, such as architectural drawings, photographs, historical objects, and ephemera directly related to the collection. These special collections serve as primary source material for the museum’s curators and for researchers.
The Museum has approximately 85 paid employees and almost 200 volunteers, with an annual operating budget of approximately $8.5 million.
Areas of Oversight
Working with the Executive Director, coordinating with colleagues, and executing an evolving institutional vision, the Chief Curator will oversee:
- The temporary exhibition program, including strategy, format and schedule;
- The permanent collection galleries
- Development of the museum collections, including accessioning and deaccessioning, and loans;
- The curatorial department, including management of staff, budgets, and policies.
Temporary Exhibition Program and Permanent Collection Installations
- Working with curatorial team, research and propose exhibitions for museum presentation
- Oversee the development of exhibitions
- Field exhibition proposals and identify relevant traveling exhibitions
- Draft content and collaborate with education team to produce labels, brochures, and text panels
- Manage the display of art in permanent collection galleries
- Devise collection development plans
- Lead the collection acquisition and deaccession process, following a strategic vision for evolving the collection over time
- Work with the Executive Director to cultivate collectors and attract gifts to the museum
- Develop and implement acquisition funding strategies, including working with board members, collectors and other members of the community
- Field prospective donations to the permanent collection
- Oversee and conduct research on the permanent collection
Curatorial Department and Institutional Responsibilities
- Collaborate with the Executive Director, other curators, and Collections & Exhibitions Department to develop and refine a vision for the temporary exhibition program, permanent collection galleries, and museum collections.
- Working with the Executive Director, other curators, and Collections and Exhibitions Department, develop and oversee the annual curatorial and exhibition budgets.
- Serve as content authority for the art of the museum, working with staff, board members volunteers, and press.
- In coordination with the Collections and Exhibitions Department, maintain departmental records related to acquisitions, deaccessions, promised gifts, loans, exhibitions and archives.
- Work with the development department to develop financial support for exhibitions and permanent collection, and provide content in the preparing of grant applications and funding proposals.
- Working with Collections and Exhibitions Department, oversee collection management policy and collection development plans
- Draft content and collaborate with marketing and publicity colleagues to produce text for press announcements, website and other collateral materials
- Lead Board of Trustee’s Collections and Exhibitions Committee meetings
- Perform other duties as needed on behalf of the institution
Maintain a balance of quality and relevance in the exhibition program, working to ensure that the program has energy, authenticity, scholarly integrity, diversity, and accessibility.
Provide original insight in articulating the evolving purpose of the museum’s collections.
Support the museum’s commitment to diversity, equity, access and inclusion in every dimension of the job, including programming, staffing, and workplace environment.
Advocate for art and artists on the leadership team, while respecting the mix of interests and other factors that determine museum activities.
Demonstrate empathy to others with different levels of experience while representing the museum’s commitment to art and expertise.
Demonstrate respect for the expertise of colleagues in all areas of the museum, embracing the professional capabilities of those in other departments, such as education, public relations, visitor services, and fundraising.
Who Should Apply
The Palm Springs Art Museum encourages people with different work experiences and backgrounds to apply.
Qualified candidates will have a passion for art and community-building, and believe in the capacity for art and art museums to change people’s lives and impact the health of communities.
The successful candidate will be both a strategic and nurturing leader. They will have the ability to set clear expectations and priorities, delegate and manage appropriately, and take a professional and analytic approach to all issues. The candidate will also be an inclusive leader, interested in a wide range of perspectives, and capable of uniting a team around a shared vision. This individual should be willing to mentor others, foster growth throughout the organization, and help nurture a culture of kindness and empathy.
The Chief Curator will have the ability to establish a rapport with people across the entire museum network, including board members, docents, volunteers, community leaders, donors, students and families.
The successful candidate will demonstrate their creativity and willingness to think beyond traditional museum solutions.
The Chief Curator will have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and demonstrate a willingness to collaborate with others across all levels of the institution and community. They will exemplify the values the museum aims to promote, which include being inclusive, authentic, open-minded, respectful, and creative.
Qualified candidates will demonstrate a commitment to antiracism and the values of diversity and equity. They will exemplify the museum’s ambition to represent all segments of our diverse community in all of our activities.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Minimum 10 years of curatorial experience
- Excellent verbal and writing communication skills
- Advanced degree in arts, humanities, or social sciences
- Strong email, calendar, Microsoft Office, and Google Apps skills
- Strong research, budgeting, and communications skills
- Efficient general computer, social media, and internet savviness
- Excellent time management and organizational skills
- Attention to detail, punctuality, and top-tier reliability
- Proactive work ethic and drive to push tasks and projects forward with minimal handholding
- Ability to learn quickly and adapt in an ever-changing startup environment
- Adaptable and versatile to changing circumstances and situations
Compensation and Benefits
The Museum provides a competitive salary and benefits package; including: medical and dental insurance (HMO and PPO options), vision, life insurance, and Aflac options. After six months employees are eligible to participate in the 401 (k) plan. We also offer vacation pay, generous paid holidays and paid sick leave, as well as free membership in the Museum.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion
Palm Springs Art Museum strives to create an inclusive, equitable, and welcoming environment that honors all experiences and identities. We are committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, and are looking for a candidate that represents the diversity of our staff, visitors and community.
Qualified candidates should submit a letter of introduction and resume or CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, with Chief Curator in the subject line.
The position will remain open until filled. All applications received by June 15 will be fully reviewed.
The Security Officer is responsible for the protection and safety of the art, visitors, and staff. Patrol and monitor premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of points of entry.
Job Classification: Full Time / Part Time Hourly/Non-exempt
Reports To: Security Manager, Assistant Security Manager And Security Supervisors
Major Duties & Responsibilities
- Maintain a safe and secure environment by patrolling and monitoring premises.
- Performs fire watch duties as directed, and assists in emergency evacuation of visitors and staff when required.
- When assigned to night shifts, performs safety and hazard patrols throughout public and all non-public areas.
- Responds to exhibit case or fire alarms and reports conditions by radio to Control.
- Reports to supervisor any damage to exhibits, unsafe conditions, loose floor tiles, torn window shades, etc., also any unusual occurrences such as minor accidents, and other cases requiring additional help or authority.
- Inspect access points during closing.
- Inspect fire extinguishers while patrolling.
- Perform opening and closing procedures.
- Actively support an environment of teamwork, cooperation, and service excellence.
- Other duties and responsibilities as assigned.
- Professionalism, dependability, alertness.
- Good communication and customer service skills are a must as visitors interact with security officers with questions and concerns.
- Must have strong work values and quick decision making.
Must have a current Guard Card and pass a background check. Must have good social skills and be team-oriented. Must be flexible and resourceful. High School Diploma or equivalent is preferred. Previous security guard experience is preferred.
To apply for a position, please send a letter of interest and resume to:
Search Committee at email@example.com (No phone calls please)
To apply for a position, please send a letter of interest and resume to:
Search Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org (No phone calls please)
Please note that due to the high volume of interested applicants, we are only able to contact candidates with the most relevant experience and skill sets for our open positions.
We are not able to accept phone inquiries or confirm receipt of applications. Thank you for your interest in employment at Palm Springs Art Museum.