Windgate Curator of Craft

POSTED ON 1/3/2021 CLOSED ON 1/25/2021
CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN Hired Organization Address Bentonville, AR Full Time

Job Posting for Windgate Curator of Craft at CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN

Job Details

Job Location:    Crystal Bridges - Bentonville, AR
Position Type:    Full Time
Salary Range:    Undisclosed

Position Summary

About Crystal Bridges

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Our vision is to activate an institution that transforms lives through experiences that encourage the discovery of new ideas, expanded dreams and inspired actions.


Crystal Bridges is committed to creating an institution that reflects the diversity of our region and nation.  We are especially mindful of those in our community impacted by inequity due to ability, language, class, age, gender, religion, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and are working diligently to address perceived and real barriers that keep anyone from fully experiencing the museum as a guest, volunteer, or employee.  To achieve true reform, we must have a diverse, highly qualified team dedicated to:

  • providing an unparalleled guest experience for all,

  • offering relevant programs,

  • developing an inclusive collection,

  • demonstrating progressive leadership

We will not compromise in the time, energy and effort required to achieve our collective, articulated goals.


Culture Pillars

Each one of us is a vital component of this team, empowered and responsible for fulfilling the mission and vision.

We are united in our purpose and in our obligation to act respectfully and with integrity.

  • We listen actively and speak honestly

  • We honor our commitments

  • We champion lifelong learning

  • We are unstoppable when we work together



Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation as a non-profit charitable organization for all to enjoy. Philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton chairs the Museum’s board of directors. The building was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and opened to the public on 11-11-11.

Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Guest amenities include a restaurant on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds, a Museum Store designed by architect Marlon Blackwell, and a library featuring more than 50,000 volumes of art reference material. Sculpture and walking trails link the Museum's 120-acre park to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.


The Collection

Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, Norman Rockwell’s  Rosie the Riveter, and Kerry James Marshall’s Our Town— each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution—as well as major works by modern and contemporary American artists, including Ruth Asawa, Louise Bourgeois, Nick Cave, Jeffrey Gibson, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Luis Jimenez, Faith Ringgold, Alma Thomas, James Turrell, and Dyani White Hawk. The permanent collection, which continues to grow through a strategic acquisition plan, is on view year-round and is enhanced by an array of temporary exhibitions.


Education and Engagement

Crystal Bridges provides year-round programming for all ages, including lectures, performances, classes, and continuing education for K-12 teachers. More than 45,000 schoolchildren visit the Museum each year as part of the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program, which offers schools reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses associated with a school field trip, including transportation costs, substitute teachers, and lunch. A new initiative to develop high-quality distance learning opportunities for students and teachers is currently under way.


Position Summary

Crystal Bridges seeks a nationally-recognized leader and expert in the field of craft to become the Windgate Curator of Craft, the museum’s first endowed curatorial position. Crystal Bridges embraces craft as a diverse, democratic art form that can upend the exclusive histories of art that Crystal Bridges seeks to expand. Through a shared vision with Windgate Foundation, Crystal Bridges seeks to raise the profile and visibility of craft by creating broad access to craft at Crystal Bridges and beyond.

With the support of the Windgate endowment, the Windgate Curator of Craft will work with artists, peers, scholars and collectors to advance research, scholarship, and professional development as well as partnerships across the field, including with the School of Art and the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. The Windgate Curator of Craft will break new ground to build an innovative and outstanding program for craft and is charged with developing the Crystal Bridges collection through acquisitions and gifts. From creating new installations and temporary exhibitions to public programs, the Windgate Curator of Craft will help advance a strategic vision for leading-edge ways to collect, present, and interpret craft for broad audiences.

Qualifications & Responsibilities

Principal Responsibilities

  • Work integrally with colleagues across the curatorial division and museum departments as well as with external stakeholders to develop an ambitious vision and program for craft at Crystal Bridges

  • With the support of the Windgate endowment, identify and steward craft acquisitions and works by craft artists past, present and future to build craft into centrally into the collection

  • Identify and steward craft collectors to secure gifts of art

  • Develop and contribute to collection installations, special and temporary exhibitions, publications, and programs in close collaboration with internal and external colleagues and partners

  • Conduct research and contribute to catalogues and scholarly and popular journals when appropriate

  • Leverage curatorial expertise and art historical knowledge to position craft consistently, elevating craft through acquisition and collection-sharing

  • Serve as a collaborator, connector, advocate, and mentor for artists, scholars, and collectors of craft

  • Supervise guest curators in area of specialization, consultants and support staff including curatorial assistants and interns, as required

  • Serve as an ambassador for Crystal Bridges locally, nationally, and internationally, being an active member in the field as well as with general audiences


Additional Responsibilities

  • Maintain and promote excellent working relationships with collectors, donors, curatorial colleagues, scholars, and the art market

  • Possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including public speaking and writing for audiences ranging from the general public to international scholars

  • Strong research skills

  • Meet deadlines and handle multiple tasks simultaneously

  • Interact respectfully, collegially, and professionally with all employees and volunteers at all levels of responsibility

  • Be creativity and flexible as a team player, both within the department and throughout the entire organization

  • Maintain the highest ethics as they relate to all aspects of curatorial endeavor, and to understand and maintain the highest levels of confidentiality

  • Be proficient with standard office equipment including basic computer literacy (word processing, spread sheets, e-mail, etc.) telephone, and digital communications, such as document sharing and video conferencing


Work Experience

  • 10-15 years of experience in a curatorial position or museum role, or other relevant field

  • Recognizing the range of backgrounds that may bring energy and expertise to this position, we also encourage candidates who may have an equivalent combination of experience and/or education that has led to the development of comparable skills, abilities, and perspectives


Education, Training, and Traits

  • Master’s degree in art history or a related humanities discipline such decorative arts, design history, material culture, or American studies

  • A leader in the field with demonstrated passion for American craft and new directions in the field

  • Deep knowledge in the candidate’s chosen area of focus, as well as broad curiosity and ability to engage with craft from different time periods ranging from historical to contemporary

  • Demonstrated track record for applying inclusive and innovative methodologies to interpreting and exhibiting craft


Physical Demands and Work Environment:

  • Physical demands:  The position requires verbal and written conversation with others. Vision abilities required by the job include close vision and color perception.

  • Work Environment:  Work will be performed in an office environment, museum spaces, and in communities served. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate. Position requires some independent overnight travel for research, professional meetings, couriering art works to venues nationally and internationally and other travel as necessary to fulfill responsibilities of the position.

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