The newly created position of Assistant Curator will be part of a growing department at a pivotal moment for Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center. In spring 2020, Oklahoma Contemporary inaugurated a new 4.6-acre campus in downtown Oklahoma City featuring a state-of-the-art, 54,000 square foot building designed by architect Rand Elliott. The center includes galleries, performance spaces, classrooms, studios, a community lounge, café, outdoor sculpture areas and an adjacent Studio School. With this and a successfully completed $30 million Capital Campaign, Oklahoma Contemporary is poised to expand its exhibition program and dramatically increase its audience to 100,000 visitors annually.
The Assistant Curator will play a key role in realizing a robust calendar of exhibitions and related publications, public art commissions, performances, public programs and residency projects featuring internationally, nationally and locally known artists. Major projects in the near term include a survey of contemporary art from Guadalajara, Mexico, and an associated publication, a biennial of artists from the region and the first career retrospective and major monograph for a leading American conceptual artist whose work addresses Indigenous rights. The Assistant Curator will be instrumental to these projects, as well as Oklahoma Contemporary’s organization-wide effort to attain American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Accreditation, part of its commitment to best practices within the field.
The Assistant Curator will be part of a collaborative team working closely with colleagues across the arts center, living artists and their studios and communicating with visitors of all demographics.
The successful candidate will be a strong project manager and bring experience with, and enthusiasm for, thinking expansively about curating as a practice involving artists, existing artworks, commissions, residencies, live performances, public programs, publications and collateral. The Assistant Curator will have a national network of ideas, artists and collaborators and be interested in expanding these connections locally and regionally along with producing projects that have national and local relevance.
The successful candidate must be a skilled and enthusiastic writer, editor and researcher with strong organizational skills, tremendous attention to detail and facility for establishing and maintaining processes to ensure the department is well organized. The Assistant Curator reports to the Director of Curatorial Affairs; works closely with other members of the Exhibitions department; and will interface with key staff in the departments of Communications, Education and Public Programs, Operations, Finance and Development.
Essential Job Functions
- Manage projects, ensuring the timely delivery of all facets.
- Assist with research and planning for exhibitions, including the production and maintenance of project timelines, workplans and checklists.
- Provide support during public programs and live, exhibition-related events.
- Propose and realize exhibitions to curate or co-curate.
Writing and Editing
- Write and assist in writing exhibition texts, including proposals, labels, didactics and content for website, press releases and grants.
- Provide editorial and administrative support at all stages of the publishing process: proofreading, fact-checking, publication coordination
Development and Community Relations
- Participate in donor and community relations through attendance and assistance at events, including receptions, programs and fundraisers.
- Lead tours for various constituents.
- Serve as liaison to, and may prepare contracts for: artists, guest curators and writers, translators, editors and graphic designers
- Coordinate with the Registrar in managing agreements related to copyright permissions, image licensing and rights and reproductions.
- Ensure Exhibitions calendars and webpages are up to date.
- Lead the preparation of exhibition-related reports, presentations and minutes for Board and Exhibitions Committee meetings.
- Assist with preparing proposals, reports and presentations.
- Others duties as assigned.
Skills and Background
Education and Experience
- Master’s degree in art history, curatorial/museum studies or a related field.
- Two-plus years curatorial experience at an art museum or contemporary art institution.
- Knowledge of, and experience in, the field of contemporary art.
- Meticulous attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
- Strong writing, editing and research skills.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Ability to meet deadlines and manage shifting priorities.
- Discretion in confidential matters.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite, including Excel and PowerPoint.
- Knowledge of SketchUp a plus.
- Fluency in Spanish and/or Vietnamese a plus.
- Developing projects that engage in the field nationally while illuminating the cultural complexity of the region.
- Cultivating and communicating with audiences with diverse backgrounds.
- Expanding the cultural perspectives historically reflected in cultural institutions.
Oklahoma Contemporary values, respects and encourages applications from candidates who typically do not see themselves represented in the museum field. A successful candidate has many of the qualities listed in our job postings and the desire and capacity to learn the rest on the job. So if much, but not all, of a job posting describes you, then we welcome your application. Oklahoma Contemporary believes that diversity is a strength and strives for our organization to reflect the voices of various communities.
- $36,000–$40,000, commensurate with experience.
- Excellent benefits package includes health care, dental, vision and a 403b matching plan.
- Professional development opportunities as available.
Limitations and Disclaimer
The above job description is meant to describe the general nature and level of work being performed. It is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required for the position.
Other Requirements and Working Conditions
- Use of a computer/monitor, telephone, and copier daily
- Willingness to work evenings and weekends
- Team environment with frequent group meeting participation
Submit a cover letter, resume or CV a short writing sample and a list of three professional references here. References will not be contacted without candidate’s consent.
Application review will begin immediately. Applications are due by May 31. Only those candidates selected for interview will be contacted.
Oklahoma Contemporary strives to demonstrate leadership by modeling excellence and best practices for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. We believe in the power of human creativity and value the opportunities for connection and learning that exist when cultures and communities come together in collaboration and understanding.
We commit to championing policies and practices that value diversity, foster cultural equity and create an accessible and inclusive environment. Oklahoma Contemporary does not discriminate based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status or religion. We recognize our strengths lie in the broad range of people who contribute their time and talents to our mission and are dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive place for them to explore creativity.
About Oklahoma Contemporary
Oklahoma Contemporary is an inclusive center for the arts where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience art, encounter new ideas and ignite their creative potential. Through visual art exhibitions, performances, public programs, community-building initiatives, outdoor installations and special events, Oklahoma Contemporary creates opportunities for everyone to come together in celebration of contemporary culture and artistic expression. With year-round classes and seasonal youth camps across multiple disciplines, the arts center’s education programs encourage youth and adults to express their ideas across a variety of media and learn new skills. Oklahoma Contemporary believes that art is for everyone and places accessibility and education at the center of all programming. Admission to exhibitions is always free. Oklahoma Contemporary is a regional 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by businessman and philanthropist Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers.
About Oklahoma City
In the middle of its fourth decade of an enormously successful urban renewal plan, Oklahoma City is in a period of exciting growth. This growth has spurred developments in the city’s recreation and nightlife, with the construction of new parks, bike trails, restaurants, breweries and bars. In the urban core, commercial centers have been developed, revitalizing residential neighborhoods with charming yet affordable historic homes. The construction of Oklahoma Contemporary’s new building represents a significant commitment on the part of the city and its inhabitants to a new era in contemporary culture.