About The Colby College Museum of Art
Colby College Museum of Art (website)
Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art (a.k.a. Colby Museum of Art and Colby Museum) has undergone a period of momentous growth over the past decade that has led to its renown as one of the leading institutions of American art in the world and arguably the finest college art museum in the country. While it leads in the areas expected of preeminent college art museums—depth and breadth of collection, integration into the curriculum, and strength of public programs—the Colby Museum has distinguished itself through several recent developments and initiatives that make the position of Director a remarkable opportunity for an innovative, ambitious museum professional.
In close alignment with the College’s 2016 plan Eminent Colby, which aimed to strengthen Colby’s position as one of the highly recognized leaders among American colleges, the Colby College Museum of Art launched a five-year strategic plan in 2018. Under the leadership of Director Sharon Corwin, the Museum has achieved significant successes in accomplishing these priorities, including attracting and supporting a diverse and inclusive community; enhancing universal and global student experiences; strengthening a commitment to the arts, creativity, and innovation; and contributing to the revitalization of Waterville. The Colby Museum plays a central role in realizing and enhancing this strategic vision through the Museum’s outstanding collections and exhibitions, connections to local and global audiences, and scholarly and creative opportunities afforded by the Lunder Institute for American Art.
The Colby Museum’s mission is deeply tied to the mission of the College through partnerships with the faculty and Colby’s academic centers and institutes, broad student engagement, a leading program that integrates the collection into coursework across the disciplines, and its structure and institutional positioning.
In 2016, in conjunction with the work of Colby College’s presidential task force on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Colby College Museum of Art integrated its commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in all strategic and programmatic areas of the Museum by ensuring a multiplicity of perspectives and backgrounds are represented on the staff and board; increasing outreach to diverse audiences and developing inclusive and diverse programs; and building a broad-based, expansive collection.
The Museum’s 2018–2022 Strategic Plan set forth strategic priorities reflective of the group’s recommendations. It outlines the Museum’s dedication to building a singular collection of American art, expanding its diversity, bolstering access, and increasing capacity while practicing the highest standards of maintenance and care. In alignment with the College’s liberal arts curriculum, the Museum organizes internationally recognized and locally relevant exhibitions that introduce new, more expansive narratives, reinforce its educational mission, and raise the profile of Colby through global partnerships.
Since 2018, the Museum has realized many objectives set forth in the document, striking a deft balance among mounting high-profile exhibitions, supporting curricular goals, reinterpreting the collection, and fostering scholarship in the field of American art. Expanding the narratives told in the galleries and centering marginalized perspectives are at the core of the Colby Museum of Art’s intertwined exhibition and collection strategies.
Given the recent expansion of programs and reach—and upcoming opportunities to build on this work—the Colby College Museum of Art directorship offers a level of complexity rarely available in art museum leadership positions. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to manage the intricacies of the role, to capitalize on existing, and build new, momentum, and to bridge mutually reinforcing projects.
Colby Museum by the Numbers:
- Collection: More than 10,000 objects
- Exhibition space: 38,000 sq. ft.
- Special exhibitions 2018-2019: 21
- Colby class visits annually: 100+• Full-time staff: 25
- Annual operating budget: $4.2M
- Museum endowment: $54M
- K-12 students visiting annually: 3,500
Several aspects of the Colby Museum of Art and the central role it plays at Colby College make this opportunity truly singular in the field.
Strength and Growth of Museum’s Collection and Exhibitions Program
Since 2013, the Colby College Museum of Art’s collection has doubled to more than 10,000 works of art. Included in this figure are the more than 1,600 objects that make up the Lunder Collection, given to the College in two installments in 2013 and 2017.
In 2013, the inauguration of the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion announced the arrival of the Lunder Collection—more than 500 works of American art from the 19th century to 21st century given by Peter and Paula Lunder. Highlights from the collection include works by James McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alexander Calder, Kiki Smith, David Driskell, Carrie Mae Weems, Deborah Butterfield, John Chamberlain, and Maya Lin. Central to the collection are more than 300 works by James McNeill Whistler, the largest grouping of Whistler works in an academic museum. The Lunder Collection also includes the Lunder-Colville Chinese Art Collection, comprising 44 exceptional works of ritual and mortuary art dating from the prehistoric period to the Jin Dynasty (1126-1234).
Additional collection highlights include the Alex Katz Collection—the largest collection of Katz’s work in a single museum—which is exhibited in a dedicated wing completed in 1996; Pablo Picasso’s Vollard Suite, the most significant cycle of prints made by Picasso, printed in 1939. Colby’s Vollard Suite is believed to be one of only a few deluxe sets fully signed by the artist; The Richard Serra Collection, comprising 150 works on paper and one sculpture spanning more than three decades of Serra’s career; The Terry Winters Print Collection—the complete print oeuvre of Winters, an artist whose prints are integrally linked to his paintings and drawings; The John Marin Collection, which includes paintings, watercolors, drawings, etchings, and photographs, and represents the only retrospective collection of the artist’s work in an academic museum; and The Bernard Langlais Collection, comprising 187 works, which traces the remarkable trajectory of Langlais’s career from his student days at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture to his late years in Cushing, Maine. Objects from the permanent collection are regularly selected by members of Colby’s faculty from a wide range of disciplines to be displayed for teaching purposes.
Significant recent acquisitions include Ai Weiwei’s Colored Vases (2006–8); Maya Lin’s Disappearing Bodies of Water: Arctic Ice (2013); Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Masked Forms (1941); and Joan Mitchell’s Chamrousse (1968).
Significant recent traveling exhibitions include Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s, with the Neuberger Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art; Marsden Hartley’s Maine, with The Met Breuer; No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki, with the Asia Society Museum; and Terry Winters Prints 1999–2014, with Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München/Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich, Germany) and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
The Lunder Institute for American Art
Founded in 2017, the Lunder Institute for American Art supports innovative research and creative production that expands the boundaries of American art. Complementing the work of the Colby Museum, the Lunder Institute invites visiting artists, scholars, and museum professionals to engage across disciplines with Colby faculty and students, the College’s network of institutional partners, and other collaborators. By initiating new opportunities for creative and scholarly exploration, the Lunder Institute serves as a distinctive resource for Waterville and the state of Maine. Offering fellowships, workshops, symposia, residencies, and research and development incubator grants, the Lunder Institute aims to challenge received ideas and provide a platform for generative dialogue and community connections through art and scholarship.
American art has been a tremendous strength of the Colby Museum since its establishment in 1959. The Lunder Institute builds on this history of excellence, bolstered by the Museum’s role within Colby as a classroom and convening space for faculty and students from virtually every academic department and disciplinary area.
Current and recent visiting artists include Richard Blanco, Phong Bui, Torkwase Dyson, and Theaster Gates.
A new environment and climate initiative brings together the Colby Museum, the Environmental Humanities Initiative of the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment to leverage Colby’s leadership in cross-disciplinary approaches to environmental study and stewardship.
Education, Outreach, and Engagement
The Colby College Museum of Art, free and open to the public, offers a robust set of programs and opportunities for students, residents, and visitors, all of which have increased in quality, impact, and reach over the last several years.
Academic Program: While the Colby Museum has long been committed to its mission as a teaching museum, its impact on the academic experience has expanded with the creation of the Linde Family Curator of Academic Programs position and expansion of the Museum to include the Landay Teaching Gallery—a dedicated space for teaching. Members of the faculty work with the Linde Family Curator to develop and enhance their curricula using works from the Museum’s collection. In 2018-19, the Museum supported 162 individual class visits, and more than 1,600 Colby students engaged with works of art as part of class visits. Faculty members from departments ranging from history and Spanish to computer science and environmental studies have found the Museum to be a rich resource for their teaching.
K-12 Programs: Similarly, the Colby Museum has long been a resource for students from K-12 schools throughout the state, and recent philanthropy has enabled the Museum to enhance and expand these programs, including by paying for students’ busing and lunch expenses. For many local students, a school visit is their first experience in a museum of art. In 2018–19, more than 2,500 students from 14 of Maine’s 16 counties visited.
Family and Public Programs: The Colby Museum’s community programs serve visitors of all ages throughout the year. Programs are created in collaboration with Colby faculty, students, and staff, the Lunder Institute for American Art, and numerous community partners. The Museum sponsors more than 100 public programs annually that attracted more than 6,000 participants last year for talks, films, open houses, and artmaking workshops. Local partners include Waterville Creates!, Common Street Arts, and the Waterville Public Library.
Emerging Arts Ecosystem
In 2015, Colby College engaged in a partnership with the City of Waterville and local leaders to develop a strategy for reinventing the downtown district, which had long been in economic decline with the closing of industrial mills and population loss. Among the key elements of the strategy was an effort to build on the city’s existing strengths in the arts. Major capital projects in the arts include:
Arts Collaborative: Announced in 2020 through a gift from Peter and Paula Lunder, the downtown building will significantly enhance the convening power of the Lunder Institute to attract artists and scholars from around the world and to stimulate the production of original art and new collaborations. The arts collaborative will benefit Colby students and faculty as well as the broader community by providing vibrant arts programming, artist studios, community performances, and cultural activity. Moreover, the arts collaborative will solidify the convening power of the Lunder Institute to attract artists and scholars from around the world to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogues and to stimulate the production of original art and new collaborations.
Paul J. Schupf Art Center: At the heart of downtown activity, this building will include a contemporary gallery of the Colby College Museum of Art on the ground level (more than 1,500 square feet); three screening rooms to bring the Maine Film Center, Railroad Square Cinema, and the Maine International Film Festival to Main Street; Common Street Arts gallery; and multidisciplinary educational spaces. It will tie into the redesign of an adjacent park to create a lively outdoor space for complementary programs and activities.
Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts: This new multidisciplinary space will inspire collaborative creative activity on campus, support a sector-leading program in the arts, and help make central Maine an exciting arts destination. Designed by Boston architects William Rawn Associates, it will include a major performance hall, flexible practice and performance spaces for music, theater, and dance, film screening rooms, and convening spaces to bring the community together around the arts.
The close proximity of multiple arts and cultural organizations, as well as Colby students eagerly seeking civic engagement opportunities, will aid in developing more multi-layered collaborative efforts. Through a new endowed position created this year, Colby’s Diamond Director of the Arts will be an important partner for this exciting area of growth and collaboration.
Governance and Leadership
For decades the Colby College Museum Board of Governors has provided strategic leadership to the Museum in key areas including collection growth, facilities, the academic program, public outreach, and stewardship and resources. The Board of Governors comprises national leaders in the art sector, members of Colby College’s Board of Trustees, Colby alumni and parents, partners from major arts organizations, renowned artists, and some of the nation’s greatest supporters of the arts. The Museum Director reports directly to the President of the College and is also responsible to the Board of Governors, working closely with the Board on all strategic and long-range issues.
The Museum Board of Governors has strengthened through exceptional leadership and a governance structure that facilitates decision-making through a collaborative approach. The full leadership of Colby College—the President and Board of Trustees, alumni volunteer groups, the faculty, and beyond—recognizes, appreciates, and supports the phenomenal trajectory of the Colby Museum and the strategic value and importance of continued robust governance, stewardship, and growth.
Fundraising and Philanthropic Support
The Colby College Museum of Art is incredibly fortunate to have remarkable benefactors who have stewarded its growth and excellence over time. Peter Lunder ’56 and Life Trustee Paula Lunder contributed their remarkable personal collection to the Museum, supported the Museum’s endowment, and continue to purchase artworks for the Museum to enhance the depth of its collection. Over the past decade the Katz Foundation has given the Museum more than 500 works of modern and contemporary art including works by Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Bob Thompson, Chantal Joffe, Raoul De Keysser, and Joyce Pensato. Several other donors, many of whose names appear in the titles of Museum spaces and endowed staff positions, continue to show a profound commitment to the Museum’s ongoing strength and evolution. The Museum’s endowment has doubled since 2007, to $54M.
Since the launch of the College’s comprehensive campaign, Dare Northward, the Museum Board of Governors has achieved a 100-percent participation rate, and the Museum Board of Governors fund in support of the Museum director’s initiatives increased from $186K to $325K in the last three years. Current-use funds raised through Friends of Art have more than doubled since the campaign launch, from $87K in 2017 to $204K in 2019.
The Colby Museum’s facilities have undergone significant growth since 2013, when the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion opened and provided newly expanded spaces for exhibitions and programs. The addition brought a total increase of 26,000 square feet, including 10,000 square feet of additional gallery space, making its exhibition space the largest in the state of Maine with 38,000 square feet in galleries and 64,000 square feet total. In addition, the expansion provided the Mirken Education Classroom for K-12 visitors and related programs, the Landay Teaching Gallery for Colby class visits and collection study, the Stradley Sculpture Terrace, an expanded lobby in the William D. Adams Gallery, and a new café.
- 1996: Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz
- 1999: The Lunder Wing
- 2013: Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion
About Colby College
Founded in 1813, Colby is one of America’s most selective colleges. Serving only undergraduates, Colby’s liberal arts program offers the innovation and reach of a great research university with an integrated, opportunity-rich student experience guided by close interaction with world-class faculty scholars. Students pursue intellectual passions, choosing among 58 majors or developing their own.
Colby’s innovative and ambitious campaign, Dare Northward, is supporting deeper connections between the College and the world as well as a fully inclusive experience for all Colby students. To date, the College has raised $543M toward its $750M campaign goal. The campaign has allowed Colby to invest significantly in student programs, including the creation of DavisConnects, which facilitates global, internship, and research opportunities for all students; and in financial aid, to ensure that deserving students from all backgrounds are able to afford a Colby education. Through Colby Commitment, the contribution for parents/guardians from families with less than $65,000 annual household income have an expected contribution of $0; and through the Fair Shot Fund parents/guardians with up to $150,000 annual household income can expect an annual contribution of no more than $15,000. Colby’s financial aid packages meet 100% of demonstrated need and include grants instead of loans.
Colby is a global college rooted in its home of Waterville, Maine. The College welcomes a community of 2,000 dedicated and diverse students from more than 80 countries and makes international study and opportunities a universal element of the education. Colby’s location provides unique access to world-class research institutions and civic engagement experiences.
Recent investments include a downtown residential complex where residents participate in an enhanced civic engagement program and a 350,000 square foot, state of the art athletics and recreation center, opening this year, supporting efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles across the community. Colby is in the design phase of the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts, described above, in addition to the downtown arts projects which are at various stages of development.
Since Colby College launched a collaboration in 2015 to transform Waterville’s downtown, the city has begun to see a resurgence in population, real estate transactions, property values, and new businesses and retail. Colby has purchased and redeveloped multiple properties beyond those arts projects noted above. They include:
- A high-tech center located in a rehabilitated historic bank building (renovation, completed in 2017)
- A downtown residential complex for 200 students, faculty, and staff (new construction, completed in 2018)
- A 53-room independent, full-service hotel (to be completed in 2020)
Total investment in Waterville, including Colby’s and those of independent investors, has reached $125M. Waterville has begun to attract entrepreneurs from other cities in Maine and beyond. New retailers to open downtown in 2020 include an independent chocolatier based in Rockland, Maine, and restaurateurs from Maine’s culinary hub of Portland, whose new venture will be situated on the ground level of Colby’s downtown residential complex.
Downtown Waterville is home to many shops, restaurants, bars, and a well-attended farmers’ market with produce and products solely from local farmers and craft artisans. Multiple medical facilities, Thomas College, and Colby College also lie within city limits. Arts and cultural amenities include the newly renovated historic Waterville Opera House, the Colby College Museum of Art, and the Railroad Square Cinema, which is widely considered one of the best independent film houses in New England and hosts the renowned annual Maine International Film Festival. Finally, the city recently completed a Riverwalk in downtown and was awarded a $9M federal BUILD grant to re-route and improve the traffic patterns and streetscape (sidewalks, plantings, and downtown park), contributing to greater quality of life for residents.
Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy miles of hiking trails located throughout the city, including those found at the four-season Quarry Road Recreation Area. Quarry Road also provides cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snow tubing in the winter months and biking, kayaking, and walking opportunities in the spring, summer, and fall. The Kennebec River also offers spectacular fishing and boating opportunities.
Waterville is located in Maine’s lakes region and is surrounded by beautiful villages and year-round lakeside homes. It is a one-hour drive from Portland, coastal towns including Camden and Belfast, and Sugarloaf Mountain ski resort.
Main Focus, Priorities, and Key Responsibilities
Reporting directly to Colby College President David Greene, the next Carolyn Muzzy Director of Colby College Museum of Art will be an engaging, dynamic, and collaborative leader adept at building relationships with a wide range of constituents including students, faculty, administration, community members, members of the Colby College Board of Trustees and Museum Board of Governors, and donors. The Muzzy Director will continue to build a distinctive national profile for the Museum and create connections with major art museums around the US and globally, as well as other academic and regional museums.
Specifically, the next Director will have the following overall responsibilities:
- Leadership, governance, strategy—Collaborate with Museum Board of Governors leadership on vision; develop strategies for the Museum’s continued excellence, growth, and reach
- Exhibitions and collections—Define the vision for the exhibition program and guide execution; oversee publications and publicity; steward the care of the collections including conservation, preservation, and storage needs
- Partnerships and shared exhibitions—Develop new and build upon existing partnerships within and across the campus community, with arts organizations, artists, leaders, and volunteers in the broader community; collaborate with museums and arts/cultural organizations on shared and traveling exhibitions
- Lunder Institute—Oversee the continued development of programs for artists and scholars and build the national and international profile of the Lunder Institute; expand opportunities and reach through the downtown arts collaborative
- Team leadership—Attract, mentor, retain, motivate, and manage exceptional staff members, while continuing to foster an open, collaborative, and collegial organizational culture
- Education, outreach, engagement—Define vision for continued excellence in academic engagement across the disciplines. Continue growth of outreach programs, including through forthcoming arts collaborative and the Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville. Collaborate with community partners on new programming
- External relations—Serve as primary spokesperson for the Museum related to acquisitions, philanthropic announcements, capital projects, exhibitions and programs; build on strength of Museum’s media profile
- Fundraising and stewardship—Build and grow relationships with supporters and donors; oversee Friends of Art and associated fundraisers and events, including the Summer Luncheon; continue growth of fundraising programs and participation; sustain strong partnership with central advancement in support of the Museum and fundraising efforts
- Budget and management—Manage $4.2M annual budget
- Facilities—In partnership with campus and community leaders, connect programmatic concepts with facilities planning and use; identify and strategize around opportunities for future expansion and growth of the Museum
The next Muzzy Director of the Colby Museum will be an ambitious, inventive, and collaborative leader who is inspired by the mission of the Colby College Museum of Art and can inspire others as well. Top candidates will demonstrate at least ten years of progressively increasing organizational leadership within environments where relationship building and influencing skills are critical to success. Our client seeks candidates with leadership experience in an art museum setting, within arts institutions, or similar organizations. Other must-have qualities include a talent and enthusiasm for outreach and partnership, and a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in their approach to exhibitions, collections, audience engagement, and mentorship.
An advanced degree in art or art history, museum education, arts management, or other relevant field or research area is preferred; deep professional and leadership experience in a comparable setting will also be seriously considered.
The ideal candidate should possess the following professional expertise, leadership competencies, and personal qualities:
Strategic and Visionary: The Director will be a dynamic and charismatic leader with an entrepreneurial and enthusiastic spirit, ability to partner with colleagues at the College, in the local community, and with members of the broader art and museum world. This individual will serve as a visible and effective advocate for the critical role that the arts play in the overall educational and public mission of Colby College. This individual will be a proven strategic thinker with the foresight and capacity to understand and balance complex and discrete priorities and needs. This leader should be comfortable operating within and energized by an environment that values academic engagement and intellectual vitality. Capable of providing stability and exuding confidence when faced with important and quickly changing circumstances, the Director will be a consultative thought leader.
Mission Fit and Expertise: The Director will demonstrate a passion for art, an appreciation for the creative process, and dedication and enthusiasm for serving students and lifelong learners at all levels. This individual must be someone who values the Colby Museum’s educational mission and the integration of the museum into the Colby College curriculum. The Director must also be deeply committed to research and scholarship. Simultaneously, they should cultivate collaborative opportunities within the broader art and art museum world.
The Director will help set the vision for rigorous, compelling exhibitions, programs, and publications that expand scholarly inquiry and audience engagement. They will have a solid grasp and keen awareness of national and international trends and best practices in art museums and within the broader art world.
Skilled and Inspirational Manager: The Director will be a decisive, results-driven leader with a collegial, team-oriented working style, open and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities. This individual will have a proven record of visible, effective leadership and management and the demonstrated ability to professionally develop, mentor, and retain a strong team that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability, and efficiency. They will be a motivator, able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance, and strong morale, empowering and cultivating staff through active and effective communication, feedback, and delegation, while actively promoting teamwork and collaboration.
External Relations and Relationship Building: The Director will have a compelling public presence and be skilled at developing, building, and sustaining relationships. They will have a demonstrated ability to connect with and build bridges among the various stakeholders within and across a range of contexts, including students, faculty, administrators, the Board of Governors, leaders of arts and cultural organizations, major donors, and members of the Waterville community. The Director will have excellent written and verbal communication skills and the facility to connect genuinely with audiences of varying levels of expertise. They will have the capacity to serve as an active and sensitive listener, and to thrive as the Colby Museum’s foremost champion and advocate, persuading stakeholders to support and advance the Museum’s mission.
With personal and professional integrity of the highest degree and holding public interest and public trust in the highest regard, the Director will possess a high comfort level operating in the public arena which includes valuing outward engagement, being at ease with people, and accepting the public demands made upon a leader with visibility in the community.
Credibility and Recognition: The successful candidate will have recognized distinction in the field, significant standing with peer institutions, and the stature to represent the Colby to all stakeholders. Preference will be given to candidates with significant professional, academic, and/or scholarly achievements, including accomplishments in the field of art history, museum education, arts leadership, or a related field.
Development and Fundraising: The Director will be an engaging fundraiser with demonstrated success in cultivation and stewardship. This individual will possess the capacity and mindset to build strong relationships within the community and to deepen collaborations with central advancement, current and potential donors, and the Museum’s Board of Governors. Ideally this leader will have prior experience with various fundraising and communications channels, including major gifts and capital campaigns, foundations, and corporations, and the ability to provide high-touch engagement with all of Colby’s constituents.
Operational Abilities: The Director will have a record of successful oversight and management of budgets and understanding of museum functions and operations. They will promote a culture of excellence and high-quality execution at all levels within the institution, providing outstanding stewardship for the advancement of the Colby College Museum of Art. Experienced with budget, financial, and personnel management, this individual will have the perspective to consider the impact of decisions, strategic plans or initiatives, and programs on the organization, and to make sound recommendations accordingly.
Naree Viner and Stephen Milbauer of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Stephen directly at email@example.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
At Koya, we don’t just accept difference – we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve. Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences.
About Koya Leadership Partners
Koya Leadership Partners is a retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that partners exclusively with mission-driven clients, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our clients and ensuring they have the strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.