Organization: Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

Location: St. Petersburg, FL

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About Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg:

The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg (“MFA”) is a leading cultural force in the Tampa Bay Area. With its encyclopedic collection covering almost 5,000 years of civilization, the MFA houses thousands of objects extending from antiquity to present and hosts unique traveling exhibitions and events in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.

The MFA is proud to have the only comprehensive art collection of its kind on Florida’s west coast. Highlights include masterpieces from Monet, Cézanne, Renoir and other renowned artists (owned by, or on loan to, the MFA), a sculpture garden, a Steuben glass gallery and one of the Southeast’s most respected photography collections. Recent exhibitions include Monet to Matisse-On the French Coast, works by William Pachner and Japanese Woodblock Prints.

The MFA opened to the public in 1965 and was the first art museum in St. Petersburg located on the scenic downtown waterfront. The MFA was founded by Margaret Acheson Stuart (1896 -1980) and continues to reflect her vision of providing outstanding examples of world-class art in an inviting and elegant setting. Throughout its 51-year tenure, the Museum has remained dedicated to serving all people by pursuing excellence in art through collection, exhibitions and education for its diverse audiences.

The MFA is located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. A city landmark, the original wing of the Museum was designed by architect John Volk. According to Volk, “a museum should give a feeling of permanence and that is what I have tried to do with this building.” After decades of impressive growth – in artwork and visitors – the Hazel Hough Wing was added to the original building in 2008. The Hazel Hough Wing houses the bright and open Mary Alice McClendon Glass Conservatory, the Special Exhibition Galleries including Works on Paper Gallery on the second floor, the interactive Explore More gallery, Museum Store and the MFA Café. Many MFA programs are held in the new wing as well as revenue-generating weddings and corporate events.

Education plays an important part in the mission of the MFA. In Connecting the Past through Art, the MFA partners with the Pinellas County School District to bring every 6th grade student (more than 6,000 children per year) to the Museum as part of the social studies curriculum on world cultures. Each child receives a daily pass for a return free visit with his or her family. These tours are conducted 4-5 times per week during the school year and are led by MFA docents. Beginning in 2016, a new Art Mobile will visit 74 Pinellas County elementary schools over 4 years, reaching an estimated 42,000 children. Additionally, Illuminate is a program that gives patients and their caregivers a twice-monthly opportunity to experience art at the MFA as part of a new partnership with the regional Alzheimer’s Association.

Today, the MFA is at the center of the booming arts and cultural scene in St. Petersburg. Under the leadership of the next Director, the MFA will continue to thrive as a cultural force, engaging deeper audiences throughout the community. In this next chapter, with a potential expansion on the horizon, the Museum will grow to meet the changing needs of the community, enhancing St. Petersburg’s vibrant cultural landscape.

For more information on the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, please visit its website.

St. Petersburg:

Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, St. Petersburg is a vibrant and economically charged city. Downtown is experiencing rapid growth that has been described as a ‘renaissance’. With more than 6 million annual visitors, St. Petersburg is known for being more than a tourist destination. Today, St. Petersburg is seeing growth in major industry sectors and is described as a hub of innovation and one of the best places to live and work. St. Petersburg has a clear vision for the city that states: “St. Petersburg will be a city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play. We will be an innovative, creative and competitive community that honors our past while pursuing our future.” To learn more about the vision for St. Petersburg, watch the following video here.

In addition to the current rebirth, St. Petersburg is known as a thriving arts and culture destination. The city is firmly anchored by a collection of museums and cultural attractions unique to the city, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, The Florida Holocaust Museum, Morean Arts Center, Florida CraftArt, Sunken Gardens, St. Pete Opera Company, The Florida Orchestra and more. The MFA, in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, is located at the center of the local arts and culture scene.

New additions to the St. Petersburg arts and culture landscape, in conjunction with the proposed development of the St. Petersburg Pier, will further enhance the energy and attraction of the booming downtown. The city will soon gain a Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement, anticipated to open in 2017, and an extensive collection of Western and American Indian art owned by the CEO of Raymond James, Tom James. Both new museums are slated to occupy prime locations in downtown St. Petersburg. In addition, the Chihuly Collection will be relocated into a larger space, adding to the momentum of the area.

The larger St. Petersburg metropolitan area, referred to as the Tampa Bay Area, which includes neighboring Tampa, Clearwater and Sarasota, is considered the fourth largest metro area in the Southeast and has a population in excess of 2.5 million people.

The Opportunity:

The next Director of the MFA will lead the institution into its next successful chapter. At this critical point in the MFA’s trajectory, the Director will have the central responsibility for providing leadership and direction. S/he will be the face of the Museum locally, regionally, nationally and internationally and will serve as a bridge between internal and external stakeholders and the Tampa Bay community. An important role for the new Director will be representing the MFA to a wide range of stakeholders, building partnerships with other entities and helping to ‘bridge the bay’ with local Tampa Bay neighbors.

With the current energy and development of the Tampa Bay Area, the Board is actively engaged in how to maintain the MFA’s place as a leader in the Tampa Bay Area’s arts and cultural landscape. The Board has just finished a retreat where they laid the foundation for the Museum’s next strategic plan, focused on programmatic, exhibition and physical changes. The Board has also retained a world-class architecture firm that is actively looking into a potential expansion and how to maximize the Museum’s current space. The Board will look to the new Director to build on this current momentum and execute on the Museum’s goals.

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Director’s primary responsibilities include direction setting, implementation, artistic vision, exhibition planning and development, communications, audience development, fundraising, operations and administration. The Director will ensure the MFA is run as a fiscally sound operation and attract and retain top talent while inspiring the staff. The Director will oversee an operating budget of approximately $4 million and lead a staff of more than 30.

MFA senior executives currently reporting to the Director include the Hazel and William Hough Chief Curator (who is currently serving as the Interim Director), as well as the Chief Financial Officer, Director of Operations, Director of Marketing and Director of Development.



Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following skills, qualities and characteristics:

Strategic Leadership

The Director will be a strategic and visionary leader who is comfortable developing and articulating a vision for the MFA. S/he will inspire trust and confidence and will have a successful track record as a convener, catalyst and innovator, serving as a critical force in the broader arts and cultural community. The Director will be skilled at leading and influencing organizations and communities, and will be a mover and shaker in the Tampa Bay Area cultural community. S/he will thrive in a rapidly changing landscape and will be able to partner effectively with other leaders to achieve goals.

Ambassador for the MFA

The Director will have a passion for the future of the MFA and the arts and cultural community of the Tampa Bay Area. S/he will be skilled at communicating the MFA’s vision to a variety of stakeholders and will have the ability to build successful relationships. With strong interpersonal skills, s/he will be an articulate, dynamic and diplomatic communicator who can work effectively with the Board, staff, donors and other partners. Lastly, the Director will be comfortable developing connections in the broader arts community to advance the mission of the MFA and raise its profile locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Fundraising & Development

The Director will be a proven or emergent fundraiser who energetically embraces this aspect of the role. The Director will bring a creative and entrepreneurial approach to fundraising, enabling the MFA to access previously untapped support in the Tampa Bay Area and beyond. S/he will be skilled at cultivating relationships with a variety of donors, including major individual donors and corporations.

Business Acumen & Management Skills

As is common in the industry, the MFA is looking for a leader with strong business acumen. The Director will be a seasoned executive with strong staff and management experience. S/he will have a track record of sound financial planning, oversight and accountability as well as the ability to build and inspire a staff with a diverse set of skills. S/he will be able to provide clear expectations and accountability measures for deliverables while encouraging innovation and initiative. S/he must have the skills to lead the development and adoption of a strategic plan, leading the MFA into a successful next chapter. Finally, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

An advanced degree in arts administration, business, art history or other related field is strongly preferred.


Alison P. Ranney, Alexandra N. Corvin and Anny K. Chou of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please email Alison, Alex and Anny directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with nonprofit institutions. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit