About The Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is among America’s most distinctive museums, forging connections between people and art from cultures around the world and spanning seven millennia. Located in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, the Walters is free for all. The museum’s campus includes five historic buildings and 36,000 art objects.
Today, the Walters serves Baltimore and Maryland by embracing its role as educators and storytellers, using the collection as a vehicle of knowledge and cultural expression to support learning, dialogue, and community engagement. The museum is committed to public education, offering essential programs that help people to connect art to their lives. The Walters’ Visitor Promise aligns staff and volunteers across the museum to preserve and share the works in our care for future generations, partner with communities, and create welcoming, accessible experiences for visitors.
For more information about the Walters, please visit their website.
The Opportunity and Key Responsibilities
The Walters Art Museum (“the Walters”) seeks a collaborative, experienced, and team-oriented leader to serve as the Director of the Learning & Community Engagement department (previously named the Education & Public Programs department). This senior staff member will be responsible for developing and implementing a compelling vision for the Museum’s Learning & Community Engagement department, in alignment with the Museum’s mission, strategic plan, and diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion goals.
The Walters has been a leader in public education since its founding in 1934. The Director of Learning & Community Engagement role is an exciting opportunity for a visionary, collaborative, and empathetic leader to strengthen and build an innovative, service-oriented 21st century education department focused on community engagement, public programs, and PreK-12 students, teachers, and families.
Reporting to the Deputy Director of Engagement & Strategic Initiatives, the Director of Learning & Community Engagement will be a connector and collaborator throughout the Museum, and will be part of the Museum’s Engagement Division (including the Learning & Community Engagement, Visitor Experience, Marketing & Communications, and Development departments).
The Director of Learning & Community Engagement will supervise a staff of ~14 and oversee the department’s annual budget (currently ~$900,000).
The Director of Learning & Community Engagement is responsible for the following:
Vision & Program Leadership
- Establish long-range vision and annual goals for the Walters Learning & Community Engagement department. Lead department through transformation to achieve new vision.
- Understand and enhance the Walters role as a civic institution in Baltimore Maryland and its unique public-private partnerships.
- Lead the design and development of creative and inclusive engagement, education, and learning opportunities and programs for all ages that:
- Align with the Museum’s mission, Strategic Plan, diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion goals, and overall organizational priorities.
- Incorporate instructional best practices to achieve optimal learning outcomes for a range of audiences including multi-generational learning, families, students, and teachers.
- Reflect and enhance the Walters historic collection, and create connections to contemporary issues.
- Welcome and engage diverse audiences, drive attendance, strengthen visitor experience, and deepen connections to communities in Baltimore, the region, and beyond.
- Are based in an understanding of audience and community needs and research.
- Create visibility for the Walters as a local and national leader.
- Are within budget and have a clear strategy for earned and/ or contributed revenue support.
- Establish clear and effective processes for program creation, approval, and review. Ensure the early collaboration of key museum partners.
- Leverage digital, in-person, and distance platforms and experiences to encourage audiences to explore art and the Walters.
- Foster models for change and innovation; drive experimentation in enhancing programs.
- Prioritize resources and create plans that are feasible within organizational capacity and goals; determine both what the Museum will do as well as what it will not.
- Partner with colleagues in the Curatorial, Collections, Conservation, Visitor Experience, and other departments to create a consistent and shared learning experience for all visitors.
- Support planning needs for exhibitions, installations, and other curatorial projects. Develop team-based approach to department participation in exhibition and installation projects. Advise curatorial colleagues to conceptualize and develop new interpretive materials.
- Support Volunteer and Docent training.
- Partner with colleagues in Development to create an integrated approach to public and development programs.
- Monitor and measure the success and impact of programs, in collaboration with Visitor Experience. Understand attendance and engagement trends, and create opportunities to develop these areas.
Community Engagement & Partnership
- Build community engagement capacity, expertise, and outreach in the department.
- Establish and nurture reciprocal collaborations and partnerships with a host of external partners to further the Museum’s mission, serve its community, and extend the impact of programming, especially to new audiences.
- Create a partnership of trust, open dialogue, and accountability with communities by centering audiences and communities, and their feedback, in the Walters decision-making. Develop mechanisms for representation and feedback throughout the Walters, including a strategy and structure for community engagement and advisory boards and strengthened evaluation.
- Expand and continually improve the Walter’s engagement with the greater Baltimore community. Aim to make the Walters an essential resource and must-see destination.
- Deepen partnerships with PreK-12 schools in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and across Maryland. Enhance the value the Museum can contribute to 21st century skills and the curriculum, and inspire greater involvement for teachers and students.
Team Building & Mentorship
- Attract, develop, support, and retain a high-performing team.
- Establish annual goals, objectives, and priorities with each unit and direct reports.
- Provide clarity, direction, clear communication, and policies, and timely follow through.
- Lead by example and act as a bridge to encourage trust and collaboration among Museum staff, especially with regard to partnerships with Curatorial, Marketing & Communications, and Visitor Experience. Identify ways departments across the Museum are included early and systematically in programming. Support team members in their efforts to foster productive collaborations and creative endeavors.
- Prioritize professional development and actively mentor team members to build skills and experiences. Create a positive culture of improvement, critique, and accountability. Set expectations, align team members, and provide clear and timely feedback.
- Empower and encourage team members to shine and contribute.
- Advocate for Learning & Community Engagement department and team members, and elevate the work of the department in the institution. Provide consistent, thoughtful leadership and supportive problem-solving.
- Represent the Walters and ensure the team’s understanding of and adherence to all policies and procedures.
Administration & Operations
- Serve as a member of the Leadership Team.
- Oversee development, implementation, and monitoring of the department budget (both expenses and revenue). Think strategically about the resources needed for sustainability and growth.
- Represent the department at Leadership, Board, and Committee meetings. Take a leadership role in the Board Engagement Committee.
- Play a significant role in fundraising for the department and institution, including identifying, contributing to, implementing, and reporting on grant-funded opportunities. Assist in cultivating and stewarding donors interested in education-related programs.
The ideal candidate will possess the following professional and personal attributes, skills, and characteristics:
A bachelor’s degree is required in education, history, humanities, or related field; an advanced degree in education or art history is preferred; deep professional and leadership experience in a comparable setting will also be seriously considered.
Creativity & Innovation in Programming
The Director of Learning & Community Engagement will bring tested management, organizational, and administrative experience and demonstrate at least five years of public-facing educational or programmatic leadership experience in a senior role with a strong track record of providing creative leadership to design and deliver impactful educational, public programming, and community building experiences to fulfill and amplify the Museum’s mission. This leader is strategic and collaborative, self-confident; unflappable; pragmatic, grounded, decisive, and clear. Preferred candidates will have an in-depth knowledge of current and emerging educational trends. They will possess deep knowledge of and passion for art, commitment to education and lifelong learning, intellectual inquiry, visitor and community engagement, and the Walters potential in the Baltimore and Maryland communities; background in community arts organizing preferred. This leader is digitally adept and is attuned to ways technology, education, and communications mutually support and improve each other’s objectives and the Museum overall. The Director of Learning & Community Engagement is a systems thinker and is able to look across department, Museum, and external environment to understand root causes of issues and opportunities for improved service and partnership; open to and seeks change and innovation. They must possess a commitment to working with children and families and experience working with diverse audiences and cultures in authentic and meaningful ways.
Building Relationships & Using Influence
The Director of Learning & Community Engagement builds, leads, and manages high-performing teams with empathy and self-awareness; high emotional intelligence and is able to reflect on own improvement and model that commitment to the team. They hold a high standard of excellence and accountability, and inclusivity, facilitating their ability to work collaboratively and deliver results as a team. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and will possess the ability to manage through change with flexibility, poise, and a sense of humor. The Director of Learning & Community Engagement is an accomplished manager effective with budgets, staffing, deadlines, deliverables, and competing agendas; a strong ability to organize, set priorities, create an action plan, delegate, and coordinate. This leader establishes rapport and cultivates relationships across all levels of the organization, and empowers a diverse staff and external constituents to deliver results; this includes staff, Trustees, educators, artists, volunteers, donors, local government and public-school officials, and community leaders. It is imperative that they foster an atmosphere of collaboration and partnership across the organization. They will understand the need to learn the history and culture of the Museum and appreciate the complexities it faces today before making recommendations.
The Director of Learning & Community Engagement is a gifted leader who will serve as an ambassador for the Museum in the education, public programming, and community building domains and beyond. A charismatic spokesperson, this leader offers superlative communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills grounded in excellent judgment; a diplomatic ambassador who can listen, advocate, hold a position, engage diverse partners, and drive complicated projects to closure. They are a passionate, articulate, and effective advocate for the Museum to a wide range of constituents. This individual believes deeply in building and nurturing a robust network of relationships to foster collaboration and advance the Museum’s mission. The Director of Learning & Community Engagement is entrepreneurial and creative when thinking about how to best cultivate new groups of stakeholders in the mission of the Museum and create a welcoming environment for all visitors and program participants.
Passion for the Mission
The Director of Learning & Community Engagement of the Walters will be an ambitious, inventive, and collaborative leader who is inspired by the mission of the Museum and can inspire others as well. Fully embracing the mission of the Museum, the relationship with the local and broader communities, and the commitment to its various stakeholders, they will have a love of learning, a deep interest in Baltimore and Maryland, and the desire to proactively address issues of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion with regards to the content and staffing of programming, the visitor experience, and community engagement.
They will be passionate about working in partnership with the staff, donors, and other partners to advance the mission the Museum and its educational and programmatic initiatives. In addition, the Director of Learning & Community Engagement will embody an understanding of and appreciation for the role that cultural institutions and other informal environments can play in learning. They will possess and promote a deep appreciation for the collections, programs, building, history, research, and scholarship of the Museum and will demonstrate a commitment to public involvement, community building, and the visitor experience. Working closely with the senior leadership, the Director of Learning & Community Engagement will serve as a bridge between the internal staff and external partners and will fully embody the values of the Museum. Finally, the ideal candidate is an individual of integrity, ethics, and values, who can be trusted without reservation.
Compensation and Benefits
The target salary for this role is $110,000. The Walters Art Museum offers healthcare benefits, flexible spending accounts, disability insurance, a 457B retirement plan with match, 26 days PTO a year plus 11 observed holidays.
Stephen Milbauer of Koya Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Stephen directly at [email protected]. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
The Walters Art Museum is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.