The Norton Museum of Art was founded by Ralph Hubbard Norton and his wife Elizabeth Calhoun Norton. An industrialist who headed the Acme Steel Company in Chicago, Mr. Norton retired in 1939 to make West Palm Beach their permanent home. Avid philanthropists and collectors, the Norton’s chose to share their collection with the public, commissioning Marion Sims Wyeth of the firm Wyeth, King & Johnson to design the Museum. The Art Deco building opened on February 8, 1941. Mr. and Mrs. Norton's gifts of art brought the first 317 works to the Museum.
Since its founding in 1941, The Norton Museum of Art has grown and evolved to become one of Florida's major cultural institutions. The Museum is internationally known for its distinguished permanent collection featuring American Art, Chinese Art, Contemporary Art, European Art and Photography. Its masterpieces of 19th century and 20th century painting and sculpture include works by Brancusi, Gauguin, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Davis, Hassam, Hopper, Manship, O'Keeffe, Pollock and Sheeler. The Museum presents special exhibitions, lectures, tours and programs for adults and children throughout the year.
The Museum is currently engaged in the most comprehensive expansion and renovation in its history. A new addition and adjoining landscaped gardens will be the culmination of six years of planning by the Board of Trustees and the staff, working with the world-renowned architectural firm of Foster + Partners. The resulting campus will further the museum’s mission to be the center of the cultural life of its community and to offer the public access to the arts through a multiplicity of ways.
The expansion and renovation will:
- Create a 133,000 sq. ft. museum with a world-class architectural presence worthy of the Norton’s outstanding collections.
- Provide an impressive and welcoming public entrance on the Dixie Highway, a principal artery in West Palm Beach.
- Expand exhibition space by 35%, creating a total of 48,000 sq. ft. of gallery area.
- More than triple the educational program space for adult, family and school audiences.
- Add a purpose-built 210 seat auditorium equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual systems.
- Improve visitor amenities including a new restaurant, museum store, and special event spaces. The new 7,200 sq. ft. restaurant will be able to function independently, with a separate, detached entrance, as well as being accessible from the Museum.
- Create a campus for the Museum by placing it in a series of gardens that will take advantage of the subtropical climate and allow the Museum to develop an outdoor sculpture collection.
The Campaign for the New Norton has already raised $80 million towards a $100 million goal. The Museum, which currently operates with a budget of $8 million and a full and part-time staff of 80, will reopen with a budget of $11-12 million and a combined staff of approximately 100. The endowment will increase from $74 million to $78 million.
The new Executive Director will take over the Norton Museum of Art at a unique moment in its history and will benefit from a partnership with a far-sighted board of culturally aware men and women with a range of deep experience in the arts - as collectors, as philanthropists, as politically aware citizens - and with a highly professional and extremely talented staff. The new Executive Director will preside over possibly the most important and diverse collection of art in the southern United States, and will work in and with a spectacular new facility destined to become an architectural icon.
The Norton Museum of Art will continue to play a crucial role in creating the cultural tapestry that defines the region, will contribute to the area’s economic development and will attract visitors from across the globe. The Museum’s commitment to growth and its dedication to enhancing its collection, embracing cutting-edge programming and building new audiences is shared by board and staff alike.
THE POSITION SUMMARY
For the Museum to move forward, the Executive Director must be a visionary leader who will play a key role in managing complex challenges and capitalizing on compelling opportunities. The Executive Director, in partnership with the Board of Trustees and the staff, will ultimately help the Museum fulfill its mission, contribute to the success of the organization, engage the critical stakeholders and sustain a reputation of excellence.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Continue to raise the visibility of the Museum nationally and internationally to enable it to enter the next phase of growth and development; and communicate the vision and mission of the Museum with passion to all constituents.
- Establish trusted working relationships with all stakeholders including: staff, Board of Trustees, donors and members as well as community and civic leaders.
- Set goals and objectives while fostering an agile organization that can adapt quickly to change with emphasis on being flexible in a challenging environment.
- Assure long-range financial goals are met through both earned and contributed income and maintain strong professional and personal relationships with all donors and with the larger funding community.
- Work to ensure the continued growth of the collection as part of an overarching artistic vision and specific acquisition and donor cultivation strategies.
- Partner with curatorial, educational and other critical staff to develop an exceptional exhibition schedule through a combination of Norton-organized and traveling exhibitions.
- Ensure a meaningful visitor experience to drive audience interest and attendance; build on the Museum’s commitment to meaningful, creative educational programs for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
- Leverage access to other national and international art museums and museum directors as part of a professional network for resource sharing, best practices and exhibition opportunities.
- Establish collaborative relationships that allow staff to be engaged, members to feel valued, donors to be compelled to donate art and funds, potential donors to become involved and the community to feel valued underscoring the Norton’s commitment to being a fundamental part of the cultural and social fabric of the region.
- Ensure the organization is effectively structured and staffed with high quality, competent, motivated and team-oriented professionals; foster a culture of performance and accountability within the staff functions; motivate, inspire and energize the staff; understand and value their experience, strengths and concerns; foster innovation; create an environment for staff growth, learning and experimentation.
- Demonstrate honesty and ethical behavior; ensure that corporate governance is in place for the organization; accept personal accountability for the organization’s operation and assure commitment to the institutional mission.
- Create an energized and exciting atmosphere that fosters cooperation and support internally and is effectively communicated externally to all constituencies.
The population and wealth growth projections for South Florida over the next twenty years are high. America is moving south, and it is the Norton board’s intention to be prepared to serve in every way the cultural needs of the Museum’s growing constituencies. With its spectacular new facility, the Norton Board looks to a new Executive Director for the energy and innovation thinking to visualize, describe and lead the Norton toward this exciting horizon.
Specifically, to become a respected, visible leader in the community, in Florida and across the United States, as well as abroad, a candidate must be a person of significant influence in the art world with an extensive network of museum colleagues and patrons and a demonstrated track record of successful engagement with them.
S/he must be keenly media savvy to create and exercise the level of leadership expected, both with the traditional media and in the new social media. Above all, the new Executive Director must demonstrate a proactive persona, attractive to local and national media; and must have a track record as a pleasing, vigorous and articulate spokesperson for the arts.
Candidates will understand how important it is to attract and keep superior curatorial and administrative talent and will have the empathy and the skills to help staff shine, to perform at peak levels, to become notable figures and persuasive spokespeople in their own right.
The Norton’s new leader will be capable of skilled management of diverse stakeholders including collectors, artists, scholars, art enthusiasts and others with strong critical opinions and forcefully articulated points of view including members of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. S/he will have the diplomatic and the interpersonal skills to unify and harmonize the Board in singular devotion to promoting the Museum’s mission and financial well-being and will be able to bring the work of the Board to the attention of able, connected women and men who may be new board prospects.
Candidates will already have internalized the fundamental understanding that an important and ambitious collecting museum has a voracious appetite and the new Executive Director will have demonstrated ability to attract funding for museum activities and exhibitions. They will have the ability to continually assess the evolving ranks of potential individual donors and institutional grantors and will be willing to devote significant chunks of his/her personal time in engaging trustees, friends and staff in cultivating potential resources.
COMPENSATION AND START DATE
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience and a comprehensive benefits package will be provided. The new building will be completed in February 2019 and the current Executive Director has announced her retirement effective then. The new executive director will begin in early 2019.
HOW TO APPLY
Send resume, cover letter indicating interest and qualifications and contact information for three professional references to the search firm working with the Museum’s Board of Trustees. Recommendations of qualified candidates are also welcome.
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
By email: MCAWall2@gmail.com
Attn: Linda Sweet and Bill Appleton
Subject line: Norton Museum ED Search