Website The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum
The world's largest collection of works by Isamu Noguchi.
Founded in 1985 by category-defying Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum (The Noguchi Museum) in Queens, New York, advances the understanding and appreciation of Noguchi’s art and legacy. It was the first museum in the United States to be established, designed, and installed by a living artist to exhibit their own work. Housing the world’s largest collection of Noguchi’s works, the Museum features indoor galleries in a repurposed industrial building and a serene outdoor sculpture garden. In addition to managing the artist’s archives and catalogue raisonné, the Museum exhibits a comprehensive selection of Noguchi’s material culture, from sculpture, models, and drawings to his personal possessions. Provocative installations drawn from the permanent collection, together with special exhibitions and collaborations with practitioners across disciplines, offer a multifaceted view of Noguchi’s art and illuminate his enduring influence, making the Museum an international hub for Noguchi research and appreciation.
History of the Buildings and Capital Projects
The Noguchi Museum facility comprises several buildings and the garden space. The Museum itself is housed in a 1920s factory building that Noguchi purchased in 1974 and includes a cinder-block addition that Noguchi constructed in 1980. Across the street from this museum building is an industrial building that Noguchi purchased in 1961, where he lived and worked. In 2009, the Museum purchased two properties contiguous to the original studio. In 2017, a neighbor bequeathed her adjacent townhouse to the Museum.
The Museum has finalized the design for a new Collections Lab and Study Center on its properties. The structure will house most of the Museum’s collection, bringing together works that to date have been stored offsite. The building will also include a study center for Noguchi’s archives. Additionally, the Collections Lab will contain a fabrication shop, back of house facilities, and flexible space for receiving, packing, and staging artwork. The Museum will preserve the Studio building, which is in urgent need of stabilization. Noguchi’s workshop spaces will be renovated to serve as the Museum’s shop and cafe. The living quarters Noguchi created will be restored, with regular tours for visitors. Once complete, the renovation will enable the Museum to secure this important historic property and open it to the public for the first time.
The Noguchi Museum is seeking a passionate and agile leader with the vision to lead the organization into its next stage of growth, with an expanded campus and greater access, awareness, and engagement. Working closely with the Board of Trustees, the Director will be a strategic thinker with strong interpersonal and analytical skills, keen judgment, and the ability to work collaboratively with the Trustees and staff to fulfill Isamu Noguchi’s founding vision while also thinking creatively about how his values and philosophy can be articulated and amplified to a broader range of audiences today. The ideal candidate will possess a strong commitment to the organization’s long-term goals for artistic excellence and cultural equity. They will be an inspirational manager who can provide support and direction in fundraising, operations, programming, and resource management.
The Director will be a front-facing and dynamic leader who is able to build, cultivate, and maintain partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders, other organizations, and donors. They will bring a rigorous business discipline to the organization, ensuring that the Museum maintains and builds upon its robust fiscal health and continues its growth and development. They will possess outstanding communication skills, be a persuasive advocate and spokesperson; they will lead the execution of the capital projects with respect for the history and mission of The Museum and a passion for expansion, and improved accessibility.
● Work with the Board of Trustees and staff members to develop and implement a strategic plan; engage the Trustees and staff in meaningful participation that will facilitate communication of a clear and sustainable vision, mission, and strategy for the organization
● Cultivate a strong working relationship with the staff based on trust, confidence, and transparency, encouraging collaboration in pursuit of organizational effectiveness and growth
● Serve as the primary fundraiser; create and pursue a strong fundraising plan that ensures the growth of a diversified funding streams, including the planning and execution of fundraising events, individual gifts, corporate sponsorships, foundation support, government funding, and grant seeking and stewardship
● In collaboration with the leadership team, ensure the fiscal health of the organization and the proper functioning of all facilities
● Working closely with the curatorial and education departments, provide direction and oversight for the Museum’s exhibitions and programming; evaluate the success of the organization’s programming, outreach, and education programs to meet the needs of the community; identify opportunities for growth and development
● Ensure ongoing artistic and programmatic excellence and consistent delivery of mission and values
● Lead and manage the staff to be inspired to do exceptional work. Specifically:
• be a positive and accessible presence in the office and cultural catalyst across the Museum;
• communicate in an effective and timely manner so that staff understand Board and executive decisions and can adjust their work accordingly;
• ensure staff members understand how their specific roles contribute to the overarching mission and purpose of the organization; set high standards for professionalism, work product, and collegiality and hold people responsible for maintaining them;
• support staff in their careers, ensuring people have opportunities for professional development that enhance their growth and their work at The Noguchi Museum
● With professionalism and high emotional intelligence, become a valued and visible member of the New York cultural community with the ability to engage with people from a wide array of backgrounds
● Energize those who care about Noguchi and his work to contribute to the Museum and support his legacy.
● The ideal candidate will be a seasoned, creative, entrepreneurial leader with a passion for the visual arts and the ability to imagine The Noguchi Museum’s future. Specifically, they will have:
• Extensive experience fundraising with the ability to cultivate relationships and to secure contributions from all revenue sources.
• At least ten years of executive management experience with a track record of motivating results-oriented teams and taking an organization through its next stage of growth.
• Ability to work in a dynamic, complex environment with robust intellectual, programmatic, and operational content.
• A passion for the visual arts; knowledge of and enthusiasm for Noguchi and Japanese culture strongly preferred.
• Emotional intelligence, a warm and welcoming personality, and the ability to engage with all kinds of people.
• A strategic mind and the ability to balance long-term initiatives with short-term opportunities.
• An understanding of technology and how it can be implemented to help fulfill The Noguchi Museum’s mission and engage audiences.
• Excellent management and interpersonal skills; experience leading a high-performing staff in a way that emphasizes collaboration and teamwork.
• Strong written and verbal communication skills and a persuasive and passionate communication style.
• Past success working with a Board of Trustees, with the ability to expand existing and develop new Board member relationships.
• Unwavering commitment to quality programs and program evaluation.
• Passion, idealism, a sense of humor, integrity, a positive attitude, a mission-centric orientation, and a self-directed work style.
• A master’s degree in a related field is preferred. An undergraduate degree is required.
Compensation: $275K to $325K, based on experience
The Noguchi Museum is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, citizenship status, veteran status, disability or any other criterion specified by federal, state or local laws, in the administration of its employment policy. The Museum considers the diversity of its workforce to be vital to our organization’s success in meeting its mission. We strongly encourage applicants from all cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities to apply.
Full-time employees are eligible for benefits including a generous health insurance program including medical, dental, and vision, a 403(b) retirement savings plan with company match, paid time off, and other benefits.[JL1]
For more information about Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, please visit their website at: https://www.noguchi.org
The Noguchi Museum has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Jack Lusk, Managing Partner & CEO
Sabrina Stoker, Senior Director
Harris Rand Lusk
260 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Email your resume and cover letter to Sabrina Stoker at: email@example.com
Please put “The Noguchi Museum – Director” in the subject line of your emailed application.
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