Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute President Arts Consulting Group Executive Search

Arts Institute



Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) is a dynamic arts center serving diverse audiences and advancing the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of the arts. MWPAI fulfills its mission through three program divisions: Museum of Art, School of Art, and Performing Arts. Founded in Utica, New York in 1919 and opened in 1936, MWPAI is named after the three generations of family members who had a love for art and fine collectables and were inspired by the creation of “an artistic, musical, and social center” with a commitment to this vibrant area in Upstate New York.

The Museum of Art began with the family home, Fountain Elms, a Victorian-era Italianate mansion. The house was utilized as exhibit space, meeting rooms, and offices until 1960 when a new museum building, designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, was completed and opened to the public. At this time, Fountain Elms was restored back to its original floor plan and the home was once again furnished with period pieces to reflect the style of its original day. In 1995 the two buildings were connected and in 2010 were added to the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to one of the nation’s greatest collections of 19th century American decorative arts, paintings, and sculptures numbering more than 12,000 articles, the museum hosts eight to ten special exhibitions and a wide range of public programs each year.

The School of Art has grown dramatically from the original community arts education program, which was first developed in 1941. In 1948 the State of New York approved the ability for MWPAI to give program attendees a two-year degree in the field of fine arts. In 1999 the prestigious Pratt Institute developed a partnership with MWPAI to offer guaranteed continued education at the Brooklyn campus to complete a four-year bachelor of fine arts degree. PrattMWP College of Art and Design is a residential program with a ten to one student to faculty ratio and a student body from all over the world. The School of Art also offers a strong community arts program with courses for youth, teens, and adults in the region.

The Performing Arts Division presents more than a dozen live performances, featuring rising stars, famous soloists, and ensembles. Programs include recitals with commentary, cinema, family programs, outdoor festival concerts, special events, and educational activities. MWPAI also offers a summer arts festival, art and music libraries, an active membership program, a museum shop, and rental facilities for private events.

Annual attendance at all MWPAI arts and educational programs is approximately 150,000. Led by an active 12-member board, MWPAI has an expansive urban campus that includes 19 buildings, a staff of more than 75, an annual operating budget of $12.2 million, and an endowment approaching $100 million.


Located in the beautiful Mohawk Valley, the City of Utica is the tenth most populous city in the state of New York. Rich in history and scenic beauty, the region is nestled at the base of the foothills of the Adirondack Preserve in the Mohawk Valley. The region is at the epicenter of the major commercial centers in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Montreal. Utica is a diverse city with a vibrant community of more than 40 different nationalities. According to the most recent census, the city’s demographics are 69 percent White, 15 percent Black, and 10 percent Latino. Six colleges are located within the city limits, offering a myriad of degrees and doctoral programs for students from all over the world.

With a growing population of 62,000 residents, the City of Utica is home to a range of businesses, including national brands, small business startups, expansions, and entrepreneurs. The city is a key part of the larger Utica-Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which boasts a population of roughly 300,000 residents. Utica’s parks system consists of 677 acres of parks and recreation centers. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., who designed New York City’s Central Park, designed the Utica Parks and Parkway Historic District. In 2009 USA Today chose Utica as one of the Ten Greatest Places with International Flair. Country Home magazine also ranked the Utica-Rome area as one of the Top 25 Greenest Communities in the United States.

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Reporting to the board of directors, the President will be the chief executive officer of MWPAI, charged with leading the organization into the next phase of its journey, with a clear vision, strategic leadership, community engagement, and financial stability as a guide. The President will be a visionary with a passion for art, culture, and education. This individual will serve as the organization’s chief spokesperson, representing MWPAI to many external stakeholders. The scope of responsibility includes providing leadership and strategic direction in the oversight of the various program divisions. Growing earned and contributed revenues, leading senior staff, and ensuring quality facilities and operations are equally important. The President will guide, advise, and diversify the board as members embrace their roles as fundraisers, policymakers, and community ambassadors.

Roles & Responsibilities

Vision, Strategy, and Leadership

The President will provide leadership and stimulate an evocative vision that inspires and motivates the entire institution and its stakeholders. This individual will recognize the strategic flexibility and distinct missions of the three program divisions that requires each to function as part of a larger organization with a shared vision and common direction. In keeping with this view, the President will:

  • Oversee all day-to-day operations of MWPAI and its programs, facilities, and educational activities to ensure that patrons, students, and community members have a safe and high quality experience.
  • Persuasively communicate the direction and strategies, both internally and externally, to build commitment to and support of the MPWAI mission.
  • Lead and participate in the development of an organizational culture that supports a cohesive, creative, and productive staff.
  • Direct the use of capital and operating funds and identify needs for facilities, equipment, and management.
  • Participate in industry meetings and organizations to share and implement current best practices and industry standards with staff.
  • Ensure that the necessary organizational structure, policies, system controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
  • Interview, hire, and mentor staff, assign work, and provide performance appraisals on a regular basis.
  • Embody an organization with the highest ethical standards.


Revenue Enhancement and Community Engagement

The President will be responsible for promoting and solidifying external alliances and partnerships with public, private, and corporate sector constituents. In doing so, this individual will:

  • Guide the MWPAI board and staff in identifying stakeholders, developing strategies, and defining how key messages will be delivered to individuals and institutions to ensure that contributed and earned revenues meet organizational goals.
  • Lead giving efforts with the Director of Development and board and prioritize the organization’s major development programs, including its annual operating, memberships, and sponsorships.
  • Build relationships with individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agency funders and empower board and staff to do the same.
  • Collaborate with the development staff in donor identification, prospecting, and stewardship of all fundraising activities with special attention to major gift cultivation and solicitation.
  • Engage with the marketing and communications staff to maximize earned income from programs and ancillary activities.
  • Identify and promote marketing practices and innovative programming that challenges the status quo and pushes the organization to consider choices which may be outside its past traditions.


Governance and Financial Stewardship

The President will be responsible for articulating a common set of values and establishing policies and levels of accomplishment in a culture of mutual respect, constructive cooperation, and purposeful collaboration inherent in financial accountability. This individual will need to persuasively communicate the direction and strategies both internally and externally with qualitative and quantitative information that builds enthusiastic commitment to the mission of MWPAI. With these factors in mind, the President will:

  • Guide, direct, and support the board and its committees in their duties of fundraising, governance, and community ambassadorship for MWPAI and its activities.
  • Identify, cultivate, and assist in recruitment of board and advisory committee members whose skills, experience, financial connections, diversity, and capacity meet the organization’s needs.
  • Collaborate with the board to refine and implement the institutional strategic plan in order to meet annual goals and priorities.
  • Oversee all internal corporate matters, including legal issues, lease negotiations, and supervision of all real property such as maintenance, improvements, and capital projects.
  • Monitor monthly reporting of the annual budget as prepared by the Treasurer.
  • Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so it can effectively fulfill its policy and decision-making responsibilities.

Traits & Characteristics

The President will be a dynamic, people-oriented leader who can see the big picture and values frequent interaction with internal and external stakeholders, both locally and nationally. This individual will appreciate the skills, experience, and input of others in formulating plans and achieving successful outcomes. A true leader with the ability to understand and embrace MWPAI’s unique operations, the President can inspire the development of a long-term vision with achievable goals and a strategy that embraces many stakeholders. The selected individual will bring energy, tenacity, passion, and an appreciation for arts, culture, and education.

Other key competencies include the following:

  • Leadership – The ability to organize and motivate others to accomplish goals while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders.
  • Self-Management and Personal Accountability – The competence to prioritize and complete tasks necessary to meet or exceed the mutually agreed upon expectations of the role and to assume accountability for personal actions.
  • Resiliency – The capacity to quickly recover from adversity or setbacks and move past obstacles without unnecessary delay.
  • Conceptual and Futuristic Thinking – The dexterity to forecast long-range outcomes and develop suitable business strategies that anticipate future trends.
  • Interpersonal Skills – The gravitas to build rapport and demonstrate a sincere interest in others while effectively communicating and relating well to a diverse constituency.


A master’s degree and eight to ten years of senior leadership experience in a cultural organization, educational institution, or similar entity are required. A demonstrated commitment to the arts, arts education, and community collaboration in working with faculty, staff, board, and an array of external stakeholders is necessary.

Compensation & Benefits

Compensation is very competitive and commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, and participation in a matching 401(k) retirement plan. The Mohawk Valley and surrounding regions also offer rustic outdoor experiences with easy access to several major metropolitan areas.

Applications & Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:

Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite
Vice President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Fax       (888) 284.6651

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is an equal opportunity employer
that welcomes any qualified applicant and values diversity of all kinds.

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this is for MS companies and we will provide contact information for further details.


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