Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
“We built Bethel Woods to create a better place for people of this county and region to live, work, and play. Our kids are our future. Let’s give them every opportunity to flourish here, to become successful, and contribute to society.”
- Alan Gerry, Founder and Chairman
Serving nearly 200,000 visitors each year, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (Bethel Woods) is a world-class cultural center located on the original site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival in the Catskill Mountains of southern New York. Alan Gerry, a cable television pioneer and philanthropist, created this nonprofit organization to improve the quality of life and revitalize the economy in his native Sullivan County. Since its opening in 2006, Bethel Woods has grown and developed into a multi-faceted cultural destination committed to leveraging its success for the economic and social benefit of Sullivan County.
Located 90 miles from New York City on a beautiful pastoral 800-plus-acre campus, Bethel Woods boasts a 15,000-seat outdoor performing arts venue, a smaller intimate performance space, and a museum. Each year Bethel Woods offers a diverse selection of cultural experiences through a variety of performances, presentations, and educational and community activities. Musical legends such as The Eagles, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Van Halen, and Lady Gaga have graced the stage of the award-winning amphitheater. During the fall, regional artisans, farmers, brewers, and vintners share their craft in a variety of festivals and markets—embodying the spirit of the farm-to-table movement. The Museum at Bethel Woods (the Museum) serves visitors through permanent and special exhibits, public programs, and historic preservation. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock in 2019, the Museum interprets the cultural significance of the 1960s and the festival, connecting people with past events and issues that continue to shape their lives. Its collection and library contain more than 3,500 objects and photographs related to the Woodstock festival site, founders, musicians, and attendees.
Expanding every year since 2006, educational programming has become a vital community resource, reaching nearly 30,000 individuals, children, and families annually—many who would otherwise have little or no access. Multidisciplinary programs provide learning opportunities about the lessons of the 1960s, including individual expression, heightened cultural engagement, social consciousness, empowerment, and inspiration. In 2013 The Conservatory opened to accommodate the planned growth of youth and teen education and outreach programming both on and off campus. The Conservatory brings creative youth development programs to a region where few or none previously existed.
Bethel Woods is built on a sustainable business model with diverse revenue streams that leverage its unique, historical setting as a competitive advantage in its live performances, social and corporate events, and cultural offerings. The $19 million annual operating budget for 2019 is comprised of earned revenue from events and concerts and more than $8 million in contributed revenue for its museum, community, and educational programs. The organization is poised to grow its philanthropic support, expanding its impact on young people and the residents of Sullivan County. Bethel Woods is governed by a 12-member board of trustees with Alan Gerry serving as Chairman. Darlene Fedun is the Chief Executive Officer.
The spectacular setting of Sullivan County is located at the crossroads of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley region. The idyllic environment has been described as one of the most beautiful, unspoiled, and untapped recreational meccas in the United States, featuring year-round outdoor activities and a wealth of cultural attractions. Since the 19th century, Sullivan County has been a popular vacation spot, attracting visitors with refreshing summers and a stunning landscape. Home to more than 30 scenic towns and villages, the county is located in southern New York State, southwest of Albany and separated from Pennsylvania to the south by the Delaware River. Monticello is the county seat and largest community in the county. Sullivan County is a 90-minute drive from New York City and a 45-minute drive to Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, which offers direct or connecting service by major airlines to any location in the world.
The nearby Walnut Mountain Park features 13 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that are considered among the best in the region. Within a short drive of Liberty, one can enjoy year-round recreational opportunities, including golf, gambling, cross-country and alpine skiing, and live performances. Summer activities include fly-fishing, cycling, water skiing, and rafting on the Delaware River. The bounty of the farms and dairies in the region makes its way to restaurants and farmers markets in the area, creating an eclectic food scene. Craft breweries, wineries, and small batch distilleries dot the picturesque landscape.
Sullivan County and its surrounding communities are a charming place to settle and especially attractive to young families, with a nationally ranked school district and affordable housing. Boasting a student to teacher ratio of 11:1, the schools in Sullivan County are among New York State's best and are nationally recognized for their achievements. With an enrollment of 1,600 students, SUNY Sullivan is a comprehensive community college in the State University of New York system.
Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Senior Curator will increase awareness and appreciation for the mission of the Museum through the creation of exhibitions, publications, and scholarly programs. As a member of the senior management team, the Senior Curator will play an integral role developing innovative and dynamic interpretive content to support the organization’s strategic goals. This individual will be responsible for all aspects of the Museum’s exhibitions and collections, including the preservation and interpretation of the Woodstock Festival Historic Site. The Senior Curator will supervise the work of two full-time employees and oversee the work of guest curators and scholars. This position will work closely with collectors, the Collection Committee, and Museum Board of Trustees to identify relevant objects for research, loans, or acquisitions.
Roles and Responsibilities
Museum Curation and Administration
- Establish a long-range curatorial plan for the Museum’s exhibition spaces by curating (or facilitating guest curators for) at least three exhibitions each year from the collections and other sources.
- Commission, curate, and promote outdoor sculpture and artistic installations throughout the site, working with artists to site work and negotiate all contracts.
- Serve as one of the principal spokespersons for the Museum and historic site with local and national media and present lectures to local groups and professional audiences as part of the Museum’s overall outreach.
- Oversee all areas of the Museum’s operations, including the development and management of the curatorial budget, hiring and supervision of staff and contract employees, and oversight of exhibition logistics such as shipping, installation, contract management, and appropriate licensing.
- Collaborate with other departments to create and develop long-range plans.
- Plan and create adult museum programming opportunities in collaboration with the Museum Education and Creative Learning Department.
- Support institutional development efforts by actively participating in grant writing, fundraising, and the identification of funding and donors.
- Supervise the Assistant Curator, Registrar, and curatorial intern.
Collection Development and Scholarly Research
- Research and publish the permanent collection for both scholarly and general audiences.
- Interpret and install the collection in inspiring ways.
- Ensure collections policies and procedures meet industry best practices and are ratified by the Museum Board of Trustees.
- Follow the market for materials related to the Museum’s collection and conduct research on possible acquisitions or gifts for presentation to the Collections Committee.
- Promote scholarly writing about the Museum’s collection and works, collaborating with other departments to develop long-range plans in conjunctions with the full scope of the collections.
- Cultivate and maintain relationships with donors, collections, and other professionals in the field while actively participating in the global dialogue around curatorial and interpretive issues.
Traits and Characteristics
Traits and Characteristics
The Senior Curator will have a passion for cultural history and familiarity with the professional museum practices for the exhibition and care of museum collections. A self-starter with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, this individual will serve as a key member of the senior management team, working collaboratively with other staff, volunteers, and donors. A people-oriented professional, the Senior Curator will be a hands-on and resourceful leader with intellectual curiosity balanced by a strong capacity in planning, organizing, and curating. A comfortable spokesperson and communicator, the Senior Curator will articulate compelling messages and share the story of Bethel Woods, both verbally and in writing, to a variety of audiences and stakeholders.
Other key competencies include:
- Project Management, Planning, and Organizing – The ability to set and prioritize relevant, realistic, and obtainable goals, establish systems that achieve results, and prioritize tasks to create appropriate courses of action.
- Teamwork – The capacity to work cooperatively with others to meet team objectives, support team decisions, provide constructive feedback, and respect team members and their individual perspectives.
- Self-Starting and Personal Accountability – The tenacity to accept responsibility for actions and outcomes of curatorial efforts, inspire others, build trust, demonstrate loyalty, and take accountability for personal actions and professional decisions.
- Leadership and Flexibility – The aptitude to organize and motivate others to accomplish goals and the agility and adaptability to embrace and implement change.
A master of arts in museum studies, history, or related discipline (or comparable work experience) is required. A minimum of five years of curatorial work, ideally in a museum setting, is also necessary. The desired candidate will have familiarity with and curiosity about the 1960s, its legacy, and its relation to current society. The ability to develop and manage budgets and project teams is essential. The selected individual must exhibit a passion for inspiring collectors and empowering others to realize their potential through the arts and humanities. Candidates must also possess an understanding of the general budget to develop a deeper relationship with Bethel Woods for the ongoing vibrancy of the organization and the economic and cultural vitality of the region. Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), collections database software (Past Perfect), and traditional, electronic, and social media, are necessary. Exhibit design and/or architectural skills are desirable.
Compensation and Benefits
Excellent compensation and benefits include health and dental insurance, matching 401(k) plan, vacation, a quality work life in Sullivan County with frequent access to its natural wonders, and the unique, creative environment of Bethel Woods. The office facility also houses a fitness area and full menu cafeteria.
Applications and Inquiries
Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions, please) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is an equal opportunity employer that welcome any qualified applicant and values diversity of all kinds.
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