Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Director of Development
“For lovers of European and American art, few museums anywhere in the United States feel as
well-rounded and satisfying as the Wadsworth Atheneum.”
-The Boston Globe
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Wadsworth) is an art museum of vital regional impact and global importance. With 50,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years and encompassing European art from antiquity through Modernism, as well as American art from the 1600s through today, the Wadsworth’s collection is recognized as one of the finest in the nation. Works by masters such as Caravaggio, Frederic Church, Georgia O’Keeffe, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Salvador Dalí share space with works by living artists such as David Hockney, Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, Ai Weiwei, and Sean Scully. The museum’s community access program provides barrier-free participation for more than 4,500 Hartford households, helping to fuel its visitation, which tops 100,000 guests per year. The Wadsworth is a premier lender to museums worldwide and sought out by global arts leaders as consortium and thought partners. Without the Wadsworth, the arts in Connecticut would be diminished significantly and its important role within the art world would be unfulfilled.
Described as “stunning and astute” by New York Times art critic Roberta Smith, the Wadsworth underwent a major renovation from 2010 through 2015. The $33 million project renewed the museum’s historic structures and added 17 new gallery spaces—nearly 16,000 square feet of exhibition space—to the building’s existing city block-sized footprint for an improved visitor experience. Repair and replacement programs are ongoing. There is an emerging plan for incremental capital improvements to interior and exterior public spaces over the coming five years.
The Wadsworth presents engaging and groundbreaking exhibitions from its encyclopedic collection that explore every era of art history. In fact, the last 11 consecutive exhibitions have garnered national press and critical acclaim. Innovative programs offer stories that illustrate the breadth and quality of the collection, providing visitors of all ages with a high-quality cultural experience. Nearly 13,000 K-12 school children are served each year through the education program, which features a highly trained corps of docents. The museum hosts the annual Hartford Youth Art Renaissance exhibition for PreK-12 Hartford Public School students. Also housed at the Wadsworth is The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, an independent nonprofit cultural arts organization that owns a vital collection of 7,000 items, including art, artifacts, and popular culture objects that document the experience, expressions, and history of people of African American heritage.
The staff and board of the Wadsworth are currently finalizing the organization’s next Strategic Plan Framework, including a Diversity, Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion Plan. This five-year plan focuses on engagement with the Greater Hartford area and a commitment to growth. A five-pillar vision strategically outlines tenants to positively impact local, national, and international communities with the museum’s mission. The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) welcomes and inspires new and existing audiences while ensuring the Wadsworth is a vital part of the City and Greater Hartford. These programs and many other strategic plan initiatives reflect the Wadsworth’s commitment to advancing its role in service to the community.
Interim Board President Gerald Lupacchino leads the 30-member Board of Trustees. Vice President of the Board of Trustees Jeffrey N. Brown currently serves as Interim Director & CEO. The annual operating budget of $10.5 million is supported by a $75 million investment base, in addition to contributed and earned revenue. The staff of more than 100 employees includes a development team with five budgeted staff members whose responsibilities include individual giving, membership and patron programs, corporate sponsorships and memberships, galas, foundation and government grants, third party rentals, client services, and database management. Pre-COVID contributions and grants were $5.5 million.
Founded in 1635, Hartford is Connecticut’s state capital and one of America’s oldest and most historic cities. The region is home to almost 1 million residents, with a city population close to 125,000 people. Located in the Connecticut River Valley, Hartford features 17 diverse and beautiful neighborhoods set amongst rolling wooded hills. Considered the Insurance Capital of the World, Hartford’s insurance industry is joined by aerospace, manufacturing, healthcare, and broadcasting to comprise the major industries in the region. The downtown district is home to the Connecticut State Capitol and the historic Old State House and museum, which served Connecticut’s state government from 1796 to 1878.
Hartford features a number of premier arts and cultural institutions, including the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, TheaterWorks, Hartford Stage, Real Art Ways, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Artists Collective, Connecticut Science Center, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and Mark Twain House and Museum. Hartford is also home to the oldest publicly funded park, Bushnell Park, and continuously published newspaper, the Hartford Courant. The University of Hartford and University of Connecticut Hartford lead a group of distinguished higher education organizations in the city. Hartford Public High School, founded in 1638, is the second-oldest public high school in the United States.
Sources: bostonglobe.com; hartfordconsortium.org; ctvisit.com; hartfordchamberct.com
Reporting to the Director & CEO, the Director of Development (DoD) will have primary responsibility for all aspects of the museum’s fundraising and philanthropic programs and will serve as a key member of the leadership team. The DoD will be responsible for conceiving, planning, and executing the museum’s fundraising strategy and engaging donors in the new strategic direction and mission while fostering a vibrant culture of philanthropy. The DoD will work closely with the Director & CEO, board, senior staff, volunteers, museum partners, and community to cultivate new donors while energizing the donor base. The DoD will identify and secure six-figure major gifts, corporate partnerships, and institutional grants. They will also conceive and implement new fundraising campaigns, energize and grow membership, reinvigorate special fundraising events, and expand the legacy gift program. The DoD will be responsible for leading the division team and directing the activities of the Head of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Membership Manager, Data Analyst, Development Assistant, and Major Gifts Officer to achieve fundraising goals of more than $5 million annually.
Roles and Responsibilities
Fundraising and Leadership
- Develop a vision and strategy to increase contributed revenue, including restricted and unrestricted support from individual, government, foundation, and corporate donors, for exhibitions, major initiatives, acquisitions, endowment, and annual operating support.
- Guide, cultivate, and increase the regular and premier membership base and affinity groups while actively developing a pipeline for community engagement and support.
- Cultivate and inspire legacy gifts and oversee the stewardship and benefit of planned gifts to the museum.
- Invigorate and implement annual fundraising events, activities, and special campaigns to grow donor participation and welcome new communities to the museum.
- Collaborate with the Director & CEO and Nominating and Governance Committee Chair to strengthen and expand the Board of Trustees, deepen existing relationships, and serve as a primary point of contact and an effective partner with the board.
- Support the Development Committee to advance development goals.
- Serve as one of the Wadsworth’s key spokespersons, actively seeking opportunities to engage with the broader community and participate in events that position the museum for improved support.
- Advise the Director & CEO and board on ways to increase their community, regional, national, and international networking capabilities and advance the museum’s community engagement plan.
Departmental Strategic Planning and Operations
- Collaborate with the Director & CEO and the CFO to establish fiscal goals and provide projections that accurately reflect anticipated revenues for the organization, presenting regular progress reports.
- Create an ambitious and comprehensive written annual development plan and calendar with clearly defined goals, objectives, timelines, and assignment of responsibilities.
- Train, mentor, and support museum colleagues and the board in their donor and prospect engagement activities, seeking ways to maximize their personal giving and participation in philanthropic programs.
- Collaborate with curatorial staff to secure necessary funding for the thoughtful and illuminating exhibits that are vital to community engagement and the national and international reputation of the museum.
- Ensure that all departmental resources are properly and efficiently allocated and prospect research, outreach, solicitation, and stewardship are expertly executed to meet all fundraising goals and benchmarks.
- Provide oversight and support to grant writing activities and final submissions.
- Direct the strategic use of the Tessitura database and other development communication tools, coordinating development communications with existing and potential donors to ensure the highest level of donor engagement, satisfaction, and expressions of appreciation.
Team Mentorship, Administration, and Oversight
- Ensure that the museum's internal culture, technological systems, and procedures support the development team as the foundation of a vibrant organization.
- Manage the day-to-day operations of the development function to ensure that all administrative and operational aspects of development are executed at a high level of quality and efficiency.
- Establish and oversee annual fundraising calendars, including deadlines for grant reporting and applications.
- Motivate, supervise, evaluate, and mentor development staff.
- Create a supportive, collaborative, productive, and healthy work environment based on respect, teamwork, and clear expectations and responsibilities.
- Set performance standards, provide timely and constructive feedback, and support opportunities for professional development.
- Embrace other team mentorship, administration, and oversight responsibilities, as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The DoD will be a goal oriented and confident self-starter with the ability to influence and motivate others around a clear strategic vision. Energized by working in the community, the DoD will be a passionate, visible, and informed advocate for the museum who can effectively engage existing and potential supporters in its mission and programs. Comfortable balancing both relationship-oriented and task-focused responsibilities, the DoD will structure compelling opportunities for support to positively impact the organization’s long-term success.
Other key competencies of this role include:
- Goal Orientation – The tenacity to achieve inspirational and attainable goals while building trust and demonstrating the ability to lead, motivate, and organize a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders.
- Customer Focus and Diplomacy – The dexterity to commit to customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs, anticipate challenges, and develop appropriate solutions while building rapport and relating well to diverse stakeholders regardless of cultural differences.
- Planning, Organizing, and Prioritization – The capacity to establish realistic timelines and ascertain top priorities for optimum productivity of development efforts.
- Teamwork and Project Management – The ability to organize and motivate others to accomplish extraordinary goals while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders.
A bachelor’s degree is required (advanced degree desirable) with a minimum of eight years of nonprofit fundraising experience leading an integrated multimillion dollar annual fund. Significant knowledge of the visual arts, art galleries, museums, or related educational institutions is strongly preferred. Familiarity with the New England philanthropic landscape is a plus. Experience working in a leadership role with boards of trustees, senior management, staff, patrons, and support organizations is needed, as are excellent written and verbal communication skills. Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and advanced donor research and customer relationship management systems, are necessary.
Compensation and Benefits
The Wadsworth provides a competitive and equitable compensation package, with a salary range between $135,000 to $175,000 commensurate with experience, coupled with a robust package of benefits, generous paid vacation, and an employer funded retirement savings plan.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Senior Vice President
503 East Jackson Street, Suite 337
Tampa, FL 33602-4904
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 203
The Wadsworth is a progressive, equal opportunity employer
and all candidates are encouraged to apply.
Click here for the downloadable PDF.