April 14, 2021 – Boston-based search firm Arts Consulting Group (ACG) has been enlisted to find the next executive director for the Bennington Museum in Vermont. Wyona Lynch-McWhite, senior vice president, is spearheading the assignment. The Bennington Museum’s executive director must be a broad-thinking, goal- and people-oriented executive who values community engagement and leads with a clear sense of purpose and direction, said ACG. As the face of the organization, the executive director will be expected to elevate the museum as a cultural and educational resource across Bennington and the tri-state area while promoting it as a destination for visitors from afar.
Reporting to the board of trustees, the new leader will have day-to-day oversight of all museum operations and be an active presence there. This individual will be charged with ensuring that widely held museum best practices are followed in the care and stewardship of collections and in all matters related to board governance and financial management, as appropriate for an accredited museum. The individual must also be an engaged member of the local community to maximize community partnerships with the museum, said the search firm. The executive director must work in partnership with the board to cultivate relationships and financial resources while educating and energizing the board in its role as fundraisers, policymakers, and community ambassadors. He or she will be expected to build a culture of teamwork, open communication, innovation and commitment to the history, culture, diversity and traditions of Bennington, the state of Vermont, and the surrounding region.
Roles and responsibilities will center on leadership and administration, revenue enhancement and community engagement, governance, and strategic visioning, as well as collections stewardship, exhibition, and program planning.
“The executive director will be a dynamic and resourceful leader who values teamwork, continuous improvement and collaboration with others,” said ACG. “An active member of the community, this individual will be people-oriented and will appreciate others’ skills, experience, and input in formulating plans and achieving successful outcomes.”
Other key competencies for the role include leadership, self-management, and personal accountability, planning and organizing, interpersonal skills, diplomacy and tact, and resiliency.
A master’s degree in art history, American history, American studies, or museum studies (or equivalent experience) is required for the role. Seven to 10 years of related experience within a museum, arts, educational or historical organization, with at least five years at a senior leadership level with supervision responsibilities, is desirable. Candidates should be able to demonstrate success in change management, continuous performance improvement and goal attainment. They must also possess a passion for community outreach and resource development as well as knowledge of the needs, best practices, and standards of museums.
The Bennington Museum offers what many consider the nation’s finest collection of art and historical artifacts from Vermont, northeastern New York and northwestern Massachusetts. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1983, Bennington Museum offers nationally recognized and critically acclaimed exhibitions, galleries and events. The permanent collection, with more than 45,000 objects, is crowned by the largest public collection of paintings by American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses, as well as the definitive survey of 19th century Bennington stoneware.
Arts and Culture Recruiters
Arts Consulting Group provides interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement consulting, facilities and program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. The firm has identified senior-level leaders for the Long Beach Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Chicago Opera, Stockton Symphony Association and Portland Baroque Orchestra, among others. The firm has offices in Boston; Calgary; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Halifax; Los Angeles; Nashville, TN; New York; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Tampa, FL; Toronto; and Washington, D.C.
Bruce D. Thibodeau founded ACG in 1997 and has been part of numerous projects in all practice areas to grow institutional sustainability, advance the arts and culture sector, and enhance communities served by the industry. Dr. Thibodeau has guided hundreds of non-profit, university and government clients in achieving effective leadership transitions, planning cultural facilities, increasing revenues, developing dynamic institutional brands and messages, crafting strategic plans and business models, and revitalizing board governance practices.
Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite joined ACG as vice president in 2016, bringing more than 21 years of experience leading art, university, and multidisciplinary museums. Her areas of expertise include executive search, museum planning, organizational assessments, strategic visioning, fundraising and diversity training. As an executive search practice leader, she has led numerous search processes throughout the U.S. and Canada, placing executive leaders for a wide range of non-profit organizations, universities, and government agencies, including Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, and Arts Council of Indianapolis. Ms. Lynch-McWhite has also provided effective solutions in the areas of earned revenue enhancement, strategic planning, and museum planning for clients such as Collier County Museum Division, High Desert Museum and Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media