April 24, 2018 – Finalists for the director’s role at Washington State University’s new Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art will be on campus in Pullman next week for public presentations. The school enlisted San Francisco-based Museum Management Consultants to conduct the nationwide search. Provost Dan Bernardo and a university search advisory committee have also been actively involved.
Robin Held, who runs a consulting firm for artists, entrepreneurs, non-profits and others, will meet with faculty, staff, students and administrators on Monday. Paul Baker Prindle, director of university galleries for the art museum at the University of Nevada, Reno, is scheduled for Tuesday.
Dr. Bernardo announced the finalists last week. The candidates will outline their respective visions for the museum, followed by a question-and-answer session.
Dr. Held is principal of RH Consulting in Seattle and previously served as curator, collection strategist and head of department for two accredited American Alliance of Museum (AAM) institutions – the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington. She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. She holds a master’s and a doctorate in art history, both from the University of Washington.
Prior to the University of Nevada, Mr. Baker Prindle served as director of the Edgewood College Gallery in Madison, WI. He earned his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a continuing student in non-profit management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The Schnitzer Museum, which replaces a smaller museum, had its grand opening earlier this month. It was funded in large part by art collector and philanthropist Jordan Schnitzer, who provided $5 million for the project. The new museum allows for greater opportunity to present its permanent collection, which consists of some 3,500 works of American and European art, with a focus on Post-War art and artists of the Pacific Northwest. Included in its collection are holdings by Andy Warhol and Jim Dine.
The new director will be expected to implement the rebirth of the current museum space into the Collections & Learning Gallery and spearhead the development and opening of a downtown gallery space, said the firm.
With the new growth, the director will be responsible for fully integrating the museum into the academic mission of Washington State, increasing access and visitation, securing accreditation from the AAM, and diversifying the Schnitzer Museum’s financial support, said the firm.
The Washington State art museum was established in 1973 to help fulfill its educational mission in teaching, research, and service. The recent expansion has more than doubled the museum’s size, with 10,000 square feet of space in six galleries, and 6,500 square feet of office and support space, said Museum Management Consultants.
A Vibrant Centerpiece
Architect Jim Olson, founder of the award-winning Seattle firm Olson-Kundig, developed the iconic building, referred to as the “crimson cube,” which is situated in the center of campus.
The Schnitzer Museum has an operating budget of about $750,000 and employs five full-time and one part-time staff.
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Washington State University was established in 1890 as the state’s original land-grant university. Today, it is a highly regarded public research university, consisting of 11 colleges with more than 200 undergraduate fields of study and 116 graduate and professional degree programs. It has an enrollment of over 30,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and about 6,500 faculty and staff at its five campuses (Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Everett), as well as other locations across the state and online.
Among the characteristics that Washington State has been seeking in candidates for the role are a proven track record of leadership in a museum setting; deep knowledge of museum practices per AAM standards, and the accreditation process; demonstrated ability to lead and manage a small, high-performing team through a period of growth; a collegial style and approach; demonstrated transparency; and respect for others.
Washington State requires candidates to have a minimum of five years of museum leadership and management experience in progressively responsible positions. A master’s degree in a related field or equivalent experience is also needed.
Museum Management Consultants specializes in organizational assessment, institutional strategic planning, executive search, audience research, board development, and professional coaching. Founded in 1987, the firm has provided management consulting services to over 250 museums and cultural organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad. MMC helps museums accentuate their strengths, address critical issues, and move strategically into the future.
Its services include: organizational management assessments, strategic plans, business plans, staffing and governance plans, marketing plans, master plans, feasibility studies, executive search, audience research, program evaluation, and professional coaching.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media