Assistant Curator

Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University

The Opportunity:

The new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), designed by the renowned Steven Holl Architects, is scheduled to open in 2017. The ICA is seeking a dynamic, energetic, intelligent, and collaborative team player to be the Assistant Curator.

The Assistant Curator will collaborate closely with the ICA Director, the ICA Curator, internationally recognized colleagues throughout VCU and its acclaimed School of the Arts, and community and international partners, to develop an ambitious, experimental, diverse, and innovative interdisciplinary program that brings together visual arts, music, performance, design, dance and theater in exhibitions, commissions, public events, special projects, publications, and artist residencies that engage the University, students, faculty, the broader Richmond community, and beyond.

The Assistant Curator will partner with permanent ICA curators and guest curators on exhibitions organized by the ICA or traveling from other institutions. The Assistant Curator will focus on developing temporary exhibitions and related publications and programs. An integral member of the curatorial team, the Assistant Curator will work closely with staff in all areas of the ICA’s operations, with faculty and students across disciplines, and with campus administrative staff. The position will foster relationships with the local, national, and international arts communities.

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research University with national and international rankings in sponsored research. VCU’s mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. VCU has a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity in its educational programs and employment practices and actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world.

About the ICA (

The ICA will be an iconic gateway for the city of Richmond. Unlike a museum with a permanent collection, the ICA will be a non-collecting contemporary art institute dedicated to flexible and responsive exhibitions, performances, films and special programs that examine art, design, and performance from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives.

The ICA will provide a new environment for artists to explore the most critical issues of our time. This vibrant institution will engage the University, students, and faculty and the broader Richmond, as well as national and international communities through dynamic and challenging exhibitions, programs, and special projects that encourage critical thinking about the world we inhabit.

The 41,000-square- foot ICA will be an incubator for interdisciplinary experimentation for the entire university while simultaneously providing opportunities for collaboration both locally and internationally. It will be in direct dialogue with VCUarts, the #1 public art school in the country; set within a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research; and centrally located on the East Coast in a city with a top-10 museum and a region with few venues for the latest contemporary art. The ICA will become a conduit for global collaboration, bridging the distance to artists working in other regions internationally.

About Richmond, Virginia:

Richmond is an art-centric town, but there’s much more all around us. Hiking, biking, kayaking and rafting opportunities abound. Brown’s Island and Maymont Park are just a few of the natural treasures VCU faculty, staff, and students name as their favorite Richmond spots. Richmond is a thriving capital city full of cultural diversity, great food, festivals and entertainment. We are the heart of the arts in a state with a bustling gallery and performance scene featuring local and international talent. Many state museums are located here, such as The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond, more commonly known as RVA, is a haven for alternative and creative endeavors. The Today Show named Richmond the #3 Most Tattooed City in the US. In September 2012, Outside Magazine named Richmond the “Best River Town in America.” We are home to the James River Park System, one of the largest inner city park systems in the country. Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, and the Blue Ridge mountains are only 2 hours away. Richmond International Airport has daily non-stop flights to NYC, so you can be there in an hour.

Population: 200,000+ live in the city; 1.2 million live in the greater Richmond area.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Conceptualizes, researches, coordinates, and develops contemporary exhibitions, commissions, public events, special projects, publications, and artist residencies that engage the University, students, faculty, the broader Richmond community, and beyond.
  • Develops exhibitions, projects, and events that expand audiences and increase the visibility of VCU and the ICA and ensures goals and strategies for exhibitions and educational programs are consistent with the ICA mission and overall strategic planning.
  • Researches and writes about exhibitions including drafting and editing text for catalogues, brochures and exhibitions, and gallery didactics including text panels, labels, and other explanatory texts as required.
  • Creates and offers formal lectures and informal gallery talks; participates in events and outreach efforts.
  • Prepares preliminary exhibition checklists; drafts correspondence; researches and locates objects for exhibitions and provides information as necessary to the ICA’s registrar for processing loan requests and agreements; prepares presentations; and provides support for the curators in maintaining effective relationships with lenders.
  • Liaises with artists and colleagues to develop sustainable and symbiotic relationships that will propel the museum’s reputation and image.
  • Enables guest curators, exhibition and graphic designers and other consultants to be successful by providing them with information as directed by the curators.
  • Provides information to the registrar and exhibitions manager as requested; works as a team with staff in curatorial, education, community engagement, academic affairs, digital media, marketing, visitor services, operations, communications and development to ensures that strategies for interpretation, promotion, audience development and fundraising have required information.
  • Contributes to the organization of exhibition affiliated public programming, working with Director of Education and key staff to develop strategic community partnerships and educational programs to extend the reach of the ICA into the city's various communities and surrounding areas.
  • Participates in docent training, including walkthroughs and slide-lectures in consultation with education department.
  • Contributes to planning and execution of travelling exhibitions; helps prepare budgets, materials, and instructions for exhibitions and objects to travel.
  • Interviews and supervises interns and temporary employees; assigns tasks and schedules, and monitors work plans.
  • Contributes to planning and agendas for regular department staff meetings.
  • Works with ICA’s development team to assist with fundraising activities for exhibitions and programs including securing grants, planning of fundraising events, sponsorship, and gifts.
  • Performs administrative functions in connection with daily departmental business.
  • Actively supports the Director of the ICA and the ICA Curator and all other key constituencies in regard to the envisioned ICA.
  • Performs all other duties in support of the Director and ICA, as needed.


  • Master’s degree in Art History or Curatorial Studies, or a closely related field, and/or professional training and experience that equates to an advanced degree is required. Ph.D. in Art History is a plus.
  • Appropriate number of years (3-5 years preferred) of experience working in an art museum or comparable organization or institution dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art, performance, and/or design.
  • Demonstrated record of hands-on experience and project management of exhibitions, publications, lectures, and programs from conceptualization through execution.
  • Ability to work openly and respectfully within an inclusive university setting and with a flexible and collegial team and must have demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU.
  • Evidence of strong working relationships with a diverse range of contemporary artists, dealers, curators, scholars, collectors, and journalists.
  • The successful candidate’s skills and interests will complement and expand the existing expertise of the faculty and staff of the ICA and their curatorial activity. Therefore, a strong foundation in contemporary art with a broad knowledge of diverse global art practices and a commitment to underrepresented and under-recognized artists, especially artists of color, is required.
  • Must possess a deep knowledge of contemporary art and art history, and a familiarity of the international art world.
  • Proven knowledge of professional museum practices, including an understanding of loan exhibitions, and a history of inventive exhibitions and significant publications.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills required as well as the ability to manage projects and deadlines independently and maintain simultaneous priorities.
  • Proficiency in a digital environment required.
  • Ability to travel as assigned.

Application Instructions:

Submit the following application materials via VCU eJobs at

  • Cover Letter
  • CV/Resume
  • A list of five professional references including names with titles and contact information (references will not be checked prior to candidates’ approval)

Only electronic applications submitted via VCU eJobs will be accepted.

The Cover Letter should be submitted in the “Cover Letter/Letter of Application” section in eJobs; the CV/Resume and References should be submitted as one PDF in the “Curriculum Vitae (CV)” section of eJobs.

Applications will continue to be reviewed until the position is filled. For full consideration, applications are due by July 1, 2016.

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Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation or disability.

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