Senior Curator

Company Name: 

Henry Art Gallery


University of Washington, Box 351410
Seattle, WA 98195

Contact Name: 

Human Resources


Job Description: 

ABOUT THE HENRY: The Henry Art Gallery was founded as Washington State’s first art museum in 1926, by Seattle entrepreneur Horace C. Henry, on the principle that art stimulates inquiry, fosters knowledge, and builds healthy communities. Located on the campus of the University of Washington (UW), Seattle, the Henry is internationally recognized for its research and presentation of contemporary art.

The mission of the Henry is to advance contemporary art, artists, and ideas. Our vision is to expand thinking through transformative experiences with contemporary art. To that end, Henry curators originate exhibitions and develop youth and public programs to serve as a resource and catalyst for discovery by audiences of all ages. From its earliest days, the Henry has been known for being first in the region to showcase world-renowned contemporary artists, and first in the field to champion emerging talent. The Henry’s facility is 46,200 sq. ft., including 14,500 sq. ft. of exhibition space. We champion a wide variety of artistic practices and are artist-centered and community engaged.

 With a permanent collection of over 26,000 objects (including photographs, videos, paintings, works on paper, ceramics, costumes, and textiles), the Reed Collection Study Center, and a location on the University of Washington (UW) campus, the Henry is a key cultural resource and training ground in the visual arts for K–20 students, scholars, artists, and general audiences of all ages. Core values include collaboration, diversity and inclusion, risk-taking, transparency, accountability, excellence, and service.  


POSITION PURPOSE: The Senior Curator works with the Henry curatorial staff and Director to articulate the museum’s artistic vision. The Senior Curator works with Henry staff, artists, lenders, institutions, and other partners on researching, planning, organizing, and implementing Henry-generated exhibitions, traveling shows, and artist commissions. This position works with the Director and curatorial staff on collection growth and management, and supports museum development efforts to advance the mission and vision of the Henry.

The Henry’s curatorial team is highly collaborative and works in a non-hierarchal style. The Senior Curator is a key team member who works across the department and across the institution, engaging with visitor services, and institutional advancement. The Senior Curator also works with the senior management team to develop strategies to meet artistic, strategic, and financial goals of the Henry. The Senior Curator is a liaison to the artistic community in Seattle and an ambassador to the national and international art community.

The Senior Curator must be a collaborative team player, an innovative and strategic thinker, and a highly effective manager committed to developing and mentoring staff. This position supervises the Associate Curator; Associate Curator of Collections; and Department Coordinator.


STATUS: University of Washington Exempt Employee          


REPORTS TO: Director


ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:



  • Works closely with the Director and curatorial team on setting framework for exhibitions and collection development.
  • Conceives of and researches ideas for ongoing and new exhibition projects that support the Henry’s mission, and manages them through completion.
  • Authors written materials and summaries, such as checklists, wall texts for exhibitions, preview copy, and online content. Produces brochures and catalogues as projects call for, and authors original content.
  • As a member of the curatorial team, contributes to the growth and development of the collection, including acquisitions by gift, recommendation for purchases, and presentations to the Collections Committee.
  • The Senior Curator and Associate Curator work closely with the Public and Youth programs team to identify key concepts, artists, and audience engagement strategies related to exhibitions.
  • Makes informal and formal presentations on exhibitions and related museum programming to a range of stakeholders, including the public, colleagues, and Henry Board.
  • Supports the Associate Curator of Collections in providing collection access online and in the Reed Collection Study Center.
  • Cultivates and supports the work of all members of the curatorial team.
  • Coordinates the exhibition schedule and budgets with the Manager of Exhibitions and Registration.
  • Assures that exhibitions ideas and themes are presented professionally, in a timely and efficient manner, in support of the Henry’s mission, and within budget parameters.
  • Meets deadlines and is accountable for meeting exhibition budgets and institutional budgets as they relation to curatorial department.


External Relations

  • Contributes to the production of marketing and external communications materials about exhibitions and department activities.
  • Generates content to support external relations staff in developing grant proposals. 
  • Works in conjunction with peers across the department to foster communications with Visitor Experience Representatives and security/frontline staff about upcoming exhibitions.
  • Engages with academic and youth outreach by participating in select Henry Teen Art Collective sessions and academic group visits. 
  • With the curatorial staff, develops and reviews content related to exhibitions, collections, and programs used on the website, and other social media platforms.


Stewardship and Management

  • Works collegially across the museum to support the mission, vision, and values of the Henry.
  • Serves as an effective and articulate spokesperson for the Henry, maintaining a high degree of professionalism with staff, board, colleagues, museum stakeholders, and the public.
  • Maintains a visible presence in the community and the UW. Represents the Henry at external events and functions.
  • Stewards donor relations, in communication with External Relations team.
  • Serves as curatorial representative to the senior management team, which includes the Director, and department heads for Finance, External Relations, Museum Services, and Human Resources.
  • Hires, trains, and promotes the professional growth of those reporting to the Senior Curator, and fosters education of emerging museum professionals.



  • Remains current on curatorial and scholarly topics—regionally, nationally, and internationally—related to the mission and goals of the Henry.
  • Travels for general or specific research related to the curatorial program and supporting the mission of the Henry.
  • Other duties as assigned.




  • Advanced degree in art history with an emphasis on contemporary art and culture, or equivalent level of education and experience required. Minimum of 8 years experience as a contemporary art curator and 3-5 years experience working in a collecting institution.
  • Evidence of scholarship, original research, and article and book publication.
  • Knowledge of the latest developments in contemporary art and criticism. Knowledge of and ability to adhere to best professional practices, and to ensure that those policies and practices are understood and followed by curatorial staff.
  • Experience with public engagement related to exhibitions, programs, and collections for a range of audiences.
  • Commitment to teamwork; to leading and sharing leadership; and working for the greater good of the organization.
  • Demonstrated management and supervisory skills, including providing constructive performance feedback.
  • Excellent time management, problem solving, and analytical skills. Ability to assess priorities and be poised under pressure.
  • Proven ability to adhere to museum policies, support executive and Board decisions, and maintain confidentiality.
  • Commitment to representing the museum with a high degree of integrity and professionalism, maintaining productive and respectful dialogue with staff and stakeholders.
  • Proven success with patron development and with attracting funding from grants and foundations.
  • Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Proficiency using a wide range of MS Office products including Outlook, Word and Excel, as well as other software applications.



  • Experience working on issues of racial equity and social justice as it relates to organizational structures and curatorial work.
  • A global perspective and appreciation for the regional art community.



EQUITY AND INCLUSION: The Henry is committed to racial equity and inclusion. Qualified individuals who bring diverse perspectives to the workplace are encouraged to apply.


To apply for this position, please send cover letter (including salary expectations) and resume to  No phone calls, please.  Priority consideration will be given to applications received by November 15, 2017.