CANTOR ARTS CENTER AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY
John and Jill Freidenrich Director, Stanford, CA
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University
John and Jill Freidenrich Director
The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University ("Cantor") is a university art museum committed to academic excellence, discovery, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation through direct experiences with works of art and exhibitions and programs that inspire, connect and engage. The Cantor is an anchor institution in Stanford's Arts Initiative - a broad strategic investment in and commitment to the arts across campus, now in its 11th year.
The museum was created 125 years ago in tandem with the founding of Stanford University in 1891. It twice suffered damage and periods as a condemned space after the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, ultimately rebounding in 1999 as the significantly revitalized and expanded Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University.
Today the Cantor holds an important collection of more than 44,000 objects covering the history of art from antiquity to the present. In addition to its 18 galleries devoted to the collection, the Cantor organizes approximately 20 exhibitions annually. Entry to the Cantor is free, and the museum attracts some 270,000 visitors a year. Faculty offer classes in the museum and, with their students, participate in the development of exhibitions and programs. Education programs for the public include guided tours that reach thousands of children across 28 school districts, as well as lectures, film screenings, symposia, and dance and music performances for Stanford and the broader public. The exhibition program strives to connect each project to the vibrant academic life of the University in myriad ways, creating new learning opportunities for students from a wide variety of disciplines while considering new ways to engage diverse audiences in Silicon Valley and beyond.
The Cantor enjoys the support of a loyal and distinguished Director's Advisory Council (22 members plus seven ex-officios) and an active membership program (2,300+ members) operated in partnership with the two-year-old Anderson Collection at Stanford University next door. The staff of 55 is supplemented by several contract positions and a dedicated corps of volunteers. The Cantor has been successful in developing significant endowments (now approximately $80 million) and consistently meets its annual budget of between $8 and $10 million.
Stanford has made a strong commitment to integrating the arts more fully into the life of the University. As a result of its Arts Initiative, the University boasts new arts faculty, programs and curricula, and the Cantor is at the center of an evolving arts district that includes in close proximity three new arts facilities: the Anderson Collection; the Ennead-designed 842-seat Bing Concert Hall; and the Diller Scofidio + Renfro McMurtry Building for the Department of Art & Art History. The Cantor includes the historic museum building, the Halperin Family Wing (with special exhibitions, café, object study room and auditorium space), and the Rodin Sculpture Garden and contemporary sculpture gardens. The museum encompasses 45,000 square feet of gallery space and, with gardens, 200,600 square feet total.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND PRIORITIES
The John and Jill Freidenrich Director will be a personable and savvy leader who will recognize the powerful connection possible between excellent arts programming and rigorous intellectual inquiry. The Director reports to and is supported by the Associate Vice Provost for the Arts to facilitate interaction between the Cantor and the vital and diverse departments and programs across campus. Specifically, the Director:
- Provides vision, leadership and guidance in charting a course for the institutional direction and growth of the Cantor and aligns the goals and objectives with the museum's evolving strategic plan;
- Maintains and builds the Cantor's vibrant connections to Stanford students and faculty, especially to the Art & Art History Department and the Anderson Collection, but to many other groups on campus as well;
- Recognizes the museum's mission and potential as part of Stanford's Arts District, which seeks to enrich the humanistic background of all Stanford students;
- Demonstrates expertise and passion about the study and presentation of art, setting the tone for important exhibitions and public programming (including an enhanced online presence);
- Displays a respectful and inclusive management style, building staff trust and loyalty to the institution, so that museum personnel at all levels feel valued for their contributions and secure about the transparency of daily communications and job expectations;
- Shows strong organizational skills, implementing a clear and feasible planning process for operations, exhibitions, programming, gallery rotations and other day-to-day aspects of the museum;
- Pursues policies and procedures for the growth, care, study, publication, exhibition, de-accessioning and accessibility of the permanent collection according to the highest professional standards; plays a critical role in oversight of Stanford's significant collection of outdoor sculpture and other public art works on campus;
- Envisions and implements programs and initiatives designed to make the Cantor a dynamic teaching and research resource for Stanford students and faculty, and concomitantly for the larger public locally and abroad;
- Substantively engages the Director's Advisory Council in strategic Cantor initiatives; supports and partners with the extensive volunteer organization, including an active docent corps;
- Ensures the Cantor's fiscal health and future by actively cultivating individual and corporate donors, foundations, government programs and other funding sources;
- Understands and puts in perspective the evolving role of technology in all aspects of museum practice; ensures and sustains the Cantor's online visibility regionally and influence internationally.
The Director will:
- Have a passion for art and intellectual discourse, as well as a willingness to embrace innovation, lead energetically and explore new approaches to fulfilling the Cantor's mission
- Be a respected and well-connected peer in the field, with a demonstrated commitment to excellence in all aspects of museum practice and ethics;
- Be a decisive, tested, and organized yet open and congenial manager able to attract, mentor and empower staff while creating a positive and productive work environment;
- Have appreciation of Stanford University's distinctive academic context; possess an advanced graduate degree in art history or related field, PhD preferred; demonstrated record of achievement in art scholarship and exhibition curation;
- Have a strong record of success in donor relations and with diverse fundraising strategies;
- Have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
Applications, including cover letters and résumés, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Sarah James and Becky Klein at