Apply - Curator of Contemporary Art


The Santa Barbara Museum of Art seeks an internationally recognized curator with expertise in 20th- and 21st-century art. With a collection of the arts of Asia, Europe, and the Americas spanning 5,000 years of human history, a nationally recognized exhibitions program, and outstanding educational and outreach activities, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is one of the leading art museums on the West Coast. In the past decade, the museum has presented a very ambitious international program of exhibitions, scholarly conferences, and new educational initiatives. The incoming curator of contemporary art will be joining the staff at a pivotal moment in the Museum’s history, with renovated galleries, including a new gallery dedicated to Contemporary Art opening to the public in the fall of 2020.

The qualified candidate will have comprehensive knowledge of significant artists and artistic and cultural trends throughout the world, and will have demonstrated intellectual leadership through exhibitions organized and scholarly publications. They will be expected to install thoughtful presentations of the permanent collection, originate and implement ambitious temporary exhibitions, and produce publications for local, national, and international audiences. A record of successful leadership and collaboration with academic scholars, curatorial colleagues, educators, designers, conservators, and other museum professionals is essential. Candidates also should have established a strong international network of professional colleagues, collectors, and art dealers. Effective public speaking skills are required, as well as the desire and ability to advise and encourage private collectors in the community. As part of these activities, the curator of contemporary art will oversee the curatorial support group, The Museum Contemporaries.

Reporting to the Museum’s Director and CEO, the curator of contemporary curator will be responsible for collection development, presentation, and management, original research, interpretation, and fiscal accountability for projects. The curator will support the Museum in its fundraising from individuals, foundations, and corporate sponsors.

Requirements Include

  • Superior communication skills, both oral and written.
  • A convivial disposition and the ability to work collaboratively across departments.
  • M.A. in Art History, Ph.D preferred.
  • At least five years of museum experience at the curatorial level.
  • Speaking/reading ability in at least one European or Asian language in addition to English.

Salary and Position

  • The position reports to the Director and CEO.
  • Salary will be commensurate with experience.
  • Full Time Status provides competitive benefits including 3 weeks of PTO, 11 paid holidays, medical/dental/vision/life ins/pretax savings options and 403b eligibility with 100% matching of up to 5% of your earnings after a year’s service; all while working in beautiful downtown Santa Barbara.   
  • Successful Background Check is required.
  • Please send our application (link below) including the names and contact information for three professional references, your resume and a cover letter.
  • Deadline to apply: October 4, 2019

Contact Information

Please email to:

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Fax: (805) 966-6840

Download an Application

Santa Barbara Art Museum

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Thurs 11 am - 8 pm
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