Director of Museum Education and Community Engagement

Kalamazoo, Michigan


The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) was established in 1924 as an art center “to further the development of interest and education in and of regard and appreciation for the various arts.” The KIA’s current building was unveiled in September 1961. Designed by the Chicago, Illinois, firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 45,000 square feet (4,200 m) structure is based on a Mies van der Rohe design for a small museum, in the International Style of architecture.

In 1997, the KIA began a $14.5 million expansion and renovation, which opened to the public in 1998. The project increased the size of the KIA to 72,000 square feet, and added a two-story lobby gallery, auditorium, classrooms and galleries, gallery shop, library and an interactive gallery for children. Dale Chihuly‘s Kalamazoo Ruby Light Chandelier, a colorful chandelier of 464 pieces of glass, became a permanent fixture in the lobby foyer.

KIA reinstalled its American art galleries in 2020, presenting fifty percent women artists and artists of color in the installation entitled Unveiling American Genius. The KIA’s Joy Ligh East Asian galleries present the traditional and contemporary arts of China, Japan and Korea. In five additional galleries, KIA hosts 10 to 12 temporary exhibitions each year. In 2019, the KIA hosted the touring exhibition “Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem” and solo shows by contemporary artists Orna Ben-Ami, Inka Essenhigh, Maya Freelon, and Sunghyun Moon. In 2018 KIA hosted an exhibition featuring photographer Dawoud Bey. In addition to temporary exhibitions, the museum hosts recurring shows such as the West Michigan Area Show, High School Area Show, and Young Artists of Kalamazoo County. Others are built around works lent from museums, galleries, or private collections and from their own collections.

The Kirk Newman Art School, which is part of the Institute, offers art instruction in nine media for over 3,300 students annually, the school also provides residencies for young artists who have recently received their BA or BFA. The school faculty and museum education department aim to work closely on a number of programs that bring the two divisions together.

The art library is also an integral part of the museum’s programs because it is a lending library for the community and hosts a series of book discussions annually.

KIA had pre-covid an annual budget of $4MM, a staff and faculty of approximately 125, and a Board of Trustees of 30 who are responsible for the oversight of the museum.

Summary of Position:
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts seeks a Director of Museum Education and Community Engagement to oversee all aspects of Museum Education department functions including, museum programs, the art library, community programs and community partnerships. The Director of Museum Education and Community Engagement leads department efforts to make KIA the region’s recognized leader and partner in visual arts education. To support this effort, they advocate for and support the creation of programming that invites and embraces the entire community. They support programs that speak to issues in the community and especially ones that represent the values of the museum including diversity, inclusion, access and equity. They develop and maintain relationships with other arts, community, and education organizations and leaders. They supervise department staff including the Curator of Education, Assistant Curator of Youth and Family Programs, and Librarian, and assists other department directors and Executive Director as requested. The Director of Education and Community Engagement will be encouraged to champion experimental and innovative thinking and fresh approaches to art education. They will play a leading role in the museum’s vision about the potential of digital programming and introduce a series of digital programs to extend the reach of KIA while collaborating with the curators.


  • Development of programs that align with KIA strategic plan and help all visitors to enrich their lives through meaningful educational and personal connections with works of art.
  • Provide direction and support as needed for department initiatives including tours and docent programs; adult programs; teacher/school programs and resources; family programs; teen programs; art library collections; policies and programs; interactive gallery and offsite outreach initiatives/exhibition.
  • Senior Staff team member: provide monthly reports and other reports and statistics as requested, provide information and support for grant applications and advancement initiatives.
  • Participate in institutional planning/initiatives.
  • Embrace and model institutional mission, vision and values, Art is for Everyone.  Actively work to increase diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion at the KIA and through public programming.
  • Demonstrate excellent teamwork and leadership skills. Develop strong relationships and partnership with colleagues. Develop team-oriented relationships with the entire organization.
  • Seeks opportunities to collaborate with other cultural and community organizations in southwest Michigan to expand and diversify the museum’s audience, extend the museum’s reach, and advance the KIA’s mission and interests.
  • Create a series of interactive digital programs that are available to the visitor in the gallery as well as on the museum’s website.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the use of social media platforms and networks.
  • Participate in the development of interpretive content including collaborating with curators when the curator is the originator and having primary responsibility for the content for permanent collection and traveling exhibitions.
  • Develops curriculum for docent training and candidate class with the Curator of Education position. Present talks or secure speakers and presenters as needed for training sessions.
  • Responsible for overseeing the staff who organize the Young Artists show and the annual juried High School Area Show.
  • With Executive Director and Director of Advancement, develop and help implement marketing efforts for museum education programs. Other tasks include refresh content and update department events on KIA website. Provide copy for Sightlines magazine. Responsible for E-Newsletters for teachers and special audiences.
  • Support the Executive Director in managing the Museum Education Board Advisory Committee. Coordinate committee meetings and communications for advisory and other ad hoc groups.
  • Supervise department staff including Curator of Museum Education, Assistant Curator for Family and Youth Programs, Librarian. Conduct annual staff performance reviews.
  • Develop annual department budget that reflects KIA and department priorities and monitors income and expense lines.
  • Excellent written and verbal skills.
  • Keep current on best practices in the museum and museum teaching fields including VTS methodology.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.


Job Qualifications:
The new Director of Education and Community Engagement must have a strong vision and commitment to innovative educational programming and community learning. They must be imaginative and be a leader with a deep passion for the visual arts and art education. They must be able to work effectively with the museum staff to make the art accessible to audiences in the galleries and in the community. They must be an effective manager and team player who can work successfully in a dynamic and collaborative environment and must have a track record in developing and implementing innovative programs that reflect knowledge of current issues in museum education and of the evolving role of art museums in their communities. They must have:

  • Master’s degree in Art History, Art Education, Museum Studies or related field, along with sound knowledge of art history, museum teaching and object interpretation strategies preferred.
  • Minimum of 7+ years proven museum education leadership experience is required along with understanding of the role of education in a museum and best practices in the museum education field.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills. Able to work well and collaborate effectively with a wide range of audiences including staff, volunteers, educators, funders, sponsors, members, general public and other constituencies.
  • Demonstrated commitment to values of diversity, inclusion and learner-centered interpretation strategies.
  • Experience supervising personnel (volunteer and staff), program and budget development, project management and planning skills along with an ability to meet deadlines are necessary.
  • Able to work effectively in a team setting within the department and collaborate across the organization.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.

Physical Job Requirements:
While performing this job, the employee will be required to sit, stand and work, to lift up to 30 pounds. occasionally, do close work with a computer and perform repetitive hand movements.

KIA offers a competitive salary and benefits package that includes medical, dental, life, retirement savings, and more.

Start Date: Q1 2022

Procedure for Application: Diane Frankel of Management Consultants for the Arts is the consultant assisting the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts with this search. To be considered for this position, prospective applicants must submit pertinent information and attach a current resume, a one-two page narrative describing interest and experience, and three professional references utilizing MCA’s online application system: https://mcaonline.com/searches/education-engagement-kalamazoo

Once all applicant materials have been submitted online, applicants will receive confirmation of their submission via the email address provided in their application.  For clarification on any of this information, please contact Christy Wall at .

KIA is an equal opportunity employer.