Exhibitions Designer/Preparator / Employment
July 31, 2020
Organization Name: Henry Art Gallery
Organization Location: Seattle, WA
ABOUT THE HENRY: The Henry Art Gallery was founded as Washington State’s first art museum in 1926, 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 as a pioneer in the research and presentation of contemporary art.
The mission of the Henry is to engage all people with the transformative experience of contemporary art and ideas. 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.
At the Henry, we envision a world where art leads everyone to discover new possibilities in themselves, others, and the world around them. Core values include collaboration, taking risks, accountability, openness to uncertain outcome, innovation and discovery, racial equity and social justice, inclusion.
POSITION PURPOSE: The Exhibition Designer/ Preparator is responsible for translating artist and curator ideas into exhibition design, including installation, fabrication and lighting design, on time and on budget. The incumbent is knowledgeable in museum best practices and has technical expertise in installation and de-installation, packing and unpacking, handling and shipping fine art objects; designing and planning the fabrication of exhibition pedestals and casework, temporary walls and other exhibition materials to artist or curator specifications.
This position reports to the Manager of Exhibitions and Registration, serves as core member of the preparatory crew and works in close cooperation with the curatorial staff, graphic design staff, the operations manager, the art and education team as well as exhibiting artists and visiting curators.
Note: In consideration of employee health and safety during COVID-19, this position will be set up to work remotely until the Henry reopens, at a date to be determined. However, due to the unique requirements of this position and the Exhibitions team, it is anticipated that on-site work for this position will commence effective July 7, 2020. Safety protocols will be in place and communicated appropriately.
STATUS: Full time (i.e., 90% full time equivalent). Benefits eligible.
PAY RANGE: $21.63 – $24.00 (non-exempt)
SCHEDULE: Tuesday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, 36 hours per week. Occasional evening and weekends required.
REPORTS TO: Exhibitions and Registration Manager
• Work collaboratively to fulfill an artist’s and/or curator’s vision, including communicating effectively with all stakeholders, scheduling and attending meetings, creating and distributing floor plans and drawings.
• Develop designs working to museum best practices for conservation of artwork and visitor experience. Ensure design proposals are compatible with Henry values, are safe, and fit within the scope of the project resources.
• Prepare design drawings for exhibition construction and case fabrication, in coordination with curatorial and exhibition staff. Research and prepare cost estimates for fabrication, installation, de-installation and other internal projects.
• Working in collaboration with the Senior Preparator and the Manager of Exhibitions and Registration, contribute to the development of installation plans, work schedules and logistics for exhibitions. Schedule and manage contract service providers in support of exhibitions, collections and special projects as needed.
• Design and implement exhibition lighting. Maintain lighting inventory and recommend upgrades where needed.
• Remain current with approaches and developments in exhibition design, the display of museum objects and art handling practices.
• Prepares the gallery spaces for exhibition including but not limited to: building and moving walls, patching and painting, preparing floor surfaces, creating and installing mounts, constructing and installing casework and other exhibition components.
• Prepares artwork for exhibition, including but not limited to: reviewing and formatting AV files, matting and framing, transportation and packing, assessing AV and equipment needs, Mount making and fabricating commissioned pieces to artists’ specification.
• Working with Henry staff, UW faculty and students, acts as project manager the yearly MFA/MDes exhibition, including updating relevant agreements, forms and schedules. Conduct studio visits, create the exhibition layout, lead tour of the Henry for students, and organize professionalism meeting.
• In collaboration with the Senior Preparator, acts as a mentor to the preparatory staff and ensure adherence to museum standards of art safety, environmental controls, human resources policies and security. Provide art handling, tool and equipment instruction as needed.
• Support the work of the collection, including the packing, crating, assembly and transportation of artworks, the creation of storage mounts and other projects as assigned.
• Other duties as may be assigned from time to time.
• Demonstrated progressively responsible experience, or equivalent combination of training and experience, preferably in a museum setting.
• Thorough knowledge of art history/art-making techniques
• Strong design skills. Creative, imaginative and practical thinking. Demonstrated proficiency in installation of exhibitions and layout and lighting design.
• Effective communication skills for dealing and liaising with colleagues, artists and vendors through presentations, written drawings and designs. Excellent organizational and time management skills. Experience routinely meeting hard deadlines.
• Demonstrated proficiency of handling valuable works of art in a wide variety of media including but not limited to paintings, bronze, ceramic, glass, metals, mixed media, textiles, works on paper, contemporary art and new media. Experience and knowledge of safe and archival storage materials and techniques for loaned and museum collection objects, including matting and framing, packing and crating.
• Ability to move or assist in moving heavy objects (must be able to lift 50 lbs) and ability to operate genie lifts, forklifts, and pallet jacks, etc.
• Demonstrated proficiency of practices and methods in mount-making including earthquake mitigation and demonstrated ability to apply this knowledge with initiative and judgment, concern for detail, accuracy, and neat execution of work.
• Demonstrated skills and knowledge of shop equipment and ability to effectively perform various skilled and semi-skilled tasks, including woodworking, brazing, use of adhesives and fasteners, construction methods, and use of stationary and portable power tools. Experience framing, sheet rocking, taping and painting walls.
• Proven ability to work collaboratively as part of a team to achieve excellent results, accepting that your own ideas may not be the final solutions. Ability to work with other specialists and an awareness of other people’s particular knowledge and experience. Ability create and foster a welcoming and safe environment for colleagues, visitors and artists to work and create.
• Proficiency with design programs such as Google Sketch-up, the Adobe Design Suite, AutoCAD highly desirable and familiarity with computer applications in a multi-platform environment including Microsoft Word and Excel.
• Project management experience a plus.
COMMITMENT TO EQUITY
The Henry acknowledges the historical structures and social dynamics that have continuously oppressed communities of color and we acknowledge our part in institutional racism. We also acknowledge that we are situated on the land of the Coast Salish peoples.
We are actively committed to racial equity and to building a strong foundation of inclusivity and awareness in all we do. We value discourse that brings forward voices and positions that have been – and continue to be – oppressed. We do not tolerate hate speech or actions.
We recognize that we are in the process of embodying these values across our exhibitions, programs, and operations; this is our ongoing work.
The Henry Art Gallery is a part of the University of Washington. For more information about race and equity at the UW, see www.washington.edu/raceequity/.
Diverse perspectives make us stronger. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are encouraged to apply.
To apply, please send cover letter and resume in one document (pdf preferred) to firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please. Open until filled.