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Director for the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts Stanford, CA

Stanford University seeks a dynamic, empowering, and collaborative leader to be the next Director of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts (Cantor). This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen and invigorate the Cantor amidst the robust intellectual environment of one of the world’s premier academic and research institutions.

The Cantor finds itself in a moment of transition and opportunity. After more than a year of change in the Cantor, the museum field, and in the social, cultural, and educational landscape, the next Director will be charged with transforming the Cantor to model a distinctive and impactful answer to what a visual arts center can be in one of the world’s leading research universities.

Originally opened in 1891 as the Stanford Museum, the Cantor has a collection that spans 5,000 years and more than 38,000 works of art from around the globe. Free admission, tours, lectures, and family activities make it one of the most visited university art museums in the country. Further, Stanford has invested significantly in the arts in recent years, completing the Stanford Arts Initiative in 2011, renovating and expanding several buildings to create an Arts District around the Cantor, and creating the Office of the Vice President for the Arts in 2017 to enhance the impact of the arts on campus and beyond. Recent initiatives at the museum, including “Rodin’s Hands” and The Asian American Art Initiative, have showcased the myriad intellectual, technological, and cultural resources available through Stanford and the Bay Area’s diverse communities, and the next Director will be well-poised to draw on them in envisioning the future of the Cantor.

The range of priorities for the Cantor and its Director crystalize around six interlinked aspirations:

  • Advance Stanford’s Vision and the Cantor’s Vision
  • Become Indispensable to Stanford’s Teaching Mission and Academic Life 
  • Build a State-of-the-Art, Socially Just Organizational Structure and Culture
  • Engage the University’s Diverse Communities 
  • Create a Vibrant Gathering Point for the Campus
  • Model the Art Institution of the Future

To set the Cantor on this path will require a leader with excellent interpersonal skills, impeccable curatorial taste, and an understanding of systematic planning, focused organizational transformation and execution, strategic collaboration, and the cultivation of numerous constituencies. Cantor’s leader must be able to think expansively and imaginatively and bring others along in realizing a bold vision while simultaneously building operational stability. To support the incoming Director in this endeavor, the university has undertaken a listening and visioning process to engage with the museum’s constituencies, consult with national leaders, and ensure internal alignment. Stanford has nearly unparalleled, intellectual, personnel, and financial resources among institutions of higher education, and a successful director will have immense opportunity to envision and create an exciting future for the Cantor.

Stanford has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this search. Applications consisting of a cover letter and resume should be submitted at: https://careersearch.stanford.edu/jobs/director-of-the-iris-and-b-gerald-cantor-center-for-visual-arts-14062.

Regan Gough and Ben Tobin are leading this search with Hayden Lizotte. 


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