Major S.C. art museum opens curator position

Columbia Museum of Art looks to fill big role

  • APPLICATION DEADLINE: Open until filled
  • COMPENSATION INFORMATION: $56,044-$84,066 /FT, exempt / Benefits offered

The Columbia Museum of Art is guided by its Core Values: to be inspiring, welcoming, community-centered, playful, and vibrant.

We seek a forward-looking curator who shares these ideals and is committed to helping steward the museum’s expansive art program into the next phase of its history. The successful candidate will help realize the CMA’s vision to be THE beloved art museum in the southeast by dynamically working with its international collections and administering and organizing thought provoking exhibitions that serve our diverse communities.

The incoming curator will lend a fresh perspective on the art program at a pivotal moment in the museum’s history and in celebration of its 75th anniversary in 2025. At this moment, the CMA is poised to build on its long established, community-centered affinity groups that span Black arts and culture, contemporary art, and design. The incoming curator will work with these communities and help shepherd new ones in line with the CMA’s mission.

The position

As a significant content creator for the CMA, the curator aligns exhibitions and programs with organizational goals, strategies, and mission. The CMA staff and board eagerly embrace diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion to contribute to an open environment for the communities we serve. The Curator works collaboratively with CMA staff and leadership to identify, administer, and organize temporary exhibitions; help define and implement fresh presentations of the permanent collection; and actively participate in programming that informs, engages, and expands audiences to position the CMA as a leading fine arts museum.

The Curator reports to the senior curator and works within the Division of Art and Learning as part of an experienced team to manage exhibition projects and budgets, research and identify works for acquisition, and network and share in patron cultivation and institutional advancement. With a strong background in art history, the curator possesses expertise in one or more of the CMA’s major collecting areas (American, Asian, European, and Modern & Contemporary art), and has deep experience with museum procedures and protocols.


  • Serve as institutional curator for exhibitions organized by external sources, administering all aspects of exhibition planning, reviewing, and modifying interpretative materials as needed, and serving as project lead to facilitate interdepartmental work and negotiations with relevant outside partners.
  • In conjunction with the senior curator, collaboratively research exhibition and collection strategies that support the museum’s vision, mission, and core values.
  • Support the annual planning of the exhibition schedule, including exhibitions initiated by the CMA and traveling exhibitions.
  • Initiate and manage relations for assigned projects with institutions, colleagues, collectors, and/or businesses in developing exhibition loan contracts, checklists, and schedules.
  • Provide expertise and recommendations for new acquisitions for presentation to the CMA collections committee.
  • Encourage and facilitate a culture of collaboration with effective communication across departments.
  • Review exhibition proposals and ideas for artistic merit, mission fit, budget, and scheduling factors.
  • In collaboration with development staff, help identify potential donors, collectors, and sponsors for the collection and exhibitions. Actively solicit, cultivate, and steward relations with donors, members, and lenders.
  • Execute assigned grant applications and contribute to general fundraising activities as requested.
  • Champion the museum as a welcoming place by serving as a positive museum representative through participation with programs, development, publicity marketing and networking activities.
  • Develop, maintain, and strengthen relationships with members of the broader arts community including artists, curators, educators, writers, journalists, collectors, and cultural institutions both nationally and internationally.
  • Ensure proper dissemination of exhibition schedule, visual materials, content and text for exhibition promotion, and related information to CMA departments.
  • Responsible as assigned for coordination, development, and monitoring of the curatorial department annual budget.
  • Serve on curatorial and cross-departmental special project teams as assigned to foster collaboration and communication.


  • MA in art history or related field required, PhD preferred.
  • 5+ years of increasingly applied full time curatorial experience.
  • Demonstrated excellence in conceiving and organizing successful exhibitions for diverse audiences.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in the museum’s collecting areas including American, Asian, European, and Modern & Contemporary art, with a focused specialization in one area.
  • Proven ability to foster and encourage innovation around new models for partnering (both internally and externally), and for exploring new creative relationships with artists central to the CMA mission.
  • Demonstrated experience developing, communicating, and managing projects, budgets, and goals.
  • Effectively navigate through the complexity of key issues, challenges, and opportunities to affect actions; guide staff to proactively build and align stakeholders, capabilities, and resources to achieve institutional objectives.
  • Proactively model the importance of timely collegial interaction, personal accountability, maturity, professionalism, communication, and exchange across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Demonstrated experience in donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Self-directed and motivated.
  • Work with curatorial team to ensure care and conservation of works.
  • Mastery of English language and the ability to plan and deliver oral and written communications that make an impact, persuade, and inform their intended audiences.
  • Experience handling art.
  • Knowledge of research tools and methodologies.
  • Monthly evening and weekend time and occasional travel.
  • This position requires a criminal background check.

Skills and abilities

Be a positive, confident employee and an advocate for the museum. Interact with people from all backgrounds in a clear, courteous, and respectful way. Be a highly motivated team player who is enthusiastic and proactive, and who thrives in a very fast-paced environment. Be creative, innovative, agile, and vibrant. Possess a strong sense of urgency, priority, and follow-through. Maintain a consistently professional appearance. Work independently, anticipate needs, and manage multiple tasks and assignments simultaneously. Be able to work collegially with staff across departments to achieve common objectives. Discretion and sound judgment are required. Maintain the highest professional and ethical standards.

Job type and compensation

  • This is a full-time, exempt position. Flexible work weeks, weekends, and evenings as required.
  • Salary Range: Commensurate with experience that demonstrates proven successes and results: $56,044-$84,066, plus benefits.


The Columbia Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to diversity, accessibility, equity, and inclusion. Confidential inquiries, applications, and recommendations are welcome. Please email cover letter and resume to Mrs. Jackie Adams ( with “Curator” in the subject line.