SF Camerawork seeks an executive with the passion, skills, and qualifications to successfully lead the organization through its next phase of development and impact.
Reporting Relationship: Board of Directors
“SF Camerawork provokes discovery, experimentation, and exchange through exhibitions and experiences for all who value new ideas in photography”
San Francisco Camerawork is a long-standing leader in the San Francisco arts ecosystem.
The organization was founded in 1974 by a collective of artists who welcomed experimental photography, unconventional techniques, and sociopolitical themes and who fostered a range of alternative styles and approaches.
This highly revered arts organization is seeking a new Executive Director (ED) to work collaboratively with the Board of Directors, staff, stakeholders, and gallery patrons to preserve its rich legacy and lead the organization into a new era. The ED is responsible for the effective administration and oversight of all operations, external affairs, and corporate activities to achieve the strategic goals set in collaboration with the Board. The ED will maintain a dynamic and effective workplace culture rooted in the values of SF Camerawork and will expand, diversify, and enrich the organization’s relationship with donors.
As a nonprofit organization, SF Camerawork is uniquely positioned to present important new photography and opportunities that would not otherwise be provided by commercial galleries or museums. The nonprofit framework allows for creative freedom independent of a sales revenue model. SF Camerawork is in a strong position in the arts environment for further growth and impact.
About San Francisco Camerawork
The essence of the founders’ vision remains at the core of SF Camerawork even as the organization has adapted to the changing scope of photography and surrounding cultural landscape. In January 2020, SFMOMA opened the exhibition Thought Pieces, showcasing groundbreaking work by three of SF Camerawork’s founders: Hal Fischer, Donna- Lee Phillips, and Lew Thomas (now available to experience virtually).
For more than 45 years, SF Camerawork has provided a launching pad for many artists’ careers, supplying invaluable financial support, exhibition space, curation, and patronage. In its early years, SF Camerawork was the first organization in the Bay Area to host exhibitions and lectures by controversial but ultimately highly influential artists such as Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe, Susan Meiselas, and Joel-Peter Witkin. More recently, the organization has presented the first West Coast exhibitions for artists including John Chiara, Binh Danh, Erica Deeman, Jennifer Karady, Jason Lazurus, Chris McCaw, Wang Ning De, and Meghann Riepenhoff—artists who have emerged as leaders of a new generation
gaining international prominence. SF Camerawork exhibitions have continuously received attention from both local and national media, including The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, Art Forum, Art in America, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Art Practical, Frieze, and Photograph magazine.
SF Camerawork’s gallery presents installation-based, genre-hybrid, and materially experimental work, as well as work that addresses challenging sociopolitical issues. For all these reasons, SF Camerawork is a place where emerging artists aspire to exhibit and where collectors are drawn to discover them. The organization also offers a rich array of public programming beyond artist exhibitions. An annual calendar of critiques, workshops, lectures, panel discussions, and curator-led museum and gallery tours offer unique insight and access to San Francisco’s local photography network.
SF Camerawork is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization and an integral contributor to San Francisco’s position as one of the world’s most important centers for creative photography.
Annual Juried Show (FORECAST)
Each year SF Camerawork hosts an annual juried show called FORECAST, which presents emerging artists speaking to the current moment. Jurors are often museum curators, leading gallerists, working artists, and publishers. A Juror’s Prize is awarded to the top finalist. Selected finalists receive visibility, and for many artists it is their first gallery show and entry into the official art world.
Annual Benefit Auction
The SF Camerawork Benefit Auction is the hallmark annual fundraiser that is a truly special and unique event with high level work and features a curated group of thought-provoking works by photographers from both locally and around the world. One hundred percent of the proceeds support the growth of photographers’ careers, innovation, and equity in the field of photography, and newly commissioned works by SF Camerawork with between 20 to 50% of proceeds being returned directly to participating artists. Auction night in SF Camerawork’s beautiful gallery is a vibrant and buzzing event anchored by a live auction, and this year due to COVID-19 occurring online along with a series of virtual events.
Mission & Values
- Community-minded: We are community minded and respectful.
- Innovative: We are dedicated to exploring and illuminating new ideas and approaches in photography.
- Inclusive: We are committed to welcoming and serving the full cultural diversity of San Francisco.
- Thought-provoking: We are inquisitive and willing to challenge ourselves and others.
- Focused on learning: We are in constant pursuit of learning and sharing new ideas internally and with our community.
SF Camerawork is W.A.G.E Certified. W.A.G.E Certification is a national program that publicly recognizes those nonprofit organizations demonstrating a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artists fees that meet our minimum payment standards.
SF Camerawork Stands in Solidarity with Black Imagemakers
SF Camerawork seeks an executive with the passion, skills, and qualifications to successfully lead the organization through its next phase of development and impact. They will be a dynamic leader with a strong business acumen and proven experience within arts advocacy and management. A leader who values and promotes the organizational history and mission and who can leverage their people management, relationship building, and strategic fundraising skills for the benefit of the organization.
This leader must be equally adept in serving on the ground as a hands-on partner to both staff and Board as they are in crafting high level organizational strategies. The ED will assume ultimate responsibility for the leadership, vision setting and execution, and overall management of SF Camerawork.
Specific responsibilities will include, but are not limited to the following:
Executive Leadership & Strategic Vision
- Serve as a visionary to guide and oversee the organization’s mission and principles in partnership with the Board of Directors.
- Thoroughly understand SF Camerawork, its mission and policies, culture, values, history, key partners and stakeholders, programs, finances, and fundraising efforts.
- Employ a strategic planning approach that balances continued growth and long-term sustainability. Anticipate, identify, and address strategic challenges SF Camerawork may face as it transitions into the next phase of its growth.
- Work closely with the Board and team to design and execute strategic and operational plans.
- Identify and evaluate opportunities for improvement and implement plans accordingly.
- Establish and communicate a clear organizational, programmatic, and curatorial vision that is compelling and effectively implemented.
- Build strong, trusting, and dynamic relationships with SF Camerawork’s Board of Directors.
- Collaborate with the board to determine and build alignment around SF Camerawork’s strategic direction and priorities.
- Work collaboratively with the Board Chair to set and implement the Board of Directors’ governance, policies, and bylaws.
- Ensure transparency and communicate regularly with the Board around all key governance issues, including financial oversight and board recruitment and development. Provide the board with the appropriate level of information and context to make well informed decisions.
- Keep the Board informed of the organization’s progress, activities, and challenges, providing accurate monthly reports and annual budget to the Board. Ensure the board has a holistic and accurate understanding of the organization’s performance, strengths, challenges, and opportunities.
- Attend all meetings of the Board of Directors and committees.
Operations & Financial Management
- Maintain a well-functioning, efficient organization through effective communications and teambuilding. Develop measurable goals and objectives to enable SF Camerawork to perform at the highest level of impact.
- Hire and supervise staff on all operations, consultants, and vendors.
- Establish a performance-oriented, accountable culture with appropriate performance management systems. Work with staff to establish and monitor performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, and establish priorities.
- Perform staff evaluations, ensure adherence to HR policies as well as Federal, State and Local laws.
- Oversee compliance and annual organizational filings of all required City, State, and Federal reports.
- Maintain and oversee facilities including gallery rentals, security systems, landlord communications, utilities management (phone, garbage, gas/electric, internet, computer and technology systems, janitorial/cleaning, equipment repair/purchases, storage).
- Oversee financial records, including financial statements, budget, payroll, insurances (art workers comp, general liability, and Directors liability), taxes, and payments of bills with bookkeeper.
- Consult with Board Treasurer on annual budget analysis and preparation.
Fundraising and Grant Writing
- Serve as the organization’s chief fundraiser; engage potential donors in the organization’s strategic vision and direction; expand partnerships with corporate philanthropy; and develop unique revenue generating opportunities to grow and diversify SF Camerawork’s funding sources.
- In conjunction with the Board, develop a sound strategy for diversifying and expanding the organization’s funding base and set aggressive development goals to increase public financial support and corporate funding.
- Research grant opportunities, write grant proposals including preparing budgets for grants, and submitting all final reports.
- Work with the Board and oversee membership development, annual giving program, individual and corporate gifts, and annual benefit auction.
- Oversee planning of annual auction and promotion working with Board committee.
- Plan membership development, Fine Print Program, and membership brochure.
External Engagement and Partnerships
- Provide executive leadership to all marketing, communications, and branding initiatives for SF Camerawork to ensure the organization is best positioned among key constituents at the local and national level.
- Serve as the public face and official spokesperson of SF Camerawork; promote the organization’s mission to all constituencies, the general public, and the media. Assure proper representation and effectively convey the history and vision of the organization.
- Seek opportunities to enhance SF Camerawork’s impact and increase the visibility of the organization by leveraging existing relationships with donors and corporate partners and by creating new strategic relationships.
- Attend conferences and related professional and arts community activities.
- Develop partnerships for arts and educational programs with local or peer organizations.
- Develop a knowledge of and acumen for platforms and technologies to help modernize SF Camerawork’s outreach and tracking systems.
The successful candidate will bring passion and enthusiasm for SF Camerawork’s mission and history and have executive leadership experience in an organization of similar or larger size. They will be a very strong culture builder, communicator, strategic thinker, and a proven leader who will articulate a vision that others embrace and follow. Other desired qualifications and leadership characteristics include:
- Minimum of five to seven years of experience in management positions with progressively increasing responsibility.
- Experience in many, if not all, the chief executive officer functions, including interfacing with a board of directors, managing a major budgetary function and the necessary financial skills, arts management, curation, revenue generation/resource development, and public relations.
- A thorough understanding of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, leadership technique, human behavior and performance, and the coordination/collaboration of people and resources.
- Experience in building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment and recruiting and retaining a community to reflect and advance those values.
- Strong communication skills, both oral and written.
- Results driven, a high-level of maturity, sound business and financial acumen, proven leadership skills, and demonstrated success in leading an organization with measurable results.
- A decisive and forward-thinking leadership style with a demonstrated ability to create, plan, share, and implement an organizational vision.
- A collegial style that reflects mutual respect, engenders trust, and motivates people to work in highly effective teams.
- Decisiveness with keen analytic, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that support and enable sound decision-making.
- Commitment to continuous self and organizational improvement.
- Reports to: Board of Directors
- Direct reports/Leadership: Gallery Manager
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution required.
Compensation and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.
Interested and qualified candidates are welcome to submit a resume and cover letter to: SFCameraworkExecutiveDirector@kornferry.com
Job Categories: Museum and Gallery. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: arts, culture, director, executive director, and museum. States: California.
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