CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT UNIVERSITY-Executive Director of The Fine Arts Center

Christopher Newport University (CNU) invites applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director of the Fine Arts Center.  Supporting a mission to educate and inspire, the Christopher Newport University Fine Arts Center will present art as a transformative vehicle to spark inquiry and engage the University community and public through the presentation of diverse and robust programming. Reporting to the Executive Vice President of the University, the Executive Director will implement a vision for the new center that supports the core mission of the University and its students as well as engage the public through excellence in its exhibitions and educational programming.

Christopher Newport University

Selected by The Princeton Review to be included in The 385 Best Colleges: 2020 Edition, Christopher Newport University is a public school offering a private school experience — great teaching, small classes, and a safe, vibrant campus. A “student-first, teaching-first” community, CNU is dedicated to the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service. The University is located in Newport News, Virginia and enrolls 5,100 students. Academic programs at CNU encompass more than 90 areas of study, from biology to business administration and political science to the performing arts. The University has recently completed over $1 billion in capital construction on its 260-acre campus, generated over 7,200 applications for a freshmen class of 1,238 and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges guide as third among public regional universities in the South and sixth among all regional universities in the South. In addition, CNU is ranked third among all public schools for having “the highest proportion of classes with fewer than 20 students.” Christopher Newport University is committed to ensuring that all people are welcomed, honored and fully engaged in the life of our academic community. We seek exceptional and diverse candidates and encourage applications from individuals who are underrepresented in their profession. For further details and information about Christopher Newport, visit

The Fine Arts Center

Opening in early 2021, the $57 million CNU Fine Arts Center will house over 7,500 sq. ft of gallery exhibition space, state-of-the art teaching and museum learning spaces, studios and classrooms supporting the Department of Fine Art and Art History and Museum Studies programs. The genesis of this center is the partnership between Christopher Newport University and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center who announced their collaboration and the design of a new fine arts center to be located on the campus of CNU in 2013. The Peninsula Fine Arts Center is an American Alliance of Museums (AAM) accredited non-profit arts organization founded in 1962. An asset to the community and region, the center hosts exhibitions, a studio art school, and public programs in the arts. Notable among these programs are their award-winning Healing Arts art therapy initiative, and dedicated arts outreach programs for school-aged children. More information can be found here:

The Executive Director 


  • Ensures the financial stability of the center as well as oversee its marketing and public relations, fund raising and development, and operations.
  • Articulates an organizational vision for the CNU Fine Arts Center with a commitment to collaboration.
  • Establishes a compelling platform of exhibitions and programs that advance the university’s research and teaching mission and bring the University’s artistic and educational programs into conversation with diverse fields of study.
  • Using independent judgment and discretion, plans; budgets resources; formulates policy; develops procedures by interpreting guidelines, policies, regulations, and laws; provides direction in the daily operation of the Fine Arts Center to ensure the University’s goals and objectives are achieved.
  • Supervises, guides, and directs staff through training, task delegation, audit, evaluation, and interpretation of applicable federal, state, and University guidelines, policies, regulations, and laws to ensure an effective and efficient staff capable of providing high quality customer service.
  • Oversees the exhibitions and programming for the Fine Art Center gallery spaces according to AAM (American Alliance of Museum) standards for accreditation.
  • Provide dynamic vision, leadership and management to develop and implement strategic initiatives supporting the university mission for membership, revenue, growth, special events and customer service.
  • Promote the Fine Arts Center through a variety of marketing communications to include various forms of media and special events.
  • Responsible for fundraising activities, including the identification, cultivation and solicitation of top level prospects.
  • Responsible for supervising operations of the Fine Arts Center, including the care, custody, control of, and access to all exhibits and galleries.
  • Works effectively with community leaders, faculty, students, volunteers, not-for-profit organizations and the general public.
  • Develops and implements successful financial strategies and goals.
  • Ensures the availability of resources needed for a successful fine arts program.
  • Promotes the Fine Arts Center and to ensure positive relationships with all guests, constituents and stakeholders.
  • Develops and maintains a very positive and professional customer service and/or relations within the office/department and with all constituencies to include students, faculty, staff, guests, and employees. Demonstrates a positive and professional attitude and treats everyone with dignity and respect.  Fully support the “Student’s First” value at CNU and routinely goes the extra mile in providing service.
  • Safety issues are reviewed, communicated, and goals are set to ensure a safe and healthy workplace and a reduction in work related absences. The measurement for this core responsibility will state “Safety issues and reductions in employee lost time will be addressed promptly.”
  • This position is designated as a “responsible employee” who has the authority to redress sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.
  • This position is a “designated position” meaning this position could potentially be required to work (depending on the event) during an emergency closing.
  • This position is designated as a Campus Security Authority.  A Campus Security Authority (or CSA) is defined as an “official of the institution with significant responsibility for student and campus activities”.  A CSA is required to immediately report any crime that is reported to them to the University Police who will then review, evaluate, and investigate the reported crime.  Annual training is required by the Department of Education for all personnel who have been designated as a Campus Security Authority.


Skills in supervision and management, budgeting, goal setting, and program development. Ability to solve problems, communicate effectively (written and verbal), and manage diverse and competing tasks. Knowledge of local and regional cultural resources. Excellent financial and organizational skills and must embrace a high level of personal and professional integrity.  Must have computer skills and the ability to learn software applications as needed. Must be able to work a flexible work schedule including nights and weekends.


 Christopher Newport seeks candidates with leadership experience in an art museum setting, arts institution, or similar organizations, with a record of strong institutional and financial management.

Demonstrated experience in gallery and/or museum exhibition design and preparation. Experience using media technology and other forms of digital communication to promote art events and activities. Experience with a range of exhibition environments.  Significant demonstrated effective leadership, management and supervision. Experience in developing and maintaining a comprehensive office budget.  Demonstrated experience as a self-directed project manager who can produce results. Experience in building and maintaining an effective team and monitoring and achieving goals. The successful candidate will have experience in not-for-profit management and board development. Extensive experience in facility operations or event management.


Experience as curator or in arts management. Proven experience in tactical and strategic planning, needs assessment, goal setting and program planning and evaluation.  Experience in start-up projects.  Professional experience in higher education facility operations and event management. Experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Access.  Experience in marketing/communications in a fine arts facility.


Must have a master’s degree in art history, fine art or related field in arts management or a Bachelor’s Degree in art history, fine art or related field in arts management and significant, directly related experience, which equates to an advanced degree.


Ph.D. in art history, fine art or related field in arts management.


All applications must be submitted via the online job posting found at

Application materials should include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experience matches the position requirements; a current resume or curriculum vitae; the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three professional references at the time of application; and document outlining a vision for building a visual arts center which will serve as a centerpiece of the institution.  References will not be contacted without the permission of candidates.

Nominations and confidential inquiries of interest may be sent in confidence to Christopher Newport University’s executive recruitment consultants:

Martin M. Baker, Managing Partner

Kimberly Melcer, Senior Associate


10 Cadillac Drive, Suite 190

Brentwood, TN 37027


Review of applications will begin Monday February 17, 2020.  Applications received after February 17, 2020 will be accepted, but considered only if needed. Search finalists are required to complete a CNU sponsored background check. Christopher Newport University, an EO Employer, is fully Committed to Access and Opportunity.