With enthusiasm, vision, and considerable experience with the curation of Japanese art, craft, and culture, the Curator of Japanese Arts (hereinafter referred to as “the Curator”) oversees the artistic vision and manages the exhibitions as well as multi-disciplinary programs along with collections of the Garden and its newly expanded facilities.
The Curator reports to the by the Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, & Education (Curator of CAE), and currently oversees a staff of three. Working under a broad direction of the Curator of CAE, the Curator works closely with the Directors of the other Institute centers and other mission critical departments to bring the best possible artistic experience to all guests. The Curator’s office will initially be located at Portland Japanese Garden, located at 611 SW Kingston Avenue.
COVID-19 VACCINATION POLICY: For the safety of our staff, volunteers, and guests, Portland Japanese Garden is requiring all staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, including at least one booster. Candidates must be fully vaccinated by their hire date, and proof of vaccination will be required upon hire.
• Oversee the artistic vision of the Garden’s annual Art in the Garden exhibition series and collections program in keeping with the Garden’s mission: Inspiring harmony and peace.
• In consultation with the Executive Office and Curator of CAE, develop exhibition concepts, including annual regional and other themes in keeping with the mission, often with a view to crafting a format for international travelling exhibitions through partnerships with arts and cultural institutions. The Curator is also responsible for assembling, cataloguing, and managing the Garden’s art collections of objects and artifacts. At PJG, the Curator is responsible for planning, organizing and implementing multiple (4-6) exhibitions annually in the Pavilion and Tanabe Galleries.
• Operating in two uniquely appointed gallery facilities (the Pavilion Gallery and the Mayho and Cal Tanabe Gallery), located within the context of a Japanese garden in the Pacific Northwest, the Curator will demonstrate a willingness to challenge both museum and commercial art gallery paradigms and “think outside the box” to fulfill the Garden’s mission to serve an audience of over 500,000 visitors from all over the world per year.
• Oversees the development and maintenance of the Garden’s artistic and cultural collections of objects, primarily in the categories of Japanese ceramics, photography, bamboo basketry, and netsuke.
• Secure museum-quality storage facilities and ensures professional handling of international shipping. Develop ways in which objects, archives and artworks are interpreted, through exhibitions, publications, events and audio-visual presentations. The position involves identifying artists and developing exhibitions, as well as arranging for the restoration of artifacts, identifying and recording items, organizing loans, and dealing with enquiries from artists, students, and outside entities.
• Interact regularly with colleagues in other departments including program planning, marketing, and development. Additionally, the Curator will conduct research into the Garden’s collections and exhibition themes and may lecture on related subjects both internally and externally.
• Participate in special projects including internal workgroups, artist-in-residencies, and artistic programs, both in-person and virtual as appropriate, that advance the Garden’s creative leadership, multi-disciplinary mission, and commitment to nature and peace.
• Create and oversee written content related to exhibitions and the Art Department for both print and online media.
• Help create and oversee graphic/didactic materials (wall panels, scrims, etc.)
• Maintain, promote, and create relationships with outside groups and persons
• Program and policy development
• Relationship building with artists and arts organizations locally, nationally, and internationally
• Hospitality for visiting artists
• Lead tours of exhibition, the Garden (as necessary), and special exhibitions to donors, touring groups, professionals, and special guests.
• Research and present lectures for educators, potential funders, Board, or other groups.
• Participate in donor and community relations through attendance at Garden events, including receptions, public programs, patron events, and openings.
• The Curator currently oversees a staff of three: Assistant Director of Exhibitions, Exhibition Manager, and Exhibition Coordinator, plus a Japan-based Curatorial Consultant, as well as a team of specialized contractors who assist with writing, shipping, US Customs and Visa arrangements, art moving, lighting, graphic installation, art installers, and others as required.
• The Curator creates and oversees the annual Art Department budget, planning for exhibition logistics, and communications with artists in the US, Japan and beyond.
• The Curator occasionally travels to Japan and elsewhere in the US to research exhibition possibilities and network with other cultural professionals and other key partners to explore collaborative exhibition and traveling exhibition possibilities.
• The Curator provides content for the Docent Training and Education programs, occasionally lecturing, and overseeing the Assistant Director of Exhibitions, who coordinates the Docent program in conjunction with the Volunteer Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.
• The Curator oversees the collections management policy, as well as cataloguing and ongoing database management for the Garden’s collections.
• As a multidisciplinary institution, the Garden supports opportunities to learn from and work with programmers and cultural professionals across disciplines throughout the organization.
• Familiarize oneself with the organization and the Employee Handbook.
• Get to know fellow staff members, developing trust, establishing credibility, encouraging teamwork, and creating an atmosphere of open, honest, two-way communication.
• Serve as a role model for Garden volunteers, providing support and encouragement to volunteers in their roles across the Garden.
• Maintain a high level of professionalism in manner and appearance.
• Adhere to Garden Dress Code (business casual).
Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every one of the qualifications as described in a job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the position, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and qualifications for this role.
• Minimum Bachelor of Arts degree required; graduate degree preferred
• Minimum 5 years cross-cultural curatorial experience in the fields of Japanese art and craft
• Broad familiarity with traditional Japanese art forms, including tea ceremony, ikebana, bonsai, performing arts, cuisine, and others
• Demonstrated experience with public speaking
• Proficiency in standard office technology (Microsoft Office Suite, including PowerPoint)
• Demonstrated ability to work with a growing team of colleagues in multiple departments, including • • • Development, Marketing, Operations, Events Management, and Administration
• Demonstrated ability to manage a high level of change and growth as the Garden takes the world stage to lead the field in Japanese gardens, arts and cultural education
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills; a working knowledge of the Japanese language is a plus
• Ability to accommodate changing Garden needs, including working occasional weekends and evenings
• Must be comfortable with occasional light to medium lifting
• Must have a valid driver’s license and safe driving record for operating Garden vehicles
• Salary: $100,000 – $111,000 per year, commensurate with experience
• This is a full-time, benefited, salaried position with 40 – 45 hours per week. Schedule is generally Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm.
• — health, dental, and vision insurance (premium 100% covered for employees)
• — 401k plan (after 6 months, with 4% employer match after 1 year)
• — flexible spending accounts for medical and dependent care expenses
• — paid vacation, sick, and holiday time
• — free access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The Garden is located at 611 SW Kingston Avenue, in Washington Park. Below are the transportation options for staff commuting to the Garden:
• Parking: Staff may park in the pay-to-park spaces throughout Washington Park. The cost is $8/day, or staff may request parking permits from Washington Park. The Garden subsidizes a portion of the cost for parking permits; the cost for staff is $75/month during the high season (March – September) and $50/month during the low season (October – February).
• Bus Passes: For staff who take public transit as their primary means of commuting to the Garden, we provide paid bus passes. Full-time staff receive a monthly TriMet pass, and part-time staff receive daily passes, based on their work schedule.
• Transportation Stipend: Staff who take any form of alternative transit to get to work qualify for a $5 daily stipend. This includes taking public transit, walking, biking, carpooling, or getting dropped off. The only staff who do not qualify for the stipend are those who are receiving a bus pass through the Garden.
To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and three work-related references. Please no phone calls or hand delivered applications. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Early application submission is encouraged.