Executive Director

  • Full Time
  • Elmhurst, IL
  • $110,000-120,000 USD / Year

Website Elmhurst Art Museum

Opportunity Profile

With over 37,000 visitors annually to its exhibitions and community art projects, the Elmhurst Art Museum cultivates a space where art is for everyone. The 15,000+ square foot suburban museum aims to be a cultural leader in the Chicagoland area for contemporary art, arts education, and mid-century modern architecture. Through its thought-provoking, diverse exhibitions and programming, the museum sparks creativity and enrichment through the visual arts, education, and architecture.

The next Executive Director has an opportunity to build on this strong engagement within DuPage County; implement the museum’s newly approved strategic plan including acquiring national museum accreditation; lead the museum’s team of 7 staff members; leverage Board and Committee expertise; and garner community support. Further details are found below.


In 1981 a group of teachers, artists and community organizers, established the Elmhurst Art Museum with the belief that people from all walks of life can learn to see and think differently through meaningful participation in the arts. With initial focus on exhibiting and collecting works of primarily local artists, the Museum significantly expanded to feature nationally and internationally recognized artists.

In 1992, led by artist and educator Eleanor King Hookham, the Foundation purchased the unique Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House (1952), a private home in Elmhurst. With an ambitious and unprecedented undertaking, the house was moved from its location to the Elmhurst Art Museum Campus. The Museum commissioned Chicago-based architectural firm DeStefano + Partners to design a new building incorporating this unique architectural component with substantial exhibition, education, public and administrative spaces.

The Elmhurst Art Museum was established and granted 501c(3) status in 1997. The Museum Campus features: high ceiling art galleries and dedicated classrooms, collection storage, and the McCormick House, a single-family home designed in 1952 by Mies van der Rohe, one of only three residences designed and built by Mies in the United States.

As a regional art museum, the Elmhurst Art Museum is committed to showing emerging and established Midwest artists, with a focus on the Chicagoland area, and featuring local architects in programming around the McCormick House. The development of exhibitions, public talks, education center workshops, and other community-based projects, along with the Museum’s growing collection of 1,000 collection objects, have been key foundations of the organization’s public offerings. The Elmhurst Art Museum provides access to world-class exhibitions which change three times per year, the unique 1952 home by Mies van der Rohe, and an Education Center that serves the residents of Elmhurst and the surrounding communities. In 2022, the museum took ownership of the popular two-day outdoor arts festival, Art in Wilder Park which hosts over 10,000 visitors each year in Wilder Park, which has expanded the Museum’s awareness and programming reach. This highly anticipated event is an Elmhurst tradition and the first outdoor Spring festival in the western suburbs each year.

The Board of Directors recently approved a 3-5 Strategic Plan, with the goal to develop a forward-thinking purpose/vision and implementation steps that allows the Museum to focus on the future while managing the needs of today. Three distinct areas in this plan are Our Products (art, education, and architecture), Our Community (public projects and community engagement), and Our House (core capacities and resources) to strengthen and expand the museum’s reach. Through all 3 of these core pillars is the vision of “art is for everyone” and a deep commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility & inclusion (DEAI) to enhance representation and inclusion opportunities.

The Opportunity

The Board of Director seeks a visionary leader with an excellent track record of budget management, fundraising, strategic planning and staff management to lead the vibrant and healthy organization into the future. The mission of this role is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the museum by building and maintaining a strong brand identity, expanding revenue sources, and maintaining a high level of fiscal and people management practices.

The Executive Director (ED) collaborates with the Board to set the vision and strategic direction of the organization. S/he serves as the Museum’s public face and spokesperson and must be visible and proactive in the community. S/he is also the organization’s primary fundraiser and works closely with the Board of Directors and staff to cultivate new and established donors and to continue to grow productive partnerships with business, cultural, and academic entities. The ED establishes fundraising priorities and objectives; creates strategies to meet goals; develops and cultivates donors and prospects; and solicits and stewards major donors.

The ED will possess strong emotional intelligence and play an important role in a range of activities related to institutional planning and resource management. The position manages the annual budget and planning process and makes finance presentations to the board and its subcommittees. S/he is expected to be a thought leader, overseeing and directing procedures related to museum operations and leading efforts for continuous improvement throughout the organization, including exhibitions and education and public programs.

Finally, the ED has the authority and responsibility for the museum’s budget and its physical and human resources. The successful candidate will be an energetic leader who will embrace the opportunity to move the Museum to a new era of growth and recognition.

Critical Competencies

The ideal candidate will have at least 15 years of work experience in a senior leadership position with fundraising, financial management, and staff management responsibilities. Specifically, the following competencies will be essential to the ED’s success:


The museum is dependent on individual, corporate, foundation and government donors who provide $750,000 in contributed income which supplements $450,000 in annual revenue earned through museum admission fees, education programs, facility rentals and shop/cafe revenue. The existing donor base is heavily concentrated around Elmhurst. The ED must be a skilled fundraiser who can expand development efforts into and beyond the local area, build strong relationships with existing donors, and enlarge the individual/corporate donor base to supplement grant and foundation income.

Strategic and Visionary Leadership

The Elmhurst Art Museum is an arts complex with three distinct areas of focus. A balance of art, education, and architecture programming is central to its efforts of inspiring and enriching our community. Creativity is sparked through public art events, as well as educational hands-on activities, related to rotating contemporary art exhibitions and the celebration of the McCormick house, a rare single-family home designed by Mies van der Rohe. The education department hosts popular summer camps, year-round studio art classes, field trips, and a variety of other family programming. The newest programming opportunity for the museum is its vision for expanding the arts festival Art in Wilder Park, which has been a long-standing tradition in the community for 27 years.

The ED must have highly developed operating management, financial management, and leadership skills to ensure responsible and effective management of daily operations and the management, coaching, and development of its employees. The ED must also be able to maintain and support an atmosphere where events are executed successfully and profitably.

Marketing & Communication Skills

The ED represents the museum with the community, the media, and the thousands of people who visit and explore it annually. S/he must have highly developed writing, interpersonal, and public speaking skills, and will be called upon to use them daily. The ED is the face and voice of the organization. S/he must have well-developed marketing skills in order to propel admissions, program attendance, store revenues and facility rentals. This role requires tact, judgment, gravitas, presence, persuasiveness, integrity, stamina and a high level of professionalism and comfort interacting with varied audiences.


Direct the museum’s budget and financial reporting; oversee finance committee activities, general accounting, audit, and HR administration
Ensure ongoing program excellence; consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; and recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic program goals
Actively engage and energize board members, committee members, partnering organizations and funders
Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors, and Committees of board & non-board members
Use metrics developed for the Strategic Plan to track progress and regularly evaluate successes and challenges to communicate with the board and other stakeholders.
Expand local revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations
Deepen and refine all channels of institutional communication—from online presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand.
Annually report non-profit financial compliance requirements
Oversee the planning and execution of all fundraising, cultivation and donor acknowledgement activities including: Major gifts, Annual fund, Donor and Member acquisition and retention, Matching and in-kind gifts, Business and individual sponsorships, Grant/Foundation support, oversee any capital campaigns, and ensure the success of the museum’s Soiree (annual gala)
Represent the museum in the media and at professional events.


Full-time. 40 hours per week, including occasional weekend and evening hours for programs.

Salary range of $110,000 – 120,000 annually

Benefits package includes monthly contribution towards health care, paid time off, holiday pay, pre-tax retirement program options, professional development opportunities, and museum discounts.


Advanced degree, ideally an MBA, MPA, or MA in a related discipline with 15+ years of senior management experience; track record of effectively leading an outcomes-based organization and staff

Proven ability in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget
Demonstrated success in developing and overseeing long term organizational strategic planning with examples of having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth
Past success working with a Board of Directors with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships
Proven ability to serve as a strategic thought partner to executive leadership
Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures
Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate ambassador with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills
Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning
Unwavering commitment to visitor-centered quality programs and continuous institutional assessment and improvement
Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people
Passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed
Strong interest in and/or knowledge of the visual arts and modern architecture.

To Apply

Please email a letter of interest and a CV or resume to employment@elmhurstartmuseum.org  No phone calls, please. Due to the high volume of applications only finalists will be contacted.

The Elmhurst Art Museum is an equal opportunity employer.

To apply for this job please visit elmhurstartmuseum.org.