Job Description

Curator of Contemporary Art (Curatorial)
Louisville, KY, United States of America


The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s largest art museum with a collection that spans 6,000 years of human creativity. An independent museum located on the campus of the University of Louisville, the Speed has recently undergone a multi-phase expansion and renovation that includes a new North Building, state-of-the-art Cinema, Art Park and a public piazza. The Speed Art Museum has repeatedly been voted Kentucky's best museum and is considered one of the top ten sites each Kentuckian should visit. The Speed honors its mission to bring great art to our communities through its distinguished collections and as the Commonwealth's number one venue for international art exhibitions.

The Speed welcomes diverse candidates to this and all open positions. 

Once you have submitted the application please submit a writing sample to HR Manager, Emma Pridham, at

Job Skills / Requirements

About the Opportunity:

The Speed Art Museum seeks a dynamic, knowledgeable, collaborative, and highly motivated curator to lead its contemporary exhibition and collection program. Working with the Executive Director and curatorial staff, the Curator of Contemporary Art will be responsible for advancing the Speed’s inclusive Mission to “invite everybody to celebrate art,” through a multi-faceted curatorial program that reflects a spectrum of artistic disciplines, ethnic and gender diversity, and subject matter. Responsible for the acquisition, exhibition, documentation, and preservation of the Museum's contemporary collection, this position engages and cultivates collectors, donors, and community partners to continue shaping an inclusive collection and related programming.  

Position Summary:

The Speed’s Curator of Contemporary Art will research, propose, implement, and oversee single-artist exhibitions, group shows of varying size, and thematic projects for the Museum’s temporary and collection gallery spaces. They will also be charge of the Museum's Art Park and identify potential acquisitions and commissions, including work of a temporary nature, and develop a maintenance plan to ensure the long-term preservation of works installed outdoors. There is the possibility for public practice beyond the Art Park, including temporary installations, performances, and interventions. This range of programs will be accessible and engaging for a broad range of constituencies, while also circulating within a global discourse of peer institutions. This position is also in charge of developing, evaluating, refining, and updating the contemporary collection’s development (~1960’s - Present) and continuing to grow and steward the Speed’s strong holdings from artists with diverse backgrounds. 

The Curator of Contemporary Art will be responsible for generating a range of writing to accompany each exhibition, which can include introductory texts, wall labels, brochure essays, and/or catalogues in alignment with overarching interpretation strategies of inclusion and accessibility. The contemporary curator will also collaborate with the Director of Education on interpretive content for special exhibitions. Given that contemporary art and associated programming often address complex social issues, the successful candidate will be comfortable, authentic, and empathetic in leading and facilitating the difficult conversations inherent in this space. Furthermore, the Speed's Contemporary Curator will marry lively ambition with fiscal responsibility, ensuring that exhibitions and artistic projects adhere to annual budgets. 

The ideal candidate for Curator of Contemporary Art is a team-oriented player who will work collaboratively with other Speed curators to engage in projects across time and media. In addition, this position works closely with Speed Contemporary, a collection support group, on acquisitions and leads trips relevant to this group. The Curator of Contemporary Art will work closely with the Advancement department to identify and secure a broad range of sponsors for exhibitions, as well as contributing to, writing and editing grant proposals and foundation reporting. 

Past work should demonstrate creativity in curatorial approach, a global perspective, a representation of diverse artists, and sensitivity towards local artists and audiences. Proven capacity for developing relationships is paramount for this position, which will include working with emerging and established artists, as well as a network of art-world colleagues and institutions from different parts of the world. The Curator of Contemporary Art will also be responsible for cultivating strong relationships with the local creative community of artists, designers, collectors, and donors, as well as partnering with local arts institutions and universities.  

A primary responsibility of the Curator of Contemporary Art is to build a strong community constituency for the contemporary program, including partnerships and collaborations with local organizations. Public presentation and speaking skills are integral to success, including leading guided tours of exhibitions for security, docents, board members, college students, professional groups, and members of the public.  

The Curator of Contemporary Art also plays an integral role in programming by working as part of a cross-departmental team to plan public programs in support of special exhibitions and the Speed’s permanent collection. In addition, the curator also supports development and marketing efforts. 

Equally important is: 

  • Willingness to develop strategies to engage visitors and the greater Louisville/Kentucky community  
  • Ability to work in concert and in a congenial manner with other professionals within the institutions who shape creative programs.
  • Desire to work collaboratively with a cross-disciplinary team. 
  • Ability to balance the creative and intellectual process of curating with administrative, financial, and wider institutional duties. 
  • Interest in expanding the dialogue around art and the creative process.
  • A comprehensive record of writing about art and culture.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Art History, Arts, Curatorial Studies, or related field; Master’s Degree highly preferred.
  • Academic or professional specialization in post-World War II art.
  • Experience curating outdoor installations highly desirable as is expertise in new media art.
  • Five years’ experience in museum settings with increasing responsibilities.
  • Comfortable with digital technologies as used in the museum setting.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

This is a full-time exempt position. This position is NOT eligible for overtime pay. 

Additional Information / Benefits

Once you have submitted the application please submit a writing sample to HR Manager, Emma Pridham, at

APPLICATION DEADLINE: For consideration all qualified internal and external candidates must submit application and resume through this Internet portal.Your interest in the Speed Art Museum is appreciated however; only candidates selected for interview process will be notified.The Speed Art Museum prohibits discrimination in employment, programs, and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The Speed Art Museum also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to museum facilities.

Benefits: Medical Insurance, Life Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Paid Vacation, Paid Sick Days, Paid Holidays, Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability, 401K/403b Plan, Pension/Retirement

This job reports to the Museum Director

This is a Full-Time position 1st Shift, Evening and Weekend hours as needed .

Number of Openings for this position: 1