Bookshop + Gallery Assistant

Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

The Graham Foundation seeks a Bookshop + Gallery Assistant to work closely with the Foundation’s staff to support its daily operations two to three days a week. As the primary point-of-contact for the Foundation’s gallery and bookshop, the Assistant is responsible for welcoming and orienting visitors; bookshop operations; and collaborating with staff on administrative and research projects that support the work and mission of the Foundation.

About the Graham Foundation + Bookshop

Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. The Graham realizes this vision through making project-based grants to individuals and organizations and producing exhibitions, events, and publications.

As the oldest private funder in the field of architecture in the country, the Graham makes grants nationally and internationally to support books, exhibitions, installations, film/video/new media projects, as well as individual research projects. At the Madlener House—a 1901–02 Prairie style mansion located in the historic Gold Coast that has served as headquarters since 1963—the Graham Foundation produces exhibitions and public programs that engage contemporary work and issues in architecture. It also houses the Graham Foundation grantee library and bookshop—featuring a selection of publications from an international roster of publishers, as well as an extensive collection of local and international periodicals on architecture, urbanism, art, and related fields.

The Graham Foundation Bookshop offers a selection of publications produced by the Foundation’s grantees, titles related to our public programming, as well as new, historically significant, and rare publications on architecture, urbanism, art, and related fields. In addition to relevant monographs, exhibition catalogues, research, and theory-based titles, the Graham Foundation Bookshop carries an extensive collection of local and international journals and periodicals. Chicago-based designer Ania Jaworska was commissioned to design the shop, located in the former dining room of the Madlener House.

  • Provide the initial point of contact for visitors during gallery hours and answer questions related to the Foundation’s exhibitions, public programs, bookshop, grantmaking, history, landmark historic building, and identity; lead scheduled gallery tours

  • Assist with daily bookshop operations: complete opening and closing protocols; make sales and returns; pack and ship book orders; maintain bookshop display; research titles to carry in shop

  • Collaborate to complete bookshop quarterly physical inventory; replace and return stock; and enter purchase orders

  • Manage administrative tasks: assist with preparing, editing, and/or filing reports and materials for Foundation records and archives; answer the phone and take messages; sort and distribute mail; and other duties as may be assigned

  • Contribute to the Foundation’s web and social media presence that promotes the activities of the Foundation and its grantees

  • Staff occasional events and standing programs


Qualities + Qualifications:

  • Collaborative, willing to work with a small team to realize the mission of the Foundation

  • Undergraduate degree in architecture, design, art history, studio arts, humanities, or related field preferred

  • Outstanding attention to detail, ability to do careful, self-verified work

  • Retail experience preferred

  • Point of Sale experience; familiarity and proficiency with QuickBooks Point of Sale or other QuickBooks software preferred

  • Strong organizational skills and ability to prioritize multiple and diverse tasks

  • Initiative and ability to work independently

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including interpersonal and public speaking skills

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs

  • Humor, kindness, and the ability to accept and manage feedback

  • Proficiency with social media and close familiarity with the tools and the landscape of internet culture

Start date: Immediate

Work schedule: 2–3 days per week (16–24 hours); Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (flexible), Saturday (required when exhibitions are on view); between 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Compensation: Paid, $17/hour

As a landmark, historic house, the Madlener House has limited accessibility. The Bookshop + Gallery Assistant may be asked to climb three to four flights of stairs and to move boxes weighing up to 15 pounds.

The Graham prioritizes the health and safety of its staff and visitors. As such, the Graham asks that all staff be fully vaccinated and boosted with an FDA authorized and/or approved COVID–19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Currently all staff and visitors are also required to wear a mask that fully covers their nose and mouth at all times when in the building, regardless of vaccination status. Requests for reasonable accommodations for medical, religious, or other reasons will be considered in accordance with applicable law.

We are committed to building the right team for the Graham and recognize that not all career paths are linear. Applications from all interested candidates are welcomed. In the cover letter, please share your interest in the position and how you envision contributing to the role and organization. The Bookshop + Gallery Assistant position is intended to be career-building and designed to support and grow knowledge and skills within the role, helping bridge to the next career chapter.

The Graham Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment; the Foundation does not discriminate based on any factor or characteristic prohibited by law and hires solely on the basis of candidate’s qualifications for the job to be filled.

How to Apply

To apply, send one PDF containing a resume and cover letter to with the subject line: BGAssistantFirstNameLastName (e.g. BGAssistantErnestGraham). Candidates for interviews will be contacted by email. No calls, please.

Posted on May 6