Director and Chief Curator, Wattis Institute

California College of the Arts

Director and Chief Curator, Wattis Institute


San Francisco

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established as part of CCA’s San Francisco location in 1998 as a forum for the public presentation and discussion of international contemporary art, architecture, design, and curatorial practice. Occupying a strategic niche between artist-run spaces and museums, the CCA Wattis Institute operates as an independent laboratory to experiment with non-traditional ways of presenting art. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project artist residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the CCA Wattis Institute has an international reputation as one of the most exciting venues for contemporary culture in the United States.

The director of the Wattis Institute is responsible for the curatorial vision, strategic leadership, fundraising initiatives, and overall management of Wattis programs, staffing, and resources. The director formulates and implements the annual exhibition and public program schedule at the Wattis Institute, personally curating exhibitions and engaging other curators as needed. The director researches and writes scholarly essays for catalogs and other print and online publications and is an effective and compelling communicator in print and in person. The director is a passionate advocate for the program, vision and values of the CCA Wattis Institute, building college-wide and public support for the program with the goal of sustaining a robust visitorship, donor base, and reputation for excellence. The director builds on existing relationships with current donors, cultivates new patrons, and engages with Wattis stakeholders on an ongoing basis.

In keeping with CCA’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, we seek candidates with a demonstrated ability to cultivate an equity-focused curatorial vision and collaborative environment. Candidates should be actively engaged with current conversations surrounding the role of institutions now and be invested in building community with artists both locally and internationally.


  • CCA considers a full-time work week to be 37.5 hours per week.

  • Work Mode: Hybrid


San Francisco





Programming, Exhibitions & Budget Management - 40% of time

  • With considerable independence, but in consultation with faculty and academic leadership, develops exhibitions, lectures, symposia, performances, conferences, artists/scholars-in-residence, and community outreach projects.

  • Serves as a local, national, and international advocate for the college and its public programming interest through strong working relationships with curators, scholars, artists, architects, and designers.

  • Develops and manages exhibitions and public programs budget; as a department head, represents the exhibitions and public programs area in college-wide budget discussions.

Fundraising - 30% of time

  • Works with the Advancement Office to cultivate and solicit individual, foundation, corporate and government funding prospects to support public programming. Assists in the development of public programming grants. Allows sufficient time in program planning (i.e. 15-18 months) to accommodate fundraising timetables.

Academic and Administrative Partnerships - 20% of time

  • Works with academic leadership, faculty, and students to integrate classroom/studio activities with exhibitions and public programs. Allows sufficient time in major program planning, i.e. 12-18 months, to accommodate academic timetables.

  • Works with key administrative staff to ensure that public programs support strategic administrative objectives, i.e., advancement, enrollment, alumni and communications objectives, and that the public programs schedule meshes well with the institutional calendar.

  • Works with Communications Office to coordinate promotion of Wattis Institute programming, including website, press releases, printed materials, signage, social media, and media outreach.

  • Opportunity to teach in CCA’s Graduate Curatorial Practice, Graduate Fine Arts, Graduate Visual & Critical Studies, Film, or other appropriate academic programs.

  • Active collaboration with CCA’s faculty, fostering productive networks that are central to student development and professionalization.

Supervision - 10% of time

  • Supervises professional and support staff: Deputy Director & Head of Publications, Head of Installation, Assistant Curator, Visitor Engagement Coordinator, and part-time and temporary staff

Supervisory Responsibility: Supervises the Deputy Director & Head of Publications, Assistant Curator, and Head of Installation.



  • Significant experience planning and implementing innovative and experimental interdisciplinary and/or community-based programming and/or visual art exhibitions.

  • Broad knowledge of the issues, trends, and individuals influencing art, architecture, and design disciplines and professional practice internationally.

  • Established network and strong working relationships with artists, architects, designers, curators, scholars, and dealers internationally. Availability to travel domestically and internationally, as needed.

  • Demonstrated record of successful fundraising for exhibitions and public programs for individual, foundation, corporate, and governmental sources.

  • Established working relationships with donors who support the visual and performing arts, exhibitions and other public programming initiatives.

  • Demonstrated record of successful interaction with the media.

  • Proven success working collaboratively as part of a team.

  • Exceptionally strong presentation, written, and spoken communications skills.

  • Ability to establish and maintain positive working relationships with diverse constituencies.

  • Advanced terminal degree desirable.


  • The range for for this position is $140,000 - $150,000 annually.

  • CCA offers a comprehensive benefits package, including the choice of five medical plans, generous holiday, sick & vacation time, a retirement match and tuition remission. CCA covers an average of 91% of the medical plan cost for the employee only and an average of 82% for employees with dependents. More information can be found here:

How to Apply

Application Instructions

Applicants are required to attach a cover letter and resume. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Recommended document file formats are Word or PDF. If there are multiple attachments, we recommend compressing/zipping your files into a zip format file. There is also a place in the application for you to provide a link to large documents. Please submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions.

Application Deadline

For staff positions, screening begins immediately and continues until the position is filled.

EEO Statement

As an educational and cultural institution, California College of the Arts has a responsibility to provide access and opportunities for all people, with special attention to supporting groups historically underrepresented in higher education.

We believe that a culturally diverse campus is integral to academic excellence, and our student, faculty, staff, and trustee bodies should reflect the diverse world in which we live, with attention to race, ethnicity, religious creed, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and ability.

California College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.


Please address any questions to

To apply, visit

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is an independent art college with 21 undergraduate programs in architecture, design, fine arts, visual studies, and writing. The college also has graduate programs in architecture, comics, curatorial practice, design, design strategy, film, fine arts, visual and critical studies, and writing. Through these programs, the college has created a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment. Diverse cultural perspectives enrich the CCA community and the college believes that continuing to expand the horizons of the students and faculty is essential to achieving its educational objectives. With campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students.

Copyright ©2022 Inc. All rights reserved.


Posted on May 16