Executive Director

Date Posted: Jan 24, 2023
Application Deadline: Feb 26, 2023
Start Date: Jun 02, 2023

Salary From: 80K To 100K
Province: Ontario
Region: Northwestern Ontario
City: Thunder Bay
Employee Benefits: Health
Organization's Field/Discipline: The Arts
Job's focus: Creative & Administrative
Job Type: Full-time
Career Level: Executive/board member

Organization Description

Thunder Bay Art Gallery
After 46 years of successful programming and growth, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery is embarking on an exciting new development – a beautiful new facility on the shore of Lake Superior at Thunder Bay’s waterfront.

Due to open in 2025, the new building will feature twice the space for exhibitions and education programming and will include a café, event spaces, outdoor art and gathering places, and a connection to the waterfront trail. Influenced by a strong Indigenous narrative, the building will embrace the surrounding landscape with spectacular views of Lake Superior and Nanabijou.

A bold project called Madaabii has been supported through the Canada Council New Chapter Program in celebration of the new facility. Madaabii translates in Anishnaabemowin as s/he/they goes down to shore.

This ambitious, large-scale multidisciplinary art project draws inspiration from Gichigami (Lake Superior), one of the world’s largest sources of freshwater. The project has engaged 27 artists to create works inspired by the cultural and industrial history, ecology, and sacredness of this living body of water. These works will form the first exhibition when the Thunder Bay Art Gallery goes down to the water’s edge to open its new facility.

Job Description


Thunder Bay Art Gallery (the Gallery) is seeking a dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization into its bold and exciting new era. The successful applicant will assume responsibility for the strategic and financial direction and overall management of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and will bring a vision for community engagement, inclusivity, and a desire to amplify the voices of artists in Northwestern Ontario and Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island.
The Executive Director (ED) of the Gallery is responsible to the Board for the fulfillment of the Gallery’s mission and strategic goals by providing artistic and administrative management and leadership of all aspects of the Gallery’s operations.
This coming summer, current Executive Director Sharon Godwin will step aside to oversee the construction of the new facility and to allow the new Executive Director to manage the current facility and to focus on developing the strategy for the long-term operation of the new building. The new ED will then transition and assume leadership of the new gallery once built.

Strategic Leadership
  • Accountable for Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s strategic direction, work closely with staff and Board to ensure the institution’s vision, values, and policy statements are developed ambitiously and embodied compellingly.
  • Realize the Gallery’s strategic goals through comprehensive and effective business planning.
  • Develop the Gallery’s institutional and artistic identity through oversight of all curatorial, communications, and development activities.
  • Develop and implement appropriate strategies for engaging with and growing diverse audiences including First Nation (Anishinabe, Mushkeygo, Haudenosaunee) and Métis communities.
Gallery Operations
  • Oversee the development and implementation of a balanced exhibition and education program including public and outreach programming, publishing, and original touring exhibitions, ensuring that programs reflect the Gallery’s mandate and strategic plan.
  • Provide guidance and direction to the Curator and Curatorial team to ensure exhibitions meet the Gallery’s goals. Oversee management and growth of the permanent collection.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor policies, procedures, and guidelines for all areas of Gallery operations.
  • Set and achieve earned revenue targets through memberships, donations, sponsorships, fundraising activities and special events, and retail functions.
  • Lead in the development and stewardship of fundraising strategies including funders, donors, sponsors, agencies, foundations, etc., including the development of strategic partnerships and submission of government and other funding applications.
  • Lead by example and ensure adherence by staff, volunteers and Board Members to professional and ethical standards.
  • Foster and maintain professional contact with members of the arts community, local businesses and non-profit groups, government agencies, funders, financial institutions, service providers and the general public.
  • Liaise with and create community partnerships with a special emphasis on regional and Indigenous people, groups, and organizations.
  • Focus on the work of contemporary Indigenous and Northwestern Ontario artists; advance the relationship between artists, their art and the public, and nurture a life-long appreciation of the contemporary visual arts among residents of and visitors to Thunder Bay.
  • Serve as the ambassador and spokesperson of the Gallery, liaise with local media. and actively participate in external events to enhance the Gallery’s profile within the community.
  • Oversee social media, website, promotional and communication materials.
Human Resources
  • Manage the Gallery’s human resources (recruitment/hiring, training/development, health and safety, performance management and discipline).
  • Develop and implement human resources policies and practices including establishing job descriptions for all staff.
  • Establish and maintain a performance management process for all staff; including monitoring performance on an ongoing basis and conducting, at minimum, annual performance reviews; coach and mentor staff.
  • Responsible for determining staffing requirements, hiring and retention of competent and qualified staff, and maintaining a strong organizational culture and work climate to attract and retain staff.
Financial & Risk Management
  • Responsible for fiscal integrity of the organization, ensuring that the Gallery operates within approved budget guidelines, maximizes resource utilization, and maintains a positive financial position. 
  • Lead the development and preparation of the annual operating and capital budgets and long-term financial plans, as well as accurate monthly financial statements.
  • Provide leadership in developing and implementing strategic fundraising plans to ensure the Gallery’s long-range financial viability. Identify and pursue all revenue sources, including private and government, and ensure all grant applications are completed.
  • Identify and evaluate risks to the Gallery’s people (clients, staff, management, and volunteers), property, finances, goodwill, and image; implement measures to appropriately manage risks.
  • Ensure that effective internal controls are in place, and that legal and regulatory reporting requirements are met.
  • Oversee the planning, implementation, and execution of special and capital projects.
Board Relations
  • Participates with the Board of Directors to develop a vision and strategic plan, establish and implement policies and procedures to guide the organization.
  • Provides leadership in implementing strategic objectives; plans, implements and evaluates programs and services ensuring they align with the Gallery’s mandate.
  • Communicates effectively with the Board and provides, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions.
Waterfront Gallery Construction and Opening
  • Collaborates with the Waterfront Project Lead on construction of the new Gallery.
  • Collaborates with the AWE Campaign Committee and Waterfront Project Lead to develop and implement a capital fundraising campaign.
  • Develops a plan for the opening and sustainable operation of the Waterfront Gallery for approval of the Board.
  • Reviews and provides reports to the Board when required.



  • A University degree in Arts Administration, Art History, or related discipline, preferably at the graduate level together with five years’ experience in a management role, in a non-profit visual arts organization.
  • Excellent organizational, administration, time management, and communication skills. Proven leadership ability and financial management skills.
  • A proven ability to work effectively with a Board of Directors, professional staff, volunteers, artists, members of the community and community-based organizations.
  • Experience writing grant applications to funding agencies, foundations, and government bodies.
  • A strong relationship-builder with excellent donor relations skills who connects with the community.
  • A track record of successfully generating new revenue streams and improving financial results.
  • Ability to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, many of whom include diverse groups and cultures.
  • Familiarity with Anishinabe, Mushkeygo, Haudenosaunee and Métis community and cultural norms would be an asset.
  • Demonstrated leadership and mentorship skills, and ability to plan work and direct employees in a manner that promotes a team environment.
  • Proven track record of managing people, developing high-performance teams, managing budgets, and achieving goals.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills; comfortable speaking in public and communicating passion and excitement for the organization’s mission in public messages.
  • Ability to think and act strategically, including the ability to conceptualize and implement change strategies.
  • Lead by example demonstrating Gallery values in an enthusiastic manner to achieve results individually and through team participation.
  • Maintain appropriate professional memberships in the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization, Galeries Ontario/Ontario Galleries, and others as the representative of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
  • A commitment to Equity, Indigeneity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
  • Available to carry out activities outside of normal working hours.

Additional Info:


A competitive compensation package will be offered, complete with salary (range between $80,000 to $100,000) and benefits.

How to Apply:

Please apply by email with your cover letter and resume by no later than February 26th, 2023. Send to: ThunderBay@searchlightpartnersgroup.com

Thunder Bay Art Gallery is committed to employment equity and to fostering a positive and diverse workforce that reflects the community. We welcome applications from individuals of all backgrounds and abilities. Given the Gallery’s mandate and location, we particularly welcome applications by individuals who are Indigenous.

Upon request, suitable accommodations are available under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA) to applicants invited to an interview.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those being considered for interviews will be contacted by Searchlight Partners.

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