Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

Program Director

Entering its 37th year, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is experiencing programmatic and fiscal growth and a renewed energy for a bold, ambitious future as it embarks on a long-range visioning plan. To lead the next exciting chapter of the organization’s innovative programs, Bemis Center seeks a strategic, forward-thinking Program Director. Working alongside Bemis Center’s Executive Director, the new Program Director advances the organization’s ambitions as a diverse, inclusive, and conceptually-rigorous site supporting the work of artists from around the world while serving the region as the premier locale for the presentation and understanding of contemporary art.

Position Summary
The Program Director is a thought-leader and visionary, setting the overarching goals and strategies for all Bemis Center programs. S/he ensures the organization’s boundary-pushing spirit, uncompromising support of artists, and inclusivity and relevance to the communities it serves. The Program Director acts as the Bemis Center’s chief curator establishing the overall curatorial voice and strategy of the exhibition program, overseeing the organizing and mounting of 6–9 temporary exhibitions annually in tandem with exhibition staff and the Bemis Center’s year-long Curator-in-Residence. In addition, the position oversees all aspects of the Bemis Center’s renowned international artist-in-residence program. With support of the residency staff, the Program Director evolves the program to anticipate and respond to the ever-changing needs of current and future residents, while ensuring the program’s ongoing reputation as a leading model for artist communities. The Bemis Center’s exhibition and residency programs are contextualized, in part, by a series of diverse, thought-provoking public programs, such as knowledge-sharing workshops, panel discussions, artist lectures, film screenings, and performances, among others. The Program Director ensures the intellectual rigor and accessibility of these programs, while always drawing connections to the political and socioeconomic issues on the ground in Nebraska. In fact, the Program Director understands and capitalizes on the advantages of being a beacon of cultural production and investigation in Nebraska and middle America.

Internally at the Bemis Center, the Program Director is a senior staff member and department head. The position reports and works closely with the Executive Director to achieve the mission of the organization. The Program Director works in cooperation with the Development Department to establish strategies for program support from foundations, businesses, and individual donors, often assisting with grant applications and funder solicitations. The position also collaborates with the Bemis Center’s communications team to craft a compelling and consistent narrative for the organization’s programs in order to engage and expand audiences. Moreover, the Program Director inspires and manages the Bemis Center’s programming team, which currently consists of an Exhibitions Manager, Residency Manager, and a Residency Arts Technician. The Program Director, once hired, will have the opportunity to hire a curator and/or other position to assist with the future growth of the department. Externally, the Program Director is a knowledgeable, respected leader in the field, an active arts professional within the community, and a tireless advocate for Bemis Center nationally and internationally.


High-level visionary and strategic thinker with the capacity to imagine, develop, and execute innovative programming, and to inspire and motivate a dedicated programming team;

Successful candidates will have a minimum of five years professional experience as a curator, residency director, and/or artistic director with additional experience in senior management and oversight of departmental staff, preferably in the context of a small-to-medium-size arts organization that prioritizes artists, diversity, and inclusivity;

S/he will hold a graduate degree in art history, studio art, curatorial studies, or other related academic study;

Demonstrated record of exhibitions and publications focusing on national and international contemporary art;

Experience and respected profile in the national and international art community with a wide-reaching network of artists and colleagues;

Excellent working relationships with artists, professional counterparts, collectors, and donors;

Demonstrated ability to work and effectively interface with staff, board members, colleagues, and the public;

A collaborative team player with excellent verbal and written communication skills as well as public speaking acumen;

Understanding of and passion for the Bemis Center’s vision, mission, and values, and a dedication to achieving the organization’s long-term objectives.

Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience. Benefit package provided, including medical and dental insurance, paid holidays, paid time off, and a relocation allowance.

For immediate consideration, please submit a one-page cover letter, resume, two exhibition-related writing samples (500 words/each max.), and the contact information for three professional references to with “Program Director” in the subject line.

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

About Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Founded in 1981, by artists for artists, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts supports today’s artists through an international Artist-in-Residence program, temporary exhibitions and commissions, and innovative public programs. Located in the historic Old Market district, the Bemis Center serves a critical role in the presentation and understanding of contemporary art, bridging the community of Omaha to the global discourse surrounding cultural production today.

For more than three decades, the Bemis Center has provided artists from around the world dedicated time, space, and resources to conduct research and to create new work. Frequently cited as one of the top international residency programs in the United States, Bemis offers artists private live/work studios, financial support, technical/administrative assistance, and opportunities for intellectual discourse about contemporary art through free public programs such as panel discussions, lectures, and knowledge-sharing workshops. To date, more than 900 artists have participated in the residency program.

Alongside the residency program, the Bemis Center presents 6–9 exhibitions each year in approximately 13,000 square feet of gallery space, featuring solo and group exhibitions of artwork in all media by local, national, and international artists. Exhibitions are always free, open to the public, and frequently introduce the community of Omaha to the most experimental and provocative art forms today.

Throughout the organization’s history, the Bemis Center has offered artist-driven, community-responsive programs that bolster civic engagement in the creation and understanding of art. Public programs provide regular opportunities for the public to learn about and be inspired by the visual arts. Through artist-led classes and workshops, ARTalks, open studio events, panel discussions, film screenings, and performances, the community has direct access to artists and to their diverse approaches to art making and interpreting the world around us.