Educator, Adult Learning
The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879, is a world-renowned art museum housing one of the largest permanent collections in the United States. An encyclopedic museum, the Art Institute collects, preserves, and interprets works in every medium from all cultures and historical periods. With a collection of approximately 300,000 art works and artifacts, the museum has particularly strong holdings in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, contemporary art, early 20th century European painting and sculpture, Japanese prints, and photography. The museum’s 2009 addition, the Modern Wing, features the latest in green museum technology and 264,000 square feet dedicated to modern and contemporary art, photography, architecture and design, and new museum education facilities. In addition to displaying its permanent collection, the Art Institute mounts more than 30 special exhibitions per year and features lectures, gallery tours, and special performances on a daily basis
As a member of the Learning and Public Engagement Department (LPE), the Adult Learning Educator teaches regularly and works with other museum staff and, at times, with community groups or artists to develop and implement innovative programs that engage a wide range of adults with art and the museum. The Educator coordinates the studio-based art making program for adults, facilitates interactive gallery programs and creative workshops, and presents gallery and slide talks for multiple constituencies at the museum and, to a limited degree, in communities throughout Chicagoland. The Educator also develops and implements strategies for accessibility and inclusion in adult learning programs; assists with scheduling and training of volunteers, interns, and fellows to teach in the galleries using the museum’s exhibitions and collection; and helps to mentor interns. The Educator researches the museum’s collection and exhibitions and conducts program evaluation related to these areas.
Through Learning and Public Engagement and with its collections, exhibitions, and communities as core resources, the Art Institute of Chicago champions the role of art and culture in in people’s lives; promotes access and equitable participation in art and the museum; fosters critical and creative thinking; and collaborates to strengthen the fabric of communities and the life of our city. Public programs help connect a wide range of audiences to art and the museum, providing diverse, multidisciplinary, and dynamic ways for adults of all backgrounds to experience the museum and connect with art. Adult learning programs, which include public and partnership programs, serve current audiences while cultivating new ones, promote individual and social wellness through engagement with art, and offer creative opportunities for adults.
1. In collaboration with other staff in the division, plan and develop a wide range of programs at the museum, including talks, tours, other gallery experiences, classes and workshops, and select activities in Chicagoland communities, in order to engage adults with diverse artworks in the collections and exhibitions.
- Coordinate creative workshops and sketch classes for adults, including contributing to the support and training of teaching artists and assistants, ordering supplies, and booking classrooms.
2. Teach regularly, including public gallery talks and slide lectures for museum visitors and private groups; multi-day sessions such as courses for the public or trainings for volunteer educators; specialized programs developed with academic, cultural, and/or civic partners; creative, gallery-based experiences; and other special programs as they arise. Introduce or facilitate auditorium-based talks or conversations.
- Research exhibitions and artworks in the museum’s collection, as well as broader art historical and other interdisciplinary approaches that help to interpret works of art.
- Research and develop teaching strategies and museum practices that create points of access and connection for a range of adults with a variety of learning styles, mobilities, ages, and motivations for visiting the museum.
3. Develop, facilitate, and/or assist with drop-in art making, such as in-gallery sketching. Along with other staff in Learning and Public Engagement, plan regular multigenerational art making activities for the Ryan Learning Center, a hub for creativity and exploration at the museum.
4. Collaborate with other program staff to research, develop, implement, and evaluate accessibility and inclusion strategies for adult learning programs that involve people with a range of physical, cognitive, and sensory capacities, including gallery and art making programs.
5. Assist in the planning, execution and evaluation of public programs across the department of Learning and Public Engagement, such as all-day festivals, lectures and live arts, and programs with civic agencies and community partners.
6. Serve as department point-person for selected special exhibitions and permanent collection reinstallations, working with curators and Learning and Public Engagement staff to develop and track exhibition-related programming and maintain cross-departmental and intra-departmental communication flow.
7. Build and sustain relationships with external partners and co-create programs with cultural and community organizations
8. As needed, work with Communications, Public Affairs, Visitor Services, Volunteer Office, Marketing and other divisions within the department of Learning and Public Engagement divisions to train and inform personnel, promote activities, and organize logistics.
9. Assist in the recruitment, coordination, and training of new personnel, including interns, adjuncts, teaching artists, and volunteers, as needed.
10. Contribute to the field of museums by sharing knowledge and practices, and by contributing to the training, supervision and mentorship of interns and other students in the department.
Bachelor’s degree required, preferably with formal training in studio art, art history, and/or art education; Master’s Degree or commensurate experience preferred.
General knowledge of art history as well art making processes, with the ability to research and teach material from a wide range of historical periods and cultures.
Minimum two years teaching adult audiences in an educational, arts, or museum environment or community organization, including art making programs. Three or more years preferred. Some experience working with artists and/or partners to create interactive programs preferred. Demonstrated experience coordinating or overseeing multiple tasks and projects Command of Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite Ability to give tours in a language other than English, especially Spanish, preferred.
Skills and Dispositions
Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills. Ability to present ideas and information clearly and compellingly, and to sensitively respond to questions from multiple audiences. Demonstrated interest and experience in working with adult audiences with a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. Aptitude for and experience innovating in object-based gallery teaching, as well as expanding modes of learning in informal settings such as museums, community spaces, or libraries. Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team and collaborate with others effectively. Excellent organizational, project, and time management skills. Demonstrated flexibility and ability to adapt to the changing needs of a dynamic, high-volume work environment. Interest in keeping current with research and trends in formal and informal learning as well as museum practices. Energy and enthusiasm for the mission of the museum and demonstrated commitment to advancing the goal of making educational institutions, including museums, more pluralistic, equitable, and inclusive.
Work Schedule - Tuesdays through Saturdays. The position requires availability for programs on evenings the museum is open to the public, and for those events and programs scheduled on occasional other weekday or weekend evenings, weekends and holidays.
The Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.