Executive Director, MacLaren Art Centre
POSITION: Executive Director (ED) LOCATION: Barrie, Ontario POSITION DETAILS: Full Time, Permanent REPORTS TO: Board of Directors DIRECT REPORTS: Education Officer, Associate Director/Senior...

POSITION: Executive Director (ED)
LOCATION: Barrie, Ontario
POSITION DETAILS: Full Time, Permanent
REPORTS TO: Board of Directors
DIRECT REPORTS: Education Officer, Associate Director/Senior Curator, Administrative Coordinator, Manager Gallery Café, Director of Development, Manager Gallery Shop, Manager Framing Services, Communications Coordinator


Located in the city of Barrie, the MacLaren Art Centre (the “MacLaren”) is the regional public art gallery serving the more than half a million residents of the County of Simcoe, and the surrounding area. Each year we engage more than 58,000 people in activities at the Gallery, in the schools and in the community.

The Permanent Collection comprises 4,347 works of art representing visual culture in Canada with an emphasis on contemporary art. We also house 23,116 vintage Soviet press photographs (Sovfoto Archive).

Housed in a 24,000 sq. ft. award-winning architectural landmark in downtown Barrie that showcases a renovated Carnegie library with a contemporary addition, the MacLaren includes multiple galleries, an education centre, sculpture courtyard, café, gift shop and framing department. We present a year-round programme of exhibitions, workshops and special events that nurture artistic talent, inspire creativity and stimulate intellectual curiosity. Each year we deliver over 650 arts education activities for audiences of all ages, interests and abilities.

As a cornerstone of culture for Barrie, the MacLaren adds to the social, intellectual, creative and economic fabric of the community. It is a central meeting place, a destination for visitors from across the province, and a catalyst for downtown revitalization.

The organization is governed by a volunteer board, and managed and operated by thirteen full-time staff, plus part-time/contract personnel, artist instructors and more than 220 active volunteers.


This is a rare and exciting opportunity for an exceptional art museum professional and senior executive, with the drive and ambition to realize the MacLaren’s vision, to lead an important regional art gallery to a new level of prominence.

The ED will provide both strategic leadership and tactical oversight to the development, implementation and management of the MacLaren’s strategic and annual plans, fundraising, collections, programming, and general operations.

The ED is an engaging, collaborative, and strategic visionary who will increase audiences while taking the organization to the next level. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED is an energetic leader of change, knowledgeable and passionate about Canadian contemporary art and effective in engaging support. They will communicate and drive the vision, broaden the museum’s presence and extend its reach.


The ED is a bright and astute personality; an accomplished visual arts professional with energy, vision and enthusiasm. As such, they will be both leader and ambassador for the MacLaren – building and sustaining positive relationships with the Board, staff, members, volunteers, artists, patrons, granting agencies, the local community and art organizations in Canada and internationally.

The ED is driven by leading an institution that thrives on all fronts and by providing the support needed by staff to achieve their goals. The ED’s fluency with emergent visual practice will provide guidance for the overall curatorial vision and support for the choices of the curatorial team. As the public face and spokesperson for the MacLaren, they will raise the gallery’s profile and grow its importance in Barrie and beyond.



  • Provide visionary leadership, strategic direction and financial sustainability for the MacLaren.
  • Build and nurture relationships with all stakeholders, including staff, artists, diverse communities, partners, funders, audiences and patrons.
  • Stimulate and promote excellence and innovation in the MacLaren’s programs and exhibitions.
  • Play an advocacy and ambassadorial role for the MacLaren in Barrie and in surrounding areas.
  • Collaborate with curatorial staff and other galleries and institutions to plan and present compelling and exhibitions.
  • Manage the MacLaren’s resources – human, financial and physical – to strengthen the MacLaren’s pre-eminent role in an increasingly competitive environment.
  • Manage and maintain critical relationships with the City of Barrie, Simcoe County, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council, Georgian College, and all relevant government agencies.

Exhibitions & Programming

  • Oversee the overall artistic direction of the MacLaren in relation to collecting, exhibiting, and education.
  • Collaborating with curatorial and education staff, prepare an artistic programme on an annual basis for approval by the Board.
  • Negotiate and manage contracts and agreements; maintain liaison with artists, their agents or freelance curators and other galleries.
  • Supervise the management and development of the permanent collection in concert with curatorial staff.
  • Assess artistic, art historical, and community cultural needs, while keeping current with local, regional, provincial, national and international artistic communities.

Finance & Administration

  • Prepare a manageable and sustainable annual budget with the assistance of the Finance Committee, and staff.
  • Present budget for the approval of the Board with revenue and cost projections and justifications consistent with the MacLaren’s goals.
  • Participate in regular meetings with the President and attend all meetings of the Board of Directors to provide update reports on the gallery’s financial and other activities, in an advisory capacity as ex-officio member.
  • Ensure sound financial control and accounting practices are in place; monitor expenditures in relation to budget and to actual income. Manage the gallery’s capital assets.
  • Anticipate and plan for the long-term financial needs and capital requirements of the MacLaren.

Fundraising & Development

  • Direct and lead the MacLaren’s annual fundraising campaigns, with the assistance of Development staff.
  • Play a pivotal role in developing donor relationships and securing campaign gifts.
  • Work with all supporting communities. Develop and maintain corporate, private foundation, government and community sponsorships and partnerships.
  • Prepare grant applications for government and granting institutions.
  • Be creative and entrepreneurial in pursuit of additional earned income opportunities.

Outreach & Advocacy

  • In collaboration with the Communications Coordinator and senior staff, the Executive Director is responsible for the promotion of the MacLaren and its programmes.
  • Enhance the gallery’s public image and ensure the continuity of its brand identity.
  • Attend openings and major events, serving as MacLaren’s host, and introducing guest speakers, artist exhibitors or programmes.
  • Develop and maintain professional liaison with all levels of the arts community, in support of mutual concerns and promotion of the development of the arts.
  • Serve on Committees of professional art organizations and serve as a juror in art competitions on request.
  • Maintain good relations with all media outlets both locally and nationally.


  • Proactively and effectively manage staff and volunteers to efficiently run the organization. Provide leadership and ensure guidance, mentorship, training and direction to fully engage all employees in the performance of their responsibilities.
  • Delegate authority, define staff roles and responsibilities, reporting relationships, systems of reward and disciplinary actions.
  • Develop an open-door culture that promotes respect and teamwork, builds loyalty, drives engagement, maximizes employee potential and appeals to outside talent.
  • Record, communicate and implement policies, and ensure guidelines, rules and procedures reflecting policies are in place and understood. Ensure compliance with all human resource related legislation.


  • A relevant degree or postgraduate degree in fine art and/or art history and/or museum studies, or in related fields.
  • A minimum of five years of senior leadership experience, with a track record of success leading a gallery or museum, or experiential equivalent.
  • Operational and administrative experience in managing an arts facility of similar size to the MacLaren and overseeing exhibitions and collections as well as events and venue management.
  • Strong business acumen. Accountable and fiscally responsible, with a proven ability to develop a sustainable business plan.
  • A vision for presenting innovative exhibitions and programs that attract audiences.
  • An exceptional fundraiser with demonstrated success and a sustainable track record with donors, funding agencies, and sponsors.
  • Experience in human resource management while motivating others, delegating effectively, and managing conflict.
  • Knowledge and awareness of how to develop and engage diverse audiences.
  • Understanding and experience in marketing, including the use of social media to engage audiences and increase attendance.
  • Strong organizational and administrative skills; able to prioritize and juggle multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Brings excellent relationships and results with granting councils and agencies.
  • Strong budgeting and financial management skills.
  • Experience in working effectively with a volunteer board with a focus on board governance.
  • Fluency in French and/or Anishinaabemowin or another Indigenous language is an asset.


  • A dynamic professional who inspires confidence who has outstanding intellect with strategic orientation and a polished presence.
  • A strong spokesperson and effective community builder, helping to foster appreciation of the arts; education through arts; and other auxiliary programming at the MacLaren year-round.
  • Knowledge of, and passion for, visual arts and its progressive trends in Canada.
  • Culturally aligned with and a passionate commitment to contemporary art and the MacLaren’s mandate, mission, and vision.
  • Attentive to cultural plurality locally and across Canada and committed to equity, inclusivity and accessibility.
  • Confident and influential communicator who is engaging, outgoing, and personable.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with a high standard of professional and personal integrity.
  • Engenders trust from staff, the Board, and arts community with a commitment to consultation and consensus-building.
  • Keen interest in Barrie and the surrounding area as a cultural destination.


A competitive compensation package will be offered, complete with salary and benefits.


Please apply by email with your cover letter and resume by no later than Friday, August 21st, 2020. Send to:

The MacLaren Art Centre is an equal opportunity employer serving our diverse communities. We thank applicants for their interest, however, only those advancing in the process will be contacted.

We acknowledge the traditional territory of the Anishinaabek, which include the Odawa, Ojibwe and Pottawatomi Nations, collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy. The local bands consist of the Chippewa Tri-Council, who are made up of Beausoleil First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation and Rama First Nation. We would also like to acknowledge the Wendat Nation (Huron) who occupied these lands prior to the middle of the 17th century.