Asian Art Museum–Chief Marketing and Communications Officer–Filled


Watch for an announcement soon.

To download a PDF version: Asian Art Museum Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Position Description

Asian Art Museum

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Position Description

Painter Executive Search is supporting the Asian Art Museum in its search for a creative, experienced Chief Marketing and Communications Officer as it prepares to unveil a $90 million transformation and builds the vision of a world where Asian art and culture is essential to everyone.

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (AAM) is one of the premier fine arts museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one of the largest in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art.  With a collection of over 18,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years, it offers one of the world’s most striking and complete presentations of Asian art. As Asia’s prominence on the global stage continues to grow, the AAM’s mission, collections and geographic location uniquely position it to spark connections across cultures and through time, igniting curiosity, conversation, and creativity.

The AAM has embarked on a major multi-year initiative to transform the museum and will invest significantly over the coming decade in a new portfolio of programs, exhibitions and visitor experience enhancements, as well as expanded facilities that increase its ability to achieve its brand promise—awaken the past, inspire the next. Construction has begun on the centerpiece of this transformation: a new, 13,000-square-foot exhibition Pavilion and Art Terrace. Designed by architect Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture, the Pavilion will allow the museum to increase the number of temporary exhibitions offered each year and create dedicated spaces for contemporary art experiences. The Art Terrace will provide 7,300 square feet of outdoor space for art, live performances, and other special events throughout the day and evening. The transformation will also facilitate new approaches to displaying masterpieces in the museum’s collection galleries, upgrade education classrooms and employ new digital technologies for enhanced interpretation.

The Pavilion opening is planned for early 2020 and represents a critical and opportune moment to reintroduce the public to the Asian Art Museum. Delivering a rich and exciting visitor experience that fully enlivens the brand will solidify the platform for future engagement and audience diversity. The Chief Marketing and Communications Officer role is critical in supporting all efforts across the museum to ensure the successful opening and set the stage for future growth.


The Chief Marketing and Communications Officer (CMCO) is a vital member of the AAM’s Executive Team and leads the creative, collaborative response to reaching the museum’s audience and visitor benchmarks and their corresponding revenue goals. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer and working together with leaders across the museum, the CMCO will evangelize the use of information and digital engagement to deepen the understanding of the museum’s visitors and target audiences so that creative, timely and effective engagement can be developed. Among the first priorities of this role is developing a strategic marketing and communication plan for the Pavilion opening. Creativity, transparency, project management and excellent communication will be critical skills for executing this time-sensitive opportunity to reintroduce the museum and enhance the marketing infrastructure so that the value of this exciting time in the museum’s history is maximized and sustained. Engaging new audiences and deepening the experience for visitors will inform the new marketing and communication strategy, which will dovetail with the AAM’s new strategic plan currently under development.

This innovative and enthusiastic champion of Asian art and culture will bring deep expertise around marketing and communication strategies and the tactical know-how to build the marketing infrastructure required to assess and improve the effectiveness of the museum’s efforts to engage, grow, and diversify the museum’s audiences. The CMCO will be an active partner in building connection and open communication so that all departments are aligned and are working together to strengthen the brand and the future of the museum. This role will participate in early discussions of exhibition planning to provide audience insights and creative responses to connecting with visitors and advancing the museum’s brand. The CMCO will need significant change management skills, employ a pragmatic approach to problem-solving and be mindful of available resources. Together with colleagues across the museum, the CMCO will ensure the development of innovative and compelling stories that illuminates the value of Asian art and culture.

The CMCO will manage a 11-member team that provides services to all departments in the areas of marketing, communications, creative services including art and exhibition design, and digital projects including web and digital production. The FY2019 budget for the marketing and communications division is approximately $2.1 million and is expected to increase as the Pavilion prepares for opening.

Organizational History

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco was formed in 1959 from the personal collection of industrialist Avery Brundage and housed for the majority of its history in a building adjacent to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The Museum moved in 2003 into a larger, renovated, and dedicated space in the City’s former main library in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

Today, the Asian Art Museum is recognized and respected as one of the leading institutions and resources for the study and display of Asian art in America. Its holdings range from tiny jades to monumental stone sculptures, and include paintings, textiles, furniture, arms and armor, puppets, basketry and more. Avery Brundage’s contribution includes some of the Museum’s most celebrated objects—including a gilt bronze Buddha dated 338CE—the oldest known dated Chinese Buddha in the world and often cited as a textbook example of Chinese Buddhist art. The Museum has organized and hosted dozens of exhibitions of international stature, featuring prized works of art from all over Asia. Its strong exhibition program is supported by a broad range of public and educational offerings that explore the cultures represented in the museum collection and are designed for visitors of all levels of education and awareness of art. The Museum’s signature education programs present an ambitious lineup of performances, artist demonstrations, and hands-on activities. Over the past five years, the Asian Art Museum has attracted an average of 250,000 visitors per year, including 16,000 member-households and over 25,000 students on K-12 school tours. The visitor goal for the museum post-transformation is over 300,000 visitors annually.

The Museum has a current annual operating budget of approximately $30 million. The Museum is governed by a twenty-six-member Commission and a forty-seven-member Board of Trustees who work together for the benefit of the Museum, frequently working together on their respective committees.


In 2011, the Museum rolled out its striking new logo: its upside-down capital letter “A” is the mathematical symbol signifying “for all” and represents the Museum’s commitment to engaging a broader audience and shift from presenting stunning artworks to delivering captivating art experiences centered around stunning artworks. The Museum’s focus is on creating a model 21st century museum that puts visitors first, creates innovative experiences, and invites in a diversity of people, thoughts and ideas.

Recently the AAM participated in a process to refresh and renew their mission/vision and values. The results of that effort are posted around the museum offices to reinforce the collective sense of purpose and build excitement for the transformation. The vision of the AAM is to make Asian art and culture essential to everyone. The mission statement is: The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco connects art to life. Our mission is to inspire new ways of thinking by connecting diverse communities to historical and contemporary Asian art and culture through our world-class collection, exhibitions and programs. The values of the museum are expressed through the acronym of the museum’s beloved rhinoceros-shaped Chinese Bronze Age ritual vessel that was named Reina through a recent public contest. REINA represents the values of the museum: Respect, Engaging, Inspiring, Nimble and Accessible.

Updates on the Transformation

Capital Campaign

The AAM is in the midst of a $90 million capital campaign to fund the transformation. The physical transformation includes the Pavilion and Art Terrace which create space for special exhibitions that allow greater flexibility and room for large scale and contemporary art and programs. Additional changes to the presentation of the masterpieces of the collection and upgrades to the education center and other public spaces will be complemented by a build out of digital engagement capacity. The Capital Campaign is within reach of the initial goal and has enjoyed broad support from longtime and many new donors.

Sunday at the Museum

The first milestone in the ongoing transformation project was the refurbishment of the museum’s cafe space. Sunday at the Museum (affectionately known as “Sunday”) opened in April to great success. Overseen by chef Deuki Hong in partnership with Andrew Chau and Bin Chen of Boba Guys, Sunday has introduced excitement and another venue for experiencing Asian culture. Sunday’s offerings are dovetailing with the museum’s programs including extended hours on Thursday evening. After the opening, Sunday will also serve on the Art Terrace.

Digital Project
As part of the Transformation project the museum is developing immersive digital enhancements throughout the museum which will allow visitors to curate their own visit with an array of on-demand tools. Within galleries and public gathering spaces, interactive touchscreen displays, and tablets will offer multilingual support and information about current exhibitions, daily programs and special events, and sophisticated digital wayfinding. Immersive interpretive content will let visitors uncover more about artworks on view, allowing them to appreciate them in a variety of contexts. This dynamic digital footprint will extend beyond the walls of the museum, engaging audiences from around the world via a mobile-friendly website, and lively social media platforms. These projects are in current development and will result in a range of tools including a redesigned website and new capabilities for dynamic communications.

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer



  • Create a strategic communication and marketing plan to build excitement for the Pavilion opening and maximize the capture of relevant data to enhance future marketing plans in alignment with AAM’s strategic plan;
  • Pioneer and implement measurable strategies with metrics and benchmarks that will drive revenue goals and increase visibility and engagement among local, regional and international audiences;
  • Lead the AAM toward visitor-centric planning, programs and communications;
  • Articulate the communication and marketing strategy to key stakeholders including internal leadership, institutional and large individual donors, partners, and board members – as well to the communication and marketing team to ensure everyone is working toward shared goals;
  • Ensure that the institutional vision and values are successfully expressed and extended through all initiatives; be the brand advocate working to align operating strategies with organizational core values;
  • Be an external face of the AAM; effectively represent the museum with a broad array of constituents, including promotional partners, and community, arts and business, government and other leaders;
  • Serve as a member of the museum’s Executive Team and act as primary staff manager to the Marketing and Communications Committee of the Board;
  • In partnership with the Executive Team develop attendance projections and help to ensure that the museum achieves its attendance-based income goals;
  • Be a reliable and valued colleague who offers thoughtful analysis, thinks strategically and is practical and approachable;
  • On occasion, participate in and/or facilitate the representation of the museum at exhibition openings, events, engaging directly with the media, both foreign and domestic.


  • Recruit, nurture and challenge a highly-qualified and motivated professional staff;
  • Develop and maintain budgets for all Marketing & Communications department operations and activities;
  • Bring relevant research, data, and analysis of industry trends to museum leadership and analyze its significance to the museum;
  • Initiate research to determine potential new audiences. Determine the characteristics and reach required to engage those groups and communicate that information across the organization;
  • Analyze and understand the visitor journey from visit to donor and in collaboration with other departments support the active cultivation of those relationships;
  • Share marketing intelligence and collaborate with other departments on products and programs to target visitor segments;
  • Implement a modern communication and marketing technology infrastructure, marketing automation, executive dashboard and integrate with the website and other AAM systems;
  • Help shape museum’s digital strategy and use of online and mobile resources to advance the mission;
  • Foster and maintain a network of contacts with counterparts at museums locally, nationally and internationally; other regional arts organizations; as well as marketing and communications professionals in the corporate sector.


  • Successfully launch the new Pavilion and maximize the sustained value of the transformation project for re-introducing the museum to the public;
  • Create innovative and inspiring integrated communication and marketing programs for target audience and visitor segments to grow new, deeper and more diverse engagement in keeping with the AAM’s vision and priorities;
  • Improve and upgrade the organization’s visitor experience; collaborate in the digital transformation project; develop models and standards for digital engagement; track and share information to increase effective content marketing and contributed content;
  • Lead marketing communications; hone the AAM story; ensure that clear and powerful messages about the organization, brand and value proposition can be presented effectively across all forms of communications;
  • Be the “keeper of the brand,” support organizational standards for consistency, relevance, design and voice and increase organizational ownership and understanding of the brand;
  • In support of AAM’s fundraising team, assist in identifying new donor segments; work with the fundraising team to ensure all communication and marketing goals, strategies and campaigns are aligned with fundraising team goals;
  • Oversee and participate in the research, writing and editing of all the AAM’s press releases;
  • Build and leverage connections to ensure that influencers within our various target audiences amplify the work of the museum;
  • On behalf of the CEO and museum leadership, help shape internal statements including those concerning museum policy, positions on news events affecting the museum and the field and exhibits and artists presented at the museum; develop internal communications strategies and vehicles.


A successful CMCO candidate will likely have:

  • Significant successful experience in marketing and communications strategy, target segmentation, digital, communications, customer acquisition and brand management in an environment with a strong visual culture; nonprofit experience a plus;
  • Expertise in the development, implementation and evaluation of long-range marketing plans and marketing research; including success with increasing attendance and revenue;
  • Experience overseeing marketing and communications efforts during a period of significant organizational transition, facility expansion, or capital campaign; comfortable with change and flexible in implementation of priorities;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills; strong creative problem-solving and analytic capabilities;
  • The ability to work collaboratively; skill in organizing work and supervising a team for maximum effectiveness including the ability to make timely decisions;
  • Ability to interact in an effective, tactful, and professional manner with the internal and external teams, the media and the public; a history of strong strategic partnerships;
  • Experience with developing and maintaining financial projections and budgets; strong financial and organizational management skills;
  • Ability to oversee and evaluate digital marketing, online and mobile advertising, and social media initiatives;
  • A track record of delivering and measuring impact of marketing and communications efforts; someone who understands and utilizes data for improving decisions across the organization;
  • Experience managing the production of marketing/promotional materials and working closely with graphic designers and/or outside agency;
  • Ability to work well under pressure and adapt to changing situations and priorities; exercises good judgment and stays focused on overarching goals;
  • Knowledge of museum operations, the arts industry or arts marketing is preferred;
  • Cultural curiosity essential; experience of Asia, Asian art and culture helpful;
  • Knowledge of Bay Area businesses, media, tourism and hospitality contacts would be valuable.


  • A team builder with both vision and strong management skills; one who can motivate and direct diverse partners while establishing accountability and shared success;
  • Ability to be a strategic and creative thinker and willing to roll up his/her sleeves to execute;
  • A risk-taker, willing to explore new ideas, test, innovate and become a trendsetter;
  • Track record of managing a growing organization, with a particular emphasis on coaching, inspiring and leading;
  • Extremely proactive approach to work; solutions-oriented with attention to detail; Resourceful
  • A good listener and strategist; curious and open; able to support and move toward goals through multiple pathways, willing to test and experiment;
  • Inspires trust, creativity and cohesiveness;
  • Ability to work collaboratively, yet strong enough to make the call when timing requires action;
  • A strong project management orientation; able to implement complex operational plans;
  • Exercises high ethical standards.

For additional details or to submit your experience for review, please contact;

Nancy Painter

(415) 202- 6240