Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications

The Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 135 years, the Art Institute of Chicago and School of the Art Institute of Chicago have shared a commitment to the preservation, education and exploration of the artistic ideal. The Museum and the School are proud of our longstanding relationship, and form a single corporation called the Art Institute of Chicago. While the Museum and School have a shared mission of promoting the arts and art education, their operations are largely separate and each has its own chief executive who reports directly to the corporation's Board of Trustees.

Position Details

Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL

Position Summary:

The Art Institute of Chicago is a national leader in the visual arts and an important cultural partner in a dynamic city. Founded in 1879, the Art Institute is widely recognized for both its curatorial excellence and its popularity among visitors. Its exceptional collection and important exhibition schedule are complemented by cutting-edge curatorial and scientific research. The Art Institute welcomes 1.6 million visitors annually and has been ranked among the world’s top three art museums on TripAdvisor for the past three years. With a new senior leadership team, the museum is in a strong position to reassert its identity, the importance of an art museum in our democracy, and the role of the Art Institute in its city. The museum seeks an experienced, creative leader with exquisite communication skills, the ability to work in a collaborative, fast-paced environment, and management acumen. The AVP will join exciting new museum leaders to design and implement marketing and communication strategies to enhance our reputation, build our brand, and distinctly define our identity to various audiences as the museum builds toward a major capital campaign.

The AVP will lead a team in designing and implementing a comprehensive communications and marketing plan to advance reputation and generate attendance at the museum, special exhibitions and programs. The AVP will be responsible for generating a significant portion of the museum’s annual operating budget through attendance-based revenue streams. She or he is responsible for developing market intelligence and applying rigorous metrics to marketing strategy. The position reports to the Senior VP for External Affairs and works collaboratively with the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, the Chair of Learning and Public Engagement, and the Senior VP for Finance, Strategy, and Operations, among others. The AVP manages a team of 14 with four direct reports (Marketing, Digital Marketing, Tourism Marketing, and Communications), all of whom work across departments to develop targeted messages for print, digital and social media regarding the museum’s distinction in the broader arts community as well as its exhibitions, programming, collections and visitor experience.


1. Develops and implements an integrated plan for the museum’s marketing and communications that:

  • Increases paid attendance revenue: Utilize new and emerging marketing and communication channels to target local, national, and international audiences. Utilize research and metrics to maximize the effectiveness of marketing expenditures. Leverage the special traits of museum exhibitions and projects across all media. Direct paid advertising expenditures and measure the effectiveness of those expenditures.
  • Strengthens the museum’s identity and reputation: Align messaging with museum’s focus on research and scholarship, its role as the physical and cultural heart of a vibrant city, and as an active provider of engaging and content-rich visitor experiences
  • Supports the museum’s mission for engagement of the Chicago community, youth, and diverse audiences: Communicate access and inclusion for families and individuals; leverage new digital experience tools to engage new audiences
  • Develops a narrative and “voice” for Art Institute leadership that will translate to key audiences via internal and external channels

2. Manages and directs Marketing, Digital Marketing, Communications, and Tourism teams, establishing strategic direction; affirms and develops

  • Marketing: Uphold and energize the creative standards of museum marketing initiatives; manage the relationship with external agency partners
  • Digital Marketing: Expand digital initiatives to leverage emerging channels; employ e-commerce strategies and metrics to meet ambitious revenue goals; support the objectives of colleagues in retail, development, and membership programs
  • Communications: Establish and champion communication standards; build writing talent; advance the museum’s magazine and digital outlets as high-quality voices for generating excitement about our role in the community and the experiences available to visitors
  • Tourism marketing: Meet visitor and revenue targets through strategic investment in local, national and international partnerships including civic alliances; assess emerging opportunities; create targeted messaging to leverage exhibitions and projects with tourism sectors

3. Ensures the coordination and unification of all Museum marketing and communications activity: Work closely with administrative departments and curatorial leadership to understand and illuminate museum priorities; impart industry trends to senior colleagues and analyze their significance to AIC

4. Works closely with the Design, Web Design, and Digital Experience departments to create and maintain a high-quality, unified institutional image and aesthetic across all channels and media

5. Prepares and oversees departmental budget and strategic plan


  • A Master’s degree or commensurate experience in business administration, marketing, public relations, journalism, mass communications, or related field is preferred.


  • A minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience in marketing, public relations or related field, with a track record of effectiveness. 
  • A combination of equivalent education, training, and experience will be considered.


The successful candidate for this role will:

  • bring industry experience, contacts, and best practices to the Art Institute 
  • be adept at using data to drive decisions and measure results 
  • model and facilitate open dialogue with colleagues 
  • exercise tact and professionalism with internal and external partners 
  • balance a confident creative energy with sensitivity to, and passion for, the Art Institute’s culture and mission

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