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Operations and Administrative Manager

The Jay DeFeo Foundation announces the newly created position of Operations and Administrative Manager to work closely with the Executive Director and staff to advance the growth of the Foundation with conscientious, professional, and detail-oriented operational and administrative management.

Jay DeFeo

Jay DeFeo (1929 – 1989) created an astoundingly diverse range of artworks spanning four decades. Her unconventional approach to materials and intensive, physical process make DeFeo a unique figure in postwar American art who defies easy categorization and whose work continues to profoundly influence artists and art historians today. While she is perhaps best known for her monumental painting The Rose (1958–66), the depth and breadth of DeFeo’s exploration of painting, works on paper, photography, and photocopy offers ongoing portals of discovery and inspiration.

The Jay DeFeo Foundation
The Jay DeFeo Foundation, an established artist-endowed foundation, was created under the terms of the will of the artist Jay DeFeo with the mission to preserve her works and further their public exposure and to encourage the arts and artists. The Foundation accomplishes this mission by collaborating on exhibitions and publications; facilitating placement of the artist’s work in public collections; encouraging and supporting conservation, research, education, and scholarship; and fostering and sharing knowledge about DeFeo’s art and life. The Foundation also makes grants to other nonprofit arts organizations.

Foundations endowed by artists are an emerging force in cultural philanthropy and art stewardship, and The Jay DeFeo Foundation is recognized as an active member within this field. Leah Levy, the Executive Director, has led the organization since its inception in 1991, having worked with DeFeo as a curatorial consultant from 1985 until the artist’s death in 1989. The Foundation is governed by three trustees with the support of a national Advisory Committee of noted artists and art professionals. The office is located in Berkeley, California.

Position Description

The Operations and Administrative Manager will report directly to the Executive Director and serve as a key collaborator and professional associate in the leadership of the Foundation. The successful candidate will be a detail-oriented professional, proficient in organizing, managing, and optimizing procedures and systems and attuned to the cadence and best practices of artist-endowed foundations.

The position calls for a collegial manager who will complement the work of the Executive Director and the two archivists, as well as coordinate and oversee work with professional consultants to the Foundation in the areas of registration, art storage and handling, conservation, framing, HR functions, communications, and other essential services. The Operations and Administrative Manager will enhance the execution of the Foundation’s plans and goals as delineated by the Executive Director and the trustees.

The Operations and Administrative Manager will be expected to:
• Approach the role with significant professional maturity, diplomacy, active listening, and a belief in the mission, serving alongside the Executive Director as a knowledgeable and approachable advocate and occasional spokesperson for the Foundation and utilizing demonstrated skills in management of nonprofit organizations.
• Provide a high level of project management and administrative refinement for the Foundation, including overseeing policies, procedures, and complementary practices as well as ensuring optimal organizational effectiveness and attentiveness in preparations for exhibitions and publications, research projects, care of works of art and the archive, and other the activities of the Foundation.
• Work in close partnership with the Executive Director to strategize and advance the organization’s goals and vision and help develop a working plan for both the day-to-day effectiveness of the organization and the continuance of its larger mission, actively cultivating and advancing key relationships and organizational goals.
• Support the staff and serve as an active team member, providing contextual information related to the larger advancement of the Foundation’s work as it pertains to day-to-day practices and operational effectiveness.
• Manage, refine, and monitor processes and timelines related to administrative and operational matters, including requests from those interested in researching and exhibiting Jay DeFeo’s artworks; loan agreements and related documentation; communications and scheduling related to registration, storage and shipping; preparation of artworks for exhibition; the well-functioning and security of digital assets; bookkeeping; HR functions; and overall office workflows, developing solutions to operational and administrative challenges and demands.
• Provide a voice for effective communication strategies and participate in drafting and editing related communications, including materials for social media and other outlets.
• Be completely discrete with proprietary and confidential information.
• Participate in overseeing compliance with local, state, and federal requirements, assuring that the Foundation maintains its tax-exempt status and good standing as a charitable organization.

Education and Experience
The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:
• Minimum of B.A. in Art History, Art Administration, Museum Studies, or related field and at least 5-7 years of significant experience related to art management and operational oversight, particularly at a nonprofit, and/or equivalent positions in service to artists and the community.
• A solid familiarity with art history and twentieth-century and contemporary art and artists, as well as related publications.
• Demonstrated skills as an agile, pragmatic, and creative problem solver, both realistic and optimistic, with a natural ability to develop successful working relationships and professional partnerships.
• Comfort and flexibility with both big-picture and detail-oriented approaches, and with working in a small office setting, sometimes alone.
• Strong organizational and communication skills, and a detail- and process-oriented, professional approach. Keen appreciation for accuracy and attention to detail in all aspects of work is essential.
• A high degree of writing, editing, and proofreading excellence. Experience in the management of developing publications a plus.
• Exceptional presentation skills, attuned to the particular niche occupied by the art world and artist-endowed foundations, with an ability to make informed and current contributions to strategic discussions pertinent to the Foundation’s efforts.
• Familiarity with art preservation and conservation issues, and experience with the professional handling of archival materials and works of art.
• Ability to acquire and demonstrate familiarity with the life and work of Jay DeFeo, as well as a contextual understanding of the San Francisco Bay Area community and its related cultural institutions.
• A high level of proficiency with standard software, particularly FileMaker, WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Bridge, Acrobat), MailChimp, and Microsoft Office.

• $85,000 – $95,000 per annum (Full-Time Equivalent, commensurate with experience, adjusted based on hours re: option for a 32-hour work week).
• Hybrid schedule with 3 days in office to start, flexibility to accommodate work/life balance.
• The office is in Berkeley, California, accessible by a flight of stairs in a building with no elevator.
• Benefits include an annual health insurance stipend, paid vacation, sick leave, and professional development opportunities that may include occasional travel.

To apply in confidence, submit the following materials via email to Suzanne Tan, Independent Search Consultant, at

1) A letter expressing interest in this position and providing brief examples of past related experience
2) A résumé or C.V.
3) The names of three references with contact information

Submit application by October 10, 2023. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as candidates will be considered on a rolling basis. References will not be contacted without prior authorization. Nominations are encouraged and welcome.

The Jay DeFeo Foundation provides equal employment opportunity to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.