Honolulu Biennial Foundation seeks an Executive Director

18 March 2020

Leland Miyano, Huaka‘i - A Wake, 2019..jpg
Leland Miyano, Huaka‘i / A Wake, 2019.

Position: Executive Director
Reports to: Board of Directors
Compensation: Regular Full Time Employment, salaried
Term: 40 hours per week

Honolulu Biennial Foundation seeks a dynamic and highly motivated Executive Director (ED) with a strong background in contemporary art and professional experience managing and fundraising for a visual arts nonprofit organization. The ED position is based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. The desired start date is April 2020. HBF has recently announced its move to a triennial format, and Melissa Chiu, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has been appointed Curatorial Director of the third edition slated to open in 2022. 

We are looking for an experienced, forward-thinking, and confident leader who can inspire audiences and thrives in a fast-paced, innovative, and collaborative working culture. Expert knowledge of contemporary art coupled with a deep interest in artistic practices of the Pacific and Asia is ideal. The ED will be dedicated to advancing an inclusive, global dialogue for visual art. The suitable candidate will have considerable experience initiating and directing large-scale projects with multiple artists, curating exhibitions, creating public programming, and growing and maintaining donor support. A commitment to best practices in contemporary art and nonprofit leadership is essential.

Core Responsibilities: 

The ED oversees the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. The ED will provide vision and proactive leadership for the organization’s growth, visibility, sustainability, and critical success. Effective collaboration with the Board of Directors, full-time staff, key partners, and community stakeholders is required to shape long-range objectives that support the organization’s mission. The ability to develop fundraising strategies and actively seek sources of income for an operating budget in the range of $2-3 million per festival cycle is integral to the role. 

Key ED duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing production and presentation of the festival
  • Collaborating with partner organizations, exhibition sites, and key stakeholders
  • Managing relationships with curators, curatorial support teams, and staff
  • Overseeing educational and public programming
  • Directing marketing, communications, social media, and preparation of catalogs
  • Budgeting and fundraising
  • Hiring staff


Commensurate with the candidate’s experience; health benefits included.

Position Requirements:

Ideal candidates must have a minimum 5-7 years of experience at management level of a contemporary art organization, with experience at a nonprofit desirable; a proven fundraising record, preferably with experience fundraising in the US/Asia/Pacific and/or Hawaiʻi; an advanced degree and/or significant experience-based knowledge in the field of contemporary art; excellent leadership, problem-solving, organizational, financial/budgeting, negotiating and administrative skills; and strong interpersonal and verbal/written communications skills, including public speaking competence.

HBF Mission Statement: 

Inspired by the histories of Hawai’i, a gathering place for diverse peoples and ideas, Honolulu Biennial Foundation presents Honolulu Triennial, an international, multi-site contemporary art exhibition connecting artists from across our islands and waterways with the nations and territories united by the blue continent, the Pacific Ocean. Year-round educational and community engagement programs, capsule exhibitions, and artist development initiatives affirm our commitment to creating a global, sustainable, and accessible hub for contemporary art in Hawai’i nei.

How to Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, résumé, writing sample, and list of three professional references via email to the Search Committee: executivedirector@honolulubiennial.org. All submissions will be kept strictly confidential.

HBF is an EEO/AA/ADA Veterans Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Only selected candidates will be contacted for an interview. Please, no phone calls.