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Rome Director

The American Academy in Rome invites applications from artists, scholars, and institutional leaders for the position of its Rome-based Director, beginning in summer 2020, for an initial term of three years (2020-2023), with the potential for two one-year renewals. The candidate should have a distinguished record of achievement in one of the disciplines represented at the Academy as well as significant experience in management and administration.


The American Academy in Rome, founded in 1894, is an independent, privately funded institution that supports artists, writers, and scholars living and working together in a dynamic international community. The core of this group is composed of the approximately 30 Fellows who are winners of the highly competitive Rome Prize selected by rotating juries each year. Additionally, this community is enriched by invited Residents across the disciplines as well as an array of visiting artists and scholars. The Academy has a rich legacy and national profile in the arts and humanities in the United States, and an increasingly global position in diverse cultural and academic communities around the world.

The Academy is led by the President, who is based in its New York offices, and its programs and operations in Rome are led by the Director, along with the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director and Mellon Professor of the Humanities.


The Director of the American Academy in Rome, who is based in Rome, works with the President in New York on intellectual and programmatic activities and provides managerial leadership for all Academy activities in Rome. The Director, working with the senior staff in Rome on operations and administrative matters, manages a diverse Italian and American staff of approximately 60. The Director is a residential member of the staff in Rome.

The Director shares in the task of forwarding the Academy’s mission, shaping and articulating its broad vision for the arts and humanities, and encouraging programs that move across and between scholarly and artistic disciplines. The Director, together with the arts and humanities directors, is responsible for helping to mentor, nurture, and advance the work of diverse Rome Prize Fellows across the Academy’s Fellowship fields in the humanities, which are Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/Early Modern, and Modern Italian studies, and in the arts, which are architecture, design, historic preservation and conservation, landscape architecture, literature, musical composition, and visual art.

The successful Director will have an established reputation in one of the disciplines listed above, extensive experience in nonprofit arts administration or a related field, broad cultural interests, in particular in those fields of the arts and scholarship served by the Academy, and a genuine desire to interact with a variety of people and institutions. Fluency in spoken and written Italian is critical, and established contacts with Italian scholars, artists, and academic and arts organizations are highly desirable. In addition, the Director hosts numerous public events a month and therefore must enjoy entertaining and hosting others.

The Director reports to the President, and as a member of the Rome and New York senior management team, works in close collaboration with colleagues in New York, including the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Vice President for Development, and the Director of Communications.

The Director leads the Rome program team and directly oversees the Drue Heinz Librarian, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, the Director of Programs, and the Executive Assistant to the Director. The Director also oversees the Rome Director of Operations and Rome Finance Manager jointly with the Vice President for Finance and Administration in New York.

Among the primary responsibilities and duties of the Director are the following:

  • Provide artistic and scholarly guidance, mentoring, and feedback to all Fellows in order to advance their work and to provide optimal conditions for their projects across a wide, diverse, and evolving range of subjects, issues, and projects.
  • Stimulate the intellectual life of the Academy community and encourage and facilitate dialogue among Fellows, Italian Fellows, Residents, Affiliated Fellows, Visiting Artists and Scholars, and other participants and guests, while promoting and enforcing Academy policies relating to equity, community, and professional climate.
  • Assure the enrichment of the Fellows’ experience in Rome through introductions and exposure to the city’s artistic and scholarly communities.
  • Provide scholarly and/or artistic leadership within the cultural community of Rome, and represent Academy with leaders in the arts, academia, philanthropy, commerce, and government in Rome and, as appropriate, throughout Italy and Europe.
  • Confer regularly and work closely with the President to ensure effective and productive communication and collaboration between Rome and New York.
  • Support fundraising efforts by strategizing and coordinating with the President and Vice President for Development in New York, representing and promoting the Academy’s mission and programs to donors and potential supporters, and building and strengthening relationships with constituents including former Fellows and Residents, corporate and foundation leaders, philanthropic individuals, and peer professional organizations.
  • Coordinate development, public relations, and media relations in Rome with the Vice President for Development and the Director of Communications in New York.
  • In collaboration with the Rome Finance Manager and the Vice President for Finance and Administration in New York, develop and implement comprehensive and cost-conscious annual and multi-year operating and capital budgets for Rome, including setting priorities in context of institutional goals.
  • Lead and manage all Academy activities in Rome working with key staff to support and enhance esprit de corps among staff and the community.
  • Serve as the Academy’s chief resident officer, representative, and spokesperson in Rome, and assure that programs and activities in the arts and humanities promote interest and interchange, both among disciplines and between Americans and the international community.
  • Participate in and support meetings of the Board of Trustees and Board Committee meetings as needed, including presenting to the Committees on the Arts and Humanities and generally planning discussion topics.
  • Entertain frequently within the Academy community, bringing in and cultivating a diverse and international array of people, including visiting supporters of the Academy from the United States.
  • Serve as a key member of the residential community during regular office hours, evening/weekend programs, and after hours, including sharing with other residential staff on-call duties and assisting with emergencies and other situations.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential function at a high level. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

  • Graduate degree and outstanding professional achievement in one or more of the Academy’s Fellowship disciplines, ideally with published books and/or articles, as well as personal record of achievement to be perceived as a leader both within the Academy and by the Rome community at large.
  • Successful leadership, management, and fundraising experience, preferably in an educational or cultural institution with an international component, and proven ability to represent the institution professionally, interact diplomatically, work productively, and build and sustain a complex and dynamic community with a wide range of internal and external constituents including Fellows, management and support staff, board members, donors, funders, and vendors.
  • Exceptional intellectual generosity and maturity and deep commitment to the arts and humanities, with proven ability to mentor talented individuals from a diverse set of disciplines and engage with their work, as well as broad interests and curiosity to be able to develop and lead programs in fields other than his or her own.
  • Fluency or high degree of proficiency in Italian essential, with strong verbal and written skills in both Italian and English; strong working knowledge of or familiarity with the arts and cultural sites and organizations of Rome and Italy; experience living in Italy and familiarity with Italian and/or Roman culture preferred.
  • Experience and successful interaction with institutional leaders, public officials, and government agencies, including those of foreign governments.
  • Advanced administrative, strategic thinking and long-range planning abilities, with strong critical thinking skills and budgetary experience.
  • Superior relationship building and interpersonal abilities, with significant mentoring skills and adeptness in influencing others.
  • Ability to take initiative and work independently, with significant accountability, motivation, and problem-solving skills.
  • Commitment to working highly collaboratively and collegially as part of a team, and flexibility around participating as a team member and team leader as necessary.
  • Exceptional judgment, professionalism, and discretion in handling confidential and sensitive situations and matters.
  • Ability to travel between New York and Rome.
  • Flexibility, accessibility, and availability to work outside of normal business hours in response to urgent and emergency situations, and availability to participate in evening and weekend programs and events.

Salary and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter outlining your interest in the Academy, the contributions you expect to make to the Academy’s mission, and your qualifications for the position of the Director. If your resume includes publications or lectures, please include only a relevant selection. Your entire application packet should not exceed ten (10) pages in length. Applications must be submitted no later than the close of business on Friday, October 4, 2019 to

Please upload both your cover letter and resume at the above link as PDF files following the naming convention outlined below. Word documents or other file formats will not be accepted.

LASTNAME_Firstname_coverletter.pdf (e.g., SMITH_Jane_coverletter.pdf)

LASTNAME_Firstname_resume.pdf (e.g., SMITH_Jane_resume.pdf)

Candidates who are selected for interview will be notified in late October and in-person interviews will take place in New York City on Friday, November 22, 2019.

The American Academy in Rome is an equal opportunity employer.