FOUNDRY MANAGER

Sloss Furnaces Foundation is seeking a new Foundry Manager for Sloss Metal Arts program (SMA).

This is a full-time position in Birmingham, AL, managing the foundry and all studio operations. The Foundry Manager is responsible for daily operations, accounting, sourcing, personal management, and event scheduling. This position works closely with the Director to meet Sloss Metal Art's mission through compelling artistic programming, visionary strategic planning, and sound operational management. The ideal candidate would be an experienced foundry artist possessing superb time management skills with an affable and effective administration of personnel to shape and sustain a creative working environment.

Background

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark is the nation’s only twentieth century blast furnace now interpreted as a museum. Sloss operated as an industrial foundry until the early 1970s. Upon closure, Sloss was deeded to the City of Birmingham, for reuse and interpretation as a museum of the industrial history of Birmingham. From the beginning of Sloss’ transformation to a museum, artists have been at the center of the Sloss experience. Sloss Metal Arts began in the late 1980s, as a means of demonstrating the foundry work that occurred at Sloss while propagating Birmingham’s ironmaking history.

 

Over the years, various iterations of SMA have inhabited Sloss Furnaces. A formal framework was established in the early 2000s consisting of 4 resident artists with extensive experience in the process of iron casting. The primary roles of Sloss Artists in Residence are to demonstrate the practice and production of iron casting as part of the Historic Landmark’s mission, and to create new metal artworks and build their portfolios. The third duty is to educate patrons and students on the craft of iron casting.

 

Sloss Furnaces Foundation is a private, 501c3 nonprofit corporation that fosters the preservation and development of the Sloss Furnaces site through arts, education, research, and historic-preservation initiatives. Although the City of Birmingham owns the Sloss site and operates the museum therein, Sloss Furnaces Foundation administers the SMA program. Accordingly, this position is in the employ of the private nonprofit Sloss Furnaces Foundation, and not with the City of Birmingham.

Job Description

Sloss Metal Arts (SMA) is seeking a highly motivated and energetic Foundry Manager. Reporting to the Director of Metal Arts, the Foundry Manager will be responsible for day-to-day operations of all creative workspaces. Studios include: Metal Fabrication, Blacksmithing, Foundry, and Mold Making, etc. This position works closely with the program Director helping implement the overall vision, direction, budget and management of SMA.

 

The Foundry Manager is the lead artist in residence, supervising the full-time resident artists, guest artists, instructors, and SMA volunteers. The Foundry Manager works in collaboration with resident artists to build a positive creative community by maintain constructive relationships with partnering organizations and community members as well as to guide the mission and vision of SMA as it relates to Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark.

As the preeminent position of iron casting art foundries, the Foundry Manager oversees a 35 year legacy of accumulated creative resources at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. To date the foundry includes: two small cupolas, two large cupolas, speedy melt crucible furnace, large gas fired tilt furnace, 2 ton jib crane, bull ladles, 200lbs & 400lbs sand mullers, gravity fed sand hoppers, wax and rubber molding facilities, burnout kiln, ceramic shell shop, 2 ton forklift, one-day trebuchet, and ease of material sourcing via our location in a historic foundry city, The Magic City.

 

The SMA program is robust. The SMA crew preforms road pour demonstrations, in house demonstrations, special iron casting events, Bowl Night workshops, weekend workshops (casting, forging, metal fabrication), art exhibitions, art commissions, Biannual National Conference on Cast Iron Art, and the SMA Summer Youth Apprenticeship. This schedule results in iron pours occurring more than 60 times a season and thousands of scratch blocks being cast.

Job Description Responsibilities:

The Sloss Metal Arts Foundry Manager is responsible for sustaining a smooth-running shop, safety conscious work environment, and maintaining a positive creative community. As the leader of the foundry crew, it is their responsibility to coordinate, manage, account, and delegate all tasks related to the Sloss Metal Arts facilities, production, events, and sourcing. The Foundry Manager will work closely with the Director of Metal Arts on staff scheduling, program scheduling, educational offerings, and Sloss Historic Landmark collaborative responsibilities. As an artist in residence, the Foundry Manager is also encouraged to maintain creative output in proportion to their primary role.

Primary Responsibilities Include:

  • Comprehensive management of the studio including safety oversight, technical quality control, policy enforcement, equipment maintenance, and general communications

  • Formulate annual budget and maintain expense tracking of foundry & shop needs within budget capacity.

  • Manage production, event, & class scheduling in coordination with SMA Director

  • Supervise and assist resident and guest artists

  • Serve as point person for all commission inquiries & estimates

  • Serve as the primary contact for SMA policy and procedure compliance with artists, guests, and instructors

  • Work closely SMA community to ensure a positive and engaging experience for all

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a Sculpture focus.

  • Prior experience in arts management, teaching, administration for a nonprofit

  • Broad knowledge of iron, bronze, and aluminum casting, metal fabrication, sculpture-related topics, trends, processes and skills 

  • Strong oral communication, written language and project management skills

  • Experience with projects and budget management, purchasing processes, inventory systems, and job estimation

  • Competence in personnel management, time management & leadership skills

  • Proven success in project planning, health and safety procedures, and implementation 

  • Experience operating heavy equipment, lift rigging, large truck operation, & heavy load tie-down

  • Working knowledge of studio operations for Fabrication, Blacksmithing, and Foundry shops.

  • Competence in serving diverse populations and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Understanding of positive conflict resolution practices

  • Exemplary computer and internet skills.

  • Positive, can-do attitude and a respectful sense of humor

  • Refined sense of self

Preferred Qualities

  • 3+ years of experience in sculpture (iron) programming and production post BFA

  • Commercial foundry experience

  • Experience as a team leader

  • Ability to be effective independently and as a member of a team

  • High tolerance for ambiguity; willingness to navigate a complex work environment and collaboratively build efficient systems and procedures

  • Exemplary time management skills

  • Passion for innovative sculpture education program building for multi-generational audiences

  • Cupola construction experience

  • Practicing artist

Disclaimer

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.

Compensation:

$32,000-$40,000 DOE + 100% employer contribution to medical, dental, and long-term disability. Also includes generous in-kind benefits in the form of studio space, materials stipend & PTO. Compensation advancement commensurate with performance.

Language & Communication Skills:

Ability to effectively teach and present information to employees and student groups. Ability to function in a team setting. Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from staff and guests.

Technical Skills:

Must have the ability to teach ceramic shell for metal casting in Iron, Bronze and Aluminum. Proficiency in MIG, TIG, ARC and Oxy/Acetylene welding. Knowledge of the operation and maintenance of the equipment in a foundry, a full metal shop and forge. Proficiency in plaster and rubber mold making, wood working and wood carving. Knowledge of iron casting and resin sand molds is a must. Understanding of computer modeling & digital design for preparing files for CNC cutting/machining, and 3D printing.

Management Skills:

Must have brilliant time management skills. Ability to delegate tasks and instructions, verbal & written. Capacity to follow staff when they are designated “Team Leader.” Clear acknowledgment there are 1000 ways to “do anything” with consensus built around safest practices. Dedicated to honest and genuine professionalism. Proficient and creative with positive team motivation. Adept at identifying conflict and intervention by leading with listening. Ability to recognize when to elevate issues to upper management and when not to. Humility with knowledge and willingness to learn & grow with staff. Proficient at creating and maintaining a supportive and creating working culture.

Artistic Responsibilities:

Demonstrated ability to work with artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic practices. Ability to foster a culture of inclusion. Strong creative team production abilities with proven ability to focus, prioritize, execute, collaborate, and delegate. Encouragement of experimentation.

Application Requirements:

Please send the following in a single PDF file titled:

 

First Initial.Last Name_FMPosition.pdf example: (J.Johnson_FMPosition.pdf)

Deadline for application is midnight 10/15/21

Please include a cover letter outlining your interest and qualifications, 10 images of personal and/or commissioned work completed, as well as a resume and contact information for three professional references to HR@slossfurnaces.com Expected start date is 12/1/21.