SMA Director Call

Director of Metal Arts

Sloss Furnaces Foundation is seeking a new Director for the Sloss Metal Arts program (SMA).

This is a full-time position in Birmingham, AL, leading a professional staff of 4 resident artists. The Director is responsible for implementing Sloss Metal Art's mission through compelling artistic programming, visionary strategic planning, and sound operational management. The ideal candidate would be a skilled artistic leader and experienced grant writer to shape and sustain a creative working environment.


Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark (SFNHL) is the only twentieth-century blast furnace of its kind that educates through historic preservation, public programs, the arts, and the development of community partnerships. Sloss operated as an industrial pig iron foundry until the early 1970s. Upon closure, Sloss was deeded to the City of Birmingham for reuse and interpretation as a museum of Southern industry. 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 to demonstrate the foundry work that occurred at Sloss while propagating Birmingham’s ironmaking history.


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 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 employment of the private nonprofit Sloss Furnaces Foundation and not with the City of Birmingham.


The Metal Arts Director is a full-time position. It reports dually to the SMA Executive Council and the SFNHL Executive Director, i.e., the officer overseeing the historic site on behalf of the City of Birmingham. The Director administers the day-to-day operations and sustained viability of the Sloss Metal Arts Residency Program. This position aims to implement SMA's mission through compelling artistic programming, visionary strategic planning, and sound operational management. In addition to creative leadership, this position holds primary responsibility for fundraising, partnerships, community engagement, and long-term planning.

Position Responsibilities

Create and sustain a safe, positive, respectful, and creative working environment.
Develop, implement, and evaluate artistic programs for the season.
Jury and select artistic and support personnel, including foundry manager, resident artists, event-specific "pour crews," and collaborative partners.
Engage the SMA resident artist community and create artistic opportunities for them such as gallery shows and exhibitions.
Maintain donor relationships, write project grants, and develop new sources of funding and new strategies for community investment.
In collaboration with the Foundry Manager, oversee day-to-day operations, develop the annual budget and quarterly operational objectives.
Hire, supervise and evaluate staff.
Develop & implement SMA promotional strategy.
Coordinate with the SFNHL executive director to optimize SMA’s contribution to the visitor experience at Sloss Furnaces, promote the Sloss site, and ensure SMA operations are in accordance with historic preservation best practices.

Preferred Qualifications

3-5 years of creative nonprofit administrative experience
Documented successfully awarded & executed grants
An understanding of fire-based sculptural practice (clay, glass, metal)
Experience with donation-based fundraising
Knowledge of commission-based revenue means
Ability to build a social media presence

Managerial/Fundraising Responsibilities

Proven ability to motivate, develop, and lead teams of people
Ensure integration of SMA programming with the broader SFNHL strategic plan and visitor experience
Strong experience with fundraising and financial management
Strategic thinking
High-level project management skills with experience in scheduling, workflow, people, and task completion, especially in the context of commissions, exhibitions, and other deadline-driven tasks
Demonstrate conflict resolution abilities
Strong collaborator able to work with diverse community stakeholders and partners

Community Responsibilities

Cultivate relationships with artists locally, nationally, and internationally.
Identify opportunities for collaborations, artistic exchange, and partnerships that build cultural bridges and leverage resources.
Create a vibrant & thriving network of artists & organizations engaged with metal arts.
Foster good relations with other metal arts communities and other cultural organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.
The SMA Director will also have a key role as ex officio member of the NCCCIAP governing body.

Artistic Responsibilities

Demonstrated ability to work with artists from diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic practices
Ability to foster a culture of inclusion High level of creative work and curation or comparable experience in developing creative projects
Strong creative programming abilities with proven ability to focus, prioritize, execute, collaborate, and delegate.

Compensation and Start Date

The salary for this position is $50-55,000. Benefits include PTO, flexible schedule, and medical insurance or equivalent stipend.

The deadline to apply is September 15, 2021


Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume, references, link to online work if applicable, and a development-related writing sample (such as a funding proposal or previous written grant) to Please send one single PDF with required documents. The expected start date is November 2021