Senior Art Advisor, Paul G. Allen Family Collection

The Opportunity

The Art Collection

As one of the world’s foremost collectors, Paul Allen has a collection that includes original paintings, sculptures, costumes, and other artifacts. The collection is one consumed for personal enjoyment rather than investment; much of the work is broadly displayed in his private residences throughout the world. He very much sees himself as a custodian of art, and believes that art helps us gain new perspectives and can provide a renewed sense of possibility and purposefulness. As in his other endeavors, Mr. Allen is someone who thinks outside the box, innovates, and sees a greater purpose in art. He does not just collect for his own personal enjoyment or financial gain. He believes that art offers a prism that inspires and challenges us to see the world differently, inviting us to look with a fresh vantage point and see what else is possible.

Recently, Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection concluded a traveling exhibition that featured some 40 paintings from five centuries of masterpieces drawn from the collection. Grouping these works together speaks to Mr. Allen’s belief in the potential of art to allow new ways of seeing. Seeing Nature sprang from his desire for others to experience these landscapes directly and invited the viewer to go beyond the obvious, plunge in, and open their eyes to the different possibilities of painting and sculpture to see what else the viewer can take away.

The Senior Art Advisor

The individual we seek will have a high level of intellect and passion for art and will be driven by the belief in art’s affective power, ready to innovate and think outside of a traditional museum or gallery structure. This opportunity is one defined by the ability to work behind the scenes with a world-class collection and advise Paul Allen as a thought-partner and collaborator. The senior art advisor will share Paul Allen’s relentless commitment to art stewardship, will be able to match and contribute to his extensive knowledge of art, and is excited by the challenge of helping guide one of the world’s most significant collections. It is not one characterized by empire building, stature, and prominence. The senior art advisor will lead with discretion, humility, and intelligence, and broadly oversee all aspects of the Paul G. Allen Family Collection of art and artifacts. This leader is responsible for providing advisory support for the collection; strategic leadership and strong management in support of the professional staff responsible for collection research and development; and curatorial and collections management, including shipping, storage, preservation, conservation, cataloguing, and installation.

Learn more about Vulcan Inc.’s commitment to arts and culture.

A Culture of Creative Leadership

The Founder: Paul G. Allen

Four decades after co-founding Microsoft, entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen is still exploring the frontiers of technology and human knowledge, and acting to change the future through his company, Vulcan Inc. In all his endeavors, Mr. Allen constantly asks “What if…?” and pushes people to challenge conventional thinking, collaborate across disciplines, and reimagine what is possible.

As the idea man and original technologist behind Microsoft, Mr. Allen has used his wealth to expand the horizons of human possibility. All told, Mr. Allen’s philanthropic contributions exceed $2 billion. Even before becoming a member of the Giving Pledge, Mr. Allen committed to giving away the majority of his fortune, an endeavor that continues every day. He invests in brain science and robotics research, retail space and outer space, documentaries and feature films, global health, and local education.

Mr. Allen is deeply invested locally in his hometown of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, and has created public spaces including the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), and Living Computers: Museum + Labs—where people learn and interact with Seattle’s historic, cultural, and musical heritage. The inaugural Seattle Art Fair put the city on the map as one of the premier art destinations in the country. He also thinks globally, making impact investments that will help developing countries expand their health and infrastructure and nurture a diversified economy.

Many of his ventures were seeded in his youth, and reflect the depth and diversity of his passions. He strives to create a new kind of future—a future that maps the intricacies inside our head, sets hidden talent alight, and upends conventional thinking. If we can understand the mysterious organ, the brain, we can pave the way towards understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s. If we can change the economics of space launches, we can change space travel and exploration. If we can get the formula right for a new kind of downtown neighborhood, it becomes a guide for the innovation centers of tomorrow. Mr. Allen is motivated by his commitment to sharing his ideas and discoveries with the world to help catalyze a better future.

The Culture: “Only at Vulcan”

It takes extraordinary leadership to take on the world’s most challenging issues. While guiding ambitious efforts based on Paul Allen’s big ideas, Vulcan’s leadership team fosters a culture of innovation that inspires every person in the Vulcan community to think big. At Vulcan, leaders do not just manage the work the company does—they help define it. To respond to some of the world’s most pressing needs, the people at Vulcan embrace hard work and tough challenges. The organization is made up of people who are innovative, agile, and able to perform at the highest level. The company is focused on solving problems big and small, empowering each other to take risks, and making a meaningful and lasting impact on the world.

Despite the diversity of Vulcan’s initiatives and investments, the company’s efforts are bound by a clear belief: if it has the potential to do good, then Vulcan should do it. With that belief acting as a center for the organization’s local commitment and ideals of global citizenship, the organization and people in it are committed to making a global impact. This community commitment means the people at Vulcan have the chance to make an incredible impact, while working on diverse and unique projects. This mission and values driven culture is manifested, not only in the change they affect in the world, but in the benefits and perks associated with being a Vulcan employee. All of these combine to create a motto and an experience that you can have “Only at Vulcan.”


Vulcan Inc.

Vulcan Inc. was formed in 1986 with the mission of finding smart solutions for some of the world’s toughest challenges. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Vulcan oversees and manages a broad compilation of projects, investments, and companies all over the world. Nimble and creative, the company is also constantly innovating in-house, serving as an incubator for fledgling technology, ambitious global campaigns, and new philanthropic efforts.

The projects and investments they pursue are inspired by the ideas of founder Paul G. Allen and tethered to a simple principle: they use data to inform their efforts, seek out opportunities that can make a positive impact, and share what they learn. Vulcan supports innovative approaches that can save endangered species, address climate change, improve ocean health, explore new frontiers, research how the human brain works, and build sustainable communities. Their programs, projects, and initiatives bring together industry leaders collaborating across disciplines to discover and develop smart, data-driven solutions and create inspiring experiences that help them tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The Vulcan business portfolio is diverse, but united as all are signature Allen companies. It comprises:

  • Vulcan Real Estate:This team oversees the company’s real estate portfolio, which is based on sustainable models that build value across the entire community. Its South Lake Union project is one of the largest urban revitalization efforts in the United States.
  • Vulcan Capital:The multibillion-dollar investment arm of Vulcan has offices in Seattle and Palo Alto. The firm invests in diversified assets across variety of sectors.
  • Vulcan Productions: A media company that creates and supports documentaries and film-based social campaigns that inspire audiences to take action.
  • Sports Teams: Vulcan assists Paul G. Allen in overseeing the Portland Trail Blazers, the Seattle Seahawks, and a partial stake in the Seattle Sounders.
  • Arts & Culture Community Venues:Vulcan supports/underwrites a variety of museums and experiences including MoPOP, the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, Living Computers: Museum + Labs, PIVOT Art & Culture, the Cinerama Theater, the Seattle Art Fair, and Upstream Music Fest & Summit. In addition, there is Hospital Club in London, which is expanding to LA.

Vulcan’s philanthropic portfolio includes:

  • Philanthropic Program Areas: Climate Change, Wildlife Conservation, Ocean Health, Homelessness, Pandemic Preparedness, and other interests.
  • Allen Institute for Brain Science: Formed to accelerate understanding of the human brain in health and disease, the institute’s open research tools are used by thousands of scientists worldwide.
  • Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence: This institute works on some of the critical questions in AI today, including opportunities for computers to acquire knowledge and reason.
  • Allen Institute for Cell Science:Launched in 2014, this institute serves as a catalyzing force to integrate diverse technologies and approaches at a large scale in order to study the cell as an integrated system—something that traditional academic labs cannot do.

For more information about Vulcan Inc., please visit the website.


Seattle, Washington

Seattle is among the fastest-growing major cities in the United States and has the 15th largest metropolitan area in America. It is a center for culture, diversity, and innovation. Seattle has a strong economy and was ranked America’s number one “smarter city” based on its government policies and green economy; it is a hotbed for start-up businesses, especially in green building and clean technology. Forbes ranked Seattle fourth on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers.

Seattle has been a regional center for the performing arts for many years and boasts the century-old Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the distinguished Seattle Opera, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. The Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra is the largest symphonic youth organization in the United States. The city has about 20 live theater venues and Seattleites have made rich contributions to popular music. The expanded Seattle Art Museum contributes to Seattle’s reputation as a great arts city. Pioneer Square is one of the country’s most prominent art gallery districts. Through the support of award-winning public art programs, art is integrated almost everywhere in this great city, with artists designing everything from building components to manhole covers.

Seattle’s mild, marine climate allows one to enjoy year round outdoor activities, whether it is walking in one of the city’s many parks, hiking or skiing in one of the nearby mountain ranges, or recreating in Puget Sound.

Reporting Relationship

The senior art advisor, Paul G. Allen Family Collection reports to the personal services general manager and leads a total team of 16, 14 employees and two contractors.

Specific Duties

Under the direction of the personal services general manager, and working closely with Art Group colleagues, the senior art advisor is responsible for the Paul G. Allen Family Collection of art and artifacts, as follows:

Collection Development 

  • Deep understanding and expertise in the value of art assets and the ability to provide expert advice on continued development of a world-class art collection.
  • Oversee the senior art market acquisitions analyst in the development and analysis of the value, marketability, gains, losses, and risks associated with the art and artifact collection.
  • Oversee and represent collection-related interests and projects to the appropriate Personal Services teams.

Registration and Collection Management

  • Provide oversight and guidance to the project manager for projects affecting the collection.
  • Oversee the chief registrar to ensure collection management activities are efficiently executed following appropriate protocols, including object movement, shipping, logistics, cataloguing, inventory, database management, conservation, security, loans, and storage.
  • Monitor the Art Group’s budgets throughout the fiscal cycle and balance shifting priorities, as appropriate, making decisions based on past acquisition trends and partnering with the acquisition specialist to oversee the collection’s financial health.

Curatorial Work

  • Oversee acquisition and deaccession activities including provenance research, market valuation, art historical significance, and the development of recommendations for purchases, and maintain relationships with the leadership of auction houses and commercial galleries.
  • Oversee the senior curator to ensure curatorial activities for the development of the collection follows procedures and goals, and property projects are proceeding at pace.

Leadership of the Art Group

  • Provide strategic leadership to the Art Group, collectively relying on individual expertise in each of the respective disciplines such as curatorial, registration, conservation, etc. to inform broader decision-making and goal setting. Guide the team on managing competing priorities and bring strong business acumen to decision making.
  • Demonstrate effective staff development and organizational skills in areas such as hiring, coaching, collaboration, problem solving, and goal setting. Empower staff to think, act, and plan in a collaborative manner.
  • Develop a good sense of functions and talent on the team, and help clarify roles where needed to synthesize the group towards efficiencies.

Candidate Qualifications

As the senior leader responsible for the art collection, the senior art advisor must possess and project the utmost integrity and highest standards of professional conduct, and must be an individual qualified by accomplishment and experience to exercise the leadership of a capable, collegial, and motivated professional community. The senior art advisor will be a voracious consumer of arts and culture; this passion and conviction should be integrated into the successful candidate’s DNA.

  • Experience and ease engaging with high net worth individuals is required. A poised, cooperative personality balanced by a low-ego demeanor is fundamental.
  • The senior art advisor will be adept at leading within an evolving, dynamic, results-oriented organization that has many diverse stakeholders.
  • World-class art knowledge or cultural artifact history is required. The senior art advisor will have experience cultivating business relationships with galleries, auction houses, art-related entities, and significant cultural partners especially and including those in New York City and London.
  • The senior art advisor will have strong discernment skills and the ability to set realistic expectations. Excellent organizational skills and the demonstrated ability to prioritize are essential, as is the capacity to control and move forward on several priorities simultaneously.
  • A visible, accessible, and compassionate individual with superb art domain expertise. This strong people manager will be a passionate and inspiring leader. Must have experience hiring and be able to train, mentor/develop, and motivate staff.
  • The foresight to set team priorities, make difficult decisions, and to handle delicate personnel and personality issues when necessary.
  • Advanced knowledge of and experience with care, storage, display, and retrieval of art and artifact collections. Demonstrated success managing and overseeing complex multi-million dollar projects.
  • Substantial high value art collection acumen that has been implemented for demonstrable results is necessary, coupled with a tested record of sound decision-making.
  • A nimble leadership style characterized by intelligence, entrepreneurial imagination, trust, collegiality, optimism, intellectual curiosity, generosity of spirit, and creativity coupled with high energy, decisiveness, fairness, self-accountability, and a strong commitment to Vulcan’s vision, core values, and strategic priorities.
  • Ability to exercise tact in dealing with sensitive, nuanced, and confidential issues and situations.


The successful candidate will hold a master’s degree (M.A., M.S., M.B.A., M.F.A.) in art or cultural history, museum management, or a related field and have 12 or more years of relevant experience, or equivalent years of work experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.


A review of applications will commence immediately, continuing until the position is filled. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit their credentials as soon as possible for full consideration. Complete applications should be submitted electronically and should include: a cover letter and a current resume reflecting all work experience from college forward.


Shelli Herman, President
Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc.
11693 San Vicente Blvd., Suite #104
Los Angeles, California 90049
Office: (800) 396-0595 ext. 5