ArtsKC President and CEO Executive Search Arts Consulting Group


President & CEO


ArtsKC (Metropolitan Arts Council of Greater Kansas City) is a leading cultural agency for the Greater Kansas City area created to support, promote, and advocate for the entire arts and culture sector. Founded in 1999, the Arts Council of Kansas City was formed by a pioneering group of individuals, led by Chair Shirley Bush Helzberg, who saw the need for advocacy and general funding for the regional cultural sector. Following its move in 2015 to a newly renovated building in the thriving Crossroads Arts District, the organization rebranded itself as ArtsKC and is poised to move forward and embrace its vision to unleash the power of the arts.

ArtsKC serves five counties in the bi-state region, including Missouri’s Clay, Jackson, and Platte counties and Kansas’ Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Boasting more than 250 nonprofit arts organizations and 350 arts-related businesses, the arts in this region account for $250 million in economic impact. The creative economy accounts for 4.3 percent of all business – twice the national average. Internationally acclaimed arts venues and performance organizations include the 285,000-square-foot Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Kansas City Ballet, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, American Jazz Museum, and Kansas City Art Institute. In an article for the Kansas City Star, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts President Reynold Levy wrote, “The sheer variety of visual and performing arts activity emanating from a town the size of Kansas City and the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporations necessary to support it are simply outstanding. Few cities can match this track record, at least those situated between America’s east and west coasts.”

The vision of ArtsKC is to build a city of great dreams and vigorous life where everyone participates in and benefits from the arts. ArtsKC will accomplish this by bringing together people, resources, and ideas through its many initiatives, events, and programs. ArtsKC funds and advocates for organizations of all sizes as it serves to strengthen the arts ecology of the region through programs, including the ArtsKC Fund, ArtsKC Advocacy, Now Showing, ArtsKC Awards Luncheon, and community forums.

In fiscal years 2013 and 2014, the ArtsKC Fund awarded 168 grants worth more than $600,000 in three funding categories: Ovation, Catalyst, and Inspiration Grants. The Ovation Grants category awards 70 percent of the ArtsKC Fund to well-managed, firmly established nonprofit arts organizations that have a broad reach and impact throughout the area. Approximately 25 percent of the ArtsKC Fund is awarded through the Catalyst category. Catalyst Grants reach a broader range of organizations and programs, funding organizations that are growing and changing in fundamental ways. Catalyst Grants are often used to accelerate or enable important changes, either in these organizations or in the communities which they serve. Inspiration Grants are an investment in human capital, providing direct support to individual artists and arts professionals for projects and activities that have the potential to advance their careers and build their capacity for future work. In fiscal year 2015, the distribution of ArtsKC Fund grant monies increased by 43 percent.

ArtsKC Advocacy ensures that the arts sector is seen as a viable solution to community challenges and a key ingredient to economic development. Initiatives include partnering with the Kansas City, Missouri Office of Culture and Creative Services, actively leading OneArtsKC, the cultural plan for the Kansas City region that sets forth a vision for successful cultural development, and cohosting Arts Advocacy Day at the Missouri State Capital. Now Showing is a program designed to foster partnerships between individual artists and businesses by providing opportunities for metro-area artists to display their work in the conference rooms, lobbies, and office spaces of local companies. The partnership benefits both the artist who is exposed to a potential new audience as well as the company that is exposed to new elements of creativity and inspiration. Considered one of Kansas City’s most inspiring business events of the year, more than 1,200 leaders in the business, civic, and arts communities attend the annual ArtsKC Awards Luncheon. This event recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of the individuals and businesses that are the driving force behind the region’s thriving arts community.

ArtsKC’s annual operating budget is approximately $2 million, which is expected to grow 5 to 10 percent annually. Currently, contributed income accounts for 90 percent of total income ($1.7 million). A five-year goal is to increase the ArtsKC Fund from $500,000 to $1 million. ArtsKC’s professional and support staff of ten is supplemented by interns and more than 200 volunteers. The President & CEO reports to the 15-member board of directors.


Kansas City, Missouri is known as The City of Fountains, with more streams of sparkling water than Rome, Italy. Metropolitan Kansas City has a population of 2.1 million in the bi-state area. It is located at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers and is the closest major city to the geographic center of the lower 48 states. Ranked as one of America’s top ten cities for arts and culture by Kiplinger magazine, the Kansas City region is enjoying a renaissance in design and entrepreneurship. The unique Country Club Plaza, a beautiful 14-block shopping area modeled after Seville, Spain, is an extraordinary area filled with romantic Moorish architecture, outdoor artwork, and intricate fountains. In the Crossroads Arts District, old warehouses now house locally-owned boutiques and restaurants and a thriving arts scene. Thousands flock to the district to tour the 60 galleries and shops that are open late on the first Friday of each month. The Crown Center downtown district is just one more example of Kansas City’s exemplary creative spirit come to life. Part international headquarters for Hallmark Cards and part entertainment complex, it is a must for families as there is fun and inspiration throughout the entire structure. Additional Kansas City family-friendly activities can be found at the Kansas City Zoo, Worlds of Fun, and the Lakeside Nature Center.

Dinner and entertainment go hand-in-hand in Kansas City, which is known for its jazz roots and world-famous barbeque. Boasting more than 100 barbeque establishments, the city hosts nationally renowned competitions every year. Starting in the Roaring Twenties, jazz reigned supreme in Kansas City and its presence is still felt today. The 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District features popular clubs and a 17-foot bronze memorial to Charlie Parker. Jazz fans can also enjoy late-night jam sessions at the Mutual Musicians Foundation and visit the American Jazz Museum, featuring legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

Metropolitan Kansas City is home to one of the nation’s largest federal government centers, with more than 30,000 government employees, including a Federal Reserve Bank. Additionally, many major corporations have their headquarters in the city, including Hallmark Cards, Sprint, AMC Theatres, H&R Block, American Century Investments, and Garmin. It also has two major auto assembly plants, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, as well as a Harley Davidson motorcycle assembly plant. One little-known center of entrepreneurship is the SubTropolis, the world’s largest underground business complex, where the temperature remains a constant 65 degrees, saving companies 85 percent in heating and cooling costs. More than 10 percent of the industrial space in greater Kansas City is located underground, covering approximately 25 million square feet.

Hosting a variety of professional athletic teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs (National Football League),  Kansas City Royals (Major League Baseball), and Sporting Kansas City (Major League Soccer), sports fans can enjoy an abundance of games throughout the year. Kansas City also boasts a cost of living that is well below the national average. With affordable housing and excellent public and private schools, Kansas City and the neighboring region is an ideal place to call home.



As a high-level representative for the arts, the President & CEO will seek out opportunities to shine light on the diverse Kansas City arts community and its exceptional cultural entities. This individual will be responsible for clearly articulating and publicizing ArtsKC’s mission to support, promote, and advocate to the greater community. Working with the board to refine strategic goals, initiatives, and measures established in 2015, the President & CEO will create a long-term strategic plan to strengthen the infrastructure of the organization and build community-wide relationships with nonprofit and for-profit partners. The President & CEO will direct the implementation of OneArtsKC, as well as grant-making activities, fundraising, partnership development, and the overall administrative management of the organization.

Roles & Responsibilities

Leadership and Advocacy

  • Position ArtsKC as the region’s top advocacy voice for the arts, leading efforts to ensure that the general public, funders, business leaders, and elected officials understand the breadth and depth of arts and culture and its importance to the quality of life.
  • Initiate, lead, and engage in broad-based arts and culture advocacy initiatives at the local, regional, and statewide level to raise the profile of all arts organizations.
  • Serve as the face of the organization, representing ArtsKC and the entire regional culture sector at meetings, conventions, and public forums in the business, philanthropic, and civic sectors.
  • Advance local and statewide initiatives and legislation to consider public support for cultural tourism and the arts sector.
  • Advocate with state and local agencies to promote the arts as a significant strategy for cultural tourism and economic development.
  • Collaborate with small and large arts organizations to develop consistent messaging about the tangible and intangible value and impact of the arts and culture as a collective positive influence on life in the region.


Strategy and Branding

  • Strengthen the regional public relations and institutional branding programs, ensuring that the general public, funders, arts organizations, business leaders, and elected officials understand the role of ArtsKC and its value and impact in the community.
  • Initiate formal and informal conversations and gatherings with arts organizations of all sizes to better understand their needs and expectations of ArtsKC in a greater cultural context.
  • Seek opportunities to develop strategic partnerships and collaborate with arts organizations to deliver relevant and timely programming to diverse communities throughout the region.
  • Pursue creative and engaging ways to expand ArtsKC’s reach and impact in the community by presenting programs and activities that attract new audiences and strengthen relationships with traditional audiences.
  • Institute messaging through marketing to demonstrate the positive economic and community impact of the entire spectrum of arts and cultural activities and the power of the arts.
  • Lead the ArtsKC’s utilization of OneArtsKC and create a long-term strategic plan in conjunction with the board.
  • Create greater access to and availability of arts education experiences and advocate for greater curricular integration of the arts. Support professional development for artists and artistic organizations.


Financial Oversight and Resource Development

  • Develop and diversify the financial resources necessary to fulfill ArtsKC’s strategic plan and ensure future stability and sustainability.
  • Oversee all financial reporting to ensure transparency and accuracy, working with the Finance Director and the board finance committee on all reporting.
  • Lead fund development efforts to secure philanthropic contributions, attract corporate support, and generate earned income.
  • Cultivate, maintain, and enhance relationships with current and potential contributors.


  • Partner with the board to ensure that ArtsKC is a mission-driven, responsible organization that clearly articulates its purpose, goals, and objectives to the larger community.
  • Help the board in the identification, recruitment, on-boarding, and training of new board members.
  • Examine the short- and long-term goals of the board to better align ArtsKC with the business, philanthropic, and arts community.
  • Motivate board members to maximize participation in and contribution toward ArtsKC’s success and growth.
  • Craft board strategies for effective evaluation and celebration of ArtsKC staff and board successes.
  • Prepare written and oral reports for presentation to the board at regular meetings.
  • Meet regularly with the board committees to establish and implement protocol, processes, and board objectives.


Administration and Human Resources

  • Examine the use of human resources to maximize of the strengths of the staff. Hire and train as necessary to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives.
  • Provide guidance to all administrative staff to maximize effectiveness and productivity, administering fiscal and organizational leadership.
  • Develop human resource policies, practices, and procedures as appropriate, ensuring compliance with state and federal employment laws and regulations.
  • Establish an administrative presence and internal relations that promote a professional and kind work environment and the attainment of mutually established goals.
  • Supply learning opportunities and professional development for staff, encouraging continuous career development and growth.
  • Oversee all grant-making activities, re-examine the current grant structure and formula, work with the staff to develop more opportunities for grant seekers, and manage the grant-making process.

Traits & Characteristics

The President & CEO must be a diplomatic leader who can communicate with diverse stakeholders and engage at every level of the greater Kansas City community. The President & CEO will have knowledge of industry standards and organizational management. Politically savvy and charming, this individual will understand the operating structure of a granting organization and the many constituents who benefit from a strong regional arts council. Ready to participate with the board at strategic meetings, staff in the operational details, and public policy makers in advocacy, the President & CEO will enjoy a wide variety of tasks and varying agendas. An excellent listener and perceptive collaborator, this individual will possess exceptional communication skills and will be a courageous representative of ArtsKC with a highly visible presence in the five county bi-state region.

Other key competencies include the following:

  • Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The capacity to constructively embrace different points of view, resolve conflicts, and bring cohesion to a wide array of stakeholders while interacting with them in a positive manner, treating them fairly, and listening carefully to what they have to say.
  • Leadership and Flexibility – The ability to organize and motivate others to accomplish goals and the agility and adaptability to embrace and implement change when needed. In short, an inspiring leader.
  • Decision Making and Personal Accountability – Effectively utilize processes to make informed decisions and assume accountability for business and personal actions.
  • Fundraising – Comfortable and/or experienced in raising money at both a strategic and tactical level.


A bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred, and a minimum of seven to ten years of increasing leadership experience in a nonprofit or private/public partnership organization are required. This includes nonprofit arts and culture organizations, local, state, or national cultural agencies, foundations or other grant-making organizations, and other similar institutions. A passion for art in its myriad of forms is expected. Experience working with nonprofit boards is necessary, as are excellent written and verbal presentation and computer (Microsoft Office) skills.

Compensation & Benefits

ArtsKC provides generous compensation commensurate with experience and a benefits package, including health, life, vision, and dental insurance, vacation, holiday, and sick pay; an employee retirement plan; and access to discounted and complimentary tickets to arts and culture events throughout the region.

Applications & Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:

Ms. Jenna Deja
Vice President
201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227
Fax       (888) 284.6651

ArtsKC is an equal opportunity employer.

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this is for MS companies and we will provide contact information for further details.


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