A new arts service organization is being envisioned to build the capacity of the cultural sector in Northwest Arkansas and to support the programs and activities that expand access to arts, culture, and heritage. Initially funded by the Walton Family Foundation and supported by other regional foundations, the new organization will be incubated at the Northwest Arkansas Council (Council) to ensure its integration with the larger regional planning efforts. The Council will provide administrative support to the new arts service organization during its development and will remain a partner as the organization explores business model options before becoming an independent entity. Established in 1990, the Council will focus on economic development and is recognized for its leadership in advancing job opportunities, infrastructure investment, and quality of life in the state and region. The Council works with partners to perform data collection and analysis that produces comprehensive reports on how the region is changing and to support its emphasis that the region is “Great for Business. Great for Life”
In addition to providing leadership, professional development, small grants, and advocacy, this new organization will promote the arts while actively strengthening the infrastructure of the cultural community. It will also support creative growth—from individual artists to cultural organizations—and build cultural awareness about the activities, opportunities, and impacts of the region.
Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions in the United States, with more than 545,000 residents—a figure that continues to grow by approximately 30 new residents each day. The region is also home to a diverse community of artists and creative professionals. The median age is 33.5 years, making it an ideal home for young professionals and families. The region is powered by three Fortune 500 corporate headquarters and the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas. Its historic downtowns and vibrant entertainment districts are recognized as top destinations for shopping, dining, and the arts. Outdoor amenities abound, with multiple state parks, 486 miles of Beaver Lake shoreline, an impressive regional trail system, a botanical garden, and endless hiking, biking, and boating opportunities. A diverse array of educational opportunities is available through nationally ranked high schools, two universities, and a community college.
The public, private, and philanthropic sectors have invested billions of dollars creating a world-class infrastructure and amenities that one would not normally find in mid-sized metropolitan areas. Recent examples include:
Northwest Arkansas is gaining national recognition for its robust economy and outstanding quality of life, consistently showing up in the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities Index and ranked among the top five places to live by US News & World Report for the past three years.
A collaborative and visionary leader, the Executive Director will be responsible for developing, articulating, and implementing the new organization’s mission. The Executive Director will build consensus throughout the region around the new organization’s name, vision, and values. This individual will also work with the board of directors and a variety of regional stakeholders in a robust strategic planning and community engagement process. Determining key programs and services, as well as building the overall management structures of the organization, will be key components in the Executive Director role.
Strategic Planning and Community Engagement
Advocacy and Leadership
Fiscal Oversight and Administration
The Executive Director will be an entrepreneurial leader and a creative thinker who embraces the opportunities that a new arts service organization can bring to a growing region. Anticipating future needs and the effects of upcoming cultural, social, economic, and demographic changes in the region, the Executive Director will be an excellent listener. This individual will also be a partner to internal and external stakeholders, with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion across the field. A thoughtful risk taker who is open and responsive to the ideas of others, the Executive Director will be able to prioritize and balance competing interests and build consensus from disparate viewpoints. A superior writer and speaker, the Executive Director will be a courageous representative for a new organization in the arts, culture, and heritage sector with a highly visible presence across the region, state, and nation.
Other key competencies include:
A bachelor’s degree (master’s degree preferred) and a minimum of seven to 10 years of increasing leadership experience in a nonprofit arts council, arts service organization, foundation, private/public partnership entity, or other relevant collaborative arts organization are required. A commitment to the arts, culture, and heritage sector, as well as social and economic development, is expected. Excellent written and verbal presentation skills and computer literacy (Microsoft Office) are mandatory.
The Council provides generous compensation, commensurate with experience, and a benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, and life insurances and a 401(k) matching Safe Harbor plan.
Please submit letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) to:
Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Northwest Arkansas Council is an equal opportunity employer and celebrates diversity of all kinds.
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