Raw Art Works (RAW) was founded in 1988 and in 1994 opened a space in Lynn, Massachusetts, with a group of passionate art therapists and resident artists who shared the belief that good things happen when kids feel they are a vital part of a creative community that truly cares. Youth at RAW are welcomed into a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment the moment they step through the door. The relationships they create at RAW sustain and strengthen their ability to navigate a challenging and often unfair world.
RAW’s mission is to ignite the desire to create and confidence to succeed in underserved youth. As a youth arts organization rooted in art therapy, RAW believes that all kids should be seen and heard, and that everyone has a story to tell. It offers a variety of free programming—from painting to filmmaking—for more than 1,200 kids ages seven to 19. RAW uses art to ask kids what is really going on in their lives, giving them the tools to create in unexpected ways and to envision new possibilities for their future. An orientation to trauma-informed care provides a grounding to the work with many of RAW’s youth who have experienced undue stress in particularly challenging environments.
In 2015 RAW closed a two-year $2 million capital campaign and program expansion campaign in honor of its 25th anniversary. The campaign enabled RAW to add 4,400 square feet of space to the existing 10,000-square-foot building. New programming was added to include a fully outfitted print shop, using spoken and written word as an art form, and an employment program, where teens create art that is sold both at RAW and in other community outlets. Additional space and technological capacity were added to Project Launch, the mentor-based college access program, as well as to the award-winning film school Real to Reel.
All of RAW’s seniors graduate from high school and more than 95 percent graduates attend college or a workforce development program. RAW staff and a team of one-to-one mentors offer endless support and structure to help find the right path for each RAW teen. Project Launch helps seniors write strong resumes and essays as well as complete job, college, and scholarship applications. Staff members work with parents and guardians to help them understand college costs and the financial aid process. For teens for whom college is not the right choice, Project Launch assists in finding career training opportunities. It also provides life skills workshops on topics such as how to dress for an interview, manage time properly, organize their finances, and cook a healthy meal. Project Launch is more than a post-high school preparatory program—it offers real-life opportunities designed so youth can strengthen their abilities to navigate in the adult world.
Through an aesthetic, emotional, and technical exploration of cinema, RAW’s Real to Reel Filmschool students creatively engage in the art of visual storytelling. RAW teens can validate their own stories and experiences through the creation of honest and often deeply personal films. From pre-production through post-production, students learn the responsibilities of preparing, shooting, finishing, and exhibiting a film. They learn what it really means to say, “I am a filmmaker.” In the process of learning how to make films, students gain a larger understanding of the role popular media plays in their lives and how it affects both their identity and their worldview. While some students pursue filmmaking after high school, that is not necessarily the goal. Real to Reel focuses on 21st century skill building—important life skills that translate far beyond the film industry. Students from the program have continued onto many different career fields, from engineering to photography to art therapy.
RAW is led by Executive Director Kit Jenkins, who oversees a program, operations, and fundraising staff of 25 people and an annual operating budget of $2.3 million. It is governed by a strong, diverse, and highly committed 15-member board of directors, led by Chair Bruce Herring. The board, which is comprised of a RAW alumna and leaders in business, education, law, and the arts, believes in its mission and generously dedicates time, expertise, and resources to help RAW achieve its goals and vision for the future.
Over the past two decades, the City of Lynn, Massachusetts, has been transformed by the arts and cultural advancements pioneered by RAW, other artists in the community, and a large network of nonprofit organizations. The effect of this has propelled the entire community’s economy, educational outcomes, healthcare access and treatment, public safety, and neighborhood development. The arts have created conversations that transcended socioeconomic differences to build affirming and transformational connections and confidence in the city’s potential.
Lynn sits just 10 miles north of Boston, along the Atlantic coast. With a population of almost 90,000 residents, Lynn is the largest city in Essex County. The original “Shoe Capital of the World,” Lynn is steeped in American history. It enjoyed wealth and prominence throughout the industrial revolution and well into the 20th century, which attracted immigrants from around the world to call Lynn home. Today, Lynn continues to thrive and flourish in a community of hardworking people. An urban manufacturing and commercial center, densely populated, and culturally diverse, one of Lynn’s highest priorities is the integration and delivery of early education and social services to children and families. The vision is for the youth and families of Lynn to live in a nurturing community that respects the unique situation of each child and family. This is accomplished by tailoring services to meet their diverse needs through a system of supports, including public, private, community, health, and faith-based programs.
Lynn offers an affordable, family-friendly, and eclectic mix of outdoor recreational activities, art galleries, cultural entertainment, and sporting events. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, or bird watch in the 2,200-acre Lynn Woods Reservation, the second largest municipal park in the country after New York City’s Central Park. Residents and visitors alike can take a sunset or fishing cruise from Lynn’s Seaport Landing Marina, explore Lynn’s rich history at the Lynn Museum and Historical Society, explore LynnArts exhibits, take in a concert or play at the historic Lynn Memorial Auditorium, golf at the gorgeous Gannon Municipal Golf Course, dine on traditional New England fare at one of its family friendly restaurants, or relax through the natural dunes and beach roses on Nahant Beach Reservation’s beach front coastline.
Sources: ci.lynn.ma.us; lynnareachamber.com
The Program Director will oversee the delivery and performance of current programs, including fee-for-service contracts and relationships, in accordance with organizational goals and priorities. Reporting to the Executive Director and serving as a member of leadership team, the Program Director will explore new initiatives for potential program growth, champion and actively participate in the strategic planning process, nurture the high quality of work that the program team produces, recommend improvements as necessary, and regularly celebrate successes.
Program Strategy and Advocacy
Program Delivery and Performance
Team Leadership and Mentoring
The Program Director will be a natural coach and mentor while serving as a visionary leader in program concept, development, and implementation. An experienced team player for whom the ownership of ideas is less important than the result of the collaborative effort, the Program Director will be an open, confident, and communicative professional who enjoys exploring ideas and is adept at setting priorities. Socially conscious with a deep ability to understand the needs of today’s youth and their families, this individual will be a visible and present leader with a passion for positive change that the arts can have in addressing larger social needs. With a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and access, the Program Director will embrace the importance of these initiatives throughout the organization. Resourceful, collaborative, receptive, and instinctive by nature, the Program Director will be people oriented, with a sense of urgency in addressing the critical needs of the children, teens, and their families that RAW serves.
Additional competencies include:
Qualified applicants must have a master’s degree or equivalent work experience, plus a minimum of five to seven years of increasing responsibility in a senior management role with an organization at the intersection of youth development, arts education, and/or social service.
RAW provides a competitive salary and benefits, including paid time off, health care contribution, short- and long-term disability coverage, and term life insurance. Added benefits include being at the forefront of change in improving the lives of kids throughout the region and serving as a national role model for program impact.
Please submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:
Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Raw Art Works is an equal opportunity employer that
welcomes any qualified applicant and values diversity of all kinds.
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