Artists Repertory Theatre
Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre (ART or Artists Rep) is the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland. Begun by local artists who desired to produce contemporary theatre that addressed the issues of their time, ART has grown into a significant presence in American theatre with a legacy of regional, national, and world premieres produced at the highest level. ART is currently led by Interim Artistic Director/Director of New Works Luan Schooler during the search period, alongside Executive Director J.S. May.
ART became the 72nd member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) in 2016 and is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN). Artists Rep is Portland’s premiere mid-size regional theatre company. Artists Rep has become a significant presence in American regional theatre with a legacy of world, national, and regional premieres of provocative new work and relevant classics with the highest standards of stagecraft. The organization is committed to local artists and features a company of over 30 Resident Artists and professionals of varied theatre disciplines, who are a key element of Artists Rep’s creative output and identity. ART is dedicated to fostering the development of artists and artistic works in unique ways that could only happen in Portland and operating at the junction between Portland’s specific community and dialogue with the national theater community. The 2021/2022 season includes The Children by Lucy Kirkwood, The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, and Campfire Stories, a live outdoor storytelling event in partnership with BackFence PDX. Recognition for ART developed plays include the Dramatists Guild Foundation Award, the Edgerton New Play Award, NEA Funding, the Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program, American Theatre Magazine’s Most-Produced Plays, and coverage in the New Yorker and the New York Times. In 2021, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) honored Artists Rep with the Creative Innovation Award for the company’s pivot to digital mediums in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2022, Artists Rep is operating ART on Tour, producing at venues across Portland while the company’s theatrical home at 1515 SW Morrison Street undergoes a $30 million renovation. The newly renovated theater building will open in 2023 and will include two theatres (178 seat main stage and 97 seat studio theatre), four rehearsal halls, and collaborative spaces. The entire facility will closely follow ADA requirements and will be fully accessible for artists and patrons with disabilities. Even while itinerant, ART has maintained its commitment to thirteen organizations that are a part of the ArtsHub program. In an effort to support Portland’s rich artistic ecosystem and build inspiring community with other small and emerging arts organizations, ART continues to provide reduced-cost rehearsal space, performance space and other services via the ArtsHub program. In the 2018/19 season, the last in the building, over 1,500 events were held by 42 local nonprofits, including twelve ArtsHub companies.
ART has made significant, measurable strides in recent years in expanding BIPOC programming. Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez was the first Latinx Artistic Director of a LORT theater in the United States. ART’s artistic team have prioritized plays by BIPOC, women, and LGBTQIA+ playwrights and 30 percent of ART’s resident artists are BIPOC. Using PPP funding, ART's Black artists founded DNA: Oxygen (named in honor of the many Black people whose final words were “I can’t breathe”), to create BIPOC centered work and establish a training and mentorship program for emerging BIPOC artists. The inaugural 72-page ART Quarterly magazine features seven BIPOC artists writing about their experiences working in white spaces. ART staff walked through the We See You White American Theatre document to ensure that the work of anti-racism is at the forefront of ART’s agenda.
Recent board level policy shifts that embrace ART’s DEI/antiracism goals include the removal of mandatory board gift minimums, an allowance for Resident Artists to serve on the board, giving artists a voice in the management of ART, and an update of bylaws to easily enable remote attendance to meetings so that BIPOC board members can be recruited from around the country.
ART is governed by a 12-member board of directors, led by Chair Pancho Savery. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, reported total revenue was $3.4 million, with approximately $1.9 million from contributions and grants and $1.2 million from program service revenue. Total expenses were approximately $3.8 million.
Officially incorporated in 1851, and a famed ending point for many travelers of the Oregon Trail, Portland, Oregon is the largest and most populous city in the state. Portland is located on the northern side of the state, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, just across the state border from Vancouver, Washington. Portland has a population of over 650,000 people, with almost half of the state’s population residing in the Portland metropolitan area. The Portland metro area rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes.
Portland is best known for being a sustainability-minded, bike-friendly city with easy access to nature and over 162 miles of bike lines and hiking trails. Portland’s “Bridgetown” layout is also unique, with 12 bridges entirely within city limits, six city quadrants, and more than 90 formally recognized neighborhoods. This diversity of community lends the region to develop unique styles and experiences throughout the area with freedom for individuals to find their own place within Portland’s quirky culture.
Technology is a major industry in Portland, with more than 1,200 technology companies based in the city, notably led by Intel, which is one of the largest employers. Other major industries include banking (anchored by U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo) and sportswear (with Adidas and Columbia based in Portland and Nike in nearby Beaverton). Even with the recession driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, Portland’s total income grew by over 7 percent in 2021. This matches Portland’s population growth, growing faster than any other cities in Oregon in 2021.
Portland has the amenities of a major city, such as an international airport, an efficient public transit system, major league sports teams, and many museums and art galleries, in addition to the charms of a small city, such as plentiful arts and crafts fairs, independent bookstores, and local traditions like the annual Rose Festival Parade and the World Naked Bike Ride. Portland’s abundant rainfall has encouraged a culture that simultaneously values the joys of outdoor beauty and the investment in indoor activities throughout the year, making Portland an exciting community for arts organizations and cultural activity of all kinds. Portland’s culture of individuality, creativity, and experimentation fuels a calendar is packed year-round with events, live music, and performances, as well as a culture of innovation in design and craft ranging from sneakers to doughnuts.
Every year, Portland hosts a never-ending flow of cultural festivals, ranging from the PDX Jazz Festival to the Northwest Black Comedy Festival to ValenTango, the continent’s largest and longest-running tango festival. Portland hosts an established and vibrant collective of arts organizations, including the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theater, Portland Opera, the Oregon Center for Contemporary Art, and over 100 theater companies in the region, including Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Broadway Rose Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre Company, Portland Playhouse, and Miracle Theatre Group among many others.
Sources: travelportland.com; portlandoregon.gov; datausa.io; oregoneconomicanalysis.com
Reporting to the Board as a co-leader with the Executive Director, the Artistic Director will provide an artistic vision and strategic direction that embraces ART’s long-standing commitment to new works and intimate, provocative community-engaged theater that ventures beyond the mainstream. This dynamic artist, who may be a stage director or active in their own artistic work in another aspect of production, will be dedicated to the concept of ensemble and embedding diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in all that they do. They will build upon ART’s legacy to conceptualize, develop, and deliver inventive and lively programming that provides an inclusive theater experience for a growing audience and demonstrates the commitment to nurturing the work of local artists and new playwrights.
The Artistic Director will enthusiastically represent the organization to multiple constituencies, including the cultivation and stewarding of donors, advancing partnerships, and deepening the engagement with communities across Portland. They will embrace an entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging creative risk-taking that fuels business model innovation as the field evolves, actively collaborating with the Executive Director to ensure the organization’s long-term sustainability. ART expects the Artistic Director to spend the majority of their time on artistic management, with a subset of time dedicated to providing infrastructure support to the organization, and a limited but active amount of time (roughly 10 percent) on their personal artistic practice within or without the organization. The Artistic Director will also embrace ART’s internal culture of accepting the whole person, with deep appreciation for work-life integration for staff and artists.
Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Vision and Leadership
- Collaborate with the resident artists, staff, board, and local, regional, national, and international artists to create a forward-thinking artistic vision that is inspired by and built on ART’s legacy of developing new work.
- Directly create and indirectly manage the development and execution of inspiring and powerful works of theatre, including direct support of the artistic leadership team, including the Producing Director, Director of New Works, Artistic Directing Fellows, and teams by artistic project.
- Champion the selection, development, and activation of the resident artists as a core priority, including innovations around how resident artists can add to the vibrancy and quality of artistic and organizational accomplishments throughout ART.
- Hire and lead production teams, including directors, choreographers, designers, music directors, and other involved artists, working closely in partnership throughout artistic processes
- Develop and cultivate creative and artistic relationships with local, national, and international playwrights, agents, managers, producing partners, and theater artists.
- Invest in, evaluate, improve, and expand ART’s Education Programs.
- Anchor the clarity and expression of ART’s brand identity, informing both artistic activity and marketing efforts in specific and identifiable ways.
- In partnership with the board, Executive Director, and staff, foster ART’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives in pursuit of the never-finished work required to create an anti-racist, anti-bias, anti-ableist, multi-cultural organization. Champion diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and prioritize anti-racism, anti-oppression, anti-bias practices throughout every aspect of ART’s work.
Management and Administration
- Maintain a transparent and productive working relationship with the Executive Director and the board of directors to pursue and amplify ART’s mission while establishing new models for sustainable operations.
- Collaborate on the annual budgeting process with the goal of a creating a balanced and sustainable budget, while advancing the quality of artistic programs and maintaining ART’s standards for shared accountability and transparency.
- Support the work of the marketing and audience development team to expand audiences and maximize ticket revenue, including actively providing content and context about artistic programs.
- Engage in the organization’s revenue enhancement activities, cultivating and stewarding donors and actively taking part in development and fundraising activities.
- Work closely with the board leadership to identify and cultivate new board members, maintain board member work plans, and providing artistic planning information in a timely fashion in advance of full board and committee meetings.
- Maintain an active engagement in the conclusion of the multi-phase capital campaign and construction of 1515 SW Morrison Street: including supporting the Executive Director in the public-phase fundraising campaign for the sustainable and stable operation of the theatre and its programs in the new facility.
Community Engagement and Relationship Management
- Embrace a role as a civic leader in Portland, invested in the theatre’s role in the ongoing quality of life of the region.
- Value and prioritize engagement with ART’s Volunteer Guild to leverage community passions to benefit the theater and build its human capital and reputation.
- Serve as spokesperson and ambassador for the artistic purpose and vision of the organization, participating in radio, television, online and in-person speaking engagements of all sizes and for all outlets.
- Pro-actively pursue relationships as an engaged and available point of contact to local theatre artists and maintain a positive working relationship with Portland theatre and arts leaders.
- Foster positive interactions with arts and cultural organizations at the local, regional, national, and international levels by participating in convenings, joint activities, and professional associations’ boards, committees, and panels.
- Keep abreast of critical issues and conversations that impact the theatre community locally, nationally, and internationally, and manage the education and engagement of all members of the ART team around those conversations.
Traits and Characteristics
The Artistic Director will be an adaptable and creative leader, passionate about the theatre and personally engaged in advancing the values of equity and inclusion in evolving societal circumstances. They will be motivated by new ideas, methodologies, and approaches that expand the reach of theatrical activity. Using an inherently collaborative approach, the Artistic Director will be motivated by supporting the ART team and leveraging collective efforts. They will intuitively use past experiences and seek knowledge and input to achieve an artistic vision that is shared throughout the organization and its patrons. This individual will be comfortable interacting frequently with a variety of people, combining the ability to efficiently move projects and initiatives forward with an understanding of the impacts of decisions and decision-making processes on human beings inside and outside the organization.
Other key competencies of the role include:
- Leadership and Diplomacy – The ability to collaborate to develop a consensus around an inspirational artistic vision, build trust that supports creative risks, and leverage networks and an understanding of different perspectives to advance the organization’s mission.
- Teamwork and Employee Development – The capacity to invest in and empower team members to build shared growth and consensus decision making, while respecting and appreciating the contributions of all team members towards a shared purpose.
- Self-Starting and Personal Accountability – The disposition and confidence to take initiative with assertiveness and persistence and the ability to self-evaluate and accept responsibility for actions and results.
- Audience Focus – The acumen to invest in and understand the needs and journeys of both current patrons and those who have not yet become patrons of the theatre and relating those perspectives to artistic and managerial decision making within the organization.
The Artistic Director will have a history of significant artistic accomplishments as a theatre-maker, which could include as a director, producer, dramaturg, actor, playwright, or other artistic pursuit, and the proven ability to create complex and dynamic theatrical experiences in intimate spaces. Artistic leadership experience in a producing theatrical organization is strongly preferred. Knowledge and familiarity with Portland or a track record of entering and engaging authentically in new communities is highly valuable. A well-developed equity lens and a specific track record with engaging with anti-racist and anti-oppression strategies in practical and impactful ways is essential.
Compensation and Benefits
Artists Repertory Theatre offers a competitive salary commensurate with demonstrated experience. The starting salary is expected to be in the range of $125,000 to $140,000. The benefits package includes paid time off; medical and dental insurance; and a retirement program without company matching.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Douglas R. Clayton, Senior Vice President
201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 202
ART is an equal opportunity employer and proactively makes efforts to welcome and provide reasonable accommodations throughout its hiring and employment practices for all applicants, including applicants of any sex, color, creed, age, national origin, religion, political affiliation, marital status, mental or physical disability, political belief, sexual orientation, gender identification, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. We value diversity at Artists Rep and encourage people of all kinds to apply or audition to work with us.
ART acknowledges that our theatre rests on land that was stolen from indigenous communities. It belongs to the Cowlitz, Chinook, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, and the Siletz — tribes that remain present, strong, and vibrant.
ART recognizes that we are a predominately white organization and operate within systemic racism and oppression, and that silence and neutrality are actions of complicity. We recognize the critical role the arts play in our culture and national conversation and accept our responsibility to make positive change through our work, our practices, and our policies. We commit ourselves to the work of becoming an anti-racism and anti-oppression organization and will work with urgency to end racial inequities in our industry and our culture.
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