Director of Development
Artpark = Art + Nature + Culture
Artpark is both a park and a cultural institution located on the Niagara Gorge in Western New York. A collaboration between the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the cultural nonprofit institution Artpark & Company, Artpark serves as a cultural ecosystem that presents a diverse multidisciplinary program in the performing and visual arts. Artpark’s mix of indoor and outdoor venues provides a unique opportunity to experience the direct connection of the arts and nature.
Established in 1974, Artpark’s mission is to support, nurture, and incubate artworks and performances that are entertaining, innovative, educational, and interactive for visitors. Artpark serves the local communities and Niagara Falls tourism. Artpark is widely regarded as a summer outdoor music venue and ranked as one of the top 100 amphitheaters worldwide by Pollstar. Over the course of 110 summer days, Artpark delivers more than 150 events that are attended by more than 150,000 visitors on 150 acres of land. Ninety of these events are community and family programs that are delivered to more than 50,000 people at low or no cost. Artpark programming delivers $13 million in estimated annual economic impact throughout the community.
Artpark has several venues on its grounds. The Outdoor Amphitheater rests atop the Niagara River Gorge, which provides a magnificent backdrop for special occasions. This three-tiered, gated amphitheater accommodates up to 10,000 patrons and is used for large-scale national concert tours and festivals. The Mainstage Theater accommodates up to 4,000 patrons (2,400 indoors and 1,600 on the adjacent lawn) and houses one of the largest stages in New York State. Currently, it is used for music concerts, theater productions, commencement ceremonies, and recitals, with the potential for opera, cirque arts, conventions, award ceremonies, corporate training, and special events. Artpark also features intimate outdoor stages Emerald Grove and Storytelling Place, Percussion Garden, trails, and expansive park grounds. These venues present numerous opportunities for outdoor visual installations and performing and digital art disciplines, posing curious questions on the relationship between performance, musicmaking, and artmaking and the natural environment.
Artpark’s programming is incredibly diverse, reflecting the cultures of Western New York, Southern Ontario, and global developments in the art world. Artpark has presented North American premieres by companies like the French Plasticiens Volants, Brazilian modern dance sensation Bale de Rua, Native-American DJ duo A Tribe Called Red, and Ukrainian folk-punk band DakhaBrakha. Music acts have included Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, The Flaming Lips, and Fitz and The Tantrums. Artpark celebrates African American cultures through major concert tours of Earth, Wind and Fire, George Clinton, Patti LaBelle, and Thievery Corporation. It also presents chamber concerts and performances by Buffalo Jazz Composers Workshop, JP Jofre Hard Tango Chamber Band, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, and Jon Lehrer Dance Company. Cirque Barcode Company and Acting for Climate Montreal addressed how the arts can affect climate change in public performances.
In 2016 Artpark developed its Percussion Garden, a unique new place for sound and nature explorations with interactive installations created by collaboration between visual artists and musicians. That same year, Artpark also launched Artpark Laboratory, a long-term initiative focusing on the intersections of art, nature, science, and technologies and creating awareness on the global climate change crisis. A new Strawberry Moon Festival was established in 2019 to celebrate the global influence of the indigenous arts. In 2021 Artist-In-Residence Muhammad Z Zaman created his “Unity in Diversity” mural, which fuses elements from English, Bangla, and Arabic languages into a celebration of humanity’s strength through mutual connection and inclusiveness. Currently, Artpark offers 24 public artworks and installations to the public year-round. The latest addition of “Murmuration” by studio SO-IL is the largest installation at Artpark since Omega in 1980 and a sound installation by the Holladay Brothers “Sonic Trails” offers hours of original content via a site-activated digital app.
Today, Artpark stands poised to reactivate some of its most important assets and histories thanks to the confluence of several opportunities. These include a renaissance in new artistic practices that engage ecological issues and related technologies for energy production and material change; a growing importance in the Buffalo region’s economy and the life of its cultural institutions; and a renewed commitment to exploring the relationship between contemporary arts, diverse cultural practices, and the natural world. These factors have led the current board and directorship to reaffirm Artpark’s mission under the motto Art + Nature + Culture.
In January 2020, Artpark completed Artpark Power 2030, a major Master Plan that completely re-envisions the institution’s grounds, facilities, and programming, including its Public & Visual Arts Development Strategy. Starting in 2022, the plan also calls for the expansion of the curatorial and operations services, which will include a Global Curator position. This new curator will work in close partnership with the Director of Fundraising and Development on funding the visual arts expansion plan as well as a major capital campaign.
Artpark has a 29-member board of directors led by Chairperson Joanne Bauer. Sonia Kozlova Clark serves as Artpark’s President, leading a full-time staff of 11 employees (expanding to 14 in 2022), a part-time/seasonal staff of more than 200 employees, and numerous independent contractors. For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, Artpark reported total revenue of $5.2 million, with $2.6 million from earned revenue and $954,000 in contributed revenue outside of additional federal relief funding. Its fiscal 2022 budget is expected to be $5.4 million, with $1 million from contributed revenues.
Western New York has served as a gathering place for people throughout history. Human artifacts dating back to 5,000 BCE have been found in the area and the Tuscarora Nation has had a strong presence in the region for more than 500 years. Western New York was the first site of European settlement in the area, dating back to the early 1700s, and was the last stop on the Underground Railroad for African Americans fleeing slavery for a life of freedom in Canada.
The Buffalo Niagara region is home to approximately 1.5 million residents. There are several border crossings from Canada that support a vibrant tourism economy. Downtown Buffalo is approximately a 30-minute drive south of Artpark, while Toronto and Rochester are 90 minutes away. Airtime for flights to New York City are less than an hour.
Local cultural institutions include the Castellani Art Museum and Sanborn Area Historical Society, which features two museums, the Schoolhouse Museum and the Farm Museum Museum. Educational institutions include the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District, Stella Niagara Education Park, Sacred Heart Villa School, St. Peter RC School, Niagara University, and Niagara County Community College. Libraries include the Sanborn-Pekin Free Library and the Ransomville Free Library. The closest regional cultural institutions sharing audiences with Artpark include Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Kleinhans Music Hall, and Shaw Festival in Canada.
Sources: native-land.ca, historiclewiston.org, townoflewiston.us, Wikipedia.com
The Director of Development will lead and implement all fundraising initiatives, serving as an integral part of the capital campaign that will support the advancement of the Master Plan. Reporting to the President, the Director of Development will collaborate with the board and staff to engage in the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major donors and leverage support from the State of New York. They will be supported by and work closely with the existing Development Associate. As an integral member of the senior management team, the Director of Development will play an active role as a thought leader in planning and communicating Artpark’s vision, which in turn will be leveraged to garner major support from individuals and institutions on both sides of the United States-Canada border.
Roles and Responsibilities
Community Engagement and Relationship Building
- Create case statements that amplify the importance of Artpark’s Master Plan and annual programs to articulate the value to the diverse communities that the organization serves.
- Expand the connections to public and private funders at the local, state, and federal levels while forming deeper relationships with foundations and other non-governmental granting organizations.
- Assist the nominating committee, Board Chair, and President in identifying, cultivating, and recruiting more diverse members of the board with particular focus on those who have connections to the Niagara region or are of national strategic importance in the cultural industries.
- Develop meaningful relationships with BIPOC individuals, communities, and funders, with an understanding of the needs and expectations of those various groups.
- Initiate digital and social media strategies to increase contributions.
- Increase volunteer initiatives to explore avenues for potential donorship.
- Develop authentic relationships with local and regional businesses to expand in-kind donations and sponsorship opportunities.
- Embrace other community engagement and relationship-building responsibilities as needed.
External Communications and Public Visibility
- Engage with BIPOC communities to ensure that the entire community recognizes Artpark as a destination that is accessible and welcoming to all visitors.
- Pursue a cross-border scope and communicate the subtle differences between Canadian and American markets and fundraising initiatives.
- Memorialize Artpark’s artistic and administrative narratives so that internal stakeholders speak with one voice.
- Attend local and regional events to increase Artpark’s visibility and connections throughout the region and state.
- Support communications initiatives that increase overall knowledge of and support for the organization, its programs, and Master Plan.
- Oversee and administer a schedule of local, state, and federal grant opportunities and reporting needs.
- Embrace other external communications and public visibility responsibilities as needed.
Campaign Planning and Management
- Oversee and execute an integrated capital campaign in alignment with the recently approved Master Plan, in collaboration with outside counsel, as needed.
- Develop planned giving initiatives and recognition programs that magnify the legacy that individuals will leave on the community.
- Recommend best practices and support procedures that empower board members to better support their community ambassadorship and fundraising roles.
- Embrace other campaign planning and management responsibilities as needed.
Administration and Management
- Develop the departmental budget, monitor its progress, and forecast potential changes to revenue with the President and board.
- Assess and implement customer relationship management, research, and other technology tools to support overall fundraising initiatives.
- Regularly report progress on operating, campaign, endowment, and planned giving goals.
- Support board committees and the Development Associate in the planning and execution of donor events.
- Oversee and mentor development staff and consultants as the department and organization grows.
- Direct donor stewardship and cultivation programs, including special events, benefits fulfillment, and volunteer engagement, among other areas.
- Develop partnerships with all key departments to support annual giving programs, sponsorships, special projects, events, and campaigns.
- Lead and mentor the development staff in utilizing available data to analyze and document fundraising needs and opportunities.
- Embrace other administration and management responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The Director of Development will be a natural connector who understands that people can be moved with narratives and data. A team player, the Director of Development will embrace their role as a leader within the organization and throughout the community. This dynamic individual will imagine new avenues of financial support and understand how to methodically and diligently plan a course of action that will support the present and future. A strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its forms is a must for any potential candidates. Collaboration and mentorship are vital values for success in this role.
Other key competencies of this role include:
- Influencing Others and Interpersonal Skills – The ability to deeply understand and affect the actions, decisions, opinions, and thinking of others through regular interactions and to communicate and build rapport with a broad array of people.
- Self-Starting and Professional Accountability – The capacity to initiate and pursue a robust work plan and be responsible for initiatives, decisions, and actions.
- Planning, Organizing, and Goal Orientation – The dexterity to chart a long-term course of action, develop measurable milestones, and meet intended deliverables towards a specific outcome.
- Resiliency – The flexibility to remain optimistic in the face of setbacks and challenges in recognizing that these are part of learning and growth that informs new strategies and tactics.
- Continuous Learning – The agility to stay abreast of recent trends in the arts, philanthropy, government cultural policy, and best practices in fundraising.
Candidates should possess a bachelor’s degree (master’s preferred), or equivalent professional experience, with a minimum of 10 years in mobilizing annual, capital, and operating support. Candidates should also have experience with multiple donor channels, including sponsorships, foundation support, and cultivating high net worth individuals. Proficiency with Microsoft Office and cloud collaboration tools and experience with online donor management platforms (such as Raiser’s Edge) are required. Familiarity with a variety of artistic disciplines would be beneficial in communicating Artpark’s broad range of activities to donors.
Compensation and Benefits
Artpark offers competitive compensation, anticipated in the range $90,000 to $110,000, with an opportunity to be based outside of the Niagara region during the off-season for remote work and flexible hours. Subsidized health insurance to single or family plan, contribution to a Simple IRA (currently at 3 percent), and other benefits are available.
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 unique job opportunity, please contact:
Menon Dwarka, Senior Vice President
1040 First Avenue, Suite 352
New York, NY 10022-2991
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 206
Artpark & Company is an equal opportunity employer that celebrates the diversity of the arts and the people who have daily impacts in this dynamic field.
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