“We are not all the same, but we share a oneness.”
- Ernest Shaw, Creative Alliance artist
Creative Alliance builds communities by bringing together artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds to experience spectacular arts and to engage in the creative process. Located in the Highlandtown Arts District, also known as the “ha!,” this area is recognized for its cultural diversity and industrial spaces where artists live and work. Creative Alliance provides support to area artists, promotes Baltimore as a center for creative production, acts as a positive force in the community, and advocates for cultural expression rooted in a sense of place. Creative Alliance is known for its production of award-winning workshops, exhibitions, and festivals with community members and partners to promote vibrancy and community for Baltimore’s most diverse neighborhood. The organization is committed to making a positive impact and providing a multidisciplinary and transformative experience.
Founded by volunteers in 1995 as the Fells Point Creative Alliance, its building—the Fells Point rowhouse—was used as a multidisciplinary space for exhibitions, performances, and an artist guild, presenting contemporary arts, readings, workshops for all ages, and lectures on regional art and history. After growing into several buildings, Creative Alliance consolidated its offices, gallery, theater, classroom, cafe, artist studios, and performance space into one space—the Patterson Theater. This converted, one-screen movie house was part of a revitalization plan for Highlandtown, which neighbors Fells Point. The Patterson, which opened in 2003, is now a multi-purpose arts center featuring a 200-seat flexible theater, classroom, media lab, an artist residency program with live and workspaces for eight artists, a café lounge, and two art galleries.
The Creative Alliance stage is a lynchpin of Baltimore’s cultural scene and known for taking risks and providing audiences with a deep, eclectic quality experience. Creative Alliance presents both local and national programming in an energetic and intimate space that celebrates a sense of place, no matter where the artists come from. The galleries offer more than 20 exhibitions each year, with the Main Gallery as one of Baltimore’s largest nonprofit exhibition spaces. Representing a diverse range of genres, the Main Gallery showcases the work of the resident artists as well as The Big Show, an annual exhibition showing members’ work. The Amalie Rothschild Gallery, named after one of Baltimore’s great sculptures and arts patrons, acts as a flexible installation space and an incubator for artist’s projects, with an open proposal program for members. The galleries are part of the Highland Arts District’s monthly First Friday Art Walk.
Creative Alliance has a robust youth education program, with after-school, enrichment, and summer programs serving more than 4,500 students per year at schools, libraries, community centers, and events in Baltimore. Open Minds is an after-school reading-based art program where students are taught creative problem-solving techniques and critical thinking skills with hands-on art projects and tours of the galleries, culminating in a final exhibition. The Out of School Time program offers homework help, art enrichment, exercise, snacks, and supper in partnership with Urban Foli, WombWorks Productions, and teaching artists working with theater, African drumming, visual arts, and dance. This program is guided by certified Baltimore City Public School teachers and leads to two final showcase performances at Creative Alliance. The Teen Council provides job training to Baltimore City youth and also makes programmatic suggestions through collaborations in exhibitions, performances, and festivals. Creative Alliance engages children and teens of all ages and experience levels in the artistic process to cultivate appreciation of art and what makes art a vital part of school and community life. Additional family activities and annual events include the Free Family Art Drop-in, The Great Halloween Lantern Parade, Día Del Niño, Puppy Days of Summer Block Party, and World Refugee Day. Digital performances were introduced in response to COVID restrictions, which have provided new opportunities for the organization.
Creative Alliance is governed by a 37-member board of trustees, chaired by Doreen Bolger. Its FY20 budget was $2 million and its FY19 budget was $2.7 million. Creative Alliance has 10 full-time staff members. Senior staff reporting to the Executive Director include the Technical Director, Director of Development, Performance Director, Visual Arts Director, and the Marketing and Communications Director.
As Maryland’s largest city and economic hub, Baltimore is a diverse city known for its distinct neighborhoods, breathtaking harbor of the Chesapeake Bay, and vibrant arts and culture scene. Baltimore is home to two world-renowned hospitals, Fortune 500 companies such as Black & Decker and T. Rowe Price, and 17 colleges and universities, including Johns Hopkins University, University of Baltimore, and Loyola University Maryland. Baltimore City Public Schools is the third most-funded school system and among the 100 largest in the country. Maryland ranks as the second most educated state in the country, just behind Massachusetts.
Baltimore supports a large growing population of millennials. As of 2019, one out of every four Baltimore residents was between the ages of 25 and 34. The region’s current economy is based in health care, medicine and biotech, advanced manufacturing, financial services, and professional sports. Due to growing employment opportunities, the city’s cost of living is 17 percent higher than the national average. Although housing costs are 47 percent higher than the national average, Baltimore is very affordable in comparison to cities like New York and Washington, DC.
Known as “Charm City,” Baltimore is moving from a working-class port town to a dynamic urban center that is home to 2.7 million people. The Greater Baltimore region is the 20th largest metropolitan area in the United States. The hub of the Northeast Corridor and the Mid-Atlantic region, the city is within train or driving distance from Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and Washington, DC. Due to the temperate climate, one can enjoy a wide scope of activities throughout the four seasons. Commuter and visitor friendly, the city is eight miles from the international airport and has a train and Metro SubwayLink connecting the suburbs of Baltimore. Free hybrid buses and water taxis connect cultural and historic neighborhoods.
Sources: baltimore.org, visitmaryland.org, baltimoretourism.com
Reporting to the board, the Executive Director will serve as the chief executive officer and organizational innovator for the Creative Alliance. This visionary and dynamic community leader will be a bridge builder, active listener, skilled collaborator, and champion for the critical role of the arts in a vibrant, forward-thinking, and intersectional community. The Executive Director will partner with the board in ensuring governance models that engage a diversity of people and perspectives. This individual will develop, motivate, and lead an experienced team in external relations, fund development, marketing, strategic planning, artistic planning, and educational programming, as well as provide overall operational, financial, and administrative oversight.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Direction and Leadership
- Recommend vision and strategy to accomplish the mission for an innovative, forward-thinking organization that inspires and engages the board, staff, and community members.
- Serve as the champion for the organization’s strategic plan and the successful achievement of longer-term goals.
- Inspire interest in the organization and nurture and sustain a culture of respect and inclusiveness that values the power of diversity with a firm commitment to equity and access.
- Identify and create partnerships with other organizations that further the mission.
- Lead a positive learning organization that creates a climate of respectful inquiry in which Creative Alliance and its partners are encouraged to take risks, diversify, and innovate for social change.
- Stay abreast of external environmental trends and make recommendations to manage their impact or influence on the organization.
- Facilitate inter-dependency between programs to cultivate shared responsibility and inspiration for achieving the organization’s mission.
- Inspire opportunities to support program development and management, identifying and creating partnerships with other organizations that further the mission.
- Oversee the short- and long-range planning and evaluation of artistic and educational programs that strive to deepen equity, inclusion, and social action for increased audience participation, appreciation, and community engagement.
- Address systemic racism with thoughtful programmatic vision, embedded governance structures, dynamic staffing, equitable vendor interactions, and intentional audience experiences.
Board Engagement and Support
- Serve as primary point person for the board of trustees, ensuring it members understand the organization’s mission and their role in supporting its achievement.
- Report on the organization’s finances, partner with the board in its policy-making role, and ensure its members have timely access to accurate and updated information on finances, policies, key performance indicators, cultural trends, and relevant issues to help them reach decisions that advance the organization’s mission.
- Represent the staff’s perspective on key issues being considered by the board, advocating in their interests.
- Coordinate annual activities involving the board and staff, such as strategic planning and retreats.
- Assign staff to support board committees as needed.
- Supports board members in carrying out the board’s duties.
Revenue Enhancement and Partnerships
- Communicate the organization’s mission to the funders and support engagement with individual donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors.
- Provide oversight to all fundraising and resource development activities, including accurate and timely reports to funders.
- Support fundraising efforts and identify and prepare grant applications in partnership with the Director of Development.
- Provide leadership for financial management and the creation of the organizational budget.
- Engage and cultivate new donors and ensure appropriate, accurate acknowledgement for contributions.
- Collaborate with the board and staff to implement a robust portfolio of contributed revenue, cultivate current and future individual and foundation donors, and identify and secure gifts, grants, and sponsorships from businesses.
- Pursue public funding opportunities; establish and strengthen relationships with local, state, and federal officials; and ensure quality applications to public sources.
- Bring an entrepreneurial approach to marketing and communication strategies, identifying new revenue opportunities to maximize earned revenue through ticket sales, concessions, program fees, rentals, and other areas.
- Anticipate the possible financial and organizational effects of change management, effectively assess crises and conflicts, and honor multiple opinions, values, and points of view.
- Actively engage as the public face of the organization with existing and potential artistic and community partners in holistic approaches to community initiatives and programs.
- Develop creative partnerships with Baltimore social action agencies, resident companies, regional arts and cultural organizations, and others that produce and present programs at Creative Alliance.
- Communicate Creative Alliance’s mission to multiple audiences and develop and guide the implementation of effective strategies to expand participation.
- Advocate for artists, arts education, and arts access throughout the community and Maryland.
Administration and Organizational Management
- Provide oversight and leadership for all areas of the organization and ensure staff members have what they need to do their jobs.
- Create and oversee structure to support effective programming and achievement of goals while respecting the life/work balance of the organization’s talented and hardworking staff.
- Foster collaboration and amplify teamwork by serving as an active listener and communicator.
- Create an environment in which employees are empowered to express their opinions and concerns to staff leadership and staff leadership are empowered to express their opinions and concerns to the Executive Director.
- Embrace innovation and change management activities with an inclusive decision-making process.
- Build an efficient organization with a sustainable infrastructure based on available resources, defining new positions and integrating them into the organizational structure.
- Look for and implement opportunities to bring good management practices into the organization, including process coordination for staff performance reviews and procurement for high-quality consultants.
- Define the process for developing and maintaining an accurate database to drive marketing and event management.
- Develop, motivate, mentor, uplift, and lead an experienced staff while recognizing the incredible efforts of the entire team that delivers on Creative Alliance’s mission, vision, and values.
- Manage financial resources with integrity and transparency, establish and monitor financial controls, and oversee audit standards and money management policies.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be an innovative and strategic leader who can bring together multiple constituencies to achieve a common vision. This individual will exhibit trust, integrity, and transparency and will lead by example with empathy and a vision that inspires others. The Executive Director will value frequent interaction and collaboration with the internal team and external community partnerships and will have an innate ability to build rapport with a wide range of stakeholders. They will demonstrate accountability and adaptability to various situations and be comfortable with change. An inclusive leader, the Executive Director will be responsive to new ideas, opportunities, and innovation while effectively leveraging organizational, human, financial, and digital resources. This individual will have the capacity to discern competing priorities, embracing equitable opportunities in a timely manner while quickly adapting during periods of uncertainty.
Other key competencies of the role include:
- Diplomacy and Teamwork – The capacity to deeply respect others, effectively and tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues, build consensus, and guide the team in support of their values and those of the organization.
- Personal Accountability – The ability to self-evaluate and take responsibility for personal actions and decisions, accept setbacks, look for ways to progress, and understand how obstacles impact results.
- Leadership – The aptitude to organize, inspire, and influence people to believe in a vision, creating a sense of common purpose centered on creativity, artistry, and diversity.
- Interpersonal Skills – The drive to instill a customer-centric approach throughout the organization, anticipating and understanding existing and future audience interests and addressing broader social, artistic, and community concerns.
- Conflict Management – The ability to understand, address, and resolve conflict constructively and effectively manage difficulties.
Seven to 10 years of leadership experience in an innovative arts-based, cultural, educational, or similar community-focused or socially-oriented nonprofit organization is required. A demonstrated commitment to workplace equity, diversity, inclusion, and access are required, as well as experience navigating change and inspiring a high-achieving, seasoned team of creative professionals and administrators. In addition to a history of personal involvement in the performing and visual arts, qualified candidates will possess or will develop a deep knowledge of the performing and visual arts, trends, and best practices in arts and arts education. Experience leading and inspiring positive change with community-centric work and advocating for change at a local and national level are needed. Proven results in fundraising and comprehensive contributed and earned revenue skills are highly desirable, along with an outstanding proven track record of development and community relations. A bachelor’s degree in the arts, business, nonprofit management, or related field (or equivalent experience) is preferred. A broad range of life experience is welcomed.
Compensation and Benefits
Creative Alliance offers competitive compensation, with a salary range between $100,000 and $120,000 and a benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision insurance; a SIMPLE IRA with employer matching; and paid time off and holidays.
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, including the anticipated salary range, please contact:
Senior Vice President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel: (888) 234-4236, Ext. 225
As an inclusive community that works toward being an anti-racist organization,
Creative Alliance encourages applicants of all ages, races, classes, gender identities,
sexual orientations, religions, and physical abilities.
Click here for the downloadable PDF.