Grunin Center for the Arts
Executive and Artistic Director
The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts (Grunin Center) is located on the main campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey. As the premier performing arts facility serving Ocean County and the Jersey Shore, the Grunin Center features a 464-seat main theater, 200-seat studio theater, 90-seat black box theater, and a gallery. Its stages host a variety of performances in all genres of music, theater, film, and dance, reaching more than 47,000 people annually
The Grunin Center’s mission is to provide transformative experiences that connect the community together through the arts and to serve as a cultural resource for the students of Ocean County College and the residents of the Jersey Shore. The Grunin Center was named in 2014 after Jay Grunin and his late wife Linda. Civic and business leaders in Toms River, the Grunins established their foundation in 2013 to increase community involvement and economic development opportunities through the arts, healthcare, and education. In 2014, the Grunins announced a $5.75 million donation to Ocean County College to create the center and support its artistic programs
The Grunin Center offers a robust presenting season that features national and international touring acts, which in recent seasons have included Rufus Wainwright, Savion Glover, Graham Nash, and the Vienna Boys Choir. The RWJBarnabas Health Family Series features family-friendly music and theater, including favorites such as Pinkalicious: The Musical and A Christmas Carol by the Yates Musical Theatre for Children. The Blauvelt Speaker Series features best-selling authors and contemporary figures, while the Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon series brings local and national jazz performers to campus. The Schools n’ Stage series offers programming based on science, arts, and culture to elementary, middle, and high school students. This series has presented entertaining, engaging science-based K-5 national touring programs on stage, as well as world music concerts in conjunction with the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission
Resident companies at the Grunin Center include the OCC Repertory Theatre Company (the Rep), OCC Concert Band, and the Garden State Philharmonic. The Rep produces five theatrical productions per season, cultivating and developing student and community interest in theater. The Garden State Philharmonic is the Jersey Shore’s professional symphony orchestra that performs four to five concerts annually at the Grunin Center. Ocean County College’s performing and fine arts students perform both on the stage and at the Ocean County and New Jersey State Teen Arts Festivals. In addition, the Grunin Center shares resources and works in close collaboration with the Robert J. Novins Planetarium, a 103-seat dome theater. Presenting a wide variety of educational programs—including Star Talks, laser shows, and 360-degree family films—the Novins Planetarium encourages its patrons to “keep looking up.” In addition to public shows, the Novins Planetarium rents the dome space to outside organizations and offers programs for school and camp groups, birthday parties, and special themed events
Ocean County College is a public two-year community college that offers associate degrees and certificate programs in more than 40 areas of study, enrolling more than 8,000 students annually. Ocean County residents represent 90 percent of the enrolled students. The school has a track record of attracting top-ranked students through the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (STARS) Program—more than any other New Jersey community college. Its School of Arts and Humanities provides courses in the visual art, dance, music, theater, media and design studies, humanities, and liberal arts. The School also houses a specialized program in American Sign Language. The neighboring Performing Arts Academy of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School (OCVTS) district partners with the Grunin Center to provide performing opportunities for its young artists.
A division of Ocean County College, the Grunin Center has four full-time staff members and the Novins Planetarium has two full-time staff members. Its FY19 budget was $1.3 million.
Ocean County is located in Central New Jersey along the Jersey Shore, situated between exits 91 and 50 of the Garden State Parkway. Ocean County’s proximity to New York and Philadelphia makes for convenient access to Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport as well as the hundreds of national and international destinations served from these two major eastern airports. In addition, New Jersey Transit provides convenient bus and train service to Ocean County. There are 33 incorporated townships and boroughs in Ocean County, with the county seat at Toms River Township. With a population of more than 600,000 people, Ocean County is the sixth most populous county in New Jersey and one of the fastest growing counties in the state.
Tourism is an important component of Ocean County’s economy. Its 44 miles of oceanfront beaches, as well as many miles of bay and riverfront space, make the area a popular summer destination for thousands of visitors from the tri-state area and beyond who come to enjoy the beaches and boardwalks of the famed Jersey Shore. Four seasons with a generally mild winter provide residents with plentiful outdoor experiences beyond the beaches. Ocean County has more than 4,000 acres of parkland for biking, running, and other sports and outdoor activities. There are more than 30 golf courses within 20 miles of Toms River. Funded through a voter-approved 1.2 cents dedicated tax, the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Program was established in 1997 to acquire and maintain environmentally sensitive land and natural areas and for the preservation of farmland. To date, more than 17,000 acres have been acquired and public access provides opportunities for kayaking, hunting, fishing, and hiking.
Education opportunities are strong in the Central New Jersey region. In addition to Ocean County College, residents of the area are within an hour or less driving distance to Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, The College of New Jersey, Monmouth University, and Princeton University, among others. The Toms River Regional School District enrolls more than 15,000 students and features 12 elementary schools, three intermediate schools, and three high schools. With a student-teacher ratio of 13:1, it is recognized as a high-performing district by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Cost of living in the Ocean County area is slightly above the national average but 43.5 percent less than in New York City, with a Best Places overall index of 105.8. The median home price is $265,300. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate was at 4 percent. The largest employers in Ocean County are Six Flags Great Adventure, Ocean County Government, RWJBarnabas Health, Ocean Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health, Toms River Regional School District, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Sources: ocean.edu, census.gov, oceancountytourism.gov, nces.gov, bestplaces.net
The Executive and Artistic Director will provide the artistic vision and direction to guide a multi-disciplinary season of programs and events that enrich the academic, cultural, and creative life of Ocean County College and the broader communities of Ocean County and the Jersey Shore. Reporting to Ocean County College’s Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration Sara Winchester and working closely with Dean of Arts and Humanities Heidi Sheridan, this dynamic and creative leader will have a vision for the Grunin Center and will serve as an ambassador for Ocean County College and its cultural programs. They will play a key role in cultivating and stewarding donors for arts and cultural programming and foster partnerships and collaborations that enhance the cultural life of the region. Guided by Ocean County College’s overarching mission and vision, the Executive and Artistic Director will establish annual and long-term goals designed to elevate the Grunin Center’s position as a premier hub for artistic and cultural programming in New Jersey. The incumbent will also manage the operations of the Robert J. Novins Planetarium. This individual will lead a talented team in strategic planning, fund development, programming, community engagement, and friend raising, as well as provide oversight for effective organizational operations and fiscal responsibility.
Roles and Responsibilities
Programmatic Vision and Leadership
- Provide the leadership to create an exciting artistic vision that furthers the Grunin Center’s role as a premier hub for cultural engagement in New Jersey.
- Conceive and implement a lively performing arts season that aligns with Ocean County College’s mission, supporting the institution’s educational and community service goals.
- Explore opportunities to expand the cultural richness and diversity of the artistic and educational programs presented at the Grunin Center, striving to present programs that broaden participation and engage new audiences.
- Actively collaborate with resident companies and other existing and potential artistic partners to support the cultural growth of the region.
- Partner with the School of Arts and Humanities programming of the black box theater, providing technical and operational support for productions.
- Maximize the educational and learning opportunities offered at the Novins Planetarium.
Partnerships and Community Engagement
- Collaborate with the Academic Affairs Division to promote and support the development of programs and curricula that enhance connections with and integration into the college’s academic, cultural, and enrichment goals.
- Partner with Ocean County College Admissions and the Dean of Arts and Humanities to develop programs and events that attract students to the offered visual and performing arts degree and certificate programs.
- Support the programmatic goals of the School of Arts and Humanities through marketing and technical support of productions by the Rep and the OCC Concert Band.
- Leverage the college’s partnership with the neighboring Performing Arts Academy of the OCVTS, supporting its production needs and engaging faculty, students, and their families in the overall Grunin Center experience.
- Serve as ambassador and spokesperson for Ocean County College Cultural Affairs and the Grunin Center, engaging with key community partners to advance the mission and goals of the organization.
Fiscal Management and Operations
- Provide day-to-day oversight and supervision for the Grunin Center staff, developing work plans and staff assignments, hiring and evaluating staff, mentoring and providing training, and fostering a supportive environment that values creativity, diversity, and mutual respect.
- Oversee the optimal use of the Grunin Center facilities through robust scheduling, booking arrangements, contract management, and all aspects of production for programs and events
- Oversee the operations of the Novins Planetarium, managing staff and programs, advertising and promotion, technology improvements, and asset safeguarding.
- Prepare annual budget and manage financial resources throughout the fiscal year, following the college’s management policies, including financial reporting, revenue forecasting, and revenue goals for the Grunin Center and Novins Planetarium
- Collaborate with the college’s Grants Department, the Ocean County College Foundation, and other college officials to cultivate and steward current and future foundation and individual donors
- Identify and pursue opportunities for increased public support, maintaining relationships with local, state, and federal arts funders, including the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission.
- Develop and implement short- and long-range plans, operational objectives, policies and procedures and identify and formulate strategies that support the continuous operational and programmatic improvement at the Grunin Center and Novins Planetarium.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive and Artistic Director will be a creative and thoughtful leader who inspires others with their passion and vision for lifelong engagement in the arts. A thoughtful collaborator who is open to new ideas and opportunities, this individual will value frequent interaction with partners and constituents. The Executive and Artistic Director will be a good communicator, adaptable and at ease with changing situations and shifts in the workday. They will demonstrate initiative and the ability to prioritize tasks and balance timelines to reach the desired outcomes. The Executive and Artistic Director will be an outgoing and effective communicator who is able to build relationships and networks with key stakeholders to further the mission of the organization.
Other key competencies of the role include:
- Leadership and Interpersonal Skills – The ability to inspire and influence others with a compelling vision, build trust and rapport with a broad range of people, and demonstrate respect and sensitivity to different perspectives and cultural backgrounds.
- Diplomacy and Negotiation – The aptitude to facilitate agreement on difficult or sensitive issues, listen to multiple points of view, and guide consensus for mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Conceptual Thinking – The foresight to envision new and expanded possibilities, analyze data and identify connections, and formulate new or innovative approaches and insights.
- Audience and Community Focus – The drive to create an audience-focused environment responsive to the community’s artistic and social interests.
- Time and Priority Management – The capacity to identify and manage competing priorities, strategize to overcome difficulties and delays, and maximize the use of time and resources to achieve organizational priorities.
Leadership experience in an arts and cultural organization with a minimum of five years of administrative experience, staff supervision, and significant responsibility for program development, theater production, venue management, and budget oversight are required. At least three years of experience working with clients or patrons in community and public relations is necessary, along with demonstrated success establishing professional relationships within and outside the organization. Familiarity with and/or ability to adapt to various technologies, social media platforms, or software packages is needed. A master’s degree in art, dance, music, theater, arts administration, or a related discipline (or a master’s degree and at least 18 credits in art, dance, music, theater, arts administration, or a related discipline) is required. Proven results in fund development and contributed and earned revenue skills are highly desired.
Compensation and Benefits
Ocean County College offers a competitive salary commensurate with results-oriented experience. The benefits package includes paid time off, medical and dental insurance, and pension, educational, and wellness programs. The starting salary is expected to be in the range of $73,238 to $97,650.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please complete and submit your application through Ocean County College’s online portal here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Senior Vice President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Ocean County College is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race; color; religion; sex; gender identity; sexual orientation; pregnancy; marital, civil union, or domestic partnership status; family or parental status; national origin; age; physical or mental disability; family medical history or genetic information; political affiliation; military or veteran status; or any other protected classification.
Pursuant to the New Jersey First Act, effective September 1, 2011, all employees of State and local government must reside in the State of New Jersey within one year of hire unless exempted under the law.
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