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National Guild for Community Arts Education Executive Director New York City

National Guild for Community Arts Education

Executive Director


The National Guild for Community Arts Education (Guild) is the sole national service organization for community arts education providers in the United States. Founded in 1937 and based in New York City, the Guild works collaboratively with a broad range of practitioners and stakeholders to ensure that all people have access to high-quality arts education. The Guild believes art participation is essential to human development and healthy communities. Its membership includes more than 400 organizations in 46 states that serve 2.5 million students, employ more than 16,000 teaching artists, and engage 8 million Americans through performances and exhibitions. The Guild develops in-person and virtual programs in the key areas of Creative Youth Development, Creative Aging, Arts in Education, Leadership Development, Nonprofit Growth and Sustainability, and Social Justice. Key programs include the annual Conference for Community Arts Education, Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI), Catalyzing Creative Aging (seed grants/training), the National Young Artists Summit, Rootwork (online learning and cohort building), and member networks. Publications include the Guild’s quarterly newsletter—GuildNotes, a monthly e-bulletin, biannual benchmarking survey, Creative Youth Development National Action Blueprint, and an extensive online resource center.

With a mission to ensure all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and advocating for community arts education, the Guild’s ongoing work is guided by its core values of Leadership, Equity, Community, and Creativity. The Guild is in a period of transformation as the organization moves towards a shared leadership culture and intentional racial equity practices and policies. This work formally began with board and staff trainings in 2015, followed by the formation of the African, LatinX, Asian, Arab, Native American (ALAANA) member network the next year—now renamed ARE, Artists for Racial Equity.  A board Racial Equity Committee was formed to “advocate for, promote, and ensure full equitable and inclusive service to the full spectrum of racially and ethnically diverse Community Based Arts Organizations and Individuals in the nation.” In spring 2019, the Guild received funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to conduct a racial equity-based strategic planning process focused on internal structures, practices, and policies. The planning process is aimed at shifting the Guild toward a human-centered and people-first organization. The plan will be informed by the Racial Equity Principles and Policy Statements created in 2020. The Guiding Principles are:

  • Prioritization of Those Most Impacted
  • Redistribution of Power
  • Direct Confrontation
  • Reparation and Advocacy
  • Transformation of Self

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization implemented a “pay what you can” membership option for all organizations and launched a series of ongoing community conversations that provide a virtual forum for continuous discussions, constructive sharing, and co-learning. While currently on hold, CAELI provides an intensive transformative experience through which both established and emerging leaders advance their skills by engaging with top leadership trainers, nationally renowned practitioners, and a diverse cohort of peers. The eight-month program is limited to a small group of participants who are assembled through a competitive application process

A nonprofit membership corporation, the Guild is governed by a 22-member board of trustees, chaired by Duffie Adelson. All Term Trustees are elected by the Guild’s members. An interim management team is providing leadership during this period of transition. In the fiscal year ending December 2020, the Guild operations were supported by $1.53 million in revenue, with $1.29 million from contributions and grants and $226,750 from program services. Expenses totaled $1.64 million. Its pre-COVID annual budget has typically been approximately $2 million.

Position Summary

The Executive Director (ED) of the Guild will be an advocate and passionate visionary for community arts education. This individual will build up and lead a high performing and diverse team and will create a new, inspiring, and clear strategic plan, reflecting the Guild’s core values. Embraced by the board, members, key funders, and staff, the ED will become a nationally recognized expert and advocate for community arts education. They will have primary responsibility for supervising all aspects of the organization, including membership, the annual conference, advocacy, program and strategic partnerships, programs, operations, fundraising, and finances.

A big picture thinker, the ED will work in partnership with the board of trustees to advance the organization’s mission and strategically lead its efforts, including resource development, learning and engagement, member engagement, fiscal and organizational management, and governance. The ED will lead and collaborate with a staff of 11 full-time employees who are based in New York City and various locations across the country. Serving as the Guild’s lead spokesperson, the ED will maintain excellent relationships with critical allies, including community arts educators, key foundations and donors, and relevant federal, state, and local agencies.

Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Advocacy

  • Create and execute strategic priorities, programs, and services to ensure alignment with the organization’s core values.
  • Develop near-, medium-, and long-term actions to integrate the Racial Equity Principles and Policy statements into the fabric and practice of the Guild.
  • Complete the Racial Equity Planning Process and integrate learnings into the broader organizational strategic planning process.
  • Guide the strategic planning process, building on learnings from existing plans and in communication with the field.
  • Build and execute annual work plans with the board and staff to achieve strategic goals and priorities.
  • Serve as the spokesperson for the Guild, representing the organization to the public, members, media, and broadly across the field.
  • Develop strategic partnerships that propel organizational priorities and industry-wide impacts.
  • Bring advocacy and legislative matters to the board’s attention and work with the board and staff to develop action plans that highlight the importance and impact of community arts education.
  • Provide leadership to the members’ fields of interest as an advocate for the Guild’s core values.

Board Development and Member Relations

  • Actively partner with the board on short- and long-term planning efforts and ensure adequate staffing on each board committee.
  • Communicate proactively and regularly with the board on progress toward goals providing timely information to support decision making.
  • Oversee the implementation and evaluation of existing programs, including conferences and projects, and propose new initiatives that both ensure effective fulfillment of the Guild’s vision and mission and enhance the value of its membership.
  • Ensure that the Guild’s annual conference, special projects, and other programs continue to serve members' needs while also staying within the organization’s budget.
  • Develop strategies to increase Guild membership and broaden and deepen engagement with members and partners to be more inclusive and representative of the community arts education field.
  • Encourage open and transparent communication with the Guild’s membership and solicit feedback on programs and services to foster active participation.

Fundraising and Fiscal Resiliency

  • Serve as the Guild’s primary ambassador and fundraiser.
  • Develop and implement annual and multi-year fundraising plans to secure adequate revenue to support operations, programs, and board-approved initiatives.
  • Identify, cultivate, and assist in the recruitment of board members whose skills, experience, financial connections, and diversity meet the organization’s needs and can advance its mission and guiding principles.
  • Guide the board, staff, and members in building a culture of philanthropy, developing strategies and defining key messages to ensure that revenues meet organizational goals.
  • Identify, build, and maintain strong relationships with key community partners to diversify and expand all areas of earned and contributed revenue.
  • Ensure that organizational and fiscal policies, systems, controls, and procedures are in alignment with the Guild’s mission and values and are regularly reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Collaborate with the financial team to ensure successful preparation, monitoring, and monthly reporting of the annual budget, safeguarding that the organization functions within established parameters.

Organizational Equity

  • Demonstrate a collaborative leadership style and professionally communicate with energy, inspiration, and clarity with the Guild’s members, staff, board, and community.
  • Guide and support a senior leadership team that shares power and decision making to ensure excellence in all programs and operations.
  • Model an example for the field by creating and sustaining a workplace culture that nurtures a diverse, highly qualified staff.
  • Build a culture of continuous learning, providing professional development opportunities for every member of the staff and the board
  • Determine the appropriate types of staff positions that ensure the Guild is prepared to meet the field’s needs.
  • Oversee all internal corporate matters, including legal issues and lease negotiations.

Traits and Characteristics

The ED will be an open and collaborative leader driven to create purpose and direction while strongly valuing service to and engagement with the Guild’s members and stakeholders. This individual will be a strategic thinker who is flexible in their approach to solving the critical issues facing the field. The ED will embrace collaboration and teamwork as a leader who serves a national constituency. Focused on centering people in their decision-making processes, the ED will be people-oriented and invite the skills, experiences, and input of others in prioritizing key initiatives, formulating plans, and achieving successful outcomes. A futuristic thinker, the ED will be diplomatic, open to new ideas and approaches, and able to connect with a wide range of people to build strong relationships.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership and Professional Accountability – The ability to organize and motivate others with a sense of purpose and direction while being accountable for personal and professional actions.
  • Planning and Organizing – The capacity to set and prioritize relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and risks of managing resources and setting priorities.
  • Teamwork – The dexterity to organize and motivate others while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among the board, officers, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders to achieve collective goals.
  • Continuous Learning and Resilience – The ability to quickly recover from adversity and take initiative to regularly learn new concepts, technologies, or methods.
  • Diplomacy – The capacity to deeply respect others, treat them fairly, and listen to them authentically regardless of personal biases or beliefs, while maintaining positive and productive relationships.


Qualified applicants should have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Evidence of increasing responsibility in a senior management role within an arts, education, community, or nonprofit member-based organization is highly desirable, though candidates outside of these types of organizations are also welcome to apply. National association management experience is a plus and demonstrable fundraising and supervisory experience is required. Involvement in organizational racial equity and social justice efforts is essential. Candidates must also demonstrate strong communication skills along with proven effectiveness in working with boards of trustees, board officers, and diverse groups of individuals.

Compensation and Benefits

The Guild offers competitive compensation, with a salary range between $160,000 and $175,000, and a benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance; a SIMPLE IRA with employer matching; and paid time off and holidays. Other benefits are available through the Guild’s PEO, such as life insurance, short- and long-term disability, flexible spending account, and others.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, including the anticipated salary range, please contact:

Wyona Lynch-McWhite
Senior Vice President

292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel:       (888) 234-4236, Ext. 225

The Guild is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by the law.


Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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