Newark Arts has been powering arts to transform lives since 1981. Serving more than 80 arts organizations throughout the city, Newark Arts serves as a cultural resource lighthouse to the community through its goals of sharing resources, cross-functional opportunities, activism, and promotion of arts and culture. Transforming the lives of those who live, work, and visit Newark, the organization is committed to arts and culture, education, and racial equity.
Newark Arts is one of four BIPOC-led cultural organizations in the city. The 40-year-old institution reflects the diversity of the city’s population of 281,700 people and strives to stimulate the economy with artistry and jobs, serve as a catalyst for social-justice, and promote access to arts education. Collaborating with other nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses, Newark Arts amplifies the voice of the community to address racial injustice, women’s empowerment, and recognition of indigenous peoples through fiscal and technical support.
To maximize the collective impact, Newark Arts builds a bridge to bring people together and cultivate inclusive engagement of downtown communities and throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. The annual Newark Arts Festival, the largest of its kind in the community, is four days of visual and performing arts bustling with exhibits, street displays, and studio open houses celebrating the distinctive and diverse contributions to arts and culture.
Newark Arts is governed by an 18-member board of directors, currently led by Donna Walker-Kuhne, and operates with a hard earned $1.5 million budget, with a fiscal year that starts on July 1 and ends on June 30. The Executive Director oversees a staff of eight employees. Responding to the call to serve, the organization provides seed money through ArtStart Grants and serves as the fiscal agent for the Arts Ed Newark (AEN). With its finger on the pulse of the city, Newark Arts develops and publishes Newark Arts and Economic Development reports, the community cultural plan for Newark.
Founded in 1666, Newark, New Jersey, enjoys a rich cultural legacy fueled by waves of immigration. As the financial, commercial, and transportation nucleus of the Garden State, as well as its largest city, Newark is a cosmopolitan community boasting a wide selection of exceptional dining, shopping, entertainment, and sports venues. Newark is a thriving cultural hub filled with events and attractions for visitors from near and far. As the state’s premier center for the performing and visual arts, Newark offers a rich variety of theater, dance, and music, as well as an array of museums and galleries showcasing art and history. According to Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, a study conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $178 million industry in the City of Newark. The SMU National Center for Arts Research ranked Newark as the ninth most arts-vibrant community in the nation out of more than 900 communities surveyed across the country in 2017—reflecting the Newark community’s prominence in presenting the arts and culture, its history as a major hub of the Black Arts Movement, and its ongoing proficiency as a cultivator of artists. SMU’s 2020 Arts Vibrancy Index ranked Newark as the seventh most arts-vibrant region.
Newark is ideally located, with easy access to Manhattan (just eight miles to the east) and Philadelphia. Thanks to exceptional transportation options—including major air, rail, bus, and highway systems—Newark is among the most conveniently located metropolises in the country. The city is home to more than 281,700 residents and is at the crossroads of New Jersey’s Gateway Region, with four million residents. It has long been an important center of higher education, with more than 50,000 students, faculty, and staff filling the six colleges and universities located in its downtown business district. This historic city is experiencing rapid growth. A multitude of new restaurants and services have opened to support the thousands of residential units recently completed, under construction, or being planned. Numerous corporations have moved significant operations to Newark, including the United States headquarters for Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Panasonic, Audible, and Broadridge Financial Solutions. Other corporations have been major anchor institutions for more than 50 years, such as Prudential Financial, Public Service Enterprise Group, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Newark also offers easy access to many regional attractions, including 61 state parks and forests, 130 miles of beaches, and four professional sports teams.
Sources: bcdcnewark.org; ci.newark.nj.us; newarkarts.org
An exceptional visionary and advocate for the arts, the Executive Director will imagine, organize, and execute across the spectrum of administration, management, human resources, financial planning, community advocacy, marketing, promotion, and fundraising. A visible leader, this individual will work closely with city officials and community leaders. The Executive Director will provide the vision and leadership to promote equitable and inclusive strategies for participation in the arts. They will ensure that the Newark Arts’ programs and services have an impact on culturally, socioeconomically, and geographically diverse communities throughout Newark. The Executive Director will be responsible for Newark Arts as the critical intermediary institution, providing fiscal stewardship and serving as a fiscal agent for 10 arts initiatives.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Direction and Vision
- Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access throughout the organization, with policies and practices that foster transformative change.
- Balance an exciting vision for Newark’s creative economy with a realistic understanding of local policy and the political and environmental factors impacting the region and the arts sector.
- 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.
- Stay abreast of external environmental trends and make recommendations to manage their impact or influence on the organization.
- Inspire opportunities to support program development and management, identifying and creating partnerships with other organizations that further the mission.
Fiscal Responsibility and Resource Management
- Serve as the chief fundraiser with the ability to comprehend the technical and financial aspects of fundraising for a growing organization.
- Effectively communicate to public and private funders on the local and national level.
- Manage financial resources with integrity and transparency, establish and monitor financial controls, and oversee audit standards and money management policies.
- Establish and uphold efficient procedures and effective controls as the fiscal agent for arts institutions.
- Provide oversight and leadership for all areas of the organization and ensure staff members have what they need to do their jobs.
- Build an efficient organization with a sustainable infrastructure based on available resources, defining new positions and integrating them into the organizational structure.
External Relations and Governance
- Effectively communicate with excellent writing and communication skills to different audiences, including elected officials; various levels of City, County, and State government; corporate leaders and representatives; community leaders; artists; and members of the public.
- Express a passionate interest in arts and cultural programs and services and how they impact economic development and can transform a community.
- Build and strengthen relationships with diverse private and public partnerships, creating consensus to bring diverse interests together.
- Identify, establish, and maintain cooperative and collaborative partnerships with state agencies, municipal governments, local and national funders, and regional and national organizations.
- Frequently visit and communicate with cultural leaders in Newark and across the region, conducting site visits to partner and grantee organizations when appropriate.
- Communicate the organization’s mission to the funders and support engagement with individual donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors.
- Support fundraising efforts and identify and prepare grant applications.
- Identify and create partnerships with other organizations that further Newark Arts’ mission.
Organizational Resiliency and Team Empowerment
- Serve as an effective leader, working independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment with tight time constraints and deadlines.
- Inspire and maintain an organizational culture that encourages collaboration, accountability, professional development, and mutual respect.
- Establish and uphold efficient procedures in creating and managing public-private partnerships.
- Keep abreast of the latest arts sector issues and trends through active participation in regional and national arts service organizations.
- Serve as primary point person for the board, ensuring it members understand the organization’s mission and their role in supporting its achievement.
- Partner with the board in its policy-making role and report on the organization’s finances, ensuring 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.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be an engaging and motivational strategic leader who can bring together multiple constituencies to achieve a common vision. Politically savvy, this individual will have an ability to develop, nurture, and leverage authentic relationships with policy makers and civic leaders. The Executive Director will be recognized for their ability to engage with a broad and diverse collective of stakeholders and to drive action that advances the cultural sector of the Newark area. They will possess the ability and desire to expand and grow Newark Arts in a way that further underscores Newark as an arts-vibrant city. To maintain operating efficiency and effectiveness, the Executive Director will be a skilled public administrator with the ability to balance service to the community and artistic and cultural partners with the prudent management of people, finances, and programs. An inclusive and people-oriented leader, the Executive Director will have the ability to motivate a team. They will be responsive to new ideas, opportunities, and innovation while effectively leveraging organizational, human, financial, and digital resources. The Executive Director will value collaboration and possess a deep awareness of issues and trends impacting the arts regionally and nationally
Other key competencies of this role include:
- 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.
- Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The capacity to deeply respect others, effectively and tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues, build consensus, and guide the team while anticipating and understanding existing and future audience interests and addressing broader social, artistic, and community concerns.
- Planning and Organization – The ingenuity to collaboratively establish strategic goals, while assessing risks, organizing activities, and operationalizing priorities to meet or exceed mutually agreed upon expectation.
- Self-Starting – The capacity to demonstrate initiative and a strong work ethic to meet or exceed goals.
- Leadership and Teamwork – 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 and guide the team in support of their values and those of the organization.
Five to 10 years of progressive leadership experience in public or nonprofit administration and management, including high levels of supervisory, administrative, and budgetary experience, is required. A demonstrated leadership capacity and a commitment to workplace equity, diversity, inclusion, and access is necessary. A background in coalescing diverse interest in managing complex collaborative partnerships will be advantageous. The ideal candidate will have a wealth of experience in public administration, particularly with programs involving public funds. Knowledge of the City of Newark, County of Essex, and its surrounding arts communities, as well as the political landscape, will be helpful attributes. Qualified applicants will have a history of personal involvement in and appreciation for the cultural sector, as well as a thorough understanding and appreciation of the important cultural and economic role that the arts play in the vibrancy of a city.
Compensation and Benefits
Newark Arts offers competitive compensation, with an expected salary range between $120,000 and $135,000, and a benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, and life insurances; paid time off and holidays; and a 401(k) offered after one year of employment, without employer’s 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:
Senior Vice President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel: (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Newark Arts does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual or affectional orientation, religious creed, national origin, nationality or ancestry, marital or familial status, citizenship, age, legally defined disability, veteran status, or eligibility for service in the armed forces. This policy applies to all employment actions, programs, and services of Newark Arts. Our state-approved Americans with Disabilities Act Plan highlights our support of access for people with disabilities. We seek equity for artists and under-funded arts organizations, most of which are women-led, black, brown, LGBTQ entities. Their value to Newark's economy and vibrancy is priceless.
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