Overture Center for the Arts
President and CEO
“Overture Center, my gift to Madison, continues the tradition of civic pride and responsibility that my family has honored since 1867. It is given in appreciation of the good life Madison has given us.”
W. Jerome Frautschi
Overture Center for the Arts (Overture Center), dedicated on September 18, 2004 in the heart of beautiful downtown Madison, Wisconsin, exists to support and elevate the community’s creative culture, economy, and quality of life through the arts. Entering its 16th year, Overture Center’s commitment to be the region’s preeminent stage for wondrous artistry, to develop diverse and emerging talent, and to be the arts’ epicenter for community engagement is unwavering. It aspires to provide extraordinary experiences for all.
Overture Center features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and four galleries where national and international touring artists, 10 resident companies, and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year. Overture Center takes great pride in offering spectacular performances as well as free and low-cost programs to nurture creativity, curiosity, and diversity while helping drive the local economy and supporting a vibrant and growing city.
Designed by César Pelli, the centerpiece of the 388,000-square-foot facility is the 2,251-seat Overture Hall, a crisp geometric form in limestone and glass with a grand lobby that extends over the sidewalk to shelter the entrance. Inside the lobby, light wood ceilings and travertine flooring all help create a warm and serene atmosphere. In the auditorium, a cascade of softly lit balconies and an undulating acoustic ceiling define a contemporary space. Unobstructed sightlines, excellent acoustics, and state-of-the-art technical support enable flawless performances for music, theater, dance, and much more.
The 1,089-seat Capitol Theater retains original details, including its Grand Barton Organ, ornate ceiling, wall niches, proscenium arch, and chandelier lighting. The Playhouse, a 350-seat thrust theater, was redesigned to add three flexible black box theaters. An architectural landmark, the design of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art consists of a triangular four-story glass lobby and stairs that recalls the traditional entrances of museums around the world. By integrating existing venues and elements of historic buildings, the complex maintains the pedestrian-friendly character of downtown Madison. The circa 1920 stone façade of the former Yost’s Department Store was retained as an entrance to the entire Overture Center. At the center of the complex, the glass façades of Overture Hall links with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, a separate nonprofit organization with independent governance, operations, and building maintenance. A new glass dome brings sunlight to all levels of the building. Inside is a four-story rotunda with art galleries off the main lobby and the Rotunda Stage, an indoor amphitheater.
In addition to its dynamic resident companies, part of Overture Center’s great value is in its presentation of performances. The 2019-2020 season brings nearly 100 performances, including the long-awaited Hamilton, eight other Broadway titles, 29 new Overture Presents touring productions, four titles in the Duck Soup Cinema silent film series, three Cabaret shows, four National Geographic Live presentations, and more than 100 free Kids in the Rotunda shows. Overture Galleries is showcasing many local artists throughout the season. The Jerry Awards are expanding statewide—increasing the participation of students in Overture Center’s high school musical theater award program, which feeds into the National High School Musical Theater Awards (The Jimmy Awards) in New York City.
Overture Center also recognizes its tremendous and unique responsibility to the community to ensure it is truly a reflection of the society in which it exists and the humanity that it shares. Following the 2014 release of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families’ Race to Equity report on the state of racial disparities in Dane County, Overture Center was inspired to create and implement a rigorous, comprehensive, and measurable plan of action to affirm its commitment to diversity and inclusion in its programming, audiences, vendors, and workplace.
Overture Center Foundation, Inc., a private, 501c(3) nonprofit corporation, became the sole operator of Overture Center on January 1, 2012. Overture Center Foundation is governed by a 25-member board of directors, chaired by Betty Harris Custer. The President and CEO oversees a total full-time staff of 86 employees, more than 120 part-time and variable front of house staff, more than 300 variable stage hands, and more than 500 volunteers. Its 2018/19 Annual Report stated revenues of $18.2 million, which included $13.9 million in program services, $2.3 million in contributions and grants, and $1.95 million through the generosity of the City of Madison.
In 2018 Madison, Wisconsin was ranked seventh on Livability’s annual list of the 100 best places to live in the United States and named in the top 30 best small cities in America by National Geographic. With a population exceeding 258,000 residents, Madison is a city of neighborhoods and strong communities with a vibrant cultural hub of art, music, food, and more. Access to schools, hospitals, and infrastructure; affordability and income; and how residents take advantage of those opportunities are a few key reasons that the Madison region and Dane County continue to be one of the best places to live, work, study, and enjoy its quality of life.
The five lakes in the city's vicinity offer ample recreational opportunities, such as fishing and boating, and the 1,260-acre University of Wisconsin Arboretum provides 20 miles of trails. USA Today ranked Madison in its list of the 10 best cycling towns due to its widespread network of bike paths and lanes and its convenient bike share program, BCycle.
With more than 45,300 students, the University of Wisconsin-Madison believes strongly in improving people's lives outside of the classroom. Known as the Wisconsin Idea, this tradition includes collecting and distributing farm crops for needy families, mentoring and tutoring programs for local school children, and a university policy of offering free humanities courses to low-income adults. Educated young professionals continue to move into high-density rental units throughout Madison's downtown area, with high demand fueled by the proximity of the university and large private-sector employers.
NerdWallet named Madison as the greenest city in America, awarding high marks for air quality and a ratio of 12.7 parks per 10,000 residents—more than any other city. The ranking considered Madison's 200 miles of hiking and biking trails and the fact that there are more bicycles in the city than cars. Madison also has a relatively high number of green jobs and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings and venues.
The President and CEO will provide aspirational leadership, champion a positive culture, and inspire Overture Center’s exemplary programs, services, and operations. The position will define, develop, and implement priorities that advance the organization’s mission and strategic goals while ensuring board engagement and management team alignment with those priorities. The President and CEO’s visionary approach will invigorate and inform fund development and earned revenue strategies while providing overall operational and fiscal oversight. The position will also guide programs and services, facilitate organization collaboration and integration, and ensure Overture Center is a forum for diverse artistic expression and audience engagement, as well as exemplary community outreach and educational initiatives.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Vision and Programmatic Vibrancy
- Serve as a visionary leader in realizing the strategic plan, which integrates programming and educational activities consistent with Overture Center’s mission, vision, and values.
- Cultivate effective relationships with local, regional, national, and international producers and promoters to ensure diverse programming and maximum utilization of Overture Center facilities.
- Drive high-quality educational outreach programs designed to engage the community in the future of the arts for the long-term benefit of the communities served by Overture Center.
- Oversee the evaluation, planning, scheduling, and management of a diverse array of programming activities.
- Develop and support strategic partnerships and negotiate contracts with new and existing organizations to present and promote a range of artists and an eclectic mix of individual and thematic programs.
- Perform other strategic vision and programmatic vibrancy responsibilities as needed.
Community Engagement and Proactive Inclusion
- Lead efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion as a key element of community engagement in audience development, workforce vitality, board participation, vendor access, and programmatic vibrancy.
- Create and maintain strong ties with community decision makers, government leaders, resident companies, and the arts community in achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Utilize a transparent leadership approach in collaboration with the board of directors, committees, community partners, resident companies, donors, staff, and other stakeholders.
- Affirm Overture Center’s role in the ecosystem of a vital regional arts community with multiple constituents and develop relationships that enhance the goals of that larger community.
- Serve as a key spokesperson and advocate for the arts community, arts education, and Overture Center’s work at the local, regional, and national level.
- Perform other community engagement and proactive inclusion responsibilities as needed.
Contributed and Earned Revenue Enhancement
- Oversee the strategy and implementation of a significant capital, planned giving, and endowment campaign.
- Inspire corporate sponsorship opportunities, foundation and government grants, and special campaigns to maintain Overture Center’s investment in a thriving arts and culture sector.
- Cultivate ongoing government support from the City of Madison and celebrate the positive impacts of the Overture Center on the larger community.
- Enhance and guide a marketing and communication strategy that maximizes ticket sales, rental revenues, and other earned revenue opportunities.
- Ensure that event rentals from outside organizations meet financial goals and support Overture Center’s brand.
- Support research and engage professional advisors that assess and identify opportunities to maximize contributed and earned revenues.
- Perform other contributed and earned revenue enhancement responsibilities as needed.
Governance and Management
- Proactively support the board’s efforts in identification, cultivation, and recruitment of diverse members.
- Effectively orient, mentor, and engage board members in their fundraising and community ambassadorship roles.
- Support a system of board evaluation and celebration with the Governance Committee that honors participation and prepares for effective board succession planning.
- Supervise an experienced and diverse staff, including professional, creative, technical, clerical, maintenance, and volunteer workers, to ensure patrons, artists, and community members have a welcoming and high-quality experience.
- Hire, train, mentor, evaluate, and create accountability measures for staff and volunteers while actively addressing their concerns in creating a safe work environment.
- Recommend staffing levels, facilitate employee development, and maintain an environment where diverse individuals bring various talents, skills, and cultural competencies together to achieve common goals.
- Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so it can fulfill its policy and decision-making responsibilities.
- Monitor production and operations personnel to ensure that organizational policies are efficient and effective in resource utilization.
- Perform other governance and management responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The President and CEO will be a strategic and visionary leader who values frequent interaction and collaboration with others while deeply embracing the cultural competencies required of this unique organization and community. Receptive to new ideas founded in what is best for the community, this individual will be motivated by the subjective viewpoints and experiences that the arts provide. The selected individual will be growth-oriented and extremely resourceful in their approach on how best to empower the senior leadership team to work collaboratively and invest appropriate time, human capacity, and resources to achieve results. A visible advocate in the community, the President and CEO will bring a passion for and an appreciation of the arts’ inherent social, educational, and economic impacts.
Other key competencies of the role include:
- Leadership and Decision Making – The clarity to prioritize strategic initiatives while creating a sense of direction embedded in the active participation of a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
- Community Focus – The dexterity to build rapport and effectively communicate and listen to a wide array of engaged stakeholders who have differing opinions yet an overarching common purpose.
- Diplomacy and Teamwork – The capacity to deeply respect others, treating them fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and maintain positive and productive relationships.
- Self-Starting and Resiliency – The ingenuity to identify and pursue opportunities and the tenacity to reach mutually beneficial agreements while adapting to change and moving beyond perceived obstacles.
- Personal and Professional Accountability – The ability to take responsibility for meeting the highest ethical standards in establishing relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and calculated risks of various options.
A minimum of five years of directly related executive leadership experience or eight to ten years of senior managerial experience in a multifaceted performing arts or creative organization’s strategy, governance, revenues, programs, and administration is required. This includes high-level responsibilities incorporating major gift fundraising, earned revenue maximization, and associated initiatives in overall capitalization. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and related experience is needed. A master’s degree in business, public administration, arts administration, or a related field is preferred. Qualified applicants will have experience in relevant nonprofit or business administration principles, practices, and techniques; multi-faceted programming and promotion of creative enterprises; and equity, diversity, inclusion, and access initiatives.
Compensation and Benefits
Overture Center offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience. The total benefits package includes vacation and holiday time as well as medical, life, vision, and dental insurances, and short- and long-term disability. Retirement benefits are provided through a 401(k) plan, with Overture Center matching 100 percent of deferrals up to one percent, plus 50 percent of deferrals over one percent and up to six percent of employee compensation with immediate vesting.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact us at OvertureCenter@ArtsConsulting.com.
Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201
Overture Center celebrates the rich traditions, heritage, and culture that thrived
long before our arrival and respectfully recognizes this Ho-Chunk land and
affirms that we are better when we stand together.
Overture Center is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, recognizing that
innovation using diversity of thought will enable us to take advantage of
the opportunities and address the challenges we will face.
Click here for the downloadable PDF.