The organization Printed Matter is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the distribution, understanding, and appreciation of artists' books and publications. Printed Matter was founded in 1976 in New York City by a group of artists and art workers in response to the growing phenomenon of artists’ book production and played a foundational role in bringing greater visibility to the medium. Printed Matter is now the world's largest nonprofit distributor of artists' books, offering extensive public programming, online resources, and educational initiatives. Printed Matter will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2026.
Printed Matter is dedicated to serving both a thriving local constituency and an expansive global network of artists, publishers, and publics. Printed Matter’s flagship bookstore in Chelsea and satellite East Village location are unique hubs to offer more than 14,000 affordable and accessible bookworks by artists for sale, as well as to present artists' book exhibitions and host a wide array of events on the art form. To further the organization’s mission, Printed Matter organizes and presents the NY and LA Art Book Fairs which are the largest gatherings of their kind and feature 300 international exhibitors and a multitude of free public talks, performances, and workshops. Attendance at these events ranges from 15,000 to 40,000 visitors.
Central to Printed Matter’s work is the exploration of the radical possibilities of artists’ books as vehicles for free expression, self-representation, and artistic, social, and political agency. The organization’s programs and services often support early-career artists and publishers, as well as those that are historically marginalized and underrepresented, in an effort to provide opportunities to those who most benefit from Printed Matter's dedicated resources.
Printed Matter’s 19-member Board of Directors (Board) is led by Board President Philip Aarons. Printed Matter has a $2.5m operating budget, with nearly one third provided through contributed income sources, and the remaining raised through bookstore sales and other earned income. Printed Matter’s flagship location and administrative offices are located on 26th Street and Eleventh Avenue in the Chelsea Art Gallery District.
Printed Matter is seeking an ambitious, visionary Executive Director (ED) who understands and is eager to build on the organization's history and achievements. The successful candidate will have excellent leadership and interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and artists; an international perspective and network; a solid grasp on contemporary artists and publishing; the ability, aspiration, and courage to discourse with all stakeholders in the art world. This position is also the leading spokesperson for the organization and, therefore, a candidate must be able to effectively articulate the goals and vision of the organization to a wide range of constituencies, including current and potential funders. Fundraising skills and experience are critical as is an entrepreneurial spirit and approach to bookselling and distribution. In addition, the individual will have excellent judgment and significant management experience, including familiarity with basic financial management programs. The Executive Director is supported by a staff of 15, including the Deputy Director/Director of Development, and reports to the Board of Directors.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership and Fiscal Management
- Set the strategic vision for the organization in conjunction with the Board.
- Implement Printed Matter's core mission, manage the organization, and oversee all aspects of day-to-day operations.
- Supervise and support a team of full and part-time staff members, many of them artists, and foster a dynamic, friendly, and supportive work environment that promotes learning and a high level of service to Printed Matter’s audiences.
- Develop the annual operating budget in conjunction with the Deputy Director/Director of Development, program managers, and Board, which is currently over $2 million, and make financial decisions consistent with the budget, as approved by the Board.
- Create and oversee distribution and programming budgets in conjunction with the staff.
- Maximize the revenue generated for artists though its distribution program and program fees for artists.
- Continue Printed Matter’s wide support and advocacy for artists and art workers.
Bookstores and Public Programming
- Maintain the artistic direction of Printed Matter’s two nonprofit bookstores in Chelsea (main location) and in the East Village (outpost location), ensuring a wide and diverse representation of contemporary and historic artists’ books.
- Manage international wholesale and retail distribution of artists' publications, including in the two Printed Matter stores, by mail order, on the internet, and at art and book fairs.
- Continue to develop printedmatter.org as an important bibliographic resource and online programming site for the field of artists’ books and audiences around the world.
- Ensure that Printed Matter’s longstanding Open Submission policy remains accessible to all artists.
- Direct and execute public programming, including exhibitions, the publishing program, awards, artist window installations, book launches, and other events, that together, support and extend Printed Matter’s distribution of artists' books, as well as fulfill the organization's mission to educate the public.
- Oversee and implement the annual NY and LA Art Book Fairs and the various related projects (such as the Classroom program series, organized together with a longtime guest curator).
- Sustain and shepherd the evolution of Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs as one of the sector’s most vibrant platforms for the distribution of artists’ books and place for dialogue.
- Manage Printed Matter’s participation in domestic and global art and book fairs.
External Relations and Communications
- Promote Printed Matter's mission and objectives, and articulate its philosophy, vision, and strategy for implementing that mission.
- Identify and cultivate prospective new board members and donors in conjunction with the Board.
- Advocate for Printed Matter’s mission and artists through networking, public speaking, and press pieces and by engaging in NYC’s arts and culture sector, as well as with the global publishing community.
- Oversee Printed Matter’s annual press plan, ensuring visibility for Printed Matter specifically, and the community of artists’ books at large.
- Supervise and implement the redesign of Printed Matter's website and database to provide an interactive, fully integrated system that can be used by various populations in unique ways, including the public, academics, librarians, collectors, and the artists that Printed Matter represents.
- Set and achieve fundraising goals and initiatives, through benefits, fundraising editions, and the solicitation of individual contributions.
- Establish and maintain relationships with foundation and government donors.
- Supervise all annual and special fundraising efforts, including individual giving, foundation and government grants, membership, benefit events and auctions, and board giving.
- Maintain relationships with major donors and funders, as well as cultivate new supporters.
- Secure Fundraising Editions from leading contemporary artists.
Traits and Characteristics
The ED will be a natural collaborator, one whose instinct will support relationship building between Printed Matter’s various stakeholders. Understanding the broad scope of Printed Matter’s many audiences and constituents, the ED will move the organization forward with an openness to new ideas and with a sense of possibility. The ED will be motivated by efficient and practical results, balancing time, talent, energy, and resources. A forward-looking thinker and continuous learner, the ED will be driven by past experiences and intuition and will also be able to course-correct and seek specific knowledge when necessary. The ED will foster a workplace that is welcoming, transparent, and rooted in empathy.
Other key competencies include:
- Planning & Organizing – The capacity to use organizational resources to create clear and concise paths to achieve identified goals.
- Self-Starting & Adaptable – The capability to proactively move projects forward in a busy, high-volume organization while seizing unforeseen opportunities and overcoming unexpected challenges.
- Leadership & Personal Accountability – The ability to elicit strong engagement from internal and external stakeholders through inclusive leadership practices that shape decision-making, and to take accountability for decisions and grow from mistakes.
- Diplomacy & Interpersonal Skills – The ability to steward productive conversations with various stakeholders around all topics, including complex issues.
The ideal candidate for this position should have approximately 10 years of experience in nonprofit administration at the executive or senior level, and preferably hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field. The ED must have a genuine passion for artists' books and extensive knowledge of the medium's history, current activity in the field, and emergent practices. They should also have a strong network in the contemporary art world, a deep appreciation for alternative art spaces and practices, and experience in curatorial work or program building. Additionally, the candidate should be artist-centered as well as dedicated to equitable work practices.
Other essential qualifications include proficiency in long-range planning, as well as management, community-building, finance, development, team leadership, and staff mentorship. Printed Matter’s staff is recently unionized and experience working with unionized staff is a plus. The successful candidate should have a proven track record of successful fundraising and experience in donor and board relations, as well as in developing and growing earned income streams, such as through physical retail and web sales. A personal belief in the importance of diversity, equity, and access is crucial, with professional experience demonstrating a commitment to these values.
Compensation and Benefits
Printed Matter offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package, including a base salary estimated to be in a range between $125,000 and $150,000 with full medical and dental insurance, a total of 22 days of pro-rated paid time off.
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:
Mario Garcia Durham, Vice President
Menon Dwarka, Senior Vice President
1040 First Avenue, Suite 352
New York, NY 10022-2991
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 209 (Mr. Durham) or Ext. 206 (Mr. Dwarka)
Printed Matter Inc. cultivates a diverse workplace and provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants, and does not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any type with regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, marital status, partnership status, disability, genetic information, alienage, citizenship, military or veteran status, status as a victim of domestic violence/stalking/sex offenses, unemployment status, or any other legally prohibited basis in accordance with federal, state and city laws.
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