Founded in 1971, Contemporary Craft (“CC”) is a mid-sized nonprofit arts organization with an annual budget of $1 million and 10 FTE. CC presents the best national and international contemporary art in craft media—clay, fiber, metal, glass, mixed media, paper/book arts, and wood—and showcases important techniques, concepts, and artists in the field. Through its mission of engaging the public in creative experiences through contemporary craft, CC encourages people to better understand themselves and the world through seeing, making, and learning about art, as well as empowering people to create meaningful connections and build communities using the transformative power of art.
Based on the fundamental idea that universal access to art can lead to more fulfilling individual lives, a healthier community, and a more engaged civic society, CC does not charge general admission. Every visitor has the opportunity to see, make, or buy art through:
- Gallery exhibitions featuring work by culturally diverse, emerging, and renown artists – CC also has a travelling exhibition program and circulates its exhibits regionally and nationally;
- Hands-on studio workshops led by artists on site, virtually, as well as in the community;
- Outreach programs in partnership with community organizations
- A retail store that features high-quality art objects handcrafted by artists from across the U.S.
In 2019, after 33 years in the historic Produce Terminal in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, CC purchased and relocated to a permanent home at 5645 Butler Street in Upper Lawrenceville that now serves as a cultural gateway. The new, 13,000 square-foot facility, which opened in September 2020, offers a fresh community space for creative expression, engagement, and making for both regional and national visitors.
This transformational move has ushered in a new phase in the 49-year-old organization’s history as it looks forward to its 50th anniversary year in 2021 and a bright future ahead.
The facility opened to the public in September 2020 in keeping with required Covid-19 safety guidelines. The public response to CC’s new building and adjusted opening timeline, programming, and safety protocols has been very positive.
CC has a proven track record of artistic excellence combined with sound financial management, maintaining annual operating surpluses for the past 11 years. The organization has been focused on strengthening its financial health over the past decade and has built a balance sheet that demonstrates a commitment to long-term sustainability. Its current strategic plan, in the final stages of board acceptance, aims to position CC as a national leader and convener in the field, as a strong advocate for promoting social justice through its exhibitions and encouragement of artists, and as a leader in the redevelopment of the Lawrenceville community of Pittsburgh.
Scope and Responsibilities
The new Executive Director will inherit an organization with a long legacy of programmatic relevance, a national reputation, stable finances, a new permanent home, and great potential for further impact and expansion. The Executive Director will be tasked with visioning the future of CC and guiding it into its next phase of institutional growth and programming excellence. They will partner with the Board in shaping a variety of long-range strategic plan options, and further developing the brand, identity, and role of the organization in the local community and the national field of craft.
The new Executive Director is primarily responsible for the following:
- Position CC as a valuable cultural asset and a leader in presenting quality arts programming that’s acknowledged by not only its visitors, but also by artists, collectors, peer institutions, critics, foundations, and philanthropists;
- Ensure the programs CC presents exemplify excellence in contemporary craft, contribute to the appreciation and understanding of the creative process, and make meaningful, relevant connections between CC and society;
- Ensure CC programming represents a plurality of voices and experiences and strives to be inclusive and diverse in all it undertakes;
- Support the creation of new artistic work and provide support and meaningful connections between artists and community through high-quality, innovative programs as well as retail sales offerings;
- Ensure that the studio and educational programs remain fresh, respond to the market and provide an operating profit.
- Provide leadership to staff to ensure effective day-to-day and long-term operations; provide all direct reports with proper direction, guidance, and resources to perform their responsibilities effectively;
- With the nominating and executive committee, ensure that the CC board is dedicated, diverse, generous and representative of the local community and beyond;
- Plan, budget, schedule, and complete professional development (internal and external) of direct reports as funds allow;
- Continually pursue, schedule, and complete self-development to meet ever more challenging aspects of position;
- Complete annual performance evaluations in a constructive manner prior to start of new fiscal year;
- Hire, mentor, and coach employees;
- Review and update HR policies and Procedures annually.
- Balance innovative programs and activities, and investments in staff and facilities, with financially prudent management;
- Monitor income and expenses monthly, adjust as needed, and report on financial position to the Finance and/or Executive Committee;
- Present to the Board an annual business plan to meet earned and unearned income goals; provide accurate and timely progress reports;
- Work with CFO to manage cash and investments with prudence and integrity.
- Clearly define and present development goals to the Board as well as strategies to achieve those goals;
- Personally engage both current and potential donors, and interface directly with CC foundation funders and potential foundation supporters;
- Nurture a strong recruitment, cultivation, and retention program for individual giving (both members and donors);
- Submit high quality proposals and follow-up reports in a timely fashion to a diverse group of foundations to obtain maximum funding to meet operating and restricted needs;
- Ensure the annual fundraising event meets its $100,00 goal, generating a significant net profit that provides core operating support.
- Lead Board and Staff as an effective team to advance CC’s mission, vision, and values through the strategic plan;
- Complete and take ownership for executing the new strategic plan;
- Agree on, and accomplish, annual goals; oversee and present quarterly updates on progress;
- Set and carry out new committee and staff goals on an annual basis to ensure progress on the plan;
- Continually update the strategic plan.
- Sustain a positive, credible, and healthy public image of CC, ensuring the organization is regarded as a national leader and valuable regional resource;
- Become the public face of the organization in the Lawrenceville community and the greater Pittsburgh community;
- Represent the organization in all media;
- Steadily grow the national and international visibility of CC, ensuring it is increasingly recognized as a leader in the craft field;
- Represent and reinforce CC’s visitor experience goals as a welcoming, friendly, and accessible facility that connects visitors with an extraordinary experience every day to inspire a more creative life.
Qualifications / Requirements
Ideally, the Executive Director will be a visual arts professional who is conversant in the field of craft, someone who can articulate the importance and power of craft as an art form and someone who, with the platform of CC, can become a leading figure in the field. Working with the program staff, the Executive Director will collaborate on initiating exhibitions, leading convenings, and identifying and nurturing the works of craft artists.
The Executive Director will be a visionary, entrepreneurial leader – a nonprofit executive who is able to think creatively and strategically, build consensus among the Board and multiple stakeholders, and possess the proven capacity to deliver on short- and long-term initiatives. They must have a high level of business acumen – maximizing earned income, managing budgets, and executing strategies to ensure the sustainable, long-term success of the organization.
In addition, they must be a skilled manager, able to evaluate and motivate individuals and teams to perform to their highest potential. They must also be committed to fundraising, dedicating the necessary time and resources toward building a robust fundraising infrastructure and actively building relationships and soliciting gifts from various sources. Ambition, vision, and excellent business skills and entrepreneurial drive, combined with a deep respect for the arts and nonprofit culture, are essential characteristics of the successful Executive Director. And, as a relatively lean organization, the Executive Director will be motivated to look at the big picture but also have the capacity and motivation to be “hands on” when required.
Preferred Skills and Attributes Include:
- Creativity and high-energy;
- Experience working in an arts organization with a proven ability to ensure that the programs and exhibits are at the highest level while operating within sustainable financial model;
- Proven ability to continually improve the bottom line through increased income generation, fundraising, and expense control;
- Strong public communication skills and the ability to communicate effectively across all media;
- Senior leadership experience with a track record of participating in the leadership of an arts and cultural organization;
- Demonstrated knowledge of nonprofit financial management;
- A commitment to DEIAB, nurturing a cultural of inclusion among the staff, artists, board, volunteers, participants, and visitors;
- Unwavering commitment to quality programming and data-driven program evaluation;
- Experience developing and implementing strategic plans for arts and cultural organizations;
- The ability and desire to engage major donors, corporate supporters, individual donors, and governmental leaders in supporting the CC enterprise;
- Adept at building effective teams and motivating others to achieve more. Working style that is transparent, encouraging, and collaborative;
- An analytical approach to business development, with the ability to gather and synthesize data and to make calculated business investment decisions based on the data;
- A demonstrated sense of marketing, with experience increasing earned income from, and creating new opportunities for, earned income and operating profits;
- Exceptional and effective communication skills, verbal and written, and the ability to publicly communicate to a variety of audiences;
- An advanced degree in a relevant field is desirable, but not required.
Personal / Professional Attributes
- Passionate about the craft field and the Pittsburgh community with a personal alignment with the CC mission and core values;
- Leadership ability and behaviors demonstrated by self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to analyze complex management situations;
- Proven ability to lead, influence, and reach consensus on a range of topics among multiple constituents;
- Unwavering personal integrity with ethics beyond reproach;
- Diplomatic acuity and high emotional intelligence;
- An aspirational visionary with demonstrated strategic execution;
- Self-motivated with relentless enthusiasm and high energy;
- An entrepreneurial approach and sense of urgency coupled with a calm demeanor;
- The determination to roll-up one’s sleeves to ensure that the works get done; an understanding that this role extends beyond a typical 9-5 model.
This position offers a competitive salary in the $100,000- $120,000 range with a traditional benefits package found with other nonprofit organizations of similar size, scope, and scale.
CC seeks to recruit candidates for employment that represent our diverse community in race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and ability. Inclusive and equitable in our recruitment and retention practices, we are dedicated to uplifting diverse opinions and backgrounds in order to grow and evolve as a welcoming workplace for all.
CC is an equal opportunity employer.
How to Apply
Contemporary Craft has retained DHR/Nonprofit Talent to assist with this important organizational change process. Specific questions related to the position may be emailed to the contacts listed below. Please direct all inquiries related to this position to DHR/Nonprofit Talent, and do not contact Contemporary Craft.
Resume, position specific cover letter, and salary expectations may be uploaded here.
All materials due by March 22, 2021.
Managing Partner, Global Nonprofit Practice
280 Park Avenue, 38th Floor West
New York, New York 10017
71 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 2700
Chicago, IL 60606
Michelle Pagano Heck
To apply for this job please visit nonprofittalent.applytojob.com.