Washington Performing Arts is seeking a colleague to join the senior management team in the newly-created role of Director of Special Productions & Initiatives. We are looking for someone with a creative mindset, a track record within the non-profit and/or commercial performing arts world, and proven management and collaboration skills who will work alongside WPA colleagues to amplify and build upon both existing and emerging programming, cultivate new audiences, and engage in building new sources of revenue and visibility.
Organizational Background and Philosophy
“Everybody In, Nobody Out.” In 1965, Patrick Hayes launched the Washington Performing Arts Society (now Washington Performing Arts) with these words as the organization’s guiding vision of inclusion.
Over the ensuing 50+ years, Washington Performing Arts has embodied Hayes’ mantra through a wealth of varied programs and initiatives: mainstage performances featuring established and emerging artists hailing from the D.C. region, across the country, and around the world (in genres including classical, jazz, global music, contemporary, gospel, dance); free and discounted student ticket access programs; the creation and management for some 25 years of two resident gospel choirs (a feat unique to WPA); partnerships with public schools that engage young public school students in immersive cultural experiences in the classroom and beyond; the commissioning and premiering of new works and the design of new performance formats; inspired by the Mars Urban Arts Initiative (see more below), creating community-facing programs that both serve and reflect the region’s diverse arts-making and arts-going communities in the nation’s capital, the formation of wide-ranging partnerships with other arts and community institutions, often resulting in innovative events serving a diverse array of audiences; and importantly, the creation of meaningful and impactful connections between and across communities.
The Opportunity: Director of Special Productions & Initiatives
As we enter our 51st season of programming, we have created a new, senior-level position to amplify our strengths and build upon our historic momentum, support, and visibility. The Director of Special Productions & Initiatives will:
Within the senior management team, lead development and execution of key “unique-to-Washington Performing Arts” events, initiatives, residencies, and partnerships including those that are some combination of large-scale, culturally specific, collaborative, and topical or commemorative. Such events are distinguished by their rich creative content and wide-ranging impact. Recent examples include: Washington Performing Arts’s Of Thee We Sing celebration of Marian Anderson and the 2016 Migration Series collaboration with Step Afrika, the 11th Street Bridge Project, and the Phillips Collection, with a residency based on Jacob Lawrence’s eponymous series of paintings.
Prioritize the continued growth and visibility of the Mars Urban Arts Initiative, a multi-year program supported by Jacqueline Badger Mars and the Mars Corporation, which connects visiting and DC-based artists through impactful collaborations, residencies, and programming in communities across the city and which has informed Washington Performing Arts’ deepening commitment to special events with wide reach and participation.
Cultivate dynamic experiences that engage audiences and social networks before, during, and after Washington Performing Arts events
Identify and build new sources of audiences and programming distribution (audio/video recording and distribution, touring, co-producing) in collaboration with Washington Performing Arts’ staff and departments (Programming, Development, External Relations, Finance and Administration, and Education and Community Engagement) with a goal of expanding revenue and reach. Work with staff colleagues to strategically link existing programs while also developing new creative opportunities.
Contribute to the shaping and implementation of institutional strategy, operations, and policies, within a peer group of 7 senior staff members.
As a member of the senior staff team, collaborate with the Washington Performing Arts Board and Junior Board in building organization-wide engagement and support for new projects.
The Director of Special Productions & Initiatives will report to President & CEO Jenny Bilfield. The position is available starting November 1. Candidates of color and those from other traditionally under-represented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.
Washington Performing Arts prizes the diversity of the organization, at every level—from programmatic content to composition of its board and staff. Washington Performing Arts employment decisions are made based on the business needs of the organization and qualification of the applicants and employees. It is the policy of Washington Performing Arts to comply with all laws regarding equal employment opportunity for all employees and job applicants. Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission, access or employment. In addition, the District of Columbia adds protection for marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, and political affiliation.
Please send résumé and cover letter and salary requirements (if applicable) to Rebecca Talisman.
The strongest candidates will have:
Senior leadership experience within a non-profit and/or commercial arts environment and experience working with boards of directors and other invested stakeholders
WPAS, founded in 1965, is a non-profit, performing arts presenting organization, devoted to diverse programming in the genres of classical music, jazz, world music, modern dance, gospel, and more, in 12+ venues all around the Washington, DC metro area. We present approximately 65 performances per year, which includes mainstage concerts and larger-scale Development and Education events. Our signifi...cant education programs have a deep impact in local schools and communities, and we prioritize long-term relationships with our artists. The full staff is approximately 30 people; the Programming department is a staff of 3.