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Founded in 1983 by current Executive Artistic Director Randall Kline, the San Francisco Jazz Organization (SFJAZZ) is a recognized international leader in jazz creation, presentation, and education. Exploring the full spectrum of jazz performance from the music’s origins to present-day expressions, SFJAZZ’s mission is to develop jazz audiences in the Bay Area and beyond by celebrating jazz as a living, constantly-evolving art form. All SFJAZZ programs reflect a spirit of artistic exploration, embracing the full breadth of jazz and its related music and striving to instill enthusiasm for jazz among all people.
SFJAZZ has grown from a small community festival into a one of the most influential jazz organizations in the world. It now presents over 400 performances a year in the Bay Area, including the SFJAZZ annual season, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and the SFJAZZ Summer Sessions. The organization also supports the local music scene with a range of community engagement initiatives, including free concerts, as well as nurturing emerging artists through educational programs. SFJAZZ reaches nearly 250,000 patrons annually through its curated artistic programming, and its educational initiatives inspire hundreds of students via a range of free and low-cost programs delivered both in-school and outside of schools.
Performances take place in the majestic SFJAZZ Center (the Center), a 35,000-square-foot facility which is the first stand-alone structure in the United States built specifically for jazz, and designed by award-winning San Francisco architect Mark Cavagnero alongside Sam Berkow, one of the nation’s premier acoustical consultants. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s fine arts district, the Center was created as a performances space with the acoustic quality of a great concert hall and the relaxed intimacy of a jazz club. It opened in 2013 and houses both the 700-seat Robert N. Miner Auditorium, and the 100-seat Joe Henderson Lab, which is also used for a new program, SFJAM, a monthly open (and free) jam session, with local professional students, and by students for workshops, and masterclasses. SFJAZZ “At Home” is SFJAZZ’s digital platform, which expands the reach of programs to jazz aficionados across the globe.
Every two years, SFJAZZ selects a group of musicians to participate as Resident Artistic Directors, where they present new and unique works. Past SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors include Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Miguel Zenón, Regina Carter, John Santos, Esperanza Spalding, Zakir Hussain, Christian McBride, Vijay Iyer, Chucho Valdés, Terence Blanchard, Rosanne Cash and more. The current Resident Artistic Directors are Ambrose Akinmusire, Terri Lyne Carrington, Anat Cohen, Chris Potter, and Soweto Kinch.
SFJAZZ will be 40 years old in 2023 and is currently in its 10th Season at the Center. This season features artists including Charles Lloyd, Lila Downs, Monsieur Periné, Chris Botti, Mavis Staples, Amadou & Mariam, Rosanne Cash, Vijay Iver, and Caetano Veloso. SFJAZZ currently has two laureates, Jim Goldberg, the first Photography Laureate, and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, a Poetry Laureate. A governing philosophy of programming for SFJAZZ has been to present music which is influenced by or has influenced jazz. This has allowed for a diverse program slate, varied membership, and audience profile.
SFJAZZ employs a large professional full-time staff in artistic, development, marketing, finance, box office, operations, education, and rental divisions. Future initiatives of SFJAZZ include expanding community engagement programs, continuing its in-school education programming in the Oakland and San Francisco unified school districts, further development of its immersive media system and digital platform, and its weekly broadcast series on satellite radio. The SFJAZZ Collective, which started in 2004 as an ensemble of performers reimagining known composers’ repertoires and commissioning new pieces from its members, continues to revitalize their lineup and repertoire.
SFJAZZ is currently engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process. This included outreach to many individuals including staff, artists, donors, and other stakeholders, to ensure that all areas within the organizations were involved in envisioning the future for SFJAZZ and determining actionable steps to achieve its organizational goals.
The organization is governed by a 27-member Board of Trustees, currently chaired by Denise Young. Greg Stern was named Chief Executive Officer in June of 2020, having previously been an SFJAZZ member for decades and a trustee for 9 years. Founder and Executive Artistic Director Randall Kline will be stepping down in November 2023. For the fiscal year ending 2022 (July 2021-June 2022), Audited Financials show SFJAZZ revenue totaled $23.6M (including government COVID relief) and expenses totaled $19M. For comparison, in FY’19 (with no COVID impact), revenue totaled $18.5M and expenses totaled $19.9M.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest cities in the world, San Francisco is filled with iconic landmarks, vibrant neighborhoods, a rich cultural scene, and a reputation for its open and accepting community. Situated on the ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone people, on a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, the city has exceptional natural beauty and a year-round temperate climate, offering lots of opportunities for outdoor activities. The Golden Gate Bridge, situated on the northern tip of San Francisco, is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions, as is the notorious former prison of Alcatraz.
San Francisco is home to 875,000 residents, of which approximately three-fifths are Latinx/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and African American. The San Francisco Bay Area is a popular destination for those seeking gorgeous landscapes, some of the world’s finest wines, waterfront towns, nightlife, and diverse cuisines, coupled with top-tiered educational institutions, reputable arts and culture organizations, and innovative workforce options. The Bay Area is a global hub for cutting-edge technology, and is deeply involved in Cleantech, with over 200 firms working on environmentally friendly and sustainable products and services. The area has the largest aggregation of research universities and federal research institutions in the nation. The University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley, and Stanford University, among others, are key drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship.
SFJAZZ is one of the many cultural institutions in the city, which also include the Museum of Modern Art, the American Conservatory Theater, The Mission Cultural Center for Latin Arts, the Museum of the African Diaspora, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the African American Art & Culture Complex, the San Francisco Symphony, and the San Francisco Opera. The San Francisco Unified School District supports a robust arts and music program for K-12 students and there is an active adult amateur music-making community in the Bay Area. The city has historically been a mecca for writers, and Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London all moved to San Francisco to follow their artistic and literary callings. There are numerous Michelin-starred restaurants, historic architectural sites, public sculptures, and a variety of colorful and varied neighborhoods including Nob Hill, Chinatown, the Castro, and the Mission. Transportation in San Francisco is made convenient by the underground BART metro system and local MUNI buses, as well as historic cable cars and streetcars which run throughout the city.
The Executive Artistic Director will represent SFJAZZ as the face of the organization and primary spokesperson to the greater jazz community in the United States and globally. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, they will bring innovation to the changing landscape of music in the region, as well as serve as a conduit to musicians and music educators. In collaboration with the Board of Directors, the Executive Artistic Director will implement strategic planning initiatives, and will lead a team of staff to continue to provide excellent music and educational offerings to the community, with a particular focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. With a deep knowledge of jazz as well as other musical genres, and with an extensive network within the jazz field, the Executive Artistic Director will demonstrate interest in a wide range of programming, both the canonical traditions and innovative and experimental streams, while collaborating regularly across SFJAZZ and its partners.
Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Vision and Programming
Develop and implement an evolved, forward-thinking, and comprehensive artistic vision for SFJAZZ, which is in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
Identify and communicate SFJAZZ’s artistic vision, goals, and objectives to internal and external stakeholders, while setting measurable ways of tracking success.
Curate a varied and broad spectrum of programming, including both traditional jazz performers and local, emerging jazz artists, in order to attract new, diverse, and younger audiences.
Recognize innovative ways that SFJAZZ can expand and adapt its programming, ensuring that technological approaches are utilized for greater reach and impact.
Engage actively in the arts and cultural sector, by attending local and national cultural events and participating in relevant local and national arts organizations.
Embrace other artistic vision and programming responsibilities, as needed.
Community Engagement and Education
Act as a visible and inspiring spokesperson for SFJAZZ, engaging with a wide range of the community, including donors, civic leaders, community partners, and audience members.
Develop and cultivate relationships with local organizations to create new strategic partnerships in support of SFJAZZ’s mission.
Build local, regional, and national awareness of SFJAZZ, strengthening its brand and reputation through participation in media appearances and press interviews, and engaging in arts and cultural events.
Collaborate in program development for SFJAZZ’s Education programs, including workshops, master classes, digital labs, lectures, clinics, and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars program.
Grow and develop educational offerings, helping to make jazz accessible to people from all backgrounds.
Embrace other education and community engagement responsibilities, as needed.
Fundraising and Organizational Leadership
Partner with the development department in fundraising efforts, engaging, and increasing the donor base at SFJAZZ, including individual donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors.
Build a strong working relationship with the Chief Executive Officer to form a transparent executive leadership team, where organizational strategy is clearly communicated, and fiscal responsibility is demonstrated.
Ensure recruitment and retention of a high functioning team by providing human-centered leadership, where all staff and artists feel safe and a sense of belonging.
Support and uplift the work of SFJAZZ staff through regular communication, creating a workplace culture that values transparency and respect.
Collaborate with the board, guiding and supporting board members in governance, strategy, and accountability.
Embrace other fundraising and organizational leadership responsibilities, as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
A creative, visionary, and passionate musical leader with a respect for and deep knowledge of the history and institution of jazz, the Executive Artistic Director will bring innovative ideas while preserving the history of SFJAZZ. They will understand the relationship between race and gender and jazz, and its role within communities. A strong communicator and relationship-builder, this enthusiastic and inspirational leader will mobilize the greater constituents, staff, musicians, and community to continue to elevate SFJAZZ.
Other key competencies include the following:
Leadership and Teamwork – The capacity to organize staff, musical talent, and board members towards one goal or vision, while cooperating with other stakeholders and partners.
Negotiation and Influencing Others – The dexterity to listen to a variety of diverse groups and absorb different viewpoints, while building mutual trust as a connoisseur of jazz.
Customer Focus – The creativity to continue to attract while expanding the customer base of SFJAZZ in innovative ways, anticipating the current artistic taste and needs of a post-pandemic world.
Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The ability to resolve conflicts in a calm and tactful way, while being mindful of cultural differences and communicating across a variety of diverse backgrounds.
No specific number of years’ experience or educational requirements are required. Applications with explicit experience in artistic curation and direction are strongly encouraged to apply. An affinity and/or strong passion for the history and institution of jazz, or a specialty in jazz styles would be highly valued. The ideal candidate will have strong credibility within the jazz community, as well as a respected point of view on new thinking, innovation, and direction of the future of the music. They will have demonstrated successes with academic or educational experience in K12, higher education, or post-doctoral programs, with a track record of programming. This is a full-time position.
Additional Salary Information: SFJAZZ offers a comprehensive and competitive compensation and benefits package including an annual salary range of $300,000 to $325,000, and a potential annual bonus, based on achieving individual and organizational objectives. Benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, personal days, and holidays; health, long-term disability, and life insurances; and a voluntary 401(k) retirement plan.
About Arts Consulting Group
ACG is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement, strategic planning & community engagement, and facilities & program planning services for the arts and culture industry. ACG consultants are located in communities throughout North America to best serve the needs of our clients. ACG team members have decades of combined senior leadership experience in every artistic and cultural discipline and area of functional management expertise.
As specialists in the management of arts and cultural institutions who are personally and passionately committed to the creative industries, we are recognized internationally for our expertise, personalized approach, and extraordinary results.