Newark Arts has been
powering arts to transform lives since 1981. Serving more than 80
arts organizations throughout the city, Newark Arts serves as a
cultural resource lighthouse to the community through its goals of
sharing resources, cross-functional opportunities, activism, and
promotion of arts and culture. Transforming the lives of those who
live, work, and visit Newark, the organization is committed to arts
and culture, education, and racial equity.
Newark Arts is one of four BIPOC-led cultural organizations in
the city. The 40-year-old institution reflects the diversity of the
city’s population of 281,700 people and strives to stimulate the
economy with artistry and jobs, serve as a catalyst for
social-justice, and promote access to arts education. Collaborating
with other nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses, Newark
Arts amplifies the voice of the community to address racial
injustice, women’s empowerment, and recognition of indigenous
peoples through fiscal and technical support.
To maximize the collective impact, Newark Arts builds a bridge
to bring people together and cultivate inclusive engagement of
downtown communities and throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.
The annual Newark Arts Festival, the largest of its kind in the
community, is four days of visual and performing arts bustling with
exhibits, street displays, and studio open houses celebrating the
distinctive and diverse contributions to arts and culture.
Newark Arts is governed by an 18-member board of directors,
currently led by Donna Walker-Kuhne, and operates with a hard
earned $1.5 million budget, with a fiscal year that starts on July
1 and ends on June 30. The Executive Director oversees a staff of
eight employees. Responding to the call to serve, the organization
provides seed money through ArtStart Grants and serves as the
fiscal agent for the Arts Ed Newark (AEN). With its finger on the
pulse of the city, Newark Arts develops and publishes Newark Arts
and Economic Development reports, the community cultural plan for
Founded in 1666, Newark, New Jersey, enjoys a rich cultural
legacy fueled by waves of immigration. As the financial,
commercial, and transportation nucleus of the Garden State, as well
as its largest city, Newark is a cosmopolitan community boasting a
wide selection of exceptional dining, shopping, entertainment, and
sports venues. Newark is a thriving cultural hub filled with events
and attractions for visitors from near and far. As the state’s
premier center for the performing and visual arts, Newark offers a
rich variety of theater, dance, and music, as well as an array of
museums and galleries showcasing art and history. According to
Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, a study conducted by
Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a
$178 million industry in the City of Newark. The SMU National
Center for Arts Research ranked Newark as the ninth most
arts-vibrant community in the nation out of more than 900
communities surveyed across the country in 2017—reflecting the
Newark community’s prominence in presenting the arts and culture,
its history as a major hub of the Black Arts Movement, and its
ongoing proficiency as a cultivator of artists. SMU’s 2020 Arts
Vibrancy Index ranked Newark as the seventh most arts-vibrant
Newark is ideally located, with easy access to Manhattan (just
eight miles to the east) and Philadelphia. Thanks to exceptional
transportation options—including major air, rail, bus, and highway
systems—Newark is among the most conveniently located metropolises
in the country. The city is home to more than 281,700 residents and
is at the crossroads of New Jersey’s Gateway Region, with four
million residents. It has long been an important center of higher
education, with more than 50,000 students, faculty, and staff
filling the six colleges and universities located in its downtown
business district. This historic city is experiencing rapid growth.
A multitude of new restaurants and services have opened to support
the thousands of residential units recently completed, under
construction, or being planned. Numerous corporations have moved
significant operations to Newark, including the United States
headquarters for Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Panasonic, Audible,
and Broadridge Financial Solutions. Other corporations have been
major anchor institutions for more than 50 years, such as
Prudential Financial, Public Service Enterprise Group, and Horizon
Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Newark also offers easy
access to many regional attractions, including 61 state parks and
forests, 130 miles of beaches, and four professional sports
Sources: bcdcnewark.org; ci.newark.nj.us; newarkarts.org
An exceptional visionary and advocate for the arts, the
Executive Director will imagine, organize, and execute across the
spectrum of administration, management, human resources, financial
planning, community advocacy, marketing, promotion, and
fundraising. A visible leader, this individual will work closely
with city officials and community leaders. The Executive Director
will provide the vision and leadership to promote equitable and
inclusive strategies for participation in the arts. They will
ensure that the Newark Arts’ programs and services have an impact
on culturally, socioeconomically, and geographically diverse
communities throughout Newark. The Executive Director will be
responsible for Newark Arts as the critical intermediary
institution, providing fiscal stewardship and serving as a fiscal
agent for 10 arts initiatives.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Direction and Vision
- Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and
access throughout the organization, with policies and practices
that foster transformative change.
- Balance an exciting vision for Newark’s creative economy with a
realistic understanding of local policy and the political and
environmental factors impacting the region and the arts
- Recommend vision and strategy to accomplish the mission for an
innovative, forward-thinking organization that inspires and engages
the board, staff, and community members.
- Serve as the champion for the organization’s strategic plan and
the successful achievement of longer-term goals.
- Stay abreast of external environmental trends and make
recommendations to manage their impact or influence on the
- Inspire opportunities to support program development and
management, identifying and creating partnerships with other
organizations that further the mission.
Fiscal Responsibility and Resource
- Serve as the chief fundraiser with the ability to comprehend
the technical and financial aspects of fundraising for a growing
- Effectively communicate to public and private funders on the
local and national level.
- Manage financial resources with integrity and transparency,
establish and monitor financial controls, and oversee audit
standards and money management policies.
- Establish and uphold efficient procedures and effective
controls as the fiscal agent for arts institutions.
- Provide oversight and leadership for all areas of the
organization and ensure staff members have what they need to do
- Build an efficient organization with a sustainable
infrastructure based on available resources, defining new positions
and integrating them into the organizational structure.
External Relations and Governance
- Effectively communicate with excellent writing and
communication skills to different audiences, including elected
officials; various levels of City, County, and State government;
corporate leaders and representatives; community leaders; artists;
and members of the public.
- Express a passionate interest in arts and cultural programs and
services and how they impact economic development and can transform
- Build and strengthen relationships with diverse private and
public partnerships, creating consensus to bring diverse interests
- Identify, establish, and maintain cooperative and collaborative
partnerships with state agencies, municipal governments, local and
national funders, and regional and national organizations.
- Frequently visit and communicate with cultural leaders in
Newark and across the region, conducting site visits to partner and
grantee organizations when appropriate.
- Communicate the organization’s mission to the funders and
support engagement with individual donors, foundations, and
- Support fundraising efforts and identify and prepare grant
- Identify and create partnerships with other organizations that
further Newark Arts’ mission.
Organizational Resiliency and Team
- Serve as an effective leader, working independently and as part
of a team in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment with tight
time constraints and deadlines.
- Inspire and maintain an organizational culture that encourages
collaboration, accountability, professional development, and mutual
- Establish and uphold efficient procedures in creating and
managing public-private partnerships.
- Keep abreast of the latest arts sector issues and trends
through active participation in regional and national arts service
- Serve as primary point person for the board, ensuring it
members understand the organization’s mission and their role in
supporting its achievement.
- Partner with the board in its policy-making role and report on
the organization’s finances, ensuring its members have timely
access to accurate and updated information on finances, policies,
key performance indicators, cultural trends, and relevant issues to
help them reach decisions that advance the organization’s
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be an engaging and motivational
strategic leader who can bring together multiple constituencies to
achieve a common vision. Politically savvy, this individual will
have an ability to develop, nurture, and leverage authentic
relationships with policy makers and civic leaders. The Executive
Director will be recognized for their ability to engage with a
broad and diverse collective of stakeholders and to drive action
that advances the cultural sector of the Newark area. They will
possess the ability and desire to expand and grow Newark Arts in a
way that further underscores Newark as an arts-vibrant city. To
maintain operating efficiency and effectiveness, the Executive
Director will be a skilled public administrator with the ability to
balance service to the community and artistic and cultural partners
with the prudent management of people, finances, and programs. An
inclusive and people-oriented leader, the Executive Director will
have the ability to motivate a team. They will be responsive to new
ideas, opportunities, and innovation while effectively leveraging
organizational, human, financial, and digital resources. The
Executive Director will value collaboration and possess a deep
awareness of issues and trends impacting the arts regionally and
Other key competencies of the role include:
- Personal Accountability – The ability to
self-evaluate and take responsibility for personal actions and
decisions, accept setbacks, look for ways to progress, and
understand how obstacles impact results.
- Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The
capacity to deeply respect others, effectively and tactfully handle
difficult or sensitive issues, build consensus, and guide the team
while anticipating and understanding existing and future audience
interests and addressing broader social, artistic, and community
- Planning and Organization – The ingenuity to
collaboratively establish strategic goals, while assessing risks,
organizing activities, and operationalizing priorities to meet or
exceed mutually agreed upon expectations.
- Self-Starting – The capacity to demonstrate
initiative and a strong work ethic to meet or exceed goals.
- Leadership and Teamwork– The
aptitude to organize, inspire, and influence people to believe in a
vision, creating a sense of common purpose centered on creativity,
artistry, and diversity and guide the team in support of their
values and those of the organization.
Five to 10 years of progressive leadership experience in public
or nonprofit administration and management, including high levels
of supervisory, administrative, and budgetary experience, is
required. A demonstrated leadership capacity and a commitment to
workplace equity, diversity, inclusion, and access is necessary. A
background in coalescing diverse interest in managing complex
collaborative partnerships will be advantageous. The ideal
candidate will have a wealth of experience in public
administration, particularly with programs involving public funds.
Knowledge of the City of Newark, County of Essex, and its
surrounding arts communities, as well as the political landscape,
will be helpful attributes. Qualified applicants will have a
history of personal involvement in and appreciation for the
cultural sector, as well as a thorough understanding and
appreciation of the important cultural and economic role that the
arts play in the vibrancy of a city.
Compensation and Benefits
Newark Arts offers competitive compensation, with an expected
salary range between $120,000 and $135,000, and a benefits package
that includes health, dental, vision, and life insurances; paid
time off and holidays; and a 401(k) offered after one year of
employment, without employer’s matching.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of
demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred),
here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment.
For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity,
Senior Vice President
Arts Consulting Group
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel: (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225
Newark Arts does not discriminate on the basis of race, color,
sex, sexual or affectional orientation, religious creed, national
origin, nationality or ancestry, marital or familial status,
citizenship, age, legally defined disability, veteran status, or
eligibility for service in the armed forces. This policy applies to
all employment actions, programs, and services of Newark Arts. Our
state-approved Americans with Disabilities Act Plan highlights our
support of access for people with disabilities. We seek equity for
artists and under-funded arts organizations, most of which are
women-led, black, brown, LGBTQ entities. Their value to Newark's
economy and vibrancy is priceless.