Founding Program Director

The Position:

A private foundation seeks an energetic, experienced, hands-on innovator to fill the position of Founding Program Director (PD) for an extraordinary cultural sanctuary and multidisciplinary creative hub which is now being created.  Serving a diverse community, the center will host modern and contemporary art; immersive experiential art; community programming with an art, health and wellness, and social justice focus; and serve local needs with healthy fresh food and drinks and a meditative garden.

This position plays a crucial role in the ultimate success of the center.  The strategy is to draw visitors to the center by a) creating a popular venue for the exhibition of experiential contemporary art, b) presenting permanent exhibits, c) offering exceptionally engaging public programs and events and d) expanding the experience using the most current technology. 

This role requires the capacity to conceive great original programs; work with other thought leaders to bring their plans to the center; and an ability to build awareness of the center and transform different constituencies into active visitors.  All programming strategies pursued by center must be sustainable, pragmatic, and offer a positive return on investment (both financially and for achieving attendance goals) consistent with the centers overall business and operating objectives.  The PD is expected to exercise considerable independent action, judgment, and initiative. 

The PD will prioritize audiences that have economic, cultural, historical, educational, scheduling, and other barriers that keep them from engaging in contemporary art and culture and will aspire to consistently attract an audience that reflects the diversity of Long Beach.  


Reporting to the Executive Director and working in close consultation with the Founder and the Marketing & Communications Manager, the Director of Programming is a hands-on creator who envisions, implements, manages, and promotes programs and strategies to attract diverse visitor constituencies to the center. 

The PD will:

Design engaging, innovative, diverse programs and events that illuminate the art, artists, and exhibitions of the center in the context of health, wellness and social justice with a focus on community engagement while also maximizing program attendance.

Understand the attributes of the collection and exhibits, the operations of the center, and various essential relationships with partners

Identify, prioritize and understand the different communities that will make up the diverse audience of the center, as well as at partner cultural institutions and non-profits; 

Develop plans and strategies that advance the vision of and drive attendance at the center through its public and educational programming; develop appropriate budgets for all programming, projects, and initiatives;

Effectively use new modes of engagement (social media, mobile, augmented reality, gamification, etc.) and be an advocate for innovative ways to engage constituents; 

Actively engage the public in the online space through the personal use of blogging, social media and commenting; motivate and train the staff to likewise engage the audience on behalf of the center;

Coordinate all technical requirements of the public programs, working with artists, agents, curators and partners to determine needs, possibilities and constraints of producing works in a museum setting, draw seating and floor plans, contract audiovisual staff (staff and/or independent contractors) and secure all rental equipment as necessary.

Independently manage the detailed logistical planning and administration of all programs including contracting of artists, collaborators, curators, partners; payments; travel and hotel bookings; event schedules; hospitality and technical riders; instrument/backline rental; artist liaison.

Support all Marketing & Communications for public programming, sourcing PR material from artists, agents, curators and partners and securing pre-release approval of all announcements, proofreading press releases, website copy and program material.

Coordinate all ticketing for public programs with visitor services and marketing, including determining audience capacities and managing all ticket allocations and comp lists.

Plan and coordinate the operational needs of all events with key partners, including Visitor Services, Food Service and Retail.

Track essential attendance and engagement metrics, including metrics of visitor satisfaction for various programs to gauge which are most effective in engaging first time and repeat visitors of various profiles. 

Expanding and continually diversifying attendance through the innovative use of traditional, new and experimental modes of communication, public speaking, facilitation, blogging, social media and other forms of engaged communication.

Plan, execute and manage all special events such as museum openings and sponsored events.

Other duties as assigned

Professional Qualifications

The ideal candidate will:

Possess a Bachelor’s degree, but most important is significant experience and a demonstrated track-record of public programs and events that maximize onsite attendance of diverse visitors in an arts, health and wellness and or social justice environment; 

Be resourceful and innovative in their thinking, aware of current technologies as well as current thinking in marketing/audience engagement and how to selectively deploy programs likely to fulfill institutional goals programs and practices.  

Have a broad understanding of contemporary art, popular culture and contemporary artists, health and wellness program and social justice issues, combined with a firm grounding in audience engagement.

Have experience in creating and managing programming for cultural and/or commercial event spaces is required; 

Possess a track record of using state of the art technologies to engage audiences;

Excellent written and verbal communication and persuasion skills, with the ability to present effectively internally and externally from board level to peers and subordinates as well as patrons, community business, and government leaders;

Other skills should include:

Experience and connections in Long Beach as well as Southern California and at the National level.

Hands-on experience in organizations that distribute tickets directly and through third parties, via the web or through alliance partners, is beneficial but not required;

Broad-based knowledge of the full range of techniques and tools for driving program attendance, including advertising, market research, metrics and new technologies;

Proven ability to manage and work with a diverse group of personalities, particularly in shaping a positive experience for visitors to engage them more closely in the work of the center; 

A successful record working in startup situations where unconventional thinking and concerted practical action is valued; the courage to take deliberate risks; an ability to gain the respect and support of various constituencies, including the founder and executive director through rigorous research and exceptional preparation;

Personal Characteristics

The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about contemporary art and performance, health and wellness and or social justice and will also be:

A critical thinker who can analyze data, capitalize on information, and develop and implement strategic marketing initiatives and plans;

A confident, intelligent and articulate entrepreneur who is creative, energetic, accountable and entrepreneurial, yet collaborative and team-oriented;

Outgoing and straightforward; one who shares information easily, listens as well as gives advice; respects the abilities of others and has a high level of emotional intelligence and political awareness;

A person that doesn’t waste time; well-organized and deadline-oriented, with exceptional attention to detail and follow-through; able to work both in unstructured and planned environments, and in situations where rapid response and instant decision making is required;

A catalyst; capable of influencing an organization utilizing both strategic and hands-on problem solving and implementation skills; persuasive and persistent in the pursuit of the organization’s marketing goals; 

Emotionally mature and self-possessed; patient and tactful, with a sense of humor and the sensitivity to work with diverse personalities.

Periodic travel will be required.