In 1985, a passionate group of local residents began raising money for a nonprofit community arts center in the beautiful mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado. Two years later, they had raised $425,000 and the old county road maintenance garage was renovated into a 6,000 square-foot Center for the Arts facility.
Since those beginnings, the local population has doubled, and there has been tremendous growth in the number of events presented, the size of audiences, and the number and variety of educational programs provided by the Center for the Arts and its partner organizations. After recognizing the need to create a larger and lasting home for the Center, the Board embarked on an ambitious $20 million capital campaign to build a new, stunning 28,000 square foot facility, including a state-of-the-art 350-seat theater, light-filled atrium, professional gallery space, spacious courtyard, workspaces, classrooms, and two lobby and bar spaces.
Shortly after the new facility opened in December 2019, County Health orders related to the global pandemic required the Center to close its doors. Thanks to the leadership of the Executive Director, core staff, and board members, the Center became a community hub cooperating with the County as circumstances allowed, creatively providing services and arts experiences at a time of great need. The finances have been stabilized and enhanced, and the strategic direction strengthened. The Center’s programming has been carefully and capably expanded over the last 18 months, and the organization has demonstrated a clear ability to fulfill its mission of offering engaging opportunities and educational experiences to enrich and expand the life of our community. The Center is in a solid position to move into the next chapter of growth and accomplishment.
The Crested Butte Center for the Arts is the premier arts organization on Colorado's Western Slope. Situated in one of the most spectacular natural environments in North America, and deeply rooted in a community of artistic expression and learning, the Center is quickly becoming recognized as a regional treasure.
As the largest arts facility in the region, with hundreds of annual events, the Center is renowned for its year-round calendar of world class live music; watercolor, culinary, and literary festivals; workshops, classes, and speaker series; artist residencies; and numerous educational and community engagement programs in the performing, visual, literary, and culinary arts.
The Center seeks an exceptional Executive Director to lead staff and stakeholders in building the long-term strategic vision and plan for Center programs to be sustainably funded and effectively run to demonstrate clear impact in our community, and shepherd the organization into the next era of success and recognition.
Responsibilities & Expectations
The Executive Director reports to the Center for the Arts Board of Directors and is responsible for high-level administration of its programs and strategic initiatives, meeting revenue and expense goals, oversight of about 8 full-time and 20 part-time staff, and representing the Center in the community.
The Executive Director will continue the Center’s transition in organizational growth, from a fast-changing ‘start-up’ that has been through an intense capital campaign and expansion, and then a global pandemic that significantly impacted the entire industry - to an institution that is increasingly streamlined and mature in its operations and focus. Key areas of responsibility include:
Fundraising and Revenue Generation
Quickly conclude fundraising for this phase of the capital campaign, by strengthening the compelling case and vision, building relationships with long-time donors and potential new supporters, and closing gifts.
Work with the Development Director to create fundraising strategies that will consistently support annual operations of the Center.
Develop and expand diverse revenue models to sustain and stabilize the operations and programs of the organization.
Collaborate with the Board and Development Director on fundraising efforts and processes to generate all major gifts, including careful stewardship of major donors to generate gifts of $500,000 or more.
Strategic Organizational Development
Ensure the Center has long- and short-term strategies to achieve its mission sustainably, including the upcoming strategic planning process and fiscal year budgeting and planning.
Provide leadership in assessing and envisioning programs, as well as organizational and financial plans, in partnership with the Board of Directors and staff.
Execute operational plans; ensure the team meets deadlines and benchmarks.
Convene and build strong working relationships with the wide range of community stakeholders – full-time residents, part-time residents, tourists, businesses, and other significant nonprofits – to develop consensus-driven solutions.
Understand the town, county, state, political, and business climates.
Build strong working relationships and cooperative arrangements with town leadership and council, as well as community organizations.
Represent the Center’s interests in the community.
Overall Leadership and Management
Strengthen and maintain a collaborative culture that attracts, motivates, and retains a high-quality staff.
Maintain overall responsibility for financial performance of the Center, and fiscal accountability of all programs and projects. Develop and maintain sound financial practices and annual budgets.
Lead, support, manage, and mentor the Center’s staff.
Other Key Details
Location and Travel: This position is based in the mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado (elevation 9,000 feet), with occasional domestic travel to meet with donors.
The Ideal Profile
We are looking for the right person to jump into this opportunity with excitement and energy. The ideal candidate for this role has these qualities and expertise:
Passion and a depth of experience in leading a similarly-sized arts organizationinto a new chapter. This is someone who has a passion for the arts and understands their value to a community – and knows how to analyze the balance sheet and maintain budget discipline, asking the right questions to assess operations and diagnose challenges. This person has the backbone to make hard decisions, and excels with building buy-in for changes that lead to a stronger organization.
Demonstrated success in generating revenue by selling a vision, specifically including 6-figure, major gifts fundraising. This is someone who understands the value (and higher ROI) of long-term relationship-building and stewardship, can clearly communicate the impact and potential of the Center’s mission, and can identify strategies for creating and growing sustainable programs.
Skilled connector and convener – someone with a high degree of political acumen, and the ability to build bridges and find common ground among seemingly competing interests, motivating broad consensus to take action toward a shared, compelling vision. This is someone who has experience facilitating sometimes contentious conversations – asking great questions, listening to responses, and making connections to the bigger picture; a skilled diplomat who can create, inspire, and nurture teamwork in the community, and within their own team. He or she brings out people’s strengths, and honors those contributions and perspectives.
Leads through influence rather than authority – this person has led in complex environments, is highly effective in navigating politics and relationships – by helping everyone keep their eyes on the goal, and setting clear boundaries and expectations for participation. This is someone with deep experience working with boards, committees, and similar groups. As an organizational leader, this person has sought out ideas from staff at all levels, brings out the best in the team by empowering them, and is collaborative in building a strong and stable culture.
Is deeply engaged in the work of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, both personally and with previous organizations. This is someone who is continuing to unpack their own story and biases, who leans into uncomfortable conversations, and has taken action to turn DEAI commitments into reality.
A balance of fearlessness and empathy – this person has a great deal of confidence managing expectations and negotiating with donors, staff, and the community. And, this is someone who leads with exceptional listening and empathy skills, who can extract the true concerns and help people move forward together.
A heart for small towns and their dynamics – as a bonus, the ideal candidate is drawn to understand what is unique about our community and its institutions, and knows how to navigate the close-knit relationships and webs of connection in a town like ours.
If this profile speaks to you, please submit a tailored, authentic cover letter that explains your interest in the Center for the Arts, and why this particular role is an ideal fit for you, along with your resume, to our executive search partners at Gemm Consulting: firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the Center, we believe that diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusivity are fundamental to our organization. We are committed to sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable space where everyone who walks through our doors – patrons, artists, employees, volunteers, and vendors – feel valued and respected regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, or ability. We welcome all candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our organization and to our pledge for workplace diversity, inclusion, and excellence.