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Executive Director | Space Gallery (Portland, Maine)

ABOUT SPACE

SPACE Gallery is a nonprofit, multidisciplinary gallery and performance space in the heart of the arts district in Portland, Maine. Our mission is to present contemporary, emerging and unconventional arts, artists, and ideas.

Grounded in the belief that vital communities are activated by experimentation, conversation, and camaraderie, SPACE engages a wide audience with provocative arts programming and category-defying events. As a nexus for curious minds, the organization collaborates with original thinkers and invites the public to participate in the ongoing pursuit of adventurous ideas.

HISTORY

SPACE Gallery began as an idea. Founded in 2002 by Jon Courtney (currently the organization’s Screenings Programmer) and Todd Bernard, the two envisioned a place unlike any other that existed in Portland at the time: a cross-pollinating vessel for ideas and creativity, where artists could experiment and a community of curious people could thrive; where someone might come one night to lose themselves on the dance floor and come back the next night to be awed by a powerful film, or participate in a conversation about a social justice issue. They needed an unconventional venue to fit their unconventional dream. Fate intervened when Christopher Campbell, a local architect who rented affordable work spaces to artists in his building on Congress Street, offered to rent out his street-level storefront. SPACE Gallery officially opened its doors at 538 Congress Street.

Former Executive Director, Nat May, joined SPACE in 2003 as a volunteer and administrator and was hired as SPACE’s first executive director in 2004. During his 13-year tenure, SPACE grew into Portland’s leading alternative art space. In 2011, the organization expanded by adding additional gallery space at 534 Congress Street. In 2015, following an extraordinarily successful capital campaign, SPACE purchased the entire building, which includes three floors of artist studios (now called SPACE Studios) 2above the ground floor and is also home to the printmaking facility Pickwick Independent Press.

SPACE’s programming is wide ranging. Recent events include: an exhibition on the hidden history and abstracted nature of melting glacial ice; a racial justice nonprofit fair; an evening of theater, film, dance and music from a Portland-based youth collective; a performance by a multigenerational collective of Haitian musicians and, a screening of Contemporary Color - David Byrne’s exploration of the art of Color Guard.

SPACE Gallery is proud to receive support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Davis Family Foundation, The White Pine Foundation and the Warren Memorial Foundation. SPACE is excited to support artists through a re-granting program, The Kindling Fund, and a national Artist-in-Residence program launched in 2016.

SPACE has an annual operating budget of $800k. The organization currently has four full-time and five part-time employees, seven events staff, a core group of volunteers and interns, and 10 board members. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors. For more information go to http://www.space538.org

OPPORTUNITY & STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

Opportunity

The next executive director of SPACE Gallery has the unique opportunity to lead a vibrant arts organization from its foundational roots into the next level of growth. With a seasoned governance board, experienced and committed staff, and a strong financial base, SPACE seeks a leader and contemporary arts enthusiast who will build upon the organization’s strengths and lead the board and staff to advance its mission, vision, and strategic priorities.

Strategic Priorities

Support contemporary arts projects. SPACE will continue to bring challenging, category-defying arts, artists, and ideas to Portland, ME. SPACE works with a broad spectrum of artists from visual artists, musicians and filmmakers, to dancers, playwrights, edgy thought pioneers and grassroots community members to thoughtfully curate 200+ events, exhibitions and experiences annually. The organization showcases emerging and mid-career artists. SPACE Gallery’s 30+ affordable downtown art studios provide much needed creative space to more than 50 artists, including the members of Pickwick Independent Press. SPACE is committed to supporting its recently established residency program for artists visiting Maine, with housing and stipends.

Encourage an open exchange of ideas. Artists play a critical part in our culture, and arts provide the language to talk about things communities do not know how to discuss. 3 SPACE will continue to curate programming that challenges conventions and activates community dialog. SPACE will bring in cultural leaders, ignite conversations, and pursue adventurous ideas.

Engage community. SPACE recognizes that contemporary arts, artists and ideas are challenging to many audiences. SPACE will invite more points of view and experiences to be represented in its programming, increase its audience and engage people who don’t currently have a relationship with the organization. SPACE will deliver consistently high quality programs and events, creating interdisciplinary programming to reach a wider, multigenerational audience, including young people, seniors and families with small children. SPACE will continue to build collaborative relationships with partner organizations.

Empower staff and clarify roles. SPACE has grown beyond its small staff and DIY roots. The organization is developing a strong infrastructure to support its work. SPACE will invest in its staff and provide a supportive workplace where each staff member benefits from the necessary resources, technology and systems to work collaboratively with one another and its larger community.

Build upon a strong financial base. SPACE will build upon its solid membership base, current major donors, and assets with the aim of increasing earned and contributed income and cash reserve. SPACE will increase diverse funding streams, securing foundation requests and corporate sponsorship and stewarding major donors.

Champion artists. SPACE will expand its capacity to support experimental arts projects by offering grants to artists throughout the state of Maine via the Kindling Fund program.

Continue to upgrade the facility, building on the success of the recent “March Refresh”. By continuing to invest in capital improvements, SPACE will make the venue and building feel more comfortable, welcoming and user-friendly to staff, artists and visitors.

Strengthen board governance. SPACE has a solid board of tenured members. Over the next two years, the board will experience a transition in leadership. The organization will manage the transition to ensure recruitment and development. SPACE will explore governance best practices that enable the organization’s innovation and creativity. SPACE will support productive relationships between board and staff, characterized by maximum appropriate input, transparent decision-making, and continual sharing of information. 4

IDEAL PROFILE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Personable and innovative, the ideal candidate will be a vision-oriented leader who enthusiastically tells the story of SPACE. They will engage a diverse community in understanding the role of contemporary arts, artists and ideas to promote curiosity, encourage dialogue, and initiate conversation. They have a passion for, or experience with, a multidisciplinary arts organization that presents music, film, visual arts, dance, theater and thought-provoking, barrier-breaking conversations. The ideal candidate will be eager to connect the organization with marginalized communities traditionally underrepresented in the arts. They are personally invested in connecting art and ideas to the public, and the public to art and ideas.

The ideal candidate will be skilled at supporting staff in developing high quality, cohesive programming. They are excited to work with the Board of Directors to expand financial resources to support SPACE’s mission. They have worked in the nonprofit sector and have helped transform and grow organizations by building on strengths. They successfully address challenges. They are direct and transparent in their communications. They can move seamlessly from a staff meeting to a major donor meeting to working the door at a music event. They are externally focused while not losing sight of the organization’s operational needs. They are optimistic and understand the deep DNA of an organization that began with an idea and a DIY mindset to become a recognized leader within the arts community.

 

Primary Characteristics and Experience

  • Demonstrated passion and experience, professionally or personally, as a champion for contemporary arts and artists and advancing the exchange of important ideas.
  • Ability to transform vision into action and lead an organization through change and growth while communicating with inspiration and mobilizing the Board, staff, volunteers, and community stakeholders.
  • Operationally competent and organized. Skilled with organizational development, capacity building, and administration with a keen eye toward championing and supporting a creative staff.
  • Comfortable and effective in the “Chief Fundraising Officer” role with a proven track record of identifying, cultivating and increasing diverse funding streams; demonstrated success in grant writing, securing foundation requests and corporate sponsorship, and stewarding major donors.
  • Demonstrated business savvy, financial and budgeting skills, and ability to communicate financial information across audiences.
  • Exceptional communicator and collaborator, able to promote visibility and credibility of SPACE Gallery in the arts, non-profit and private sector and engage diverse stakeholders in vision and execution.
  • Solid people management skills; able to supervise and manage staff, individually and as a team, in the delivery of high quality, interdisciplinary programs.
  • Experience in successfully advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity within an organization or community.
  • 5+ years of senior leadership, preferably at the Executive Director level.
  • Proven ability to cultivate strong board engagement, recruitment and development.

 

CONTACT GUIDELINES

  • This search is being conducted by transition consultant Cathy Kidman in partnership with Third Sector New England. Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful letter of interest to: http://tsne.org/executive-director-space-gallery
  • Electronic submissions sent through this link are preferred. All submissions are confidential.
  • Please include within the letter of interest salary requirements, where you learned of the position, and a description of how your qualifications and experience match SPACE’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities.
  • Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit materials by end of day Monday June 5, 2017. Resumes and cover letters will be accepted until the position is filled, with priority given to those received by this date.

 

As an organization that serves diverse populations, SPACE is an Equal Opportunity

Employer and encourages women, people of color, immigrants, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons and people of all ages to apply.