EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Children's Art Program

Red Hook Art Project

Founded in 2009, Red Hook Art Project (RHAP) is a non-profit organization that provides free visual art, music, academic and stress management instruction to children and youth who live in and around Red Hook, Brooklyn. Operating out of a storefront in the heart of Red Hook, RHAP organizes our community of twenty volunteers—artists, musicians, writers, doctors and other practitioners—to teach and mentor our students on a weekly basis. Our classes are intentionally small, and we strive to give each student individual attention during each class. Our pedagogical approach is rooted in responding to our students interests and needs with special attention to activities that build self-confidence and problem solving skills. We see our program as a fun, enriching, and supportive supplement to the academic curriculum of school.

RHAP’s mission is rooted in the conviction that creative self-expression is a transformative experience that enriches individuals and communities. As an organization, we work to provide a space where young people feel safe and supported as they develop their voices through artistic projects and activities. We cultivate an environment of playfulness and experimentation, while challenging our older students to help each other strengthen their individual voices through supportive criticism. The experiences of creative problem solving and self-expression that underlie our program generate self-confidence and a sense of agency in our students. We believe that these qualities meaningfully contribute to the well-being of our students, their communities, and ultimately encourage engaged citizenship.

RHAP’s students come from diverse backgrounds and cultures and reflect the community in which we work. Many of them also face the traumas of systemic racism, low S.E.S, and other forms of oppression on a daily basis. Doing our work effectively requires a heightened awareness of, and sensitivity to these issues. We have identified art, music and homework help as our core activities but we recognize that our students face challenges that are far greater than our programs are capable of addressing. We strive to provide the most effective and compassionate type of support and mentorship that we are capable of delivering with our current resources.

RHAP was built by passionate members of our community who came together to address unmet needs of the youth in the community. Through a decade of persistent work, we have become a fixture of the Red Hook community and have deep ties with families in the neighborhood. During this time we’ve relied on volunteers to teach our courses and help the students with their homework. While this was initially a necessary measure, we are interested in evolving the way that our organization functions in order to better serve our students. Our tutors are very committed to their work, but we have had trouble recruiting people of color and those with similar backgrounds to our students. We would like to explore the advantages of hiring paid staff and former students to teach within our program. We have already begun this process but are seeking an Executive Director who can spearhead this organizational growth and bring us into dialogue with similar organizations and the best practices within the field. 

Position Title: Executive Director

Reports to: Board of Directors

Reporting to this position: Full-time Managing Director and 15 to 20 part-time volunteers

THE OPPORTUNITY

Red Hook Art Project is seeking a full-time Executive Director (ED). The Executive Director is responsible for the leadership and management of the organization and for ensuring quality programming, financial stability and sustainability, allegiance to our core values, and the overall well-being of our organization and our community.

The Executive Director (ED) will join RHAP at an exciting time in the growth and development of our organization. RHAP has evolved from a weekend project to a thriving organization with an operating budget of $250,000, a six-member board of directors, a full-time staff of two—including the new executive director—and a team of 20 long-term volunteers.

The new ED will have the opportunity to bring their own unique talents and vision to realize RHAP’s fullest potential as a catalyst for creativity and transformation. The ED will create a holistic, long-term strategy that will support the next phase of growth for our organization, further developing our pedagogy, including integrating social justice consciousness and art as a tool for social change into our curriculum; expanding our programs, including building out and staffing a teaching mentor program for volunteers; professionalizing our infrastructure; deepening our engagement with families and the local community; growing our circle of donors; and enhancing our visibility.

CORE ACCOUNTABILITIES

Leadership and Management

  • Ensure all stakeholders in the RHAP community are aligned with RHAP’s mission, vision and core values.
  • Develop and implement an overall strategy to recruit and retain qualified, culturally competent tutors, prioritizing individuals from the Red Hook community.
  • Supervise and motivate staff and volunteers.
  • Serve as a mentor and role model for RHAP students.
  • Be responsive to our students and foster the trust of parents and students.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the sector, especially arts education and youth development, and help RHAP implement these best practices.
  • Develop personnel policies and practices that are both compliant with all relevant laws and regulations and in line with RHAP’s values.
  • Provide staff and volunteers with access to opportunities for professional development that contribute to RHAP’s mission.
  • Identify and evaluate risks and opportunities—for our students, community, finances, and reputation—and implement measures to mitigate risks and pursue opportunities.

Program Management

  • Create systems to monitor program effectiveness.
  • Develop and implement an overall strategy to recruit students.
  • Develop and implement an overall strategy to encourage and increase parental involvement in our programs.
  • Work with the Pedagogy Committee to continue the development of RHAP’s pedagogy, curriculum and classroom guidelines.
  • Conduct an assessment of the efficacy of volunteer labor, and develop a plan for exploring alternative staffing models based on best practice in the field.
  • Identify and cultivate relationships with partner organizations for student referrals to support their complex needs and help them achieve their goals.

External Relations and Community Engagement

  • Motivate and collaborate with RHAP stakeholders—students, parents, staff, volunteers, donors and Board members—to sustain their involvement with RHAP.
  • Serve as RHAP’s lead ambassador; identify and create opportunities to promote RHAP’s programs and raise RHAP’s visibility throughout New York City.
  • Initiate and sustain a dialogue with organizations working in a similar capacity, within New York City and elsewhere.
  • Cultivate actively engaged relationships with key RHAP constituencies, including schools, local leaders and community members, and the NYC arts community.
  • Develop and implement a strategy to increase RHAP’s involvement in and accountability to the Red Hook community.

Board Relations and Governance

  • Communicate effectively with the Board and provide, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and make informed decisions.
  • Work actively and in collaboration with Board Members.
  • Develop and implement a Board recruitment strategy. Work with Board to create Advisory Board and Committees.

Fundraising and Financial Management

  • Manage RHAP’s fiscal activities and be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices.
  • Develop and implement a fundraising strategy and multi-year plan to support existing program operations and increase funding over time.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with all RHAP funders.
  • In partnership with the Board, identify new sources of funding, cultivate relationships with new potential donors, and ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.
  • Write funding proposals and appeals.
  • Ensure that programs are carried out in a cost-effective manner and that RHAP operates within budget guidelines.
  • Maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations.

WHAT YOU CAN BRING

Personal Characteristics

Deep love of the Arts: Understanding of and excitement about the enriching and transformative power of the creative process and artistic expression.

Equity and justice: Personal commitment to advancing social and racial justice.

Belief in young people: Belief in the inherent creativity of youth and the importance of nurturing this potential.

Attunement with RHAP’s community: Deep understanding of the complex challenges that most of our students face.

Celebrates diversity: Commitment to and experience with cultivating a multi-cultural community that welcomes and celebrates diversity and cross-cultural understanding.

Creativity and flexibility: Understanding creativity as a way of being and of engaging with the world, not just limited to the creation of works of art, but as an openness to working outside of a “corporate” framework and to taking a “hands on” and spontaneous approach to building and problem solving.

Relationship-driven: Enjoys working within a small community built on close personal relationships.

Collaboration: Thrives on working in a team and in being a part of a learning community.

Effective communication: Practices engaged listening and intentional transparency.

Empathy and emotional intelligence: Commitment to practicing kindness and respect.

Development: Approach to fundraising that is optimistic and enthusiastic.

Integrity: Strong moral and ethical center grounded in honesty, accountability and social responsibility.

Strategic thinking: Ability to assess situations, determine strategies to move the organization forward, and set goals.

Project management: Ability to set priorities, create and implement actions plans, develop a work schedule, and evaluate the process and results.

Leadership: Capacity to motivate and inspire others to achieve results that are in the best interest of RHAP, our students and our community.

Experience

  • Minimum of five years’ experience working in a non-profit environment; experience in small, community-based non-profit(s) a plus.
  • Minimum of two years in a management role that included staff supervision. Some program development experience.
  • Experience working with young people.
  • Demonstrated ability to create and execute successful fundraising strategies, which could include grant writing, government contracts, special events or individual donor fundraising.
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills and experience in public speaking.
  • Financial proficiency in reading and preparing budgets.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and collaboratively across difference within a diverse community of organizational stakeholders.

WHAT WE OFFER

Red Hook Art Project is committed to creating an equitable workplace. We offer a salary of $75-85K, depending on relevant experience with a COLA adjustment of 2.8W% per annum. We offer flexibility in terms of working remotely at times, and will provide a health insurance stipend.

WORKING CONDITIONS

RHAP’s working conditions reflect the community-based nature of our project. Our office space is integrated with our studio space in a storefront in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Our staff sometimes work alongside students in our open studio and work space, especially on weekday afternoons. It is also understood that the Executive Director’s responsibilities will often take them to non-standard workplaces outside of the RHAP space. The Executive Director will work a standard work week, plus some evenings and weekends to accommodate activities such as Board meetings and representing the organization at public events. During the first six months we expect the Executive Director to be on-site at least three days a week in order to get to know our program, students, and tutors. After this initial period, the Executive Director could work remotely up to three days a week, depending on program schedule and the needs of the Managing Director.

Red Hook Art Project is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages qualified applicants from all backgrounds to apply. RHAP is committed to building a culturally diverse team regardless of age, race, ethnicity, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, housing status, religion, or disability.