The Executive Director provides leadership and managerial direction, including maximizing revenues, cultivating community relationships, and overseeing all administrative, operational, and financial goals.
Newark Symphony Hall (NSH) enjoys a long, rich cultural history as New Jersey’s oldest and largest showcase for the arts, education, and entertainment programming. Originally known as the Salaam Temple, this expansive facility was built by the Shriners in 1925 and features an elegant interior in the Greek and Egyptian styles.
Artists of genius stature, such as Arturo Toscanini, Vladimir Horowitz, Marian Anderson, George Gershwin, and Tony Bennett, have performed at NSH. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo have also graced the stage of the venerable theater, as well as opera’s greatest stars, including Jerome Hines, Beverly Sills, Roberta Peters, Leontyne Price, and Robert Merrill. Virtually every major African American musical performer of the 20th century has appeared at NSH.
NSH hosted 187 events in 2017, with its main stage, 2,800-seat Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall hosting 60 events in the past 24 months. Offerings vary from public performances to private parties, church/religious assemblies, ethnic celebrations, graduations, weddings, and educational programs. Diversity is robustly apparent, with Quranic recitations, Jewish gatherings, Christian church services, and gospel music festivals. Major entertainment events presented by and for the African American, South Asian, and Latino communities have all been featured in each of the past two programming years. Nearly 25 percent of the events are presented by NSH and the remaining balance is rental activity. Presentations include monthly Line Dance social nights, the increasingly popular and prolific Arts-on-Stage programs, the Gospel music series, and a vibrant Children’s Arts Academy program. All NSH-presented programs are mission-centric, fulfilling their role as a center of culture and community and fostering local artistic expression and appreciation of the performing arts. This is an exciting time for NSH as the facility is emerging from a period of relative dormancy and experiencing a sense of reactivation.
NSH has begun preliminary planning to launch and house the National African American Arts & Entertainment Hall of Fame & Museum. The project would include a major restoration/renovation for much of the facility’s 200,000+ square feet of space. NSH is governed by a 17-member board of directors, led by Chairperson Alfred Bundy, and operates with an annual expense budget of approximately $1.4 million.
Founded in 1666, Newark 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 V, a study conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $178 million industry in the City of Newark. In 2017, 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.
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 280,000 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 Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., Panasonic, Audible, and Broadridge Financial Solutions. Newark also offers easy access to many regional attractions, including 61 state parks and forests, 130 miles of beaches, and four professional sports teams.
Reporting to the board of directors, the Executive Director will provide leadership and managerial direction to NSH. Overall responsibilities will include maximizing earned and contributed revenue, cultivating community relationships to expand support, continuing to build the organization’s reputation as a cultural and entertainment leader in Newark and the region, and overseeing all administrative, operational, and financial goals to ensure the continued success of NSH. The Executive Director will work collaboratively with an administrative team of 10 full-time professionals and numerous part-time staff members to achieve best business practices and fiscal accountability. This individual will communicate an institutional vision that embraces NSH’s values of artistic excellence, diversity, and community. The next leader of NSH will build on the early momentum that has begun and increase both programming and funding support.
Roles and Responsibilities
Program and Strategic Planning
- Guide strategic plan development with the board and staff to build consensus around key organizational priorities and focus on achievable objectives to advance long-range institutional goals.
- Lead, formulate, and implement a comprehensive program strategy, including self-produced, collaborative, and rental offerings, to serve the cultural needs and desires of the community’s diverse socioeconomic and demographic base.
- Oversee development of NSH-presented programs, including the Children’s Arts Academy.
- Supervise the engagement of artists and negotiation of contracts.
Revenue Enhancement and Community Relations
- Serve as a primary spokesperson in articulating and advocating for the mission and impact of NSH.
- Provide leadership in NSH’s fundraising efforts, working closely with the board of directors to energize its participation in these efforts.
- Devise and execute a comprehensive strategy to build and expand the audience and funding bases to sustain organizational growth.
- Identify strategies to maximize rental revenues in support of strategic objectives and reinforcing NSH’s overall brand.
- Play an active role in external relations within Newark and the surrounding communities, including municipal, county, and state governance, institutional funders, professional/business organizations, schools, colleges and universities, area arts organizations, and NSH neighbors.
- Make recommendations to the board for appropriate organizational structure to support the ongoing operations of NSH.
- Oversee NSH’s facilities and equipment, including maintenance, safety, and functionality, as well as strategic needs for future program development, maintenance, and capacity utilization.
- Determine organizational priorities with the Executive Committee of the board and execute the priorities with assistance from board and staff.
- Hire, train, and supervise administrative staff, mobilize volunteers, and oversee the effective use of financial and technological resources needed to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives.
- With appropriate board input, create human resource policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that they comply with state and federal employment laws and regulations.
Governance and Financial Stewardship
- Engage board members to maximize their participation and contribution toward its success.
- Collaborate with board leadership to identify, cultivate, and recruit new board members and play an active role in board member orientation and engagement.
- Develop strategies with the board for effective evaluation, rotation, and celebration of board and institutional successes.
- Support the work of board committees by allocating staff and administrative resources accordingly.
- Prepare and maintain functional cash flow reports for the Finance Committee and board.
- Develop a comprehensive capital and operating budget with input from the Finance Committee, for approval by the board, and regularly report on its progress.
- Monitor and report NSH’s financial position to the board, taking action as appropriate.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a proven leader who brings energy and a well-rounded array of competencies to guiding an effective management team and organizational structure that best serves NSH’s mission, vision, and goals. An entrepreneurial leader, the selected individual will have a proven track record in resource development, familiarity with concert and event promoters in the industry, and possess exceptional organizational and communication skills. The Executive Director will exhibit a strong passion for the arts, and serve as a hands-on manager who sets and maintains a collaborative leadership model that strengthens the organization by creating positive relationships with the administrative team.
The selected candidate will also demonstrate the following competencies:
- Resiliency – Continues toward goals, moving past unforeseen obstacles without unnecessary delay.
- Leadership – Develops relationships in positive ways and works effectively with a wide range of people at varying levels of the organization to achieve results.
- Personal Accountability – Embraces own capacity to be answerable for personal actions and professional decisions.
Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred, plus a minimum of seven years of progressively responsible senior management expertise in the arts, arts education, or a related field. This includes but is not limited to leadership in fundraising, advocacy, board governance, fiscal management, public relations, resource development, personnel management, and community collaboration. This individual will also possess strong written and verbal communication skills with a demonstrated capacity to lead, tempered by adeptness in building consensus among a diverse set of stakeholders.
Compensation and Benefits
Competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and benefits package includes paid holiday, vacation, and sick days, health insurance, 401(k) plan, parking, and other employee benefits, as available.
Application and Inquiries
Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to: