The Montana Arts Council seeks an individual for the position of Executive Director. The new Executive Director will be expected to continue the Council’s traditions of program innovation and advocacy leadership on behalf of Montana’s arts community. Headquartered in Helena, the Council has a staff of seven and an annual budget of $1.8 million. The Executive Director reports to the 15 members of the Montana Arts Council governing board, who are responsible for policy direction and budget approval. The Executive Director will implement policy, execute the multi-year work plan, and ensure engagement with communities throughout the state.

Helena is the state capitol of Montana, with a rich history that can be found in the beautifully preserved Victorian architecture that makes up the city’s historic districts. Helena offers theaters, museums, fairs, rodeos, street festivals and is home to the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts, the Holter Museum, and the Myrna Loy Center. Ideally located for outdoor enthusiasts near the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, Helena provides opportunities for fishing, swimming, camping, water-skiing, hunting and boating and offers downtown access to more than 90 miles of hiking, running and biking trails.

Key Responsibilities

The Executive Director is responsible for the direction, management, and implementation of all agency operations, programs, and services. In addition, the Executive Director is charged with recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities, building critical partnerships, and managing the relationships needed to develop the state budget. The Executive Director must also cultivate, manage, and be accountable for the effective use of federal funds that flow to the agency. The Executive Director provides leadership to the arts in the state; develops and maintains relationships with arts and community arts organizations; represents the agency, the Council, and the arts community to governmental, tribal and legislative bodies; interacts with state officials on a regular basis; develops and maintains productive relationships with Montana’s private sector and the private foundation community; oversees fund development including developing partnerships to fund arts activities and events; and establishes and maintains positive relationships with the media. The Executive Director also directs the administration of agency operations, including the Council staff of seven.

The Operational Framework

The Montana Arts Council has established an operational framework for its work. The framework is a multi-year workplan for the agency and presents the work of the agency at a high level of detail. Candidates may review the Council’s 2014 through 2019 framework using this link.


The Executive Director of the Montana Arts Council is expected to reside in Helena and travel the state on a regular basis. Occasional national-level travel to represent the Council at conferences and forums is also required.

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $80,000 to $96,000 and will be assigned based on the qualifications and experience the successful candidate brings to the position. Benefits include an excellent medical plan with a large network of providers, flexible spending, sponsored health screenings and incentive programs; life insurance; and an extensive paid leave including 10 or 11 holidays per year, 12 days sick leave, and 15 to 24 days of vacation per year depending on lengths of service (up to 47 paid days off per year).

The Montana Arts Council offers participation in the Montana Public Employees Retirement System, which provides a constitutionally-guaranteed retirement benefit where the State of Montana contributes an amount equal to 8.47% of your salary toward your retirement. The Council also offers a 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan to supplement your retirement in a program where you are always 100% vested. The Council also offers a relocation allowance.


Preference will be given to applicants with the following core qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • An understanding and appreciation of the arts, education, and economic and community development that will allow the candidate to be a successful administrator and spokesperson for the arts.
  • Five years of professional management experience.

To Apply

Please prepare and submit the following:

  • A cover letter of no more than two pages in length that addresses the candidate’s qualifications for the position.
  • A resume that details the applicant’s qualifications and work history.
  • The names and contact information for three professional references.

For more information, click here.


Organization/Company: Montana Arts Council
Location: Helena, MT
Deadline: March 31, 2017
How to Apply: The deadline for applications is Friday, March 31, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. All materials must be submitted electronically to Please note that only electronic applications will be accepted. Interviews are tentatively scheduled for April 26-27, 2017 in Helena, MT.


This search is being managed by WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation, in collaboration with Jim Kerins, an employment consultant based in Helena. We encourage applicants with questions about the position to contact WESTAF Lead Search Consultant Chrissy Deal at or via telephone at 303-629-1166. Questions about working in Montana state government and/or living in Helena should be directed to Jim Kerins, who can be reached at or via telephone at 406-442-4934.