The Arizona Commission on the Arts is seeking applicants for the position of Executive Director. The Executive Director provides public policy leadership in support of diverse statewide constituencies; cultivates and advances advantageous partnerships in areas of funding, programs, and advocacy; serves as executive administrator of and policymaker for agency planning, initiatives, grantmaking, operations, and spending; and endeavors to continually enhance and expand quality service delivery to Arizona residents. Applications will be accepted until March 15.

Title: Executive Director (Grade E2)
Agency: Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Salary: $100,000-$120,000 DOE + the State of Arizona’s comprehensive benefits package
Total Openings/Type: 1/full-time, 40 hours per week/Hybrid – mix of remote and in person
Apply by: March 15, 2024

Agency Overview

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a 56-year-old agency of the State of Arizona that invests in and amplifies the public benefit of the arts in Arizona. The Arts Commission is staffed by a small team of professionals, each grounded in arts-based practice, and governed by a 15-member commission, appointed by the Governor of Arizona. 

Position Summary

The Executive Director is a visionary, creative, collaborative, ethical, and adaptive leader of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency whose mission is to imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts. 

The Executive Director provides public policy leadership in support of diverse statewide constituencies; cultivates and advances advantageous partnerships in areas of funding, programs, and advocacy; serves as executive administrator of and policymaker for agency planning, initiatives, grantmaking, operations, and spending; and endeavors to continually enhance and expand quality service delivery to Arizona residents. 

Across the position’s areas of responsibilities, the Executive Director is expected to build and strengthen relationships with local, state, and federal public officials and with civic and business leaders to ensure continued public investment in the cultural sector through the agency’s programs and services.

The Executive Director needs to recognize and respond to the many ways people organize to create and share arts and culture, inclusive of but not limited to nonprofit structures; prioritize ethical engagement and active dialogue with an array of community representatives to inform practices, standards, goals, and policies; and persistently drive toward increased transparency and a more equitable distribution of resources.

The Executive Director is expected to actively listen to cultural sector leaders and creative workers to develop a keen understanding of the needs and resources of the state’s cultural assets, including but not limited to the arts, humanities, and individual artists. They must frequently visit and communicate with practitioners across the state, conducting site visits to partner and grantee organizations when appropriate.

Governor-appointed Commissioners hold responsibility for hiring and monitoring the effectiveness of the Arts Commission’s Executive Director. The Executive Director oversees all other agency personnel decisions. 

The following (or any combination of experience/education that has resulted in comparable knowledge, skills, abilities): 

  • 6 or more years of professional experience within a nonprofit organization, government agency, Tribal entity, grantmaking institution, educational institution, or other arts and culture sector entity.¬†
  • A Bachelor‚Äôs degree and/or advanced training in a relevant area of study.
  • Desired qualifications: Willingness to travel regularly across the state and intra-state on occasion. Background or current practice in a creative discipline is a plus. Bilingual (English/Spanish) a plus.¬†

The ideal candidate possesses exemplary diplomatic, cooperative, and interpersonal skills, and has a respect for Arizona and its communities. The ideal candidate is also a creative, collaborative individual who values public service, authentic community engagement, diverse art forms and cultural practices, and ongoing/lifelong learning.

The ideal candidate has a background operating in a governmental environment, preferably managing a state or related public agency division or department, including staffing, budget development and administration, and public administration.

The ideal candidate possesses demonstrated leadership ability, strategic planning, ability to articulate organization’s vision, negotiation, problem-solving, change management, group facilitation, and coaching/mentoring skills.

The ideal candidate should have an extensive background in working with a board of directors and/or appointed commissioners to advance the high level strategies and priorities of the Governor and the agency. 

The ideal candidate has extensive personal involvement in, commitment to, and passion for the arts.

Overall this position: 

  • In alignment with the agency mission, establishes a policy and service agenda and provides direction to agency programs, grants, initiatives, and operations, maintaining knowledge of trends, external resources, and opportunities.¬†
  • Collaborates with team members to identify and work to undo inequities in agency practices and distribution of/access to resources.
  • Collaborates across agencies and other organizations to maximize service delivery and resource distribution across Arizona.¬†
  • Utilizes dialogue, feedback, and other data to analyze service delivery and resource distribution, and then develop and implement practices, standards, goals, and methods for improvement.¬†

35% ‚Ēā Agency Leadership

  • Provide ethical, credible leadership for/with agency staff, board, partners, and constituents.
  • Collaboratively develop and implement policies and strategies that advance the agency‚Äôs mission.
  • On behalf of Arizona‚Äôs arts and culture sector, foster productive relationships with elected officials, government agencies, educational institutions, cultural organizations, and local and national service organizations and philanthropic institutions.¬†
  • Guide stakeholder-engaged planning initiatives that center Arizona residents in process and outcome. Oversee implementation of relevant evaluation and measurement processes.¬†
  • Identify, manage, and actively foster inter-agency, community, and national partnerships supporting priority focus areas and the development of strategic opportunities.
  • Identify, establish, and maintain cooperative and collaborative partnerships with state agencies, municipal governments, local and national funders, and regional and national organizations, such as the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Western States Arts Federation.
  • Represent arts and culture sector interests in the media as a public speaker, writer, analyst, arts advocate, and champion for the contributions of artists, arts workers, and organizations.¬†
  • Represent the agency‚Äôs work and interests within state government, in the context of community partnerships, as well as in statewide and national settings.
  • ‚Äč‚ÄčProvide thought leadership around emergent practices in relevant sectors, maintaining knowledge of trends, technology, external resources, and opportunities.
  • Oversee submission of comprehensive annual funding requests to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Governor‚Äôs Office.¬†
  • Collaborate with agency staff to integrate relevant research into program and policy decisions.

30% ‚Ēā Operations, Oversight, Culture¬†

  • Administer annual budget of approximately $8 million, centering accountability to Arizona residents and ensuring compliance with relevant state and federal laws, rules, and policies. Oversee implementation of relevant monitoring and reporting processes.
  • Oversee dynamic and responsive staff of 15+, with direct supervision of 3-6 team members.¬†
  • Build, motivate, and foster a high-quality, diverse, and equity-oriented team and work culture.¬†
  • Cultivate a collegial and participatory work environment where shared leadership, trust, integrity, and open communication are valued, while actively modeling practices supporting equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.¬†
  • Liaise with Governor-appointed Commission:
    • Analyze and develop effective communications with the agency‚Äôs Commissioners, including timely delivery of meeting information and materials.
    • Work with Commission Chair on development of Quarterly Meetings and resource materials, and supplemental meetings as needed.
    • Provide appropriate orientation and background information for Commissioner engagement and action.
    • Ensure Commissioners are engaged in providing guidance and decision making where necessary.¬†
  • Guide information- and resource-sharing efforts, including approaches relevant to multidirectional dialogue, communications, and the agency‚Äôs online presence and social media ventures.¬†
  • Oversee operations design and human resources processes in association with senior staff.
  • Ensure timely development and submission of grant application materials, annual funding requests, and periodic reports to authorizers.¬†

25% ‚Ēā Programs, Grants, Strategic Initiatives

  • Serve as executive administrator of and policymaker for agency programs, grantmaking, and initiatives, facilitated in alignment with the agency‚Äôs NextAZ Plan, which articulates ‚Äúa just and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities‚ÄĚ as a core agency value. Across all work, endeavor to continually enhance and expand quality service delivery to Arizona residents.
  • Collaborate with agency staff and diverse partners/stakeholders to develop and implement meaningful, accessible arts-based services and public programs.
  • Collaborate with agency staff and diverse partners/stakeholders to develop and maintain effective, integrated grant programs.¬†
  • In association with staff, oversee the development and implementation of:
    • Relevant timelines to encourage staff, stakeholder, and participant success, and to allow procedural and reporting deadlines to be met.
    • Systems and standards to ensure constituents receive responsive, high-quality counsel and technical assistance.
    • Evaluation and assessment systems and procedures to ensure persistent improvement and increased efficiency.
  • Develop and monitor programs, grants, and initiatives budgets in association with the Deputy Director, Director of Fiscal Operations, and Program Directors.

10% ‚Ēā Other Duties

  • Correspond with constituents and develop sufficient knowledge of agency programs, procedures, and policy in order to respond accurately and comprehensively to requests for information.
  • Provide backup to programs and operations as needed in a small agency.
  • Appearances at evening and weekend events as necessary.
  • Perform other duties as necessary.


  • Practices and approaches related to equitable, asset-based public¬†service;¬†
  • Practices and approaches related to (and differences between) diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in arts-based service and¬†engagement;¬†¬†
  • Principles, practices, and techniques related to engagement strategies, intercultural communication, collaborative decision-making, consensus building, and¬†facilitation;¬†
  • Arts and cultural disciplines, policy, history, and¬†trends;¬†¬†
  • Government and arts policy leadership and management;¬†
  • Operational structure of the nonprofit sector, nonprofit arts organizations, and other public services;
  • Grantmaking principles, methods, and¬†techniques. ¬†


  • Exemplary diplomatic, cooperative, and interpersonal skills;¬†
  • Exemplary listening, communications,¬†and creative problem-solving¬†skills;¬†¬†
  • Exemplary organizational skills and the ability to prioritize concurrent projects with multiple stakeholders;¬†
  • Experience in board management;
  • Strong skill/ability to guide and motivate staff;
  • Strong skill/ability to manage, organize, and properly document¬†information;¬†¬†
  • Strong skill/ability related to program/project/event¬†management;¬†¬†
  • Strong skill/ability with standard office products and diverse online¬†systems. ¬†¬†

Ability to: 

  • Connect with, inform, and engage various publics in service of the Arts Commission‚Äôs mission;¬†
  • Build effective relationships with individuals, groups, and communities of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and¬†cultures;¬†
  • Show good professional and interpersonal judgment;¬†
  • Manage collaborative teams with respect and¬†encouragement;¬†¬†
  • Manage conflict and negotiate compromise;¬†
  • Navigate operational structures of local, state, Tribal, and federal government;
  • Provide useful, timely, and sensitive customer service to diverse constituencies and authorizers;
  • Show respect for professional, avocational, formal and informal art forms and practices;
  • Know when to ask for help, advice, and support.

We offer a competitive benefits package and a culture that supports professional growth and personal advancement. State of Arizona employee benefits include:

  • ‚ÄčA robust and affordable insurance plan including medical, dental, life, short and long-term disability options
  • ‚ÄčA top-ranked retirement program with 100% employer matched contribution
  • Opportunities for remote work
  • ‚Äč10 paid holidays per year
  • Paid Parental Leave program – up to 12 weeks per year paid leave for newborn or newly-placed foster/adopted child (pilot program)
  • Accrued vacation and sick days
  • ‚ÄčRide share and public transit subsidy program
  • ‚ÄčWork-life balance and additional options such as: deferred compensation plans, supplemental life insurance, a wellness program, and tuition reimbursement‚Äč

For a complete list of benefits provided by the State of Arizona, please visit the benefits page.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts office is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Employees are required to reside in the state of Arizona. The agency participates in the state’s remote work program, and the position offers the ability to work a hybrid in-office/remote schedule, within Arizona, based upon the agency’s business needs and continual meeting of expected performance.

Instructions‚ÄďHow to Apply

Interested candidates should review the requirements and position responsibilities below. Applications must be submitted via Reference Requisition Identifier 523529.

Complete applications include: A) a cover letter not to exceed 2 pages, B) a resume or curriculum vitae, and C) names, titles and contact information for no fewer than 3 professional references including previous supervisors. Items A, B and C should be combined and submitted as one PDF. Please include your last name in the PDF file name.

Applications will be accepted until March 15. Not all applicants will receive a response.

The Arizona Commission on the Arts is an EOE/ADA Reasonable Accommodation Employer. During all phases of the selection process, applicants may request a reasonable accommodation, such as assistance applying online, a sign language interpreter, or alternative document formats, by contacting [email protected] or 602-771-6502.


Organization/Company: Arizona Commission on the Arts
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Deadline: March 15, 2024
How to Apply: Interested candidates should review the requirements and position responsibilities below. Applications must be submitted via