SPACES seeks an Executive Director.

SPACES seeks a creative leader who is committed to artists and community and values experimentation and collaboration. The Executive Director will champion SPACES' mission to be a resource and public forum for artists who explore, experiment, and challenge the status quo. The ideal candidate is a strong administrator with experience fundraising for and implementing artistic exhibitions and programs. 

The Organization: A leading national 501(c) 3 nonprofit alternative arts organization, SPACES is a resource and public forum for artists to explore and experiment. Located in a 9,500 square foot facility just west of downtown Cleveland, SPACES has presented the work of more than 12,000 artists since its founding in 1978.

SPACES commissions artists from around the world—at all stages of their careers—to make new work that is responsive to timely issues. Those projects serve as a jumping off point to develop educational programs and initiatives that help cultivate a more informed citizenry.

Highly respected by regional and national funders, project collaborators, and artists, SPACES is a dynamic organization strengthened by sound fiscal management and a solid history of successful mission-driven partnerships. Organizing highly regarded exhibitions, installations, artist grant distributions, and residency programs, SPACES is recognized as a leader in promoting arts experimentation.

In 2023, SPACES commissioned the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Architettura, a groundbreaking achievement for an organization of its size. As the first Ohio-based commissioner of the US Pavilion, SPACES garnered international attention and renown for its bold contribution to the storied Biennale.

SPACES has an annual operating budget of approximately $1 million. The staff currently includes five full-time employees, one part-time employee, and numerous interns and volunteers who provide ongoing support throughout the year. The active and engaged Board of Directors represents a diverse range of expertise and perspectives.

SPACES is dedicated to equity and inclusion practices throughout the organization, including staffing, board membership and programming.

The Opportunity: The next Executive Director will implement a vision based on SPACES’ mission to be a resource and public forum for artists who explore, experiment, and challenge the status quo. The Executive Director will have the opportunity to work with the board and staff to develop a new strategic plan.

The Position: SPACES’ Executive Director champions the organization’s mission and artists. The role oversees all aspects of the organization’s operations, develops, and guides its programs, and provides imaginative leadership. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and works strategically with the Board and committees to fulfill the mission.

Key Duties and Responsibilities: The Executive Director is responsible for the administration and operation of all the functional areas of the organization including:

  • Hiring and managing staff: developing, mentoring, and retaining highly qualified, diverse, and committed staff and volunteers. Fostering staff opportunities for creative and professional growth, shared commitment, and meaningful engagement.
  • Overseeing the creative direction of SPACES—providing room for artists, staff, and board to experiment, while offering guidance and feedback along the way.
  • Curatorial oversight in developing programs, managing the internationally regarded residency program, and developing projects in all media and presentation formats, either directly or by delegating to other staff, guest curators, and artists.
  • Collaborating with the staff, Board of Directors, and Programming Committee Chair to preserve and support the artistic excellence, inventiveness, and integrity of programs; evaluate the impact, efficacy, and sustainability of current programs; and to establish priorities, processes, and resources for new and evolving program development.
  • Collaborating with board leadership on effective, progressive implementation of the strategic plan.
  • Building and maintaining donor relations, working with the Development Director to execute timely grant applications, and conceiving, leading, and overseeing SPACES successful fundraising events. Working with the Development Director and Fundraising Committee Chair to raise funds from private, corporate, foundation, and government sources.
  • Providing prudent fiscal management—working with accountants, auditors, and the Board Treasurer on monthly and annual financials, developing annual budgets in consultation with the staff and board, monitoring budget-to-actual reports on a monthly basis, and coordinating the annual audit and 990 filing.
  • Enhancing and expanding meaningful community engagement, connections, and strategic partnerships, and alliances to advance SPACES’ vision, impact, and resources.
  • Managing the day-to-day operations of SPACES, including separate ownership of the first floor of the Van Rooy Building and collaboration with the other two owners.

Desired Leadership Profile and Background: SPACES’ Executive Director is an accomplished and highly regarded leader with experience in nonprofit management and a deep appreciation for and understanding of artists, contemporary art, and the role of innovation in communities.

The ideal candidate is a leader who is committed to artists and community and who values experimentation, risk-taking, and collaboration in all aspects of the organization.

Important traits and qualities include integrity, passion, curiosity, and a confident, compassionate leadership style.

Education and Knowledge:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration, Fine Art, Art History, or related field; Advanced Degree in the arts, Arts Management, or related field preferred, or equivalent experience.
  • Key knowledge of trends/topics in national and international contemporary and emerging art.


  • Demonstrated success in a leadership role at an arts organization (3+ years).
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and achieve fundraising goals, including successful grant-writing experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with Board of Directors and committees.
  • Demonstrated experience in conception and implementation of artistic exhibitions and programs.

Skills and Competencies:

  • Organization and planning skills with the ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects and a capacity to communicate those priorities to stakeholders.
  • Strong time management skills.
  • Strong oral and written presentation skills with the ability to be an articulate, passionate, and effective spokesperson for the organization and its goals.
  • Strong leadership in demonstrating core values of experimentation, excellence, and engagement.
  • Enthusiastic and open approach to envisioning the future of SPACES, with a balanced approach to the organization’s history.
  • Ability to cultivate and steward strategic and meaningful partnerships.
  • Ability to develop people.

Salary and Benefits:

  • Compensation: $70,000 - 82,500, commensurate with skills and experience.
  • Job classification: Full time
  • Participation in the company’s SIMPLE IRA with matching program.
  • PTO + 10 paid holidays per year.
  • Participation in group health plan; 60% of monthly premium for individual coverage subsidized by SPACES.

Salary range: $70,000-82,500

Job classification: Full-time

To apply: Please follow link below to submit resume, cover letter of interest and contact information for two references.

Any questions may be directed to [email protected]. Members of under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.

SPACES is an equal opportunity employer. Our employment policies are administered without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, or any other legally protected status except as permitted by law.

Posted: October 17, 2023
Deadline: Rolling

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