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CAH Executive Director

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Salary Range: $119,869 - $179,723

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) is seeking an Executive Director. The Executive Director is appointed by the Board of Commissioners, with the advice and consent of Council of the District of Columbia. CAH is the designated state arts agency for the District of Columbia and is supported primarily through District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. For the past five years, CAH has ranked number one in appropriations funding per capita among the 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies. The Agency provides nearly $42 million in grant funds annually to area artists, humanities practitioners, and arts/humanities organizations. 

This is a pivotal time for the CAH. With a newly appointed Chair and refreshed slate of Commissioners, the Agency endeavors to lead the nation in driving the creative economy in the nation’s capital. The Executive Director will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a staff of approximately 35 in the grants, public art, communications, finance, operations and events departments. The next Executive will also be responsible for serving CAH’s established purpose to evaluate and initiate action on matters relating to the arts and humanities and encourage programs and the development of programs which promote progress in the arts and humanities. The leader must have experience driving a high performing culture that recognizes and respects the contributions of all individual team members and leads with strong values of fairness, equity and respect. We are seeking a dynamic leader who can serve to advance the vision for CAH and lead a team that flawlessly executes our strategic plan.

Since 1968, CAH has provided funding that has supported local artists, humanities practitioners, arts/humanities organizations, and related activities for the benefit of the city. The Mission of CAH is to provide grant funds, programs and educational activities that support artistic excellence; to encourage diverse artistic expressions and learning opportunities; and to initiate and to implement programs that reflect the cultural diversity of DC. CAH offers grants to individuals and organizations through more than fifteen distinctive grant programs providing funding for programs that include; general operating support, capacity building, COVID response, facilities, and art and humanities education programs.

The Position

The Executive Director is responsible for leading the process for developing and executing the statewide arts plan for the District of Columbia as required by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Executive Director ensures that CAH is programmatically and administratively responsible for and successful in implementing the statewide arts plan and establishing arts and cultural policy having a District-wide impact.

Other duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director include:

  • Build a strong culture that motivates and inspires excellence.
  • Lead ethically and with inclusion top of mind.
  • Plan, organize and direct the work of a diverse staff of multifunctional professionals and establish priorities, constructive feedback and performance standards.
  • Empower and support staff to cultivate a positive workplace culture of collaboration, collegiality, respect and opportunity.
  • Ensure inclusion, diversity, equity, access and artistic excellence across CAH policies, programs and in its grant making.
  • Collaborate effectively with the Mayor’s office, Council and other partner agencies in DC.
  • Work with staff and Commissioners to establish protocols for grants and determining budgets for grant categories.
  • Examine and approve grant applications and advance contracts to meet in whole, or in part, the cost of an identified activity or program.
  • Plan year-round public relations programs for the Commission and serve as staff spokesperson and the liaison for the Commission with District and Federal agencies and departments, the public, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other state arts councils.
  • Develop deep relationships with the community across all Wards, ensuring the agency is responsive to the needs of our constituents.
  • Keep the Commission apprised of emergent policy issues, review existing legislation and other policies, and lead any necessary revisions.
  • Prepare for and testify before Council at the Agency’s annual budget hearing and performance oversight hearing.
  • Oversee the preparation and distribution of materials for meetings of the Commission.
  • Advance positive engagement with Commissioners and relevant DC leaders.
  • Lead courageously from the front with humility and compassion and a posture of servant leadership.


  • High EQ and ability to navigate complexity and varied needs and concerns of diverse stakeholders.
  • At least five years of equivalent high impact management experience.
  • Ability to manage programs and budgets commensurate with CAH budgets and programs.
  • Knowledge, understanding and experience with DC public affairs and arts initiatives and operating context.
  • Ability to lead arts administration staff and effectively manage multi-million-dollar budget expenditures.
  •  Strong communicator and collaborator.

The ideal candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and at least five (5) years in senior-level management experience. A demonstrated knowledge of, and connections to, the arts and humanities, especially the District of Columbia arts and humanities community, are highly desired. The Executive Director will have experience in policy formation and in managing a multidisciplinary team of professionals that includes contractors and volunteers. The successful candidate will have documented experience with budgets and in grant management and possess the ability to communicate effectively (both verbally and in writing) with internal and external stakeholders. The candidate will be well versed in best practices related to diversity and inclusion.

Residency Statement

You must establish residency in the District of Columbia within one hundred eighty (180) days of the effective date of the appointment and continue to maintain residency within the District of Columbia throughout the duration of the appointment.

EEO Statement

The District of Columbia Government is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, physical handicap, or political affiliation.

To Apply

Qualified candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter outlining their qualifications along with a resume to [email protected]. To assist with internal sorting, please include name (Last, First) in the subject line. Please submit materials in PDF format.