Highland Center for the Arts (HCA) is a vibrant, privately-funded cultural facility that opened in May 2017 in Greensboro, Vermont. Its 10-acre campus and buildings feature a state-of-the-art 250-seat main stage theater with multiple thrust configurations, a 100-seat adaptable performance and education space, a public art gallery, outdoor terraces and ancillary facilities, and the advanced technical systems to support a range of indoor and outdoor activities. Additionally, its Hardwick Street Café – an eatery serving fresh, locally sourced ingredients – has quickly become a popular gathering place for excellent food, drink, music, and a sense of community.
HCA’s mission is to develop and operate a welcoming venue for assembly, artistic expression, entertainment, education, and refreshment. Its goal is to achieve a balanced, year-round schedule of locally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists and events suited to serving communities in Northern and Central Vermont. HCA’s campus is designed to provide exceptional opportunities to exhibit, view, experience, perform, learn about, and talk about the arts through performances, programs, workshops, festivals, and multi-disciplinary events.
HCA’s exploratory opening season has included more than 25 locally, nationally, and internationally sourced programs in theater, music, film, dance, circus, workshops, lectures, youth education, and an artists’ residency, in accordance with its commitment to collaborate with other visual and performing arts organizations and with local schools.
HCA, the nonprofit corporation that owns and operates the center, has a staff of five full-time employees and several part-time employees. It is governed by a five-member board of directors led by Chairman and Co-Founder Andrew Brown.
The beautiful rural village of Greensboro, situated near Caspian Lake in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, has a year-round population of 770 residents that swells to nearly 3,000 in the summer. The Northeast Kingdom is home to many prospering performing arts organizations and commercial enterprises, including Circus Smirkus, Craftsbury Chamber Players, Jasper Hill Farm, Hill Farmstead Brewery, Pete’s Greens, Wiley’s Store, and many others. Fueled by their respective founders’ desires to serve the surrounding communities, find meaningful work, and do it extraordinarily well in a beloved place, these organizations have achieved a level of excellence, success, and influence normally associated with much larger population centers. HCA was conceived to contribute to this tradition of excellence through the development of a center for the arts in a rural setting, serving both local and summer populations, and to support the work of artists in a way that engages the community.
Greensboro is an idyllic New England town located 35 miles from Vermont’s capital, Montpelier; 70 miles from its largest city, Burlington; and 130 miles from Montreal. Several universities are within a 90-minute drive from Greensboro, including Norwich University, St. Michael’s College, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, and University of Vermont. Northern and Central Vermont is popular among vacationers as well as true food lovers, offering a range of culinary experiences. Attractions include local farmer’s markets and craft festivals, the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream factory tour, and the natural wonders of Quechee Gorge and the Rock of Ages granite quarries.
Vacationers and residents enjoy the picturesque waters for fishing, boating, swimming, and relaxing. In the winter months, many enjoy the nearby Craftsbury Outdoor Center, which has world-class Nordic Skiing and other activities. Stowe Mountain, Smugglers’ Notch, Burke Mountain, and Jay Peak draw downhill skiing enthusiasts. The fall colors are heralded throughout the world. Since the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die was first printed, the Northeast Kingdom has been featured in every North American and international editions of the bestseller.
The Inaugural Executive Director will be a collaborative and experienced leader, responsible for all aspects of HCA’s operations, including its artistic planning and programming, educational activities, strategic planning, financial administration, and community outreach. The Executive Director will be HCA’s chief advocate and networker throughout the region, cultivating new partnerships and relationships as a presenter, promoter, and facility renter to enhance the organization’s profile and visibility. Partnering with the board to establish the strategic direction of HCA, the Executive Director will implement programs and initiatives in fulfillment of HCA’s mission.
Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Vision and Educational Programming
Develop an array of options for a new cultural center while establishing a brand known for quality.
Identify opportunities, plan, and implement HCA’s artistic and educational programming in the visual and performing arts to achieve a balanced year-round schedule of locally, nationally, and internationally-sourced collaborations and events suited to serving the community.
Cultivate strategic partnerships and negotiate contracts with new and existing organizations to present and promote a range of artists and an eclectic mix of individual and thematic programs in the main venue, ancillary venue, and restaurant.
Build and nurture relationships with local schools that develop strong educational programs and long-term benefits to the communities served by HCA.
Collaborate with the board to develop and refine an institutional strategic plan that integrates start-up programming experimentation with long-term community impacts.
Community Engagement and Audience Development
Serve as the primary spokesperson for HCA and establish a broad public image for the organization, clearly articulating its mission and impacts.
Develop partnership agreements with community organizations to advance HCA’s outreach activities in Greensboro and surrounding communities.
Collaborate with the board to develop short and long-term goals and strategies around all areas of contributed and earned revenue and outline the best ways to achieve those goals.
Foster a culture that maintains the highest standards for customer service, excellence of visitor experience, and quality of operations.
Management and Operations
Oversee all personnel and performing, visual, and restaurant operations to ensure that the organization is efficient and effective in resource utilization and that patrons, artists, and community members have a welcoming and high-quality experience.
Coordinate, support, and mentor staff and volunteers.
Develop an annual budget and regularly monitor and report to the board on financial performance, participation, and other metrics.
Ensure that the necessary organizational structure, policies, systems controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so it can fulfill its policy and decision-making responsibilities.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be visionary leader who values frequent interaction and collaboration with others and deeply understands the needs of rural communities. This individual will be people-oriented and will embrace the perspectives and experiences of others in formulating plans and achieving successful outcomes. As a tenacious leader, the Executive Director will be entrepreneurial in working with the board to develop a long-term vision with achievable goals and a strategy that embraces a range of partners and community collaborations. The selected individual will bring energy, passion, and an appreciation for the performing and visual arts and their inherent impacts on rural communities. Other key competencies include:
Diplomacy and Tact – Ability to demonstrate respect for others, treat others fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and maintain positive relationships.
Flexibility and Resiliency – Capacity for agility in adapting to change, recovering from adversity, and moving past obstacles without delay.
Interpersonal Skills – Commitment to building rapport and to demonstrating a sincere interest in others while effectively communicating and relating well with all kinds of people.
Planning and Organizing – Tenacity in setting and prioritizing relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and risks of various options.
Leadership and Self-Management – Clarity in prioritizing and completing tasks necessary to meet or exceed the agreed upon goals while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders. ?
A minimum of five to seven years of relevant senior management experience in a performing arts organization is required and a bachelor’s degree is preferred. Qualified applicants will have significant experience creating, developing, and implementing artistic and educational programs, including all aspects of facility and program planning, restaurant operations, and venue management. Willingness and commitment to embracing and becoming part of the unique rural setting of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is necessary.
Compensation and Benefits
Compensation and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience.
Application and Inquires
Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:
Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite Vice President, Arts Consulting Group 292 Newbury Street, Suite 315 Boston, MA 02115-2801 Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225 Email HighlandCenter@ArtsConsulting.com
Highland Center for the Arts is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes any qualified applicant and values diversity of all kinds.
Arts Consulting Group is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement consulting, facilities & program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. With offices in Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Halifax, Los Angeles, Nashville New York, Portland, San Francisco, Tampa, Toronto, and Washington DC, A...CG consultants are also located in other communities throughout North America to best serve the needs of our clients.Growing Institutions. Advancing Arts & Culture. Enhancing Communities.