“Like many young writers and painters, I felt I was working in the dark, that I needed…some support from others around me. I vowed if I were ever in a position to do that, I would do what I could to create an exchange, a community of artists.”
-Stanley Kunitz, poet and Fine Arts Work Center Co-Founder
The Fine Arts Work Center (The Work Center) is an internationally renowned artist and writer residency in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Work Center has dedicated its 52 years to providing early-career artists the opportunity to live and work together in a community of peers. Artists are given the freedom to pursue their artistic growth without interruption for seven months from October through April in Provincetown. The Work Center is devoted to encouraging the growth and development of emerging visual artists and writers through residency programs, to the propagation of aesthetic values and experience, and to the restoration of the year-round vitality of the historic art colony of Provincetown.
Twenty Fellows from all over the world are selected every year to live and work at The Work Center. Ten Fellows in art and 10 Fellows in writing are selected by internationally distinguished artists and writers from more than 1,500 applications annually. The Work Center showcases the writing or art of each Fellow through public readings in the Stanley Kunitz Common Room and individual shows in the Hudson D. Walker Gallery, as well as through group shows elsewhere. Fellows are also invited to engage in community outreach and education initiatives by teaching workshops in local schools and senior centers. The Work Center’s programmatic offerings also include returning residencies for former Fellows, a vibrant summer program in visual art and creative writing, collaborative one- to two-week residencies for visiting artists in partnership with other arts organizations, and an online writing program called 24PearlStreet.
The Work Center was founded in 1968 by a group of artists, writers, and patrons, including Fritz Bultman, Salvatore and Josephine Del Deo, Stanley Kunitz, Philip Malicoat, Robert Motherwell, Myron Stout, Jack Tworkov, and Hudson D. Walker, among others. Through the years, The Work Center has drawn internationally recognized artists and writers to Provincetown for free-of-charge public programs such as lectures, readings, and exhibitions. The Work Center’s Fellows, who arrive in Provincetown as emerging and mostly unknown writers and artists, have gone on to win multiple Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, Prix de Rome scholarships, Whiting Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. The artists have presented their work at the Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney, The New Museum, MASS MoCA, Friends of the High Line, and many other venues around the world.
Governed by a 35-member board of trustees, The Work Center has a staff of six full-time and six part-time employees and numerous independent contractors and volunteers who work in service of artists, writers, and the institution’s mission. The Work Center is also supported by its Board of Advisors and Program Committees in visual arts and writing, which govern the selection of Fellows.
The Work Center’s 50th anniversary in 2018 was preceded by a $5 million campaign dedicated to growing the Fellowship endowment and improving historic buildings, facilities, and grounds, including a solar panel system for energy efficiency and the creation of a central outdoor gathering space. For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, The Work Center had total operating revenues of $1.1 million with 59 percent from contributions and 41 percent from program services and other revenues. Its 2021 fiscal year revenues are projected to be $1.5 million and its permanently restricted endowment stands at approximately $2 million.
A quintessential yet quirky New England coastal town, Provincetown is located on the north tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Prior to colonization, Cape Cod was inhabited by the Wampanoag Indian Federation and the Nauset peoples, one of six sub-tribes. Provincetown was later incorporated as a township in 1727. Attracted by the fishing and whaling industries, Portuguese fishermen, sailors mostly from the Azores, began settling in the town in the early nineteenth century. With the arrival of the railroad in the late nineteenth century, Provincetown soon became a favored destination for tourists attracted by its special light, beautiful beaches, open culture, artists and art galleries, and a welcoming nature.
The beauty of Provincetown’s land and seascape were a magnet to artists and writers, leading to the establishment of the Cape Cod School of Art by Charles W. Hawthorne in 1899 and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in 1914. By 1916, the town’s artistic activity was recognized on the front page of The Boston Globe as the “Biggest Art Colony in the World at Provincetown.” Throughout the twentieth century, artists of all disciplines continued to find their way to Provincetown with the emergence of the Provincetown Players in the 1940s and The Work Center in 1968.
Provincetown and its nearby communities of Truro and Wellfleet continue to be an attractive destination for tourists. Its year-round population of 3,000 people swells to more than 60,000 people during beautiful summer days. The town has a strong history of welcoming LBGTQIA+ travelers, with themed weeks celebrating diversity such as its August Carnival. Whale watching and exploring the dunes are favorite activities and Provincetown’s Herring Cove and Race Point Beaches are renowned. The vibrant gallery scene and an array of restaurants further enliven the Provincetown experience and are a testament to its creativity, enthusiasm, and welcoming environment. The winter season brings soulfulness, beautiful landscapes, and a time to connect with and support a deeper sense of community.
Sources: ptowntourism.com, iamprovincetown.com
The Executive Director of The Work Center will serve as its leading spokesperson responsible for managing all aspects of the organization’s programs, donor cultivation and fundraising, public visibility, and financial resiliency. Reporting to the board of trustees, the Executive Director will be charged with strategic leadership of the organization, setting a clear vision for programmatic excellence, service to artists, community partnerships, and regional, national, and international visibility. Advocating for diverse and creative emerging artists and writers, the Executive Director will promote an open environment of curiosity and experimentation among The Work Center’s past, current, and future artists and writers. The Executive Director will also cultivate deep connections with and demonstrate ongoing commitment to the board, staff members, and community partners.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership and Direction
- Focus on the organization’s strategic direction, build commitment around key priorities, and advance the depth of program initiatives.
- Guide the board and staff in how best to engage a broad range of stakeholders, develop authentic relationships, define key messages, and proactively build connections with individuals and institutions locally and nationally to achieve lasting artistic, social, and educational impacts.
- Connect with an array of current and past Fellows to carefully listen, network, reimagine, and engage in how The Work Center can best preserve its legacy and envision its future.
- Create collaborative alliances and mutually beneficial strategic partnerships with regional and national visual art and writing program educators, galleries, and other mission-aligned organizations.
- Ensure that programs, organizational culture, facilities, systems, staffing, and operations are effective, impactful, and aligned with strategic goals.
- Clarify strategic needs that support future program development, facility maintenance, and capacity utilization.
- Embrace other strategic leadership and direction responsibilities as needed.
Revenue Enhancement and External Relations
- Develop and sustain positive relationships with individual and institutional funders, media, and others who support The Work Center’s mission and increase its public visibility.
- Serve as the chief fundraiser for The Work Center, strategize to diversify contributed revenue, and lead major gift cultivation and solicitation in partnership with the board and staff.
- Engage publicly with the Provincetown community as an active and visible spokesperson for The Work Center, working closely with other professional, civic, government, tourism, and business organizations to preserve its brand as an iconic destination.
- Participate actively in national meetings and conversations focused on excellence in writing and the visual arts.
- Lead donor prospect identification and cultivation activities that sustain the organization’s programs and services.
- Leverage the board’s networks to maximize contributed revenue and sponsorship opportunities for fellowship support, public programs, and operations.
- Embrace and develop other revenue enhancement and external relations responsibilities as needed.
Engaged Governance and Financial Stewardship
- Inspire and support the board and its committees in policy making, fundraising, governance, and community ambassadorship for The Work Center and its programs.
- Identify, cultivate, and assist in the recruitment of board and advisory council members whose diversity, skills, experience, connections, and capacity meet the organization’s current and future aspirations.
- Ensure the organization’s financial resiliency by providing sound business models, budgeting, and financial management, including leadership of a thorough review of The Work Center’s business model.
- Assume primary responsibility for the preparation of the annual financial budget and operating plans for submission to the full board, collaborating with the treasurer and the finance committee.
- Monitor the budget throughout the year, present monthly or periodic reports to the finance committee, and establish the appropriate internal controls for all financial matters of the institution.
- Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so it can effectively fulfill its policy, fiduciary, and decision-making responsibilities.
- Embrace and create other engaged governance and financial stewardship responsibilities as needed.
Operational Stewardship and Organizational Vibrancy
- Lead the effective operations of The Work Center to ensure that Fellows, donors, community members, and others have an exceptional experience every time they interact with the organization.
- Encourage the staff’s creative and professional development, promoting and supporting a work environment that fosters high-level professional performance and employee diversity, engagement, and satisfaction.
- Integrate all aspects of The Work Center, including operations for all programs, ensuring organizational structures, systems, controls, and procedures are in place, adhered to, and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
- Oversee The Work Center’s physical operations, including the planned renovation of its historic facility at 24 Pearl Street and the maintenance, safety, and functionality of all its buildings, grounds, equipment, classrooms, labs, apartments, studios, and gallery.
- Embrace other organizational vibrancy and internal cohesion responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a dynamic and inspiring leader who builds authentic relationships and values frequent engagement with diverse stakeholders. Honoring the past and charting the course for a bright future for artists, writers, and The Work Center itself, this individual will be versatile and flexible in addressing challenges and embracing opportunities. The Executive Director will have a drive to succeed and a passion to guide a collaborative organization founded on a commitment to the freedom to do excellent work. Valuing creativity in an altruistic and harmonious environment, the Executive Director will be an optimistic and decisive leader with an appreciation for practical accomplishments and a commitment to organizational excellence in all respects. The Executive Director will also have the ability to build internal and external relationships inherent to the position, organization, and multi-stakeholder communities served by The Work Center.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership – The dexterity to prioritize strategic initiatives while creating a sense of direction embedded in the active participation of a variety of artists, writers, and current and former Fellows, as well as board, staff, and community members.
- Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The capacity to effectively and tactfully address difficult and sensitive issues, demonstrate respect, treat others fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and foster positive and productive relationships internally and externally.
- Decision Making and Resiliency – The fortitude and forbearance to reach solutions and positive outcomes despite resistance or challenges and the willingness to develop and embrace new strategies without becoming discouraged.
- Professional and Personal Accountability – The ability to assess the risks of various options; anticipate the human, financial, and technological resources needed to achieve extraordinary results; and be held accountable for decisions and actions.
A bachelor’s degree or equivalent and five to 10 years of direct experience with increasing responsibility in a senior management role in a creative, innovative, entrepreneurial organization is needed. Visual arts, humanities, artist residency, or arts education expertise is welcomed. Candidates should have experience in fundraising, with results in donor stewardship and solicitation of individual major gifts and institutional support. Maintaining primary residence and active presence in Provincetown is required along with the ability to travel nationally as needed.
Compensation and Benefits
The Work Center provides a competitive salary expected to be in the range of $100,000 to $120,000, as well as the use of a two-bedroom historic house on Commercial Street with a studio, utilities, yard, and parking. Benefits also include employer paid medical, dental, and vision insurances. The quality of life that Provincetown provides is also a substantial benefit.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201
The Work Center is an equal opportunity employer where all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color,
sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information,
veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.
The Work Center values diversity and inclusion and seeks to build and maintain a community and culture that celebrates and values diverse backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. It considers equivalent combinations of experience and education for certain jobs and all candidates who believe they possess equivalent experience and education are encouraged to apply.