McColl Center for Art + Innovation is seeking a talented, experienced, and visionary Creative Director to lead its residency program and implement a new strategic direction building upon the organization’s 21-year history. The Creative Director will enjoy working collaboratively with artists, colleagues, and community partners and find inspiration in an environment filled with dynamic changes.
Located in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, McColl Center for Art + Innovation is a dynamic contemporary art center and nationally respected urban artist-in-residence program that engages artists from around the world in its programs. We are committed to providing stimulating and innovative programs to the community and highly supportive residency experiences for our artists. Additionally, we endeavor to connect with local creatives in unique and meaningful ways through an artist co-op, studio rentals, community engagement, and special projects.
With the core value that artists and art are catalysts for change, we believe that the work of artists can advance conversations around important contemporary issues. The organization has established strong community partnerships to engage artists in those conversations. We also embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and collaboration as core values and a strategy to advance artists and community. The organization works to create a welcoming space for everyone by respecting the creativity, ideas, beliefs, cultures, identities, and lived experiences of all artists, volunteers, stakeholders, visitors, staff, and partners, and assumes the good intentions of those with whom we collaborate and interact.
McColl Center for Art + Innovation resides in a beautiful 30,000 square foot Gothic Revival church with private studios and shared lab spaces for sculpture, woodworking, printmaking, ceramics, and digital media and separately provide private fully furnished condos for each artist-in-residence. We attract a diverse, enthusiastic, and growing local audience for open houses, opening receptions, and other programs. Opened in 1999, McColl Center has become a cultural leader and the champion for contemporary art in Charlotte and provides a unique opportunity for the public to engage with artists in their studios. McColl Center has hosted over 400 artists-in-residence from 35 states and 25 countries including Nick Cave, Mel Chin, Sonya Clark, P. Scott Cunningham, Beverly McIver, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Rashaad Newsome, Dr. Fahamu Pecou, and Elizabeth Turk. This core program continues to be the heart of the organization’s work. To further enrich the experience of our artists, McColl Center is developing new programs that the Creative Director will develop and evolve in alignment with the strategic plan.
Reporting to the President + CEO, the Creative Director is responsible for shaping the artistic and programmatic vision for McColl Center by identifying strategies to deliver its mission while creating inspiring opportunities for artists to develop and advance their practices.
The Creative Director will be joining us as the new strategic plan and vision are being implemented. They will be encouraged to bring their creativity and ideas in leading the core residency program while also bringing new strategies to life. This will require someone that is flexible and able to multi-task while working within an ambiguous, fast-moving environment and while driving toward clarity and solutions. We are looking for a forward-thinking leader who will ambitiously envision our possibilities while valuing the organization’s history.
The Creative Director will expand the conversation in Charlotte and beyond around the value of artists and contemporary art to society and the role that McColl Center plays in advancing artists and their careers. By connecting visiting artists, local artists, and the broader community, we seek to advance and strengthen Charlotte’s vibrant creative community so that professional artists create, grow, and thrive.
The Creative Director will work closely with and lead a wide range of individuals that include artists, community partners, Board members, donors, students, etc. In addition, they will build a collaborative atmosphere and respect the critical role all team members play.
A significant part of this role is to support and advance the residency program. This work includes:
- Overseeing a transparent artist selection process, which includes an equity framework and a diverse group of rotating panelists to ensure an inclusive and representative group of artists-in-residence
- Supporting 11 professional international, national, and regional artists each year during their residencies
- Mentoring artists-in-residence in their practices and make professional connections for them to advance their careers, including studio visits, artist talks and guidance
- Leading a small staff to deliver an exceptional experience for artists-in-residence while simultaneously developing and delivering engaging and accessible programs serving both artists and visitors
New Programs and Initiatives
This is an exciting time to lead our new initiatives designed to ensure we are accessible, equitable, relevant, and supportive of artists at various points in their careers. With an entrepreneurial mindset, the Creative Director will be charged with:
- Developing a framework for a new artist co-op and studio rental program designed to serve local and regional artists by becoming a hub for art making
- Reimagining exhibition programs to align with our vision and strategic plan objectives
- Creating partnerships for new professional and practice development programs for local artists
- Growing youth programs to foster the next generation of artists and opportunities for creative enrichment
- Building a new program aimed at attracting luminary artists to be in residence twice a year
- Developing and stewarding a network of local artists to obtain feedback on programs and opportunities to partner
- Leading efforts to design assessment and evaluation tools that can be used to gauge the impact, equity, and accessibility of our programs and goals
- Cultivating and strengthening new and existing relationships with educational institutions and cultural organizations to advance our mission
- Serving in a leadership capacity on cross-functional teams to achieve results for strategic plan implementation
The Creative Director is expected to contribute to the financial sustainability of the organization by:
- Assisting in identifying funding partners for programs and participating in requests and stewardship as required
- Maintaining the diverse array of key organizational partners and working closely with funders and potential funders, locally and nationally, to steward and cultivate support
- Creating dynamic, culturally relevant, and accessible programming to engage current arts supporters and inspire new supporters
- Working closely with the marketing and development teams to clearly articulate the artistic and programmatic vision for marketing and fund development efforts
- Carefully managing an annual budget showing good stewardship of the resources entrusted to us
- Supporting revenue generating programming, which is an important component of the financial sustainability of the organization
As the artistic face of the organization, the Creative Director will promote the vision and mission by:
- Representing McColl Center and the artists it serves by attending internal and external events to network and build the brand with potential donors, artist partners, and community members
- Serving as a thought leader at local, state, national, and international conferences and in the broader community
- Speaking at various venues to advance McColl Center’s mission and brand
- Providing well researched written descriptions for events, marketing materials, and catalogue copy
- At least seven years of professional experience in a contemporary art setting and/or residency program
- An undergraduate degree in the arts required with an advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred
- Success in generating creative and inspired ways to advance the arts and opportunities for artists
- Demonstrated record of leading an effective and collaborative team while supporting individual professional goals and aspirations
- Demonstrated record of being a strong relationship builder with community partners
- Ability to work evenings and weekends, as required, and manage a busy schedule
- Has a substantial national network of artists and arts professionals upon which to draw
- Demonstrated success in securing support for projects and/or operating support
- Strong knowledge of best practices and current trends in the field of contemporary art, professional development of artists and/or residency programs
- Strong written and verbal communication skills with an ability to distill complex ideas into a clear and concise framework or summary
We are committed to cultivating a workplace in which diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, or membership in any other legally protected class. We strongly encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds to apply. Elinvar has been retained to conduct this search. Please send a cover letter and resume (in a Word document) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will accept resumes until the position is filled and encourage you to apply as soon as possible.