Executive Director

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Imagine MKE believes a thriving arts and culture sector is critical to a thriving city and region. Through stronger sector connections, greater awareness, and advocating for increased funding, Imagine MKE will lead the way to a more prosperous, creative tomorrow – for all of Greater Milwaukee. We are seeking an Executive Director to drive this mission.

About Imagine MKE

Imagine MKE is a collaborative and dedicated team that believes in the power of arts and culture to define and energize our city and its people, from arts institutions and creators of every age and level of practice to those who experience and appreciate all forms of creativity and cultural expression.

Our vision is an engaged, inclusive, inspired, and economically vibrant region that is recognized as world-class for its thriving arts and culture scene. We drive measurable results that:

  1. Shift public and business community perception of the arts and culture sector and demonstrate its value as an economic and cultural driver.
  2. Advocate for the increase of public funds, policy changes for the sector, and paid opportunities for creatives in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors.
  3. Convene, attract, and retain the creative talent workforce by connecting them to pipeline and entrepreneurial programs and paid opportunities in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors.

We believe strongly that a diverse coalition is a powerful coalition, and we are dedicated to ensuring that the work we do reflects the rich cultural, ethnic, and racial makeup of our city and empowers people of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, abilities, religions, sexual orientations, and national origins. No matter the visible or invisible differences, we are committed to fostering an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential and be heard and valued.

Who We’re Looking For

We are looking for an Executive Director to help us realize our vision of a vibrant Milwaukee powered by arts and culture. This is a great opportunity for you if:

  • You’re passionate about and believe in Milwaukee’s potential as a thriving artistic community and a destination city.
  • You’re an inspiring coalition builder — a natural at developing inclusive partnerships with grasstops and grassroots stakeholders.
  • You’re eager to drive a strategic agenda to advocate on behalf of the arts and culture sector and its social and economic impact.
  • You lead by empowering, demonstrating an appreciation for others’ contributions and perspectives.
  • You’re an experienced and innovative fundraiser.
  • You’re willing to take the lead by collecting and putting into practice the input and feedback of the coalition, Board of Directors, and community leadership.

The Work over the Next Two Years

Imagine MKE’s Board of Directors has an ambitious but essential agenda to effect systemic change in our city. Over the next two years, you will lead the staff, Board, and community partners to:

  • Create and support coalitions that advocate for the increase of public funding and new policies and opportunities for arts and culture organizations (e.g., establishing a local film office).
  • Work with elected officials and community leaders to build an advocacy campaign and lobby for public funding.
  • Elevate the arts and culture value proposition through increased awareness of the economic, social, and cultural impact on not only Milwaukee but also the region and the state.
  • Lead and support research on the significance of arts and culture, weaving data and project outcomes into a narrative around their multi-faceted benefits.
  • Advocate for funding, policy changes, and increased paid opportunities for artists and creatives.
  • Create a network for arts and culture organizations and individual artists to expand their opportunities for growth and success.
  • Build strategies around corporate engagement with large and small businesses.
  • Drive creative workforce development by cultivating partnerships with existing pipeline programs and fostering new collaborations.
  • Promote the material impact of arts education on our youth.
  • Strengthen current revenue streams and develop new pathways for financial sustainability of the sector.
  • Lead a diverse group of engaged stakeholders who will support Imagine MKE’s ongoing work, serve as a collective voice for the sector, and share best practices.

Traits and Characteristics

You are a natural leader and community advocate with a high level of comfort and credibility in both traditional power structures and grassroot community environments. A firm believer in cultural equity and inclusion, you have a deep appreciation for the value of shared ownership along with a strong understanding of arts and culture’s capacity to transform, inspire, regenerate, and build bridges across communities.

A creative entrepreneur and dynamic innovator, you will envision and activate Imagine MKE’s impact and reach. With superior communication skills and political savvy, you possess an exceptional ability to manage and engage diverse networks at all socioeconomic levels. A result-oriented leader, you are eager to pursue and be accountable for ambitious performance goals.

Required Qualifications

  • A minimum of 8 years demonstrated leadership expertise in organizational development, collaboration, program creation, public policy, advocacy, and fiscal management
  • At least 5 years experience managing a team
  • A history of successful work with boards, public agencies and officials, and collaborations with community leaders
  • Demonstrated fundraising and development success
  • Excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills

Preferred Additional Qualifications

  • Knowledge of Milwaukee’s arts and culture sector
  • Experience advocating for public funding at the local and/or state level

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $100,000 to $120,000, commensurate with experience. You will also receive a competitive benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, and prescription coverage; a flexible spending account; paid time off; holiday and sick pay; and participation in a 401(k) retirement plan.

To apply, please e-mail a resume and cover letter to jobs@imaginemke.org.

This position will remain open until filled. For best consideration, we encourage you to apply by December 15, 2022.

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