Executive Director



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Application Deadline: 
March 30 2023


Supervised by: The Board of Directors

Status: Full-time, exempt

The Chicago Artists Coalition is seeking an Executive Director. Our next Executive Director will have the opportunity to make their mark charting CAC’s leadership role in Chicago, forging new collaborative relationships to promote the arts, and supporting Chicago’s artists in our current post-COVID, politically challenging reality.

Organizational Background

The mission of the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) is to build a sustainable marketplace for entrepreneurial artists and creatives while promoting arts advocacy and professional development for artists. The Chicago Artists Coalition is committed to cultivating groundbreaking exhibitions, promoting art educational opportunities, and building a diverse community of artistic leaders that defines the place of art and artists in our culture and economy. 

CAC has been deeply rooted in Chicago’s arts community for almost 50 years, working directly with and on behalf of artists to improve conditions in which they live and work. Founded in 1974 by artists committed to securing a better future for themselves and the arts sector, CAC’s pioneering advocacy and alliance-building efforts have provided the foundation for Chicago’s bustling artistic community. Historic efforts in which CAC was instrumental include establishment of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Percent for Art Bill, the creation of Arts Alliance Illinois and Chicago Artists Month, and a leadership role in the development and implementation of the Chicago Cultural Plan.

In the more recent past, CAC has grown and evolved, focusing on maintaining a relationship to its history while adapting to address artists’ current needs. CAC relocated to an 8,000 square foot facility in the vibrant West Town neighborhood and acquired the Chicago Artists Resource website to extend our outreach and expand programming opportunities. 

Today, CAC’s programs reflect our goal of empowering local artists through professional career training, exhibition and networking opportunities, and building a supportive patron base. Core programs include the BOLT Studio Residence and the HATCH Projects curatorial and artist residency.

Position Summary

The Executive Director serves as the chief executive and operating officer of the Chicago Artists Coalition. As the public face of the CAC, the Executive Director is the primary individual representing CAC and building relationships in the broader community, both from a programmatic/visibility standpoint and from a fundraising perspective.

Working closely with and reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director oversees all aspects of the organization, including strategic planning, program direction, fund development, finances, staff management, and community relations. A key responsibility is generating resources to support ongoing and new programming.

Primary Areas of Responsibility:

Program Development and Management: You will oversee program staff to conduct and expand current CAC programs and ensure that delivery is consistent with the organization’s mission, strategic planning, and fundraising initiatives. 

Staff Leadership: CAC employs several part-time staff members. You will hire, supervise, evaluate, and manage staff, ensuring that all legal workplace requirements are followed. You will motivate, encourage and facilitate appropriate professional development for staff, preparing them for leadership positions. You will review salary and benefit packages annually for all positions and make recommendations to the board for any changes, if necessary, keeping CAC financially sustainable and competitive. 

Operations: You will ensure the proper use, management, security and upkeep of facilities and ensure adequate infrastructure to support daily operations, marketing, fundraising, and financial controls

Marketing, Community Relations, and Advocacy: You will oversee staff to develop and execute all institutional and programmatic marketing plans, ensuring that CAC maintains a strong brand and achieves wide visibility in the community. You will serve as agency spokesperson, representing CAC in the media and appropriate external constituencies, and develop effective partnerships and working relationships within the community (arts and elsewhere) to enhance programmatic and audience-building objectives, and to ensure that the arts are represented in the community-at-large and for the vibrant constituency that CAC serves. 

Fiscal Management: You will direct financial affairs of the organization in conjunction with the board and with support from bookkeeping and development staff, including ensuring adequate financing for current operating needs and long-term goals. You will develop an annual organizational budget for approval by the board and ensure that expenditures and future planning are consistent with revenue strategies and fundraising capacity. You will monitor cash flow, develop projections, and other reports on financial condition to the board and ensure compliance with all applicable IRS, state, and federal laws, rules and regulations.

Fund Development: You will develop and manage annual nimble and diverse development goals in concert with the board and participate in donor cultivation and solicitation efforts, both for individual donors and funders, in conjunction with board and staff. You will actively seek new opportunities for funding, maintain strong relationships with funders and stakeholders, and ensure compliance with grant commitments. 

Board Relations: With the board chair, you will assist in facilitating regular board meetings, ensure that a policy and system for board development is established, and identify that appropriate talent is identified and made ready for leadership and succession. You will prepare reports for the board and/or committees as required, participate in board recruitment and development efforts, lead implementation of major action items and goals, and participate in visioning and strategic planning for the organization in conjunction with the board. 

Other Responsibilities: You will conduct all business at the highest standard of integrity ensuring that all activities are legal and ethical. You will update your own job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities, reading professional publications, maintaining personal networks, and participating in professional organizations. 


Education: Bachelor’s degree in the arts or nonprofit administration (or a discipline relevant to leading CAC) required; Master’s degree preferred.

Experience: At least 5 years’ proven track record in leadership roles, experience in nonprofit administration with significant experience in the arts preferred. Prior experience as President or Executive Director is preferred. Experience managing a team of employees, demonstrated record in operations, budgeting, and financial administration, with a proven record as a successful fundraiser. 

Additional Qualities:

  • Commitment to equity and inclusion.
  • Outstanding written, oral and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Strong planning, strategy, and analytical skills.
  • Ability to positively motivate and build consensus among staff, board, and volunteers.  
  • Visionary and innovative thinking.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively with a variety of individuals—program partners, artists, a board of directors, and staff.
  • A working knowledge of the artistic community in Chicago preferred.


The compensation range is $70,000-$80,000, commensurate with experience, and includes benefits and a generous leave accrual policy. CAC is open to flexible workplace arrangements.


Email cover letter, resume to Chicago Artists Coalition by March 20, 2023 for best consideration. Faxed, mailed, or incomplete applications will not be accepted. No phone calls please. 

CAC is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.