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Position Announcement

Executive Director

American Jazz Museum

Kansas City, Missouri

[ *DOWNLOAD THIS POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT .PDF ]

The Opportunity

Opening in 1997 as the anchor to Kansas City’s 18th & Vine District Redevelopment, the future is bright as American Jazz Museum prepares to celebrate 20 years as the only cultural institution in the world focused solely on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of jazz. 

Our mission:  To celebrate and exhibit the experience of jazz as an original American art form through performance, exhibition, education, and research at one of the country’s jazz crossroads – 18th & Vine.

AJM seeks an energetic, visionary and collaborative leader to serve as Executive Director.

Celebrating jazz legends like Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Jay MacShann, to living greats like Pete Fountain, Chuck Mangione and Pat Metheny, AJM is more than a single-site visitor destination.   AJM is a multi-faceted organization that allows children and adults, alike, to learn and experience jazz and American jazz heritage through the Museum’s Blue Room, Swing Shop, Changing Gallery and the historic Gem Theater.  These features generate earned income beyond the museum’s membership, sponsorship and donor programs.

Operating with a budget of approximately $2 million, a staff of 25 full- and part-time associates and a large corps of volunteers, AJM partners with more than 150 organizations to carry out our mission and programs.  AJM has been a Smithsonian affiliate since 2000.  It’s neighbor, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is an independent 501 ( c )( 3 ) housed in the AJM complex.

Our new executive director will inherit an organization on solid financial footing, with annual visitor-ship of around 40,000 and a full calendar of exhibits, performances and special events.  AJM relies on a mix of earned income, subsidies from the City of Kansas City, and private fundraising to supplement membership support. 

Our new leader will capitalize on synergies created around a resurgence of interest and economic development in Kansas City’s Power & Light and Crossroads neighborhoods. These include plans for creating a downtown campus for the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music, a connector line to 18th & Vine once the city’s new street cars are running in 2016, and an initiative by U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver to transfer back to the city some of the properties in the District to serve as a foundation for a new master plan.  In all, city leaders estimate a $140 million investment in 18th & Vine and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Accountabilities:

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have chief responsibility for all aspects of AJM operations, program, financial performance, fund development, and the customer experience. 

More specifically, the Executive Director will be accountable for:

Strategic vision and management of the mission.  Working with a 14-person Board on a three-year strategic plan and development of measurable goals to bring the vision to life for all aspects of the AJM brand.

Positive engagement and presence within the community – at the city, state and national levels (e.g., civic and community leaders, Board, City of Kansas City, neighborhood groups and 18th & Vine tenants, Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association, the Arts Council and fellow arts organizations, the Smithsonian, peers and others nationally that support Jazz and Jazz Heritage, and current and future stakeholders). The Executive Director will provide leadership in developing and executing strategies to drive strong community, partner and donor relations. 

Delivering quality, diverse Jazz, educational and outreach programming, ensuring a superb customer experience in all aspects of the AJM brand.

Financial health and success in all areas of the business: fundraising, sustainable growth via member and customer development for the performance venues and rentals; optimal pricing strategies; revenue optimization and expense control; and balance sheet management. The Executive Director will demonstrate responsible stewardship of  the historic venue and its value as a chief asset in the region.

Staff leadership and development.  Foster a strong, positive, empowered and progressive culture.

Requirements for the Position:

A minimum of 10 years’ progressively responsible experience in business, general nonprofit, or the cultural or performing arts, with a proven track record at a senior leadership level.  A working knowledge of nonprofit fundraising, programs and boardsmanship.  Knowledge of cultural arts patronage/audience development a plus.

An interest in Jazz, American history, and the African-American experience. 

Willing and able to work flexible hours which will include evenings and weekends.

Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s or other advanced degree is desired.

Desired Attributes: 

A dynamic leader with sound business experience, financial acumen and outstanding communication skills.

A collaborative presence, able to lead by example by motivating, inspiring, and building consensus among the staff, Board, and other key stakeholders.

A civic presence, able to cultivate and interact with the Board, donors and members, the City, state and federal representatives, neighborhood groups and peer arts and culture organizations, and others whose support is vital to the brand.

A strategic, creative thinker with an entrepreneurial instinct that anticipates AJM’s future needs and opportunities. S/he will exhibit energy, political sophistication, and dedication in delivering results.

Application procedures and deadlines:

Open until filled; however, applications received prior to October 1 will receive priority consideration.   Complete applications will be acknowledged by return e-mail within one week of submission.

Apply via email to:   [email protected] . Include in Word and PDF format:

Letter of application that addresses your interest in this position and highlights what you would bring to this position 

Resume

Five professional references we may contact

Questions may be directed to:

Laura McCray, Vice President/Search Consultant

[email protected]

  913-558-1713

The American Jazz Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN JAZZ MUSEUM

Opening in 1997 as the anchor to Kansas City’s 18th & Vine District Redevelopment,  the  mission of the American Jazz Museum is to celebrate and exhibit the experience of jazz as an original American art form through performance, exhibition, education, and research at one of the country’s jazz crossroads – 18th & Vine.

Operating with a budget of approximately $2 million, a staff of 25 full- and part-time associates and a large corps of volunteers, AJM is the only museum in the world solely focused on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of jazz music.  More than a single-site visitor destination, AJM is a multi-faceted organization that allows children and adults, alike, to learn and experience jazz and American jazz heritage through the Museum’s Blue Room, Swing Shop, Changing Gallery and the historic Gem Theater.  AJM has garnered numerous awards and recognition, including repeated recognition by Downbeat Magazine and the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association, for Top 100 Jazz Clubs in the World, Best Jazz Club, and Best Jazz Festival. 

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