Executive Director

Commission for Arts & Culture

San Diego, CA


About The City

With more than 1.3 million people, the City of San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United States and the second largest in California. The City of San Diego's strong economy, diverse population, great educational institutions, unsurpassed quality of life, and world-renowned location makes it the ideal place to work, live, and play. With its great weather, miles of sandy beaches, and major attractions, San Diego has something to offer for everyone.
The City's Mission, as found in our Strategic Plan, is "To Effectively Serve and Support Our Communities." Our core values are Integrity, Service, People, and Excellence. The City's Vision is "A World-Class City for All."
As one of the region's largest employers, the City of San Diego has a combined Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget of approximately $3.57 billion and employs approximately 11,000 highly dedicated employees. Additional information about the City of San Diego can be obtained on the City's website: www.sandiego.gov.

The Position

The Executive Director of the City of San Diego (City) Commission for Arts and Culture (Commission) will partner with the Office of the Mayor, the local arts and culture community and national arts and culture leaders to sustain the strength of the Commission while leading it to a wider field of impact for the benefit of all San Diegans. 
The Executive Director:

  1.  Is appointed by and reports to the Mayor. 
  2. Coordinates the work of a 15-member board of Commissioners who are volunteers serving in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and City Council on promoting, encouraging, and increasing support for the region's artistic and cultural assets, integrating arts and culture into community life and showcasing San Diego as an international tourist destination.
  3. Manages a staff of seven full-time employees and up to three consultants. 
  4. Manages an annual budget in excess of $9 million. 
  5. Is responsible for developing, implementing, evaluating and/or recommending changes to public policy, legislation, programs, services and advocacy strategies; overseeing funding allocations in support of nonprofit arts and culture organizations, artists, neighborhood arts programs, festivals, and artworks in public development; ensuring the inclusion of art in private development; managing artworks owned and controlled by the City; supporting cultural tourism and innovative arts and culture programming; and undertaking other initiatives that contribute to the quality of life, the economic vitality, and the vibrancy of San Diego. 
  6. Acts as the lead representative and spokesperson for San Diego's arts and culture in interactions with officials of both the U.S. and Mexico at the municipal, county, state and federal levels, fellow City departments heads, the tourism industry, the business community, the philanthropic sector, the academic community, and artists.

A detailed list of the Executive Director's duties and functions can be found in San Diego Municipal Code section 26.0713, which can be viewed online: 


The ideal candidate will have proven leadership qualities with the ability to build relationships of trust, respect, and credibility in the community and internally with staff and coworkers. 
Required Minimum Qualifications 
The successful candidate will have the following minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts degree in arts administration, public administration, visual arts, performing arts, language arts, communications, education or other related field;
  • Five years of professional experience in the arts and culture sector;
  • Five years of experience supervising personnel;
  • Significant budget management experience, preferably with a multi-million dollar annual budget;
  • Demonstrated excellent written communication skills
  • A proven record of extensive public speaking experience;  
  • Proficiency with complete Microsoft Office suite, and a proficient awareness of tech tools to work with spreadsheets, conduct online research, and utilize mobile communications.

Ideal Qualifications
The ideal candidate should possess the following additional qualifications:

  • Master's degree or equivalent work experience
  • Respected by a broad cross-section of peers and colleagues nationwide;
  • Generating excitement for arts and culture;
  • Experience working within a government institution and interfacing with elected officials, government contractors and community volunteers;
  • Conceiving and communicating visionary concepts that inspire people to act;
  • Serving as a visible and accessible advocate for artists and nonprofit organizations;
  • Communicating the value and relevance of governmental support for arts and culture, access to and participation in arts and culture, art in public places, arts education (K-12), cultural tourism, and attracting and retaining creative talent;
  • Understanding typical challenges faced by nonprofit arts and culture organizations, by percent-for-art programs, and by individual artists;
  • Understanding the distinct natures of multiple arts disciplines and the typical production methods of such art disciplines;
  • Ability to advance innovations in the work of an organization; Conveying competence and credibility with a demeanor and work style that garners support and fosters collaborations;
  • Serving as an inviting and accessible advocate for artists and nonprofit organizations;
  • A demonstrated commitment to the principles of inclusion, diversity and cultural awareness;
  • Connecting with and responding to a diverse range of communities and cultures with ease and respect;
  • Proven experience in leading and managing high-performing and diverse team;
  • Listening effectively, gathering wide ranging input, and synthesizing it into actionable goals;
  • Resource development including, but not limited to, fundraising, sponsorship acquisition and grant acquisition; and
  • Highly ethical and objective, with the ability to navigate in a political environmental without being political.
  • Public relations and brand management.


Management Compensation and Benefits

The successful candidate will be eligible for participation in the City's Flexible Benefits Plan that offers several optional benefit plans or a taxable cash option; $50,000 in City-paid life insurance; paid annual leave accruing at 22 days per year for the 1st through the 15th year of service. For further information, please contact the Risk Management Department at (619) 236-6600.  Retirement benefits differ for this unclassified position depending on the candidate's eligible status (new hire, rehire, etc.). For further information, visit Risk Management, Employee Benefits at www.sandiego.gov/riskmanagement. Some benefits currently offered to employees may be modified in the future.

Pre-Employment Requirements

Employment offers are conditional pending the results of all screening processes that are applicable to this job, which may include but are not limited to the following: Proof of citizenship or legal right to work in the United States; completion of a pre-employment medical review/exam (which may include drug alcohol testing); reference checks; and a fingerprint check. The fingerprints will be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Justice for a conviction record report. Certain positions may require additional screening processes which may include a polygraph examination and/or background investigation. All of these processes must be successfully completed before employment begins. A positive test for alcohol, illegal drugs or inadequately explained prescription drugs, misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of pertinent facts in any step of the screening/selection process may be cause for disqualification and/or termination of employment. Nothing in this job posting constitutes an expressed or implied contract for employment with the City of San Diego.

Medical Evaluation

A City medical examination including drug screening and documentation of medical history may be conducted following a conditional offer of employment or promotion. The individual must be able to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.  The City of San Diego is committed to a drug and alcohol free work place.


Selection Process

To be considered for this position, please submit your: 1) current resume; 2) a letter of interest highlighting your relevant work experience and qualifications for this position; and 3) a list of three professional references via email to [email protected]
Candidates are encouraged to apply promptly as interviews and selection may begin upon
receipt of resumes from qualified individuals. This recruitment is open until a sufficient number of qualified resumes are received, at which time a closing date will be published.

If you have any questions, please email the City's Human Resources Department at Human [email protected]
The City of San Diego has an active Equal Opportunity/ADA Program for employment and vigorously supports diversity in the workplace.

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