Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.




Executive Director St. Louis, MO

The Board of Commissioners of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) seeks a collaborative, strategic, roll-up-your-sleeves institutional leader, arts champion, influencer, and relationship builder-extraordinaire, to serve as the next Executive Director of the Commission. This is a unique opportunity for a skilled leader and proven manager to lead RAC at a critical point in its history, offering boundless engagement, creativity, and guidance to both the organization and the multifaceted community it serves.

Founded in 1985 through a state charter, RAC is at the forefront of efforts to transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative, and economically thriving community by elevating the vitality, value, and visibility of arts and culture. It is the most prominent and largest public funder of nonprofit arts in the region, distributing approximately $4.5 million each year. Over its 35 years of existence, RAC has awarded more than 7,000 grants totaling over $100 million to artists, organizations, and programs throughout the region. Over the last several years, the organization’s revenues have been in the $6.5 to $7 million range, which supports not only grantmaking, but also special program opportunities and initiatives, and the running of the organization. Since its founding, more than 95% of RAC’s total revenues have been funded from the St. Louis City and St. Louis County hotel/motel tax.

Spurred by robust dialogue with the broader St. Louis community, RAC has, in recent years, expanded its portfolio and programmatic reach. With great attention to equity and access, the organization has developed several strategic initiatives that deepen its connection to diverse communities throughout the city,county and the region. Moreover, a brand-new strategic plan, the result of an extensive, collaborative visioning process, further establishes RAC as a public catalyst, convener, and advocate for the arts. While the severity of COVID-19 has dramatically affected RAC’s financial standing and grantmaking ability, (reducing the operating budget significantly for calendar year 2020), the organization is needed now more than ever and poised to face the challenge.

The Board seeks an Executive Director who will respond to this historic set of challenges with intellect, empathy, strategy, innovation, and determination. The Executive Director will inherit this new strategic plan for RAC, designed to take the organization into the year 2025. Considering the present moment, the next Executive Director will need to be flexible, collaborative, pragmatic, and an optimist, devising ways to implement aspects of an ambitious vision for the future that was predicated on a preexisting social and financial reality. Building upon RAC’s decades-long role as the region’s principal publicly funded arts grant maker, this leader will serve in a very visible and external role in the arts and culture sphere, and within the greater civic community of the St. Louis region. This leader will also engage a variety of constituents and stakeholders, while convening important conversations, advocating for the arts, and providing thought leadership on a host of pressing topics in the field. In addition to the external dimension, the Executive Director will enhance organizational culture and internal systems at RAC while expertly managing and supporting a talented, dedicated staff and board.

Additionally, this Executive Director will partner with arts funders, corporations, and philanthropic individuals locally and nationally to ensure that local artists and arts organizations receive the support they need to persevere at a time of shrinking budgets and fiscal austerity. While RAC is and has always been generously supported through local tax dollars, in an effort to champion the many ambitions of the organization beyond grantmaking, the next Executive Director will work to grow and extend RAC’s revenue sources that will fund specific strategic initiatives and programs, while also bolstering its financial footing in response to both present and future crises.

Please submit all nominations, inquiries and application materials (including a resume and 1-3-page letter of interest responding to the challenges outlined above) via this website.

Rebecca Swartz is leading this search with David Ferguson.

RAC is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate against employees or applicants for employment based on an individual’s race, color, religion, creed, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status or any other status protected by applicable law. 


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