Chief Executive Officer- California Center for the Arts, Escondido

Arts Consulting Group

Escondido, CA 92025




Jul 13, 2022

Founded in 1994 and designed by noted California architect Charles Moore, the California Center for the Arts, Escondido (the Center, CCAE) is the cultural and artistic center of North San Diego County. The Center’s mission is to bring people together to discover, create, and celebrate both the visual and performing arts. Since its launch, the Center has become a true community resource, attracting over 300,000 people annually to its performances, festivals, and arts education programs. It has grown to become the largest multidisciplinary cultural organization in the region. Located on a lush, spacious, 12-acre campus, the Center houses a 1,500-seat concert hall which is the most acoustically advanced concert hall in Southern California, an intimate 400-seat theater, and a 9,000 square-foot visual arts museum that hosts four exhibitions each year, as well as art and dance studios. The Center also includes a conference center with meeting and banquet facilities available for corporate functions, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and other special events. The Center’s programming and access is managed by a private nonprofit foundation under a Management Agreement with the City of Escondido which owns the facilities.

Over the years, the Center has hosted local and international artists, musicians, symphonies, dance groups, comedians, as well as acclaimed theatrical and musical productions. It produces over 20 free community events each year, inclusive of our free series Música en La Plaza on the last Friday of each month, Independence Day Festival, Día de los Muertos Festival, and the Winter Wonderland Festival series.

The Center offers a broad range of engaging educational programs for students, teachers, and the public, including arts education residencies, field trips, masterclasses and workshops, youth performances, and a youth visual and performing arts festival. In addition to presented and outside events, the Center continues to offer Edu-tainment event opportunities with onsite and offsite community arts and culture partners offering music, theatre, arts, and dance events supported by extensive academic and family services programs such as A Step Beyond, a separate nonprofit after-school dance education program serving low-income youth.

School outreach programs include ‘My Story: Literary Through the Arts’, an arts integration program where Teaching Artists teach 4th and 5th grade students California history through theater, and English Language Arts through photography. The Arts Discovery program supports classroom teachers in connecting their curricula to the arts by aligning visual or performing art lessons in music, dance, theater, media arts, and visual arts to a K-12 unit of study. The Taste of the Arts residency is a customized arts integration program where Teaching Artists use the arts to teach Math, Science, and English. The Center partners with local school districts through the Center Teacher Liaison program, which aims to create reciprocal communication between the Center’s Museum and Education Division and the schools they serve.

Several different youth theater groups are based at the Center along with CCAE Conservatory, their year-round Youth Theater training program which aims to foster the next generation of theater professionals, consists of masterclasses, workshops, intensives, and an annual world premiere production. One of the Center’s most popular programs is CCAE Theatricals, whose mission is to preserve, strengthen, and advance Musical Theater as a social and cultural platform by nurturing compelling, high-caliber theatrical artistry. Founded by award-winning producers and directors Jordan Beck and J. Scott Lapp, CCAE Theatricals produce professional-level plays and musicals, concerts, and cabarets, as well as workshops and readings.

The Center’s activities are guided by a 14-member Board of Trustees led by Sara Matta, and an administration and staff of thirty dedicated to furthering arts entertainment and arts education throughout the region. They sustain and expand programs that provide cultural enrichment not only for North San Diego County residents, but with a broader regional influence extending to populations as far north as the South Orange County region to as far south as Tijuana, BC, and beyond.

Estimated revenues for FY 2022 are $6 million, from ticket sales, food and beverage sales, rentals, in-kind contributions, and other revenue, with an additional 3.6 million funding from an ongoing city contract and contributions and grants received.

Deriving from the Spanish word for “hidden” or “tucked away”, Escondido is a diverse and vibrant community in Southern California. Nestled in a valley surrounded by coastal mountains, it lies 100 miles south of Los Angeles, 30 miles northeast of San Diego, and 40 miles from the Mexican border. Incorporated in 1888, it is one of the oldest cities in San Diego County, with a population of nearly 160,000, whose racial composition identifies solidly as part of a Hispanic or Latino majority, with approximately one-third Caucasian, and the remainder Asian, Black, Native American, Pacific Islander, mixed heritage, and other races.

Money Magazine recently labeled Escondido as the best place in the West in which to retire, and it has also been named a kid-friendly city for the broad range of youth programs the city offers. Attractive homes, affordable living, new jobs, and a host of cultural and entertainment venues and amenities make Escondido a popular city, where increasingly more people are choosing to call home. Excellent healthcare is provided at the Palomar Medical Center, and there are a significant number of high-quality elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the area. In addition to the Center, Escondido also provides cultural offerings at the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, The History Center, and the Escondido Public Library.

With a Mediterranean climate of hot summers and cool winters, Escondido offers a range of outdoor activities to its residents and visitors. Escondido has 15 parks and lakes to enjoy, most notably the famous Daley Ranch and Dixon Lake, along with Queen Califia’s Magic Garden created by French American artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Opportunities abound for hiking, boating, mountain biking, golf, and enjoying wineries and picnics. The Farmer’s Market in downtown Escondido offers fresh-picked California-grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and the world-class San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located nearby in the San Pasqual Valley.


Position Summary
Reporting directly to the Foundation’s board of directors, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will build upon the twenty-plus year history of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido serving as an ambassador for the programming and vision for the Center. The CEO will be responsible for shaping, establishing, and implementing the Foundation’s strategic goals and expectations in several areas, including fundraising, finance, network building, artistic and educational programming, venue management, and high-level administrative functions. The CEO is responsible for managing day-to-day operations and staffing for the facility to further the organization’s mission, executing policies and operations for the implementation of all Center activities. The CEO will guide and direct multiple internal priorities to provide cohesiveness and synergy between various departments to achieve a balance in diverse programming for, and reflective of the community, while also providing access and support for local artistic organizations and events.

Role and Responsibilities
Administration and Finance Management

  • Balance financial stability with service to the community, demonstrating a solid understanding of non-profit structure with the ability to relate to, understand the needs of, and communicate with a wide variety of individuals, constituents, and staff.
  • Endeavor to hire, orchestrate, and fearlessly integrate structural and personnel changes, while managing purposeful growth of a diverse staff.
  • Exhibit a fiscal acumen in overseeing organizational budgets, controlling expenditures, developing financial analysis, and implementing internal controls to ensure operational and fiscal integrity.
  • Lead and inspire the staff to work well together with strong support of the organizations’ various internal divisions and calculated via thoughtful guidance of the senior leadership.
  • Demonstrate stewardship for various community stakeholders by creating forecasting models and scenario plans to reduce the Center’s dependence on city subsidies.
  • Manage key business agreements such as the city management contract, and ongoing union and lease agreements through relevant experience in programming, logistics, and maintenance of a multi-use multi-venue facility.
  • Develop synergy between internal departments under a unified goal to ensure all programming aligns with the business goals of the Center and the mission and vision of the Foundation.
  • Facilitate a positive culture and productive work environment supportive of cohesive, creative, and inclusive work where staff of all genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds are appreciated, valued, and respected.

Fundraising and Philanthropy

  • Create and manage an array of fundraising strategies and opportunities through a comprehensive understanding of development, fundraising, and philanthropy informed by experience with endowments, major gifts, corporate sponsorships, foundation giving, and government support.
  • Articulate the mission of the Center to primary donors and city officials in collaboration with the development department to further identify and cultivate relationships with key individual donors, potential corporate sponsors, foundations, trustees, funders, and other untapped fiscal resources.
  • Develop and nurture new stakeholders and community partners (i.e., museums, galleries, foundations, etc.) to increase strategies for mission-driven contributed revenue while motivating board members to utilize their skills and networks to maximize fundraising capabilities.
  • Collaborate with the board, staff, and arts partners to leverage the caliber of strategic initiatives that elevate the profile, image, and audiences of the Center to maximize earned revenue opportunities.

Community Connection, Marketing, and Communications

  • Act as a spokesperson on behalf of the Center developing relationships and engaging with a variety of constituents, including business owners, schools and colleges, elected officials, and the media to enhance the organization’s brand and reputation.
  • Nurture ongoing partnerships with the City Council, municipal divisions, and other government entities, as well as participate in civic activities, serving on outside boards, and strengthening the commitment to community.
  • Maximize the Center’s use by local and regional art groups, businesses, and educational institutions by partnering with local groups, service organizations, and the corporate sector in service and outreach to a variety of cultural and socio-economic sectors.
  • Oversee the creation of marketing and sales plans to articulate a united brand identity that increases the Center’s market visibility and value proposition, and generates revenue through advertising, sales promotion, influencer tactics, direct mail, digital marketing, social media, and telemarketing, among others.
  • Prioritize principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access throughout the organization as essential to audience engagement, board participation, workforce development, and organizational vibrancy that builds a meaningful connection between programs, artists, and the Center’s public experiences.
  • Enhance all marketing and communications strategies to broaden the reach of the Center highlighting the unique mission and public image of the organization as a regional asset, leveraging its quality and reputation as a distinctive social and artistic destination.

Artistic and Programming

  • Demonstrate a strong knowledge of and passion for the arts, have a strong background and success in quality, diverse programming for a multicultural community that reflects local demographics to further the organization’s image and visibility, regionally and nationally.
  • Think innovatively with a focus on the Center’s relevance through the development and implementation of programming for its theaters, museum, educational, rental, public spaces, and conference center activities.
  • Advance the creative direction of the Center through artistic and educational offerings that support the programming of year-round, multi-disciplinary events that appeal to multi-generational audiences and reflect the diversity of the Escondido region while ensuring that the nuance and context of culturally specific art and engagement is respected and honored.
  • Contribute to the assessment and modification of organizational and programmatic strategies in response to new knowledge, changes in context, and new perspectives, serving as a thought partner with the city, community, educators, artists, and other diverse stake holders.


Traits and Characteristics
The Chief Executive Officer of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido will be an approachable, congenial, trustworthy partner and a strong servant leader, who has a grounded ego and the ability to support and motivate staff. Both a community leader and collaborator, the CEO should be an opportunistic and flexible leader able to connect the dots. The new CEO will easily shift between multiple projects, tasks, and priorities in all areas of the organization with a demonstrated commitment to collaboration and partnerships. The CEO will have a strong dedication to the arts with solid experience in fundraising, development, and philanthropy. As the outward face of the Center, the CEO will be a strong visionary with an entrepreneurial spirit, who thinks innovatively and is able to speak confidently with both city officials and the community, leveraging the value of the Center locally and regionally.

Other key competencies include:

  • Goal Orientation, Planning, and Organizing – The ability to set, pursue, and attain goals, regardless of obstacles or circumstances while establishing courses of action to ensure that work is completed effectively.
  • Leadership – The capability to organize and influence people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction.
  • Customer Focus and Flexibility – The responsiveness to anticipate, meet and/or exceed customer needs, wants and expectations while also readily modifying, responding, and adapting to change with minimal resistance.
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving – The acuity to analyze all aspects of a situation to make consistently sound and timely decisions and defining, analyzing, and diagnosing key components of a problem to formulate a solution.

Qualified candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in arts, theater, arts administration, business, marketing, or related fields. Must have excellent skills in decision-making, planning, and organization with five to seven years of experience required in fields directly related to arts/theater facility administration, business, or related field, plus a minimum of two years of management experience in the same field(s). Knowledge required of event planning and support functions, recruiting, and producing events, marketing, and sales strategies, booking procedures, and budget management. Proficiency with various computer software, business technology, and the implementation of business management systems is necessary. Knowledge of public administration with additional experience in, and awareness of, safety and security preferred. Desired training in, study of and/or experience with diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives, research work with other multicultural institutions, and previous knowledge or relationships working with multicultural media outlets. Bi-lingual in Spanish is a distinct advantage.

Compensation and Benefits
The California Center for the Arts, Escondido provides a competitive and equitable compensation package with benefits that include paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays; medical, dental, and vision insurance, long-term disability, and life insurance; tuition reimbursement and a wellness program; and a retirement program. The anticipated salary range for this position is $175,000 to $200,000.