Director - Arts & Culture Department / Executive Director
Arts Consulting Group
Mesa, AZ 85201
The City of Mesa is the 37th-largest city in the United States and the third largest in Arizona, with a population of over a half million people, and an annual budget of $2.3 billion. Located within the greater Phoenix-Mesa Metropolitan area, it is a vibrant, diverse city offering an eclectic mix of museums, arts, culture, and heritage.
Mesa’s Arts and Culture Department offers a broad array of arts programs, performances, facilities, and engagement activities. Its annual budget of $18 million operates several city-owned arts and culture venues: Mesa Arts Center (MAC), Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (MCAM, part of MAC), Arizona Museum of Natural History (AZMNH), and the i.d.e.a. Museum (imagination, design, experience, art). The Arts and Culture Department also hosts arts and culture classes, events and community engagement activities, and engages in strategic partnerships with a variety of arts and cultural community organizations. The City’s Arts and Culture Department’s total participation has grown from approximately 460,000 individuals annually in FY2010 to over 700,000 in FY2019, and is now approaching full recovery post-COVID.
Located in the heart of downtown Mesa, the Mesa Arts Center (MAC) is a seven-acre campus with 212,755 square feet that includes four performing arts theaters, 14 visual and state-of-the-art studios and classrooms, and the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. The MAC is widely known as a premier arts center in the region. The entire campus is “a stage,” and all assets foster a range of disciplines including visual arts, dance, acting, and festivals. Programs include: Project Lit (a spoken word/poetry after-school program advancing both traditional and social/emotional/cultural literacy), Classical Music Inside Out, Creative Aging, Arts in Service (free studio programs for veterans and active military), MABEL (Mobile Arts-Based Engagement Lab), Out to Lunch free lunchtime concerts, artist residencies and more. The Mesa Arts Center is supported by the 501©3 nonprofit organization Mesa Arts Center Foundation governed by a voluntary 22-member board of directors.
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (MCAM) provides local and international artists with the opportunity to present a broad variety of visual art within its galleries. The museum features five galleries, which showcase 15 annual curated and juried exhibitions of contemporary art by internationally recognized emerging artists, and features educational opportunities, such as lectures and workshops.
Arizona Museum of Natural History (AZMNH) is the premier natural history museum in Arizona that interprets and preserves the record of the natural world, and the place humans have in it, as well as promote understanding and respect of the Southwest in a global context. Known locally as “the dinosaur museum,” the museum holds substantial collections of the Southwest’s natural history and anthropology. AZMNH, assisted by the Southwest Paleontology Society, conducts paleontological and archeological research throughout Arizona. The AZMNH Foundation is a nonprofit 501©(3) organization dedicated to financially supporting the mission of the AZMNH. Discussions are underway to consider improvements to the museum, possibly from partial funding through a public bond in the near future.
City of Mesa i.d.e.a. Museum (Mesa’s children’s museum) is designed to spark the imagination, stimulate the mind, and captivate the eyes of children and family members. There is something for everyone at this museum and it is filled with creative and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) learning experiences. The museum hosts several world-class exhibitions annually and features ArtVille, a special art township for kids under 4 years of age. The i.d.e.a. Museum Foundation is a 501©3 nonprofit organization supporting the museum’s educational programs, exhibitions, and operations. Currently, the Foundation is raising funds to design and install exhibits within new or expanded museum spaces. These new and expanded spaces are under design and have been publicly funded through a public bond election.
Mesa is a full service, diverse city that is also one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities with more than 500,000 residents across more than 33 square miles. It operates under a charter form of government with citizens electing an at-large mayor and six district councilmembers to set policy for the city. Mesa enjoys progressive leadership, a skilled and well-educated workforce, two airports with access to an international airport, consistently low crime rates, quality schools, outstanding public facilities, road utilities and community and safety services, and reasonable tax structure. Mesa offers a unique blend of urban excitement within natural desert surroundings with warm weather, delicious food, world-class golf, fabulous shopping, and many other exciting activities. The region is culturally rich, is a certified autism-friendly community and enjoys a collegial group of regional arts, culture, and science institutions open to sharing and partnering.
Numerous properties in the city are historical and have been included in the National Register of Historic Places and the listings of the Mesa Historic Properties. Other cultural institutions, in addition to the City of Mesa’s facilities mentioned, include the Arizona Wing Aircraft Museum, Southwest Shakespeare Company, and numerous community arts groups. HoHoKam Park of the Cactus League is home of the Oakland Athletics and Sloan Park is the home of the Chicago Cubs during spring training.
According to the 2020 census, the racial composition of Mesa was: 65.7% White (59.6% Non-Hispanic Whites), 27.3% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 4.2% Black or African American, 12.3% Two or more races, 2.7% Native American, 2.6% Asian and 0.4% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Almost all of the city of Mesa is served by public schools operated by Mesa Public Schools; however, a small southern portion is served by three other school districts. More than 40,000 students are enrolled in more than 10 colleges and universities located in Mesa, including ASU’s Media and Immersive eXperience. Mesa’s downtown, which opened in fall 2022, is home to the Sidney Poitier New American Film School which aspires to be the most inclusive, most affordable, and most impactful film program for the next generation of cinematic storytellers.
The Director reports to Mesa’s City Manager’s Office and serves on the executive team. They will provide leadership, economic and fund development, budget preparation, and advocate for arts education. The Director will be responsible for all of the department staff and ensure the strategic direction for the department aligns and builds on the City of Mesa’s educational, cultural, and economic goals.
Qualified candidates will have a combination of training, education, and experience equivalent to graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree in a related field is preferred. A minimum seven years of progressively responsible managerial, supervisory, and administrative experience is required. Experience in local government and arts institution management sufficient to integrate the activities of the department is preferred. Candidates must have excellent skills and experience in decision-making, planning, economic development, and organization in fields directly related to arts and theater administration, facility administration, event planning and support functions, live event producing, marketing, business, fund development, budget management and/or related fields.
Role and Responsibilities
Management and Operations
Provide strategic and management oversight of the Arts and Culture Department, its programs, and facilities to ensure that patrons and community members have a safe and high-quality experience “The Mesa Way”.
Nurture partnerships with the City Council, City departments, and other local entities, to align goals of the individual cultural venues and the strategic priorities of the Mesa City Council.
Identify, cultivate, and assist in recruitment of board and advisory committee members.
Prioritize principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access throughout all arts and culture institutions.
Recruit, retain, and mentor staff, and provide thoughtful guidance to the senior leadership centered on team cohesiveness, employee growth and collaboration.
Support and advise on facility maintenance, improvements, and to assess and implement new organizational and programmatic strategies.
Strategy, Finance and Fundraising
Support staff to ensure sound financial management and operational practices are in accordance with city policies and procedures.
Assume a leading role in building art-based economic development in Mesa, fundraising in consultation with the foundations to maintain strong relationships with individual, corporate, foundation, and government funders to maximize contributed income.
Artistic and Programmatic Leadership
Direct and provide creative and business direction of administrative and production planning support for the Arts and Culture Department.
Interact with, and stay abreast of developments in, the regional arts and culture and expand its influence regionally and nationally.
Support innovative marketing, fundraising and economic/fund development strategies.
Communications and Community Engagement
Serve as Mesa’s spokesperson for the City of Mesa arts and culture programs.
Provide oversight to lead and guide departmental and interdepartmental collaborations and ensure active and meaningful community engagement.
Listen, negotiate, and collaborate with diverse groups, representatives from public and private agencies.
Represent the City of Mesa arts and cultural programs to the artistic, social, political, and business communities demonstrating a commitment to integrating arts, entertainment, and educational programming into Mesa.
Collaborate with boards and staff of arts partners to elevate the profile, image, and audiences of the City of Mesa and its cultural institutions, and to maximize community benefit and earned revenues.
Traits and Characteristics
The selected individual will have a well-rounded set of competencies that sets them apart from others in the field. As a visionary, results-oriented, collaborative, and passionate leader, they will be able to set, pursue, and reach goals for the Arts and Culture Department and the city. The individual will be or become known as a leader in arts and culture in the City of Mesa, regionally and nationally. A champion of new ideas and with a keen sense of art-based economics, this individual will exhibit the following competencies:
Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills: The adaptability to cooperate with others (internally and externally) to meet objectives by effectively communicating and listening, showing empathy, building rapport, empowering experienced staff and relating well to all kinds of people.
Planning, Organizing and Problem Solving: The capability to work with a team to establish courses of action, ensuring that work is completed effectively and in the best interest of the City of Mesa.
Project Management and Accountability: The ability to empower staff while also ensuring team accountability and being answerable for personal actions.
Leadership and Customer Focus: The facility to influence and drive towards excellence to deliver customer needs, wants and expectations.
Diplomacy and Flexibility: The sensitivity to handle difficult or politically sensitive issues effectively and tactfully.
Compensation and Benefits
The City of Mesa provides a comprehensive benefits package that includes excellent health insurance options, life insurance, paid time off, paid holidays, participation in the Arizona State Retirement System, and professional development opportunities. The anticipated salary range for this position is $129,750 to $174,636.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Delilah Norris, Vice President
Ernest A. Figueroa, Associate Vice President
8581 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA, 90069-4120
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 230 (Ms. Norris) or Ext 226 (Mr. Figueroa)
In Mesa, we value and celebrate our rich diversity. We envision a city where all those living in, working in, or visiting Mesa are entitled to equal dignity and respect and have fair access to opportunities to thrive.
We embrace and encourage differences in race, color, ethnicity, personality, age, gender identity,
sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, physical appearance, family status,
religious and political beliefs, socio-economic status, and other personal identity markers;
including removing barriers and the prevention of discrimination.
We pledge to foster, cultivate, and promote a culture of equality and inclusion that enhances
Mesa’s community and workforce. We achieve this goal through our diversity initiatives,
which include programs and services focused on celebrating diversity,
promoting inclusion and accessibility and advancing equity.