Executive Director- Pratt Fine Arts Center
Arts Consulting Group
Seattle, WA 98144
The Pratt Fine Arts Center (Pratt) is a nonprofit arts education and resource center in Seattle’s Central District that serves as a lasting tribute to Edwin T. Pratt, a relentless champion and civil rights leader for equitable access to educational and housing opportunities for all of Seattle’s residents. Pratt honors his memory by continuing to pursue its mission of making art education accessible for people of all ages, skills levels, and backgrounds. Operating as a 501©3 nonprofit organization since 1976, Pratt has made a tremendous impact on the creative health of its local and surrounding communities, launching the careers of many established local, regional, and nationally known visual artists. Over the years it has grown from a small arts center into a staple and beloved resource for thousands of students and hundreds of working artists on an annual basis.
Pratt’s mission is to foster a creative, inclusive, art-making community, providing access to quality education, and professionally equipped studios for everyone. It promotes the joy and transformative power of art and actively supports the development of visual artists. Pratt looks to serve as the premier resource for visual art education and artistic development, widely known and celebrated for its high-quality programs, accessibility, and inclusivity. Seeped deeply into its set of values that elevate community, neighborhood, integrity, and foresight, Pratt’s students experience not only an improved quality of life but develop tools necessary to advance artistic practices and careers.
As the only publicly accessible facility of its kind in the region, beginners and established professional artists alike can work alongside one another to create art in glass; metal, stone, and wood sculpture; jewelry and metalsmithing; painting; drawing; printmaking; and mixed media. Pratt welcomes curious newcomers, lifelong learners, and artists at all stages of their careers, offering art classes for any age, skill level, and ability, coupled with shared access to the resources required and independent access to its professionally equipped studios. Additionally, Pratt offers several opportunities to study abroad.
Pratt provides equitable access to the visual arts, including low-cost classes and workshops; affordable studio access; volunteer, scholarship, and internship opportunities; and free public programming including artist talks, exhibitions, art-making demonstrations, and community events. Pratt offers pay-what-you-can art classes for the youth, free Veterans Day workshops, space for adults with disabilities through a partnership with Vibrant Palette, and space for adults experiencing homelessness, addiction, and trauma through a partnership with Path with Art. The programs typically reach 20,000 community members each year and continue to grow.
Aligning with the same traditions in which it was founded, Pratt is deeply committed to racial equity and recognizes that institutional racism, through conscious and unconscious practices, creates vast disparities in access to publicly-funded services, including arts education and support for artists. Racial equity is dedicated as a core value and ongoing practice, with the allocation of resources to the breakdown of systemic barriers and the development of equitable solutions organization-wide, and striving to address inequity through targeted programs and partnerships.
Pratt is governed by a diverse 13-member board of trustees who work to support its creative community alongside its 18 full-time staff members who oversee programs, development, marketing, and business/operations. Moreover, Pratt employs a large pool of dedicated part-time instructors, teacher assistants, monitors, coordinators, master artists, artists-in-residence, closers, and chargers, together with volunteers.
Continuing to revitalize and rebuild itself through the pandemic, Pratt’s projected budget in 2022 is at its highest since 2019, totaling $2.8 million through earned and contributed revenue. Additionally, over $49,000 in scholarships were awarded as resources to provide emerging and experienced visual artists with the tools, access, and space needed to expand their artistic practices. In addition to the generosity of these scholarship donors, a dedicated amount of tuition assistance is provided on an annual basis for those who may not otherwise afford the classes. Pratt is supported in part by 4Culture, ArtsFund, the Klorfine Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and the Washington State Arts Commission.
Located in the Central District neighborhood of Seattle, Pratt acknowledges that its organization occupies the traditional territories of the Duwamish and Coast Salish Peoples, the original stewards of the land, and acknowledges the city of Seattle’s true history of Indigenous erasure, colonization, and oppression.
Once the center of Seattle’s Black community and major hub of African American businesses, the Central District is a residential area east of Capitol Hill and north of Rainier Valley. Pratt is situated within this historically redlined neighborhood, one deeply impacted by racism and gentrification, and one of Seattle’s most racially and ethnically diverse areas. The demographic makeup of the Central District has been constantly changing and evolving since the early twentieth century and continues today. Pratt is committed to ensuring that its communities can continue to thrive on livable wages while still maintaining a community-centric approach to its creative services.
In the early 1900s, the Central District was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and some former synagogues have transformed into community centers, performing arts centers, and clinics in present day. Sometime later, the neighborhood became home to Japanese Americans and still preserve a strong Japanese presence despite the internments of World War II.
As a result of the second great migration of African Americans during World War II, racially restrictive housing covenants were enacted, thus redlining the Central District as home to Black, Indigenous, and people of color, with Blacks being nearly 80 percent of the population. As a result of up-zoning and the influx of tech workers, the Central District is rapidly gentrifying. In the 2010 census, demographics largely shifted to a predominantly white percentage (59.6 percent) with BIPOC communities decreasing to a presence of under 40 percent.
The area is home to the Northwest African American Museum, the first headquarters of the Black Panther Party outside of California, and The People’s Wall by the late Dion Henderson, where in the 1960’s the neighborhood was a lively place for many Seattle civil rights leaders. It has at least 18 public parks and community green spaces. Some notable residents from the Central District include Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Bruce Lee, and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Sources: greenseattle.org; blackpast.org; depts.washington.edu
The Executive Director of Pratt Fine Arts Center will serve as the leading spokesperson, responsible for managing all aspects of the organization’s programs, donor cultivation and fundraising, public visibility, community engagement, finances, and operations. Reporting to the board of trustees, the Executive Director will be charged with providing strategic leadership, setting a clear vision for programmatic excellence, offering robust services to artists, cultivating community partnerships, and maintaining visibility locally, regionally, and nationally. Advocating for diverse and creative emerging artists, the Executive Director will promote a cohesive culture with an understanding of Pratt’s influence on the Seattle community. The Executive Director will cultivate deep connections with and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to Pratt’s internal and external communities, as well as the board and its supporters.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership and Community Engagement
- Maintain the organization’s strategic direction, build commitment around key priorities, and advance the depth of program initiatives.
- Connect with a variety of stakeholders to carefully listen, network, reimagine, and engage in how the organization can best preserve its legacy as well as recognizing community dynamics and envisioning its future in contributing to a healthy ecosystem.
- Guide the board and staff in how best to engage a broad range of stakeholders, develop authentic relationships, define key messages, and proactively build connections with individuals and institutions locally and nationally to achieve lasting artistic, social, and educational impacts.
- Create collaborative alliances and mutually beneficial strategic partnerships with regional and national visual art program educators, museums, educational institutions, and other mission-aligned organizations.
- Ensure that programs, organizational culture, facilities, systems, staffing, and operations are effective, impactful, and aligned with strategic goals and the Pratt vision.
- Clarify strategic needs that support future expansion and program development. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA)
- Foster, alongside the board of trustees, realistic and actionable plans while leading from a DEIA lens to allow Pratt’s equity and inclusion values to permeate throughout the policies, procedures, programming, and operations of the organization.
- Maintain a community-centered approach that energizes and uplifts the organizational climate to inspire and invigorate the creativity in the staff, teachers, artists, and volunteers.
- Expand on community inclusion through tactical outreach and intentional community engagement that fosters participation by everyone from curious newcomers to loyal, long-time students.
- Participate actively in local, regional, and national meetings and conversations focused on best practices in equitable artistic practices and leadership.
- Engage creatively with the local and regional creative communities to continue to elevate Pratt as a premier resource advocating for equity and accessibility in visual arts spaces.
- Cultivate a cohesive and welcoming culture both internally and externally throughout the organization at all levels, that champions inclusion and buy-in from stakeholders, as an empowering space for all voices.
Engaged Governance and Financial Stewardship
- Develop and sustain positive relationships with individual and institutional funders, media, and others who support Pratt’s mission and increase its public visibility.
- Serve as the chief fundraiser, working to diversify contributed revenue sources, and leading major gift cultivation and solicitation in partnership with the board and development staff.
- Inspire and support the board and its committees in policy making, fundraising, governance, and community ambassadorship for Pratt and its programs.
- Identify, cultivate, and assist in the recruitment of board members whose diversity, skills, experience, connections, and capacity meet the organization’s current and future aspirations.
- Ensure the organization’s fiscal responsibility through financial management, preparation of the annual financial budget and operating plans for submission to the full board, collaborating with the treasurer and the finance committee.
- Provide concise, relevant, and timely information to the board so it can effectively fulfill its policy, fiduciary, and decision-making responsibilities.
- Lead the effective day-to-day operations to ensure that donors, artists, students, community members, and others have an exceptional experience every time they interact with the organization.
- Cultivate the staff’s creative and professional development, promoting and supporting a work environment that fosters high-performing teams and employee diversity, engagement, and satisfaction.
- Integrate all aspects of Pratt, including operations for all programs, ensuring organizational structures, systems, controls, and procedures are in place, adhered to, and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a dynamic and inspiring leader who builds authentic relationships and values frequent engagement with diverse stakeholders. Honoring The Pratt Fine Arts Center legacy and charting the course for a bright future for artists, educators, and the organization itself, this individual will be resilient and flexible in addressing challenges and embracing opportunities. The Executive Director will have a commitment to community engagement and a passion to guide a collaborative organization founded in neighborhood and racial equity values. Promoting accessible and equitable creativity in a community-centric environment, the Executive Director will be an optimistic and decisive leader with an appreciation for practical accomplishments and a commitment to inclusive practices. The Executive Director will have the ability to build internal and external relationships with a clear passion for visual arts, arts education, and foster an environment that proactively engages in lifelong learners’ growth.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to organize and influence people to believe in a vision while simultaneously empowering voices and leadership at all levels, creating a sense of purpose and direction, and cooperating with others to meet objectives.
- Diplomacy and Understanding Others – The thoughtfulness to effectively and tactfully address difficult and sensitive issues, while understanding the uniqueness and contributions of others.
- Conceptual Thinking and Flexibility – The profundity to analyze situations, patterns, and concepts to formulate connections and new insights while readily modifying, responding, and adapting to change.
- Personal Accountability and Resiliency – The dependability to answer for personal actions with a willingness to quickly recover from adversity and embrace new strategies without becoming discouraged.
Pratt does not require specific education credentials nor a set number of years of experience for an Executive Director. Qualified candidates should have direct experience and demonstrable experience with increasing responsibility in a senior management role in a creative, innovative, multicultural, entrepreneurial organization. Visual arts, artist residency, or arts education expertise is welcomed. Candidates should have experience in fundraising, with results in donor stewardship and solicitation of individual major gifts and institutional support.
Compensation and Benefits
The Pratt Fine Arts Center provides a competitive salary expected to be in the range of $120,000 to $140,000, with a negotiable amount in relocation expenses, if applicable. Benefits also include employer paid medical, dental, and vision insurances.