Executive Director, College Art Association

New York City, New York
Aug 31, 2019
Executive Administration Jobs
C-Level & Executive Directors
Institution Type
Other Organizations


The College Art Association (CAA), as the preeminent international leadership organization in the visual arts, promotes these arts and their understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners. Based in New York City, CAA supports those who study, teach, write about, advocate for, and/or create art and design. CAA honors human diversity and acknowledges the extraordinary range of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, work styles, education, rank, skills, and experiences that make the advancement of art and design integral to culture.

Of paramount importance to CAA is the promotion of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access within the fields of art, art history, and design. As CAA strengthens and builds its programs, committees, staff, and board it aspires to foster an inclusive culture welcoming of visible and invisible differences, including but not limited to age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language differences; nationality; parental status; physical, mental, and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; skin color; socioeconomic status; and human styles. CAA defines inclusion as a collaborative work-in-progress. It encourages all CAA constituents to embrace and adopt the ongoing practice of inclusion while advancing art, design, and their histories.

CAA advances the highest standards of instruction, knowledge, and practice in the visual arts to stimulate intellectual curiosity and advance skills that enrich the individual and society. To realize this vision CAA will:

  • Represent, promote, and advocate for the visual arts nationally and internationally;
  • Create new opportunities for dialogue among members;
  • Explore new forms of communication using innovative and improved technology;
  • Address career development and workforce issues to assist professional growth; and
  • Strengthen organizational leadership, membership, and financial support.

Representing a diverse community of visual arts professionals with more than 8,300 members, CAA promotes:

  • Originality and excellence in the creation, interpretation, and teaching of visual arts;
  • Contributions to society by visual-arts professionals;
  • Exchange and dissemination of diverse artistic and scholarly viewpoints, nationally and internationally;
  • Support, collaboration, and advocacy for professionals in the fields of art, art history, design, and visual studies; and
  • Ethical standards and practices in the visual arts.

CAA’s Annual Conference is among the largest international gatherings of post-secondary visual arts and design professionals in the country, celebrating, advancing, and sharing research and creative work. More than 900 proposals are reviewed by the Annual Conference Committee Council of Readers from subject areas and themes that present as broad and diverse a program as possible, reflecting the richness of members’ interests and their desire to stay at the forefront of their fields.

CAA also publishes four scholarly journals in art and art history—The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, Art Journal Open, and caa.reviews—as well as a weekly email newsletter. In addition, CAA provides grants to subsidize the publication of scholarly manuscripts in art, art history, and visual studies.

CAA is a New York nonprofit membership corporation that celebrated its centennial in 2011. It is governed by an actively engaged board of directors of approximately 22 members, the officers of which comprise the Executive Committee, and is led by the President, who is elected by the board. Board members are elected by the CAA’s individual members. CAA has a staff of 20 full-time employees, all located in its New York City office. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, CAA reported revenues of $2,730,068.56, with approximately 10 percent ($295,398.95) percent from contributions and grants, 77 percent ($2,102,388.25) percent from program service revenue, and 12 percent ($332,281.36) percent from investment and other revenues.

Position Summary

The Executive Director of CAA will serve as the association’s chief executive officer, with responsibility for supervising all aspects of the association’s operations, finances, publications, membership, conference, advocacy, and strategic partnerships. Working closely with the President and reporting directly to the board of directors, the Executive Director will be charged with the strategic leadership of the organization, including program management, member relations, fiscal and organizational management, resource development, and governance. Serving as CAA’s chief spokesperson and champion, the Executive Director will maintain excellent relationships with its members and partners to promote the association’s impact and engagement with professionals in the field of visual arts and design.

Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Advocacy

  • Develop and execute annual and multi-year work plans with the board and staff to achieve strategic goals and priorities.
  • Serve as the spokesperson for CAA to the public, members, media, and within the broader arts, education, and cultural communities.
  • Bring advocacy and legislative matters to the board’s attention and work with the board to develop action plans to achieve greater impact.
  • Provide leadership to the members’ fields of interest as an advocate for CAA’s core values.
  • Actively engage with other arts and humanities organizations, learned societies, and affiliated organizations, remaining current on the critical issues impacting CAA and its membership.
  • Lead CAA activities with a demonstrated commitment to the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Program Management and Member Relations

  • Oversee the implementation and evaluation of existing programs, including conferences and publications, and propose new initiatives that ensure effective fulfillment of CAA’s vision and mission and enhance the value of CAA membership.
  • Ensure that the CAA annual conference, CAA’s publications, and other programs continue to serve members' needs while also staying within the association’s budget.
  • Develop strategies with the Vice President for External Relations to increase CAA membership and to maintain and deepen engagement with existing members and partners.
  • Actively work to grow and diversify membership through targeted campaigns, programs, and relevant partnerships focused on the inclusion of students, international members, curators, and underserved visual arts and design communities.
  • Foster open communication with CAA’s membership and solicit feedback on programs and services to foster collaboration and participation.

Fiscal and Organizational Management

  • Lead CAA’s day-to-day operations to meet the budget and CAA’s strategic goals as established in the annual work plan.
  • Demonstrate a collaborative leadership style and communicate professionally with CAA’s members, staff, board, and community.
  • Ensure organizational and fiscal policies, systems, controls, and procedures are in alignment with CAA’s mission and values and are regularly reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Recruit, support, evaluate, and mentor the highest quality staff and contractors to support CAA’s short- and long-term goals, policies, and programs.
  • Guide the preparation, monitoring, and monthly reporting of the annual budget, financial policies, and cash management.
  • Develop and obtain board approval for the association’s annual budget, adhere to the budget, and ensure the most effective use of the association’s resources.
  • Monitor endowed funds status, spending, and reporting in collaboration with the Board Treasurer.
  • Oversee all internal corporate matters, including legal issues and lease negotiations.

Resource Development and Governance

  • Maintain active and regular communication with the President.
  • Communicate proactively and regularly with the board, providing concise, relevant, and timely information so that it can fulfill its policy, fiduciary, and decision-making responsibilities.
  • Develop and implement annual and multi-year fundraising plans to increase support for operations, programs, and board approved initiatives.
  • Identify, cultivate, and assist in the recruitment of board members whose skills, experience, financial connections, and diversity meet the association’s needs and can advance its purposes.
  • Guide the board, staff, and members in building a culture of philanthropy, developing strategies and defining key messages to ensure that revenues meet organizational goals.
  • Identify, build, and maintain strong relationships with key community partners, collaboratively with the President, the board, and the Vice President for External Affairs, to diversify and expand the association’s individual, foundation, and corporate donor base in support of annual, endowment, and planned giving campaigns.

Traits and Characteristics

The Executive Director will be a collaborative leader driven to create purpose and direction while strongly valuing service to and engagement with CAA’s members and stakeholders. A resourceful and versatile thinker who embraces teamwork and problem solving, the Executive Director will be people-oriented and welcome the skills, experiences, and input of others in formulating plans and achieving successful outcomes. The Executive Director will be diplomatic, open to new ideas and approaches, and able to connect with a wide range of people to build strong relationships.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership and Personal Accountability – The ability to organize and motivate others with a sense of purpose and direction while being accountable for personal and professional actions.
  • Planning and Organizing – The capacity to set and prioritize relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and risks of managing resources and setting priorities.
  • Interpersonal Skills – The commitment to building rapport while effectively communicating with diverse stakeholders nationally and internationally.
  • Teamwork – The dexterity to organize and motivate others while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among the board, the officers, the staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders to achieve collective goals.
  • Stakeholder Orientation – The dedication to anticipate, meet, and exceed the needs and expectations of members, the board, the officers, the staff, and other constituencies.


An advanced degree in a mission-related field is desirable and qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree plus evidence of significant, substantial, and increasing responsibility in a senior management role within an arts, education, museum, or nonprofit member-based organization. National association management and advocacy experience is a plus and supervisory experience is required. Candidates must also demonstrate strong communication skills and proven effectiveness in collaborating with boards of directors, board officers, and diverse groups of individuals.

Compensation and Benefits

CAA offers competitive compensation and a benefits package, including health insurance, retirement plan, paid time off, holidays, and periodic travel.

Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:

Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite
Vice President

Arts Consulting Group

292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel        (888) 234-4236 Ext. 225
Email:   [email protected]


CAA is a proud Equal Opportunity Employer. It celebrates diversity in all forms. It welcomes qualified candidates who will bring diverse perspectives to CAA’s community.

CAA will consider all applicants for employment regardless of their age; race; ethnicity; skin color; gender; gender identity; sexual orientation; socioeconomic status; nationality; genetics; physical, mental, and developmental abilities; parental status; veteran status; and language differences.

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