Executive Director, Modlin Center for the Arts - 502206

Job description

Executive Director, Modlin Center for the Arts - 502206

The University of Richmond invites applications for the position of Executive Director, Modlin Center for the Arts. The University of Richmond is a private university, located just a short drive from downtown Richmond, Virginia. Through its five schools and wide array of campus programming, the University combines the best qualities of a small liberal arts college and a large university. With nearly 4,000 students, an 8:1 student-faculty ratio, and more than 90% of traditional undergraduate students living on campus, the University is remarkably student-centered, focused on preparing students “to live lives of purpose, thoughtful inquiry, and responsible leadership in a global and pluralistic society.”

The University of Richmond is committed to developing a diverse workforce and student body, and to modeling an inclusive campus community which values the expression of difference in ways that promote excellence in teaching, learning, personal development, and institutional success. Our academic community strongly encourages applications that are in keeping with this commitment.


The George M. Modlin Center for the Arts opened on October 4, 1996, with more than 165,000 square feet of space. The Modlin Center houses the academic departments of art, music and theatre & dance, and includes the Alice Jepson Theatre, Camp Concert Hall, Cousins Studio Theatre, the University Museums, and the Parsons Music Library. Auxiliary work spaces include the costume shop, scene shop, and green rooms.

Former University President Richard Morrill (1988-1998) had a dream of a first-class "arts village under one roof" and this interconnectedness is the heart of the Modlin Center. The primary focus of the Modlin Center is providing educational and performance opportunities for all students, including but not exclusive to those majoring and studying the arts. All students are able to attend performances and events, meet artists, and learn about the arts via classes and lectures. The Center also provides performances and educational programming for University faculty and staff, and to the greater Richmond community, including K-12 students and educators as well as lifelong learners. Additionally, the Center's professional staff provides expertise in all areas in event management and support services.

The University completed extensive renovations in the Modlin Center in 2019 at a cost of more than $35 million dollars. These renovations include: two new additional dance studios; a second green room space for visiting artists; extensive renovation and additions to the visual arts wing, with improved teaching studios, art production spaces, gallery and presentation rooms and additional classrooms; renovations in Booker Hall/ Webb Tower to improve accessibility and quality of operations; a redesigned music library for students to have quiet places to gather and study; a renovation of HVAC systems for the University Museums; and Camp Concert Hall updates, primarily focused on upgrading the acoustics and the audio/visual systems.



The University of Richmond seeks an executive director for the Modlin Center for the Arts, the centerpiece for the arts within the university and a major cultural institution within the local Richmond community. The executive director will be a campus leader, relationship builder, and networker who embraces diverse perspectives on issues. The Modlin Center operates within the University's School of Arts & Sciences and engages with and serves the entire campus, including the five schools that comprise the University. The Modlin Executive Director supervises a staff of approximately 9 FTEs, and additional part-time hires and student hires, and oversees a budget of over $2 million. The executive director will report to the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

Key opportunities and challenges for Executive Director of the Modlin Center for the Arts include the following:

  • Visionary Leadership: Developing and communicating a vision for the arts within UR, that is inclusive, expansive, creative, and sustainable. A university performing arts center must function in the post-pandemic world in ways that promote and celebrate the performing arts in everyday life, create opportunities for experimentation and growth while simultaneously ensuring programming that is intellectually and artistically challenging. The Modlin Center will further the aims and ambitions of the University of Richmond and do so in a manner that cultivates partnership and enthusiasm amongst the students, faculty, and staff. The Modlin Center, and the Executive Director in particular, will be an advocate for the arts in the education of UR students, and in the University's branding, admissions, recruiting, fundraising, alumni relations, and other cultivation efforts.
  • Campus Engagement: Strengthening the integration of the arts within the University's mission and operations. The Modlin Center will position itself as an important and valuable partner to the intellectual life of the University, and will offer the unique benefits of education in the arts, and performing arts in particular. A specific challenge will be elevating the arts as an integral means and method of teaching and learning, developing self-awareness, and creating community through shared understanding and identity. How can the Modlin Center become a greater resource to students and a hub for education, professional development, and a place of connection, recreation, self-growth and fun?
  • Access and Inclusion: Positioning the Modlin Center as a critical partner in the mission of the University in valuing the contributions of diverse perspectives and experiences. Key challenges include: 1) establishing the Modlin Center as a major point of connection and inclusivity for students, faculty, alumni, staff, visiting artists, and local communities; 2) increasing MCA accessibility, both conceptually and physically, to the entire campus and the local region; 3) shaping the operations and programming of the Modlin Center to engage the campus community and greater Richmond area.
  • Administration and Operations: Steward the resources (financial, personnel, and spaces) with an eye toward collaboration and sustainability, and encourage the professional development of the Modlin Center staff. The Modlin Executive Director will develop strategic and operational plans that create and maintain a thriving Center, value and support current strengths, and foresee future challenges and opportunities. The Modlin Executive Director will be a steward of the Center's resources, especially current human capital.

Specific Responsibilities, organized according to key opportunities listed above:

Visionary Leadership

  • Articulate and implement a vision that aligns the Modlin Center’s presenting and production services into the larger academic and research mission of the University.
  • Be an advocate for the arts in general and for the Modlin Center in particular in all University-wide activities related to strategic planning, admissions, advancement, communications, sustainability, and pedagogical-related initiatives (e.g. general education reform). This advocacy extends beyond the campus to engage with the vibrant and diverse arts community in Richmond, which is currently deeply engaged with issues of social justice and equity among residents of the region.
  • Produce an internationally diverse program that is collaborative, thought-provoking, and sustainable, and is distinctive in its willingness to push creative boundaries. Respond to current issues, social trends, and global themes so that the program remains timely and relevant.
  • Develop and implement objectives and strategies to assess how the Modlin Center is meeting the needs of the campus community (most importantly, our students) and ensuring the participation and engagement of diverse audiences.
  • Create and maintain a coherent identity for the Modlin Center for the Arts, which is consistent with the University's mission, and the support and cultivation of faculty, staff, and students in the arts.
  • Communicate regularly with the Dean of Arts & Sciences regarding goals and vision of the Modlin Center.

Campus Engagement

  • Foster faculty relationships in order to embed the arts within course curricula to animate the classroom and enhance student learning across disciplines.
  • Work strategically with campus partners to create and support opportunities to engage directly with students, through both learning opportunities and recreational activities. This includes guiding the student experience to become culturally astute citizens and knowledgeable audience members. And it includes encouraging opportunities for students to participate in the arts both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Communicate regularly and work collaboratively with faculty and staff in all of the arts departments regarding their departmental needs and goals and to assist in advocating for the arts across campus.
  • Maintain relationships with and be accessible to other constituent groups/stakeholders (e.g. student groups, other university entities, donors, patrons, community arts orgs and leaders).
  • Develop residency opportunities for students and faculty with touring artists.
  • Co-direct (with University Museums director) and assess the undergraduate arts management program.

Access & Inclusion

  • Utilize the Modlin Center as a platform for dialogue and exchange among diverse people and communities. Initiate dialogues where faculty, staff, and student voices inspire innovation and long-term impact.
  • Support and deepen work on diversity, especially the areas of community development and social justice.
  • Remove barriers to participation and create welcoming and inclusive spaces.
  • Oversee communication plans that express the value and role of access, inclusivity, and diversity throughout the Modlin Center's programming.
  • Utilize the University's current local initiatives and community connections to forge strong, cooperative community relationships by fostering partnerships with local artists and arts organizations.

Operations & Administration

  • Direct and manage overall operations, including community relations, fundraising, marketing, programming, operations, production, and finance.
  • Supervise a staff of approximately 9 FTEs, and additional part-time hires and student hires; manage in a professional, knowledgeable, and collaborative manner to motivate staff and support their continued professional and artistic development.
  • Oversee a budget of over $2 million and ensure stewardship of funds are in alignment with the goals of the Modlin Center and the University.
  • Oversee the negotiating, creating, and executing contracts for artists, staff, independent contractors and vendors.
  • Collaboratively establish and assess strategic goals while assessing risks, organizing activities, and operational priorities. This includes ensuring the Modlin Center's strategic planning and operations align with peer institutions in higher education and industry best practices.


  • Strong leadership skills and ability to inspire and influence partners at all levels of the University.
  • An understanding of and commitment to the educational mission the University of Richmond and its students.
  • Demonstrated ability to advocate for the arts on and off campus.
  • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders and have challenging conversations, especially relating to issues of thriving, inclusion, diversity, and engagement.
  • Ability to develop and sustain a clarity of vision and strategic focus; ability to balance competing demands well; effectively plan, establish, articulate, and maintain effective organizational and operational priorities.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills; strong interpersonal communication skills; presentation skills; organizational skills.
  • Sense of humor and eagerness for personal and professional growth.
  • Knowledge of trends in arts and arts management, and in particularly in undergraduate education.

Education & Experience

  • An advanced degree in the arts or commensurate experience.
  • Minimum of five years of executive administrative experience, ideally within an academic performing arts organization.
  • Experience in fiscal management of academic performing arts institutions.
  • Proven record of collaborative working relationships with faculty, students, staff, administration, community members, the media, and the arts community.
  • Demonstrated personal and professional commitment to and experience in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion

Interested applicants should submit the following:

  • resume/CV
  • letter of intent addressing the opportunities and challenges above
  • materials, resources, or links related to development of artistic projects
  • list of references

Review of applications will begin January 25, 2020


  • Full-time, exempt position
  • Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; 7.75 hrs./day; 38.75 hrs./week


At the University of Richmond, we’re creative, inclusive, and determined. We’re Spiders, and our mission is to create positive change in the UR community and beyond. Located minutes from downtown Richmond, Virginia, the University of Richmond (www.richmond.edu) blends the intimacy of a small college with exceptional academic, research, and cultural opportunities usually found only at large institutions. There’s only one place like Richmond.

UR is committed to developing a diverse faculty, staff and student body, and to modeling an inclusive campus community which values the expression of differences in ways that promote excellence in teaching, learning, personal development and institutional success. In keeping with this commitment, our academic community welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds and candidates who support diversity. EOE




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Job No:
Posted: 1/5/2021
Application Due: 6/23/2021
Work Type: Full Time