Position Description

Programmer, Access/VSA Projects
Location Washington DC
Employment Duration Full Time Regular
Job Code 1037
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About The Kennedy Center

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” – President John F. Kennedy

The Kennedy Center is the nation’s cultural center and living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., the Center presents performances across all genres, and is also home to artistic affiliates Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra. 

Mission Statement: As the nation's performing arts center, and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, we are a leader for the arts across America and around the world, reaching and connecting with artists, inspiring and educating communities. We welcome all to create, experience, learn about, and engage with the arts. 

Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

The Kennedy Center is a welcoming and inclusive culture where everyone benefits - we do it in a way that honors everyone’s humanity.

We are able to advance our mission because of committed and passionate employees. We are fortunate to be able to leverage their diverse perspectives, life experiences and skills to inform how our workplace can be a safe, transparent, and replenishing community.

Through honest discussion, our focus on DEI, and the creation of a D&I council, we are committed to always being the best versions of ourselves.

Job Description

The Office of Access and VSA is located in the Education Division of the Kennedy Center.  The Access and VSA team is dedicated to the idea that the arts are for everyone and that cultural access is critical to creating an ecosystem where people from diverse backgrounds with disabilities of all ages can learn through, participate in and engage with the arts. The programs we run are one-of-a-kind and drive the global field of inclusive and accessible cultural practice. Accessibility is our top priority!

The Programmer, Access/VSA Projects, in the Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility, is a project manager extraordinaire with an attention to detail, substantive supervisory experience and a track record of working with and supporting the development of emerging young and professional artists, and the ability to execute projects from beginning to end.  The Programmer oversees the development, administration, coordination and implementation of performing and visual arts programs, projects, competitions, performances and exhibits for/by/with children, youth, emerging and professional artists with disabilities and ensures accessibility is integral from start to finish.

Duties and Responsibilities

25%   Visual Arts Competitions, Programs and Exhibits

Plan, administer and implement VSA Emerging Young Artists programs which are visual arts education based, career, skill development competitions and programs for children, youth and young adults with disabilities.  This includes but is not limited to: 1) developing schedules, procedures, themes and calls for entry;  developing and implementing plans to recruit participants; 2) handling logistics and running of the competition including submission, adjudication, selection and notification processes; planning and organizing learning opportunities; arranging receptions and event dates; 3) securing, scheduling and organizing national and local exhibits sites and dates including exhibit design and logistics;  arranging  delivery, receipt, tracking, preparation, movement/handling, packing/crating, inspection and shipping of art and objects; installation/de-installation of exhibit at various sites; 4)  producing brochures, catalogues, displays, labels, text panels, and other collateral material for exhibits and tours; 5) arranging the visiting artists programs with each exhibit site; 6) working directly with the program participants to support their full participation and benefit from these programs, as well as supporting on-going program alumni relations; and 7) overseeing, supervising and providing support for independent contractors.

20%   Presenting and Producing Public Facing Programming Including Performances, Exhibitions, Festivals And Events

Plan, produce, present, administer and implement public facing performances, and seasons of performances, by emerging and professional artists with disabilities, including but not limited to the Artists on Stage program, the Jean Kennedy Smith Series, festivals, celebrations and other events or opportunities to present performers and visual artists with disabilities in programs and activities at the Kennedy Center (KC). This includes but is not limited to: a) collaborating with KC programmers across genres to present visual artists and performers with disabilities; b) identifying talent and maintaining in-depth familiarity with and knowledge of artists and performers with disabilities and program alumni around the world; c) negotiating and booking talent, scheduling performance series dates and locations, managing travel, meals and lodging; d) producing and presenting exhibit and show content, overseeing accommodation needs of artists and audience, arranging rehearsal space and accompanists, handling production and tech needs such as lighting, staging, sound, equipment rental and running the show/performance.  

20%   Music, Theater, Media, Writing Competitions and Programs

Plan, produce, administer and implement VSA International Young Soloists, Playwright Discovery, TiLT programs which are career, skill development and arts education based competitions and programs for children, youth and young adults with disabilities and public facing elements. This includes but is not limited to: 1) developing schedules, procedures and calls for entry;  developing and implementing plans  and marketing to recruit participants; 2) handling logistics, organizing, and running competitions including submission, adjudication, selection and notification processes;  3) collaborating with related programs at the KC; developing, planning and organizing learning opportunities such as workshops, masterclasses, staged readings, and mentors; arranging performances, presentations and event dates; 4) securing, scheduling and organizing internal resources, rehearsals, rehearsal spaces, artistic and production support; 5) producing brochures, booklets and other collateral material; 6) identifying and providing access accommodation needs;  working directly with the program participants to support their full participation and benefit from these programs, as well as supporting on-going program alumni relations; and 7) overseeing, supervising and providing support for independent contractors.

20%   General Administrative Duties and Marketing, Promotions, Communications

For all of the above there are common and general duties that this position will administer and implement including but is not limited to: 1) managing program expenses and budgets, negotiating and executing, independent contractor and vendor agreements and contracts;  2) arranging travel, lodging, and catering; ensuring and providing accessibility accommodations for participants and audiences; 3) arranging for all event, performance and exhibit design, production, construction and installation needs; 4) using social media to promote and market programs; keeping up-to-date marketing/promotional contact lists; tracking and maintaining relationships with program alumni; 5) establishing procedures and caring for the day-to-day administration of the programs, engaging in exemplary customer service including in-person, phone and email communication and correspondence, 6) providing technical assistance and addressing requests for information and resources on visual and performing arts programs around the world for visual and performing artists with disabilities of all ages and abilities.  As needed, additional duties and responsibilities will be assigned to support the programming and activities of the office and to support the Director, and as accessibility is at the core of the work, supporting access accommodations and services is a part of everyone’s job.

10%   VSA Art Collection and Archives

Maintaining the VSA art and media collection including storage, upkeep, documentation, acquisitions and loans; up-to-date collection catalogue with descriptions, photographs, and inventory of the location, condition and status of each piece, serving as an internal consultant and expert on the maintenance, display and exhibition of art as needed.  Tracking and securing documentation, accurate lists/files of ownership and rights, releases, waivers, and permissions for the display and use of the artwork.  Fulfilling requests and assisting with loaning and displaying VSA program or collection artwork in the KC.  Monitoring and negotiating with storage site for safe-keeping, inventory, packing, moving and storing artwork; organizing and maintaining archived and historic VSA materials, documents, and media. 

5%    Arts Based Career Programs
Coordinate and assist with the planning, preparation, logistics and implementation of arts based career programs including the Rosemary Kennedy Initiatives which support a variety of arts based career programs and projects supporting the employment and advancement of individuals with disabilities seeking arts-based careers. Identifying or creating resources and opportunities for emerging and established performing and visual artists with disabilities; collaborating within the KC, mainstream cultural field, disability community, and educational arena to support arts-based careers for individuals with disabilities.   

N/A    Responds to the needs and requests of Kennedy Center management and staff in a professional and expedient manner; Adheres to all employer policies and procedures.

N/A    Other duties as assigned.

Key Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent years of professional experience
  • A minimum of 7 years of public programming, professional arts management, festival or producing/programming experience in the performing and/or visual arts at a cultural institution such as a theater, performing arts center, visual arts center or museum.
  • Experience must demonstrate progressively upward levels of duties, responsibilities, and experience with producing and implementing public programming, presenting and managing visual and performing artists, performances, festivals, exhibits and exhibit tours. 
  • A minimum of 5 years supervisory experience including supervising staff, volunteers, vendors, and independent contractors.
  • Preference given to lived experience with disability or substantive experience, expertise or knowledge of the disability community.

Skills & Knowledge Qualifications

  • Project management extraordinaire with an attention to detail, substantive supervisory experience and a track record of working with and supporting the development of emerging young and professional artists, and the ability to execute projects from beginning to end.
  • Superior organizational and planning skills, with an ability to anticipate project needs, discern work priorities, take the initiative, and work productively on multiple projects and tasks simultaneously and still be adaptable and flexible.
  • Ability to work independently, completing complex assignments with little or no supervision, yet still take instruction and make informed decisions, supervision and work with a team and build relationships with diverse communities internally and externally.
  • Must have the ability to work well under pressure, meet deadlines, address and solve time-sensitive problems. Demonstrate exemplary discretion, common sense and good judgement.
  • Comfort and confidence interacting with colleagues across the institution, and with vendors, contractors, artists, performers, actors, musicians, designers, directors, and persons with disabilities of all ages and abilities.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, enthusiastic professional with pleasant positive manner and demeanor, strong desire to satisfy customer/participant needs and ensure quality delivery of services.
  • Exemplary writing, editing, proofreading and communication skills (mail, email, in-person, phone), ability to adapt and clearly communicate with people and without disabilities that have a variety of communication styles.
  • Able to work evenings and weekends, occasional travel (national and international).
  • Must be able to manage schedules, calendars, correspondence (mail and email).  Must have strong office and computer skills with advance knowledge of the suite of MS office software, experience with Tessitura a plus.
  • Knowledge of and experience with arts, education, and disability issues.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Being in physical attendance and able to get around at activities and events in all the venues at the Center and at activities and events held elsewhere, working both inside and outside of the building, being in attendance at conferences and meetings for 1 hour to multiple days.  Frequent interaction with the public in person, by phone and email; on one’s feet assisting and interacting with constituents such as patrons, program participants, or event/conference attendees, interacting with staff, constituents, visitors, and patrons of all ages; regular interaction and ability to communicate with people with and without disabilities; required to attend and represent the Office of Access & VSA at external events and functions during conferences, exhibitions, performances, programs and special events. The amount of physical activity increases and may extend to up to 10 or 15 hours a day.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:

  • Work routinely at desk and computer, but also required to work on events in and around the building and at external venues. 
  • Must be able to work in an open office environment and in large crowded noisy public places.
  • The noise level in the work environment is moderate.  It is an open cubical office in which conversation, photo copier, and Braille embossing machine can be heard easily.
  • Evening and weekend work required for activities, programs, receptions, shows, and events that are scheduled in advance or added last-minute.
  • Travel up to 10% may be required.

Benefits

We offer a comprehensive range of benefits to all full-time employees including: Medical, Dental, Vision, Paid Time Off, Paid Sick Leave, and a 403(b) Retirement Plan

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