Position Description for Deputy Director

About Assembly for the Arts

Assembly for the Arts (the “Organization”) is a newly formed entity which collaboratively unites Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC), a government agency that will remain a separate entity; Arts Cleveland, which was sunset and reorganized under Assembly for the Arts as both a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4; and Assembly for Action, a 501(c)(4) and the political lobbying arm of Assembly for the Arts. As stated on the Assembly for the Arts website, “Assembly for the Arts will be a nonprofit and advocacy organization with the mission to elevate equity and diversity among Northeast Ohio artists, nonprofits, and businesses in the creative sector.” Assembly for the Arts has twenty-seven members who serve on the Board of Trustees. Assembly for Action is served by four Board of Trustee members. One Board of Trustee member is purposely redundant and serves on both boards. Additionally, CAC will have two of their board members serve on the Assembly for the Arts board. They will continue their funding to nonprofits.

As part of the new collaborative entity, the leaders of Assembly for the Arts and CAC will work closely and collaboratively. Funding for this collaborative reorganization has been generously provided by The Cleveland Foundation and The George Gund Foundation.

“Assembly for the Arts will be a nonprofit and advocacy organization [501(c)3 and 501(c)4]. Assembly for the Arts will focus on an ambitious advocacy and cultural policy agenda; racial equity initiatives; informed and focused research; cooperative marketing that elevates the region; a diverse portfolio of membership services; and capacity building for nonprofits, artists, and creative businesses. Assembly for the Arts will be governed by a volunteer board with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. At least 50% of board members will be women or non-binary people and at least 40% will be BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).”


To convene, coordinate, and collaborate with everyone who lives and works in Greater Cleveland to strengthen and support those in the region who create, present, experience and appreciate all forms of arts and culture.


To ensure that everyone who lives and works in Greater Cleveland benefits from a diverse and equitable arts and cultural sector, and recognizes that the arts are an essential, defining element in the quality of life, social fabric, and economic vitality of the region.


  • Mutual Respect and Unity. Build a unified cultural community that supports and advocates for artists, nonprofit cultural organizations, and creative businesses, encouraging this collective to work together, using the power of the arts, to drive change in greater Cleveland.
  • Inclusion and Racial Equity. Redress systemic racism through building an anti-racist organization that serves artists, business owners and nonprofit leaders, helping them move to action to create a more equitable arts community; this includes advocating for more equitable funding to BIPOC artists and organizations and removing perceived and real barriers that currently limit all residents from participation.
  • Transparency and Trust. Collaboration is built on a shared vision that supersedes the limits of individual and organizational self-interest.
  • Collaborative Leadership. Resources must be strategically, equitability and efficiently connected.
  • Adaptability and Agility. Vitality hinges on an ability to creatively evolve and adapt to changing environmental circumstances.

New Leadership

Assembly for the Arts has recently hired a new president and CEO. The president and CEO is focused on further building his team to successfully deliver the Organization’s programs and services, which are vital to accomplishing the mission, achieving the vision, and ensuring the articulated values are foundational and lived within the Organization and continually modeled externally.

The president and CEO is deeply committed to increasing equity and expanding the pie through the Organization’s:

  • Substantive advocacy and cultural policy initiatives to advance policy, and to work collaboratively and strategically to increase government funding from city, state, regional and federal entities to facilitate expanding Cleveland’s creative economy.
  • Commitment to being intentional in advancing racial equity, addressing biases, focusing on applied learning, and working to shift norms, patterns, and behaviors.
  • Growing and substantiating the creative economy for small nonprofits, artists, and creative businesses.
  • Implementation of Assemblies – collaborative community conversations and peer advisory groups to provide ongoing input and feedback loops, garner community input and foment active participation to implement new initiatives and/or change and realize mutually beneficial collaborative community outcomes.
  • Enhanced communication and marketing and co-operative marketing for the region’s heightened collaboration and visibility.
  • Expanded funding resources to substantiate current programs, introduce new programs beneficial to the Organization’s’ constituents, advance racial equity priorities, and enhance the Organization’s’ team.
  • Targeted research to foment advocacy and policies to support and promote racial equity, increase funding to develop meaningful and strategic sustainable funding models, and advance cultural planning to amplify the creative economy.
  • Establishment of a diverse portfolio of membership services, for example, fiscal sponsorships to facilitate artists’, creative businesses’, and nonprofits’ development and growth.
  • Heightened and focused capacity building to strengthen and advance nonprofits, artists, and creative businesses.

Position Summary

To facilitate the president and CEO’s needs, Assembly for the Arts is seeking an innovative, experienced, visionary, and stellar leader to serve as Deputy Director. The Deputy Director will report directly to the president and CEO. They will be instrumental in working with the president and CEO to cohesively focus on and carry out the responsibilities that makes Assembly for the Arts:

  • The visionary and innovative organization committed to enriching and amplifying Northeast Ohio’s arts and cultural sector while also working to provide capacity building to help sustain the region’s small nonprofits, artists, and creative for-profit businesses.
  • The robust and substantive collaborative partner to Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
  • Commit to focusing on, and prioritizing, racial equity while establishing anti-racist and anti-oppression policies and strategies for implementation.
  • Work to expand the creative community, economic impact and visibility of artists, small nonprofits, and creative for-profit businesses while simultaneously connecting with under-resourced communities to invite new artists and entities to the table who may not be aware of Assembly for the Arts.
  • Cultivate healthy and meaningful relationships and partnerships with foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals.
  • Powerful in its intention to advance cultural policy through its development and presentation (with a focus on implementation) of a vigorous cultural policy agenda to elected officials, leaders, partners, collaborators, organizations, individuals, and decision makers.
  • Recognized as a dynamic anchor and important organization that is extremely current, relevant, beneficial to, and supportive of small nonprofits, artists, and creative for-profit businesses.
  • A trusted and transparent recognized arts and cultural resource within Northeast Ohio and the entire state.
  • A key resource that connects and collaborates cross-sector with healthcare, business, tourism, education, institutions of higher learning, government agencies, community-based organizations, environmental organizations, libraries, and other leading changemakers.

Vital Role to President and CEO – Strategic Direction

The Deputy Director will establish and implement operating policies to facilitate and streamline organizational efficiencies and operations. They will play a vital role working alongside the president and CEO, and with the Board of Trustees, to establish the Organization’s strategic short- and long-term direction with an emphasis on achieving the goals and strategies in a timely fashion as will be set forth within an envisioned strategic plan. They will focus on the mission, work towards achieving the vision, be proactive in modeling, living, and breathing the Organization’s values. They inspire their team, are dynamic, and passionate about their work and the Organization, and will enthusiastically represent the Organization. They will manage-up, project, and work to be ahead of the president and CEO to facilitate the president and CEO’s priorities, needs, and requests.

Commitment to Racial Equity

The Deputy Director will commit to racial equity and to diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and belonging as the foundational lens through which all work at the Organization is envisioned, developed, and implemented.

Finger on the Pulse of What’s Happening

The Deputy Director is abreast of current local, regional, and national trends, policies, advocacy, and the external impact that economic, social, cultural, geographic, political, environmental, health, and technological forces have upon the arts and culture sector and the Organization. They have their “finger on the pulse” and are hyper-aware of what’s happening – national services organizations’ publications and updates, other organizations’ initiatives, new models and successes, new funding initiatives, major funders’ philanthropic focus, direction, changes, and advances, revised and/or new local, regional, and national policy changes.

Internally Focused and External-Facing

The Deputy Director position is both internally focused and public facing. The Deputy Director will work with their team to address daily needs and deliverables, both internally and externally, while also holistically overseeing or managing the functional areas within the Organization including Programs (Racial Equity, Arts Advocacy and Government Relations, Cultural Plan (FY2022), Assemblies, and Artist Support); Marketing/Communications; Resource Development; Business Management, Human Resources, and Financial Operations.

Managerially Adept

The Deputy Director will be instrumental in establishing yearly budgets, focusing on financial planning and fiscal sustainability, and preparing and reviewing documents for Board presentations; preparing reports and PowerPoint presentations; working with Board committees; working with and managing consultants; and establishing communication policies. They will be instrumental in the grant development process, oversee grant proposals and reports requested by funders and work closely with the grant writing team. They will also be instrumental in developing and implementing earned income streams to supplement the Organization’s budget. They will oversee the annual audit and work closely with the Board Audit Committee.

Publicly Versant

The Deputy Director will also participate in and oversee marketing, communications, social media, and public relations initiatives and other organizational initiatives that are meant to address and advance racial equity; cultivate and leverage new relationships and collaborations; build community and advance advocacy; friend raise and fundraise; and leverage and raise awareness as a visible partner, anchor, advocate, ally, ambassador, and representative of the Organization. They will also prepare presentations and address the public.

Responsibilities and Duties

President and CEO

  • Manage up to president and CEO’s needs to assist in holistically building the Organization and its team.
  • Work diligently to be ahead of the president and CEO’s need to prepare and deliver reports, develop presentations, discuss new opportunities and initiatives, and plan events, community gatherings and Assemblies.
  • Review all financial documents to report to and update the president and CEO.
  • Take a leadership role participating in press conferences and briefings, racial equity conversations, resource and fund development programs, community events, attending artists’, creative businesses’, and nonprofits’ programs and events, attending performances, art openings, library presentations, educational summits, and capacity building initiatives.
  • Manage and address the many requests and needs from artists, nonprofits, creative businesses, government agencies, fellow arts and cultural organizations, and prospective collaborating organizations.

Management and Programs

  • Oversee and manage the Organization’s team and programs (Priority Initiatives including Advocacy and Government Relations (and related research), Racial Equity, the Cultural Plan (FY2022), Assemblies (serving nonprofits, creative businesses, and artists), and Artist Support (including fiscal sponsorships and other related services).
  • Work with the president and CEO, the Board Strategic Planning Committee, and the overall Board, to establish the timeframe for the Organization’s upcoming strategic plan. Manage and oversee the entire consulting process. Ensure that all goals and objectives, deliverables, outputs, and metrics are a priority and delivered per the plan.
  • Review responsibilities for each position and work closely with each staff member or new hire to update position description, accordingly, to address the Organization’s priorities, needs, and short- and long-term goals and strategies.
  • Review all reports, presentations, documents, and PowerPoint presentations. Analyze all financial documents to report to and update the president and CEO, and to prepare reports to the Board Executive and Finance Committees, and the overall Board.
  • Ensure that, for each functional area, systems and metrics for reporting outcomes, outputs, benchmarks, and other related discoveries are in place.
  • Establish systems for communication and follow up on new collaborative opportunities, new projects, funding requests, and other related requests.
  • Establish a schedule to ensure the entire staff is well represented, visible, recognized, and participatory at events, openings, presentations, performances.
  • Focus on leadership pipeline development to advance the careers of current staff.
  • Hire additional staff as necessary where unfilled but budgeted positions exist.

Marketing and Communications

  • Oversee the work of the Marketing and Communications team whose responsibilities include the website, social and other media, and public relations, all activities that intensify the president and CEO’s commitment to advancing racial equity, expanding the reach of the Organization, and prioritizing advocacy and government relations.
  • Ensure the Marketing and Communications team’s short- and long-term planning connects, positions, enhances, positively impacts, and benefits the Organization overall including all its functional areas.
  • Ensure the Marketing and Communications team is strategically managing up and apprising the Deputy Director of the status and plans on future initiatives.
  • Review all communications and reports prepared by the Marketing and Communications team.
  • Work with the president and CEO, to ensure the board is apprised of, and current on, the Organization’s marketing and communications for greater outreach, engagement, advancement, and positioning of the Organization.

Business Management – Human Resources – Operations

  • Oversee the work of the Business Manager whose responsibilities include the Organization’s business management, human resources, and fiscal operations. Understand the processes and systems related to each of the responsibilities.
  • Review all reports related to each area with a particular focus on financial documents.

Program Development

  • Oversee the work of the Program Director whose responsibility is to design, implement, and evaluate programs and services in alignment with the strategic plan, and in response to arts and culture stakeholder needs.
  • Working with the Program Director, ensure that data is properly embedded for collection into programming to minimize barriers to participation and engagement.
  • Provide support, direction, and feedback to the Program Director.

Resource Development

  • Oversee the work of the Resource Development team whose responsibility is to focus on current and future fund development from individuals, foundations, corporations, and city, state, and federal governments.
  • Ensure that related research is being conducted to discover potential new funding sources, cultivate new relationships, participate in collaborative funding initiatives, monitor key funders’ initiatives and priorities, and monitor the wide-ranging funding landscape.
  • Ensure that related reports are produced and followed up so that prospective funding opportunities are not being missed.
  • Oversee advocacy and government-related research required to substantiate the vibrant creative economy in Cleveland, and its positioning, increased visibility and viability within the arts and cultural sector.

Core Competencies

  • Expert at leadership and teambuilding
  • Exemplary professional accountability
  • Proficient at meeting deadlines
  • Skilled negotiator
  • Strong listener and communicator
  • Well-honed interpersonal skills
  • Adept at being flexible and adaptable
  • Strong ability to problem-solve
  • Keen at business analysis
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Adept at establishing procedures and maintaining oversight
  • Accomplished at time management
  • Ability to plan, organize and manage several people and projects at once
  • Visionary and forward thinker
  • Connector, catalyst, advocate, and bridge-builder
  • Extremely business savvy to advance the Organization
  • Ability to manage a team
  • Capacity to remain calm during unforeseen circumstances
  • Entrepreneurially focused
  • Experienced in writing RFP’s and selecting consultants


  • A minimum of 5 to 7 years working in leadership positions, preferably in arts and culture
  • Nuanced and skilled in working in the nonprofit sector
  • Knowledge of Ohio with a keener understanding of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland
  • Steeped in advocacy and working with public and government agencies, elected officials, and leading and/or participating in forums
  • Possesses a deep and intentional commitment to Racial Equity
  • Stellar at resource and fund development to deepen and expand the Organization’s work in and commitment to Northeast Ohio
  • Astute at preparing and managing budgets, fiscal sustainability, and fiscal reporting
  • Skilled at working with and championing artists, creative for-profit businesses, and small nonprofit organizations
  • Experienced working in and engaging with communities, leading community building initiatives, and building meaningful partnerships
  • Experienced in understanding and using social media to enhance advocacy, heighten awareness, and effect policy changes, leverage opportunities, position the Organization, and increase visibility


Compensation and Benefits

Compensation commensurate with relevant experience.

This position is full-time, exempt. Excellent benefits include medical and dental coverage; long-term disability coverage; group-term life insurance; fully vested retirement plan; flexible work arrangements; and paid time off.

Position Location

This position is a hybrid position requiring a mixture of remote and on-site presence.

Start Date


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      Assembly for the Arts is committed to hiring staff from a diverse range of backgrounds. Candidates from
      historically underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.