The Calgary Centre for Performing Arts is a Canadian charitable non-profit organization that manages and operates the city-owned Arts Commons, Canada’s third largest arts centre. Located in the heart of Calgary’s Cultural District in the downtown core, Arts Commons occupies a full city block. It is home to the 1,800-seat Jack Singer Concert Hall and five theatres, including the 750-seat Max Bell Theatre, the 418-seat Martha Cohen Theatre, the 190-seat Big Secret Theatre, the 185-seat flexible Engineered Air Theatre, and the 50-seat black box Motel Theatre, as well as additional event and education spaces. Arts Commons also houses costume and set construction shops, administrative offices, meeting rooms, a café, and centralized box office.
Arts Commons is an inspirational gathering place for all Calgarians and visitors alike. The mission of Arts Commons is to “bring the arts…to life,” with a vision of “a creative and compassionate society, inspired through the arts.” Arts Commons also practices a core set of values: Do the Right Thing, Be Your Best Always, and Be Open: Minds, Hearts, and Arms.
Arts Commons hosts more than 1,800 performances and events each year, including live theatre, concerts, dance productions, readings, public forums, art exhibits, and more, all open to the public. In addition to Arts Commons Presents, resident companies include Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Downstage, One Yellow Rabbit, and Theatre Calgary, which creates, performs, and presents a wide range of award-winning and highly acclaimed theatrical events and concerts. In its previous season, its venues were filled 229 days by both resident companies and organizations that selected Arts Commons as their preferred setting for productions. While similar sized facilities host about 414 additional events each year, Arts Commons hosted 866 in its six major venues, as well as activities in more unconventional spaces throughout the building.
Arts Commons has been a key contributor to the social, economic, cultural, and intellectual life and well-being of Calgarians and visitors since its founding in 1985. It currently serves more than 400,000 patrons at ticketed events and more than 150,000 people annually at free events and gatherings. The existing facility has been enormously successful, consistently working far beyond industry standards. However, it is utilized beyond the intended design to address the needs of its resident companies and the community it serves. Arts Commons is now unable to satisfy the market demand for access to its facilities and is currently turning away nearly 600 critically important revenue generating events annually.
A shared vision for an expanded facility and campus was created with input from all Arts Commons resident companies, advocates, and other proponents. The $412 million Arts Commons Transformation (ACT) project would create a civic arts centre that is more accessible, vibrant, and an integral community resource. The functional program for ACT was determined following extensive collaboration between Arts Commons, Bing Thom Architects, 11 construction industry consultants, and resident companies. Executed in two phases, ACT will both expand capacity in an adjoining new building and renew the existing facility, bringing it up to today’s standards.
Phase One of ACT is the development of the Road House, which will add three versatile, purpose-built venues to meet growing resident company needs, market demands, and community aspirations. It will also add more than 35 percent in seating capacity. While renovations are underway in Phase Two, the Road House will become home to most of the resident companies and more than 200 community groups that use the facility. Phase Two will revitalize the existing 560,000-square-foot Resident House and elevate the public’s experience through upgraded amenities and technology. The completion of Phase Two will become one of the primary economic drivers of the complex’s overall operating sustainability without requiring additional operating support from the City. ACT will generate almost 1,000 permanent jobs and will have an annual economic impact of more than $95 million. It will also accommodate the varied needs of a world-class city, aligning with Calgary and Alberta’s long-term strategic objective to build a culturally vibrant, economically diverse community. In March 2019 Calgary City Council approved the financial strategy for all four of the city’s long-term, previously unfunded major projects, including Phase 1 of Arts Commons. The federal government will fund municipal infrastructure projects and Arts Commons continues to advocate for funding support from all three levels of government.
Arts Commons is governed by a 19-member board of directors, led by Board Chair R. Scott Hutcheson. Administrative and production teams are comprised of approximately 61 full-time and 150 part-time employees, led by the President and CEO. In the 2017-18 season, Arts Commons had an operating budget of $12.5 million, comprised of 44 percent from venue operations, 35 percent from development and government relations, 10 percent from programming, and 11 percent from other services. It leads approximately $2 million in lifecycle initiatives each season to enhance the complex’s effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability. As of the 2017-18 season, Arts Commons had a $1.3 million accumulated operating surplus and a capital replacement fund of $5 million.
“The quality of a community’s cultural infrastructure has a direct impact on quality of life and therefore, on the competitiveness of communities in attracting people and investment.”
-Canadian Council of Chief Executives
The City of Calgary has an energy that exhilarates, invigorates, and motivates. It is a place of big skies and big ideas. Calgary is an economic force and a catalyst for today’s trailblazers. Its intense, urban vitality unleashes the bold, can-do spirit of its entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, and athletes. Calgarians are risk-takers and visionaries whose vibrancy and competitive spirit drive commerce, culture, and sport. Calgary’s lifestyle is active, with western values and a global perspective. This diverse city embraces change and change-makers and supports and sustains its communities and its people. With opportunities to start a new life or new adventure, Calgary welcomes everyone to be part of the community.
Calgary sits in the sunny eastern foothills of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet. The major urban centre for the entire southern half of the province of Alberta, Calgary is surrounded by an area of profound beauty with an unspoiled, resource-rich natural environment. Ranked among the world’s cleanest, healthiest, and safest cities in numerous international studies, the city is a global leader for overall quality of life. Calgary was ranked the fourth most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2018. With a low population density, high quality of life, and abundant housing, Calgary is the ideal place to call home.
The President and CEO will be the chief visionary, strategic, and operational leader and will guide the ACT project as a champion for the diversification of varied programs and cultural offerings. Partnering with and reporting to an influential board of directors, the President and CEO will spearhead an overarching planning process to realize the Arts Commons capitalization and redevelopment project while fostering creativity that redefine Calgary’s arts landscape. Serving as the primary liaison between the organization and its respective stakeholder groups—resident companies, government leaders, and many others—this individual will act as the ambassador for the organization locally, nationally, and internationally. A credible and visible leader who drives the organization to its the next level of growth and service to the community, the President and CEO will be accountable for the facility’s management and operations while mentoring and guiding a highly effective and motivated executive leadership team.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic, Facilities, and Capital Planning
Lead the development of strategic, facilities, and capital plans that advance Arts Commons, its resident companies, and the Calgary community.
Assist in the planning, design, funding, advocacy, public approval, and land plan for ACT with all levels of government and resident companies.
Provide inspired leadership and direction to a highly visible board of directors and extremely skilled executive leadership team in active pursuit of the mission, vision, and values that guide the organization.
Promote long-tern planning and conceptualize new initiatives that will ultimately lead to improved organizational effectiveness, processes, and practices.
Keep abreast of trends and developments in the international performing arts community and recommend new and innovative approaches that will enhance organizational success.
Design and guide annual business plans that both determine and deliver upon key performance indicators.
Embrace entrepreneurial approaches beyond traditional business models.
Perform other strategic, facilities, and capital planning responsibilities as needed.
Community Ambassadorship and Stakeholder Relations
Embrace a community engagement process that ensures a mission-based approach to achieving the vision.
Commit to purposeful, all-inclusive educational partnerships where the arts are at the forefront of development and sustainability within the community.
Communicate major initiatives and serve as the organization’s primary spokesperson to the community, donors, resident companies, media, political leaders, and other stakeholders.
Establish and maintain productive professional relationships and strategic partnerships with resident companies and others throughout the community.
Engage in active dialogue and transparent communication with elected and appointed senior officials from all three levels of government.
Develop deeply rooted connections to the private sector, civic partners, and community organizations.
Raise public awareness for Arts Commons by developing strong relationships with local and national media through effective external communication mechanisms.
Understand the Calgary marketplace, political landscape, and demographic trends to recommend a course of action that addresses potential projects and programs.
Collaborate with community influencers, government officials, and arts advocates to attain significant outcomes.
Perform other community ambassadorship and stakeholder relations responsibilities as needed.
Fiscal Resiliency and Financial Sustainability
Strategize opportunities for philanthropic annual, capital, and additional financial support that increases corporate sponsorships, foundation support, and government investment in Arts Commons.
Develop, lead, and drive innovative fundraising plans with the development team, including proactive donor relations and outreach strategies to achieve strategic goals.
Inform and engage the board regarding key issues, business opportunities, significant operational activities, and financial matters.
Actively engage in federal, provincial, and municipal government funding programs and policies.
Oversee the organization’s short- and long-term financial stability, including its critical financial, business planning, and management policies.
Manage risk in all areas across the organization, including finance, operations, environment, and safety.
Collaborate with the finance team to ensure appropriate processes and controls are in place to develop, monitor, evaluate, and report on the effective utilization of budgetary funds.
Partner with the marketing team to develop strategies that maximize ticket sales, rental revenues, and other earned revenue opportunities.
Perform other fiscal resiliency and financial sustainability responsibilities as needed.
Team Leadership, Mentoring, and Coaching
Build, develop, and lead a strong staff team and sustain an effective organizational structure.
Create a professional environment that enables staff to excel in a collegial and respectful way.
Ensure opportunities and resources for mentoring, coaching, and professional development for staff at all levels of the organization.
Oversee, advise, and guide key executives in programming, venue operations, finance, development, and marketing & communications.
Mentor an experienced team of professionals who deliver Arts Commons’ high-quality mission expected by audiences, resident companies, and artists alike.
Perform other team leadership, mentoring, and coaching responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
With high emotional intelligence and political savvy, the President and CEO will be a motivated ambassador and advocate for an organization in a dynamic multi-cultural environment. The ideal candidate will be comfortable engaging in conversations that build effective partnerships, raise levels of engagement, and advance innovative approaches to artistic, educational, and community needs. Embodying integrity and authenticity, the President and CEO will embrace a healthy organizational culture based in collaboration and strategic partnerships. A catalyst for action who is receptive to new ideas and opportunities, this individual will be comfortable with frequent change and celebrate a people-oriented approach in identifying challenges and developing creative solutions. Insightful and resourceful in leveraging financial, human, and technological resources, the President and CEO will be a highly evolved communicator both internally and externally. A highly influential individual who can fruitfully mobilize artistic and social resources, the President and CEO will embrace opportunities that advance the communities it serves. An inspirational leader, proven business manager, and skilled relationship builder, this individual will take on a front-and-centre, multi-stakeholder role.
Key competencies of the role include:
Leadership and Teamwork – The acuity to spearhead strategic initiatives while creating active participation by and proactive engagement from a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
Customer Focus and Diplomacy – The dexterity to anticipate, meet, and exceed resident company needs and community expectations while carefully listening and responding to a variety of stakeholders who sometimes have conflicting opinions and priorities.
Interpersonal Skills and Influencing Others – The capacity to respect others, treat them fairly, and maintain positive and productive relationships while reaching mutually beneficial results.
Goal Orientation – The ability to develop specific goals, calculate the inherent risks of various options, anticipate human and materials resource needs, and achieve extraordinary results.
A bachelor’s degree is required (master’s degree preferred). Ten or more years of experience in a senior level position with increasing executive responsibility for a variety of programs and projects is necessary. Candidates must possess experience in a complex, multicultural, philanthropic, or similar organization of considerable budgetary size and scale. Demonstrated success in working with local government entities, global and local business leaders, and non-profit funders is required. A passion for the performing arts, commitment to arts education, results in community impact, and active participation in arts advocacy is needed.
Compensation and Benefits
Arts Commons offers a very competitive salary, commensurate with experience. Benefits for full-time employees include group health, dental, vision, and other optional supplemental insurance plans; short and long-term disability benefits; matching RRSP; parking; six weeks of flexible vacation time; flex days; and the quality of life that Calgary and Alberta offer.
Application and Inquires
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and list of demonstrable and other relevant accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:
Arts Commons is a non-profit organization that is focused on a creative and compassionate society inspired through the arts, with a mission to bring the arts to…life. Those who share this mission and have a commitment to excellence, diversity, and teamwork will find a rewarding place to work.
About Arts Consulting Group
Advance arts and culture every day. ACG is looking for seasoned arts and culture professionals who are passionate about bringing a positive impact to the organizations and communities we serve.