Arts Commissioner


The City of Boston seeks an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner, reporting directly to the Mayor. For the first time in twenty years, the Commissioner will be a Cabinet-level position. 

Location: Boston, MA

The City seeks a Commissioner who can:

Develop a comprehensive and innovative financial plan for Boston by convening artists and other stakeholders, listening to their needs, developing consensus, and formulating a comprehensive Arts and Cultural Plan for the City. 

Develop and implement pioneering, stable funding sources and strategies based in both the private and public sector that will build a new department from start-up phase to a budget rivaling those of comparable cities. Secure successful major grant applications from national grant-making entities, individual, foundation and corporate donors, and manage the post-grant assessment process.

Develop significant resources including, but not limited to, individual fundraising, corporate sponsorship acquisition, and grant acquisition. Structure fundraising vehicles that maximize support of the creative economy and community. 

Work across departments to create a supportive network for artists and the arts, cultural, and creative communities located in Boston’s neighborhoods, in schools, and in institutions of higher learning. Ensure all relevant City programs—within and outside the Commissioner’s direct control—are aligned with the comprehensive Arts and Cultural Plan. Promote and execute the final plan, secure resources, and oversee implementation and evaluation.

Supervise existing staff, attract new talent, and build a strong and cohesive team. Manage a budget of public and private funds. Demonstrate entrepreneurial skills by building the profile and structure of a new Cabinet-level department with an eye towards institutional sustainability and growth, including restructuring and growing the Department to support new mandates and opportunities. Work closely to ensure that the Office reflects and effectively serves all of Boston’s diverse populations. 

Serve as an advocate for the cultural community by: a) understanding the challenges they face; b) engaging the community across silos of discipline, geography, and culture; c) having direct involvement in an artistic endeavor; and d) regularly meeting with artists and the arts community to enlist feedback.

Lead the Artists First Initiative, which will address artists’ occupational health needs, professional development, affordable artist space, fair trade, and compensation. Foster the creation of co-ops in housing, business, and work space. Expand the use of existing City incubators and spaces for culture. Develop and implement innovative uses of libraries, parks, and other City property and assets as venues for arts and culture, including temporary performances and exhibit spaces.

Oversee funding allocations and usage to support non-profit arts and cultural organizations, artists, neighborhood arts programs, festivals, and artworks in public development.

Work on a micro-level with Boston’s neighborhood art communities and organizations to encourage “Community-Driven Branding” that leverages each neighborhood’s creative assets.

Serve as an ambassador and advocate for arts and culture in Boston to artists, funders, public officials, the business community, the international community, and other communities. 

Serve as a network builder, connecting artists, arts and cultural organizations, local businesses, schools, and institutions of higher education with residents, ensuring that all residents are active participants in Boston’s rich cultural community.

Establish a more visible relationship with Boston’s sister cities and the various embassies, consulates, and business communities around Boston, including promoting a dynamic public art program and robust year-round programming.

Work closely with the superintendent of Boston Public Schools and school-based arts programs to ensure collaboration and communication with the Office of the Arts.

Implement and oversee a marketing and communications strategy for arts and culture, including a robust website and database of arts offerings and a social media strategy. Ensure that the department is linking to cultural promotion partners in the city.

Draw upon best practices of other municipal arts offices and foster a culture of transparency, inclusiveness, teamwork, innovation, and excellence.


Bachelor of Arts degree in arts administration, public administration, visual arts, performing arts, language arts, communications, education, urban planning or other related field (Masters degree a strong plus); and

Ten years of professional experience in the arts and culture sector of which five (5) years must have been in supervising personnel.

Ability to exercise good judgment and focus on detail as required by the job.

The following qualifications are strongly preferred:

Significant budget management experience, preferably with a multi-million dollar annual government budget; and

Significant experience managing complex relationships, partnerships, and fundraising.

Ability to develop and implement pioneering, stable funding sources and strategies based in both the private and public sectors. Have a proven development track record with national grant-making entities, a strong network of individual, foundation and corporate donors, and experience with securing successful major grant applications and managing the post-grant assessment process.  

Ability to structure fundraising vehicles that maximize support of the creative economy and community. 

Possess knowledge of municipal government; experience working with cabinet and department officials desired.

Ability to work across departments to create a supportive network for artists and the arts.


How To Apply:

To apply, please go to the following website;
1 City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02201 
Apply by:

August 04, 2014

$110,000 - $127,000