Executive Director

JOB DESCRIPTION We are looking for an accomplished leader with superior self-management skills who works effectively with a wide range...
Salem Art Association
October 13, 2020
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
Dia Devine



We are looking for an accomplished leader with superior self-management skills who works effectively with a wide range of people, has the capacity to be answerable for personal actions and professional decisions, is able to work in a dynamic environment with frequent interaction with both internal and external stakeholders, and has a proven track record in financial management, including the achievement of both earned income and contributed income goals.


Located in beautiful Bush's Pasture Park, Salem Oregon, the Salem Art Association (SAA) is a nonprofit, membership organization dedicated to art education and art appreciation. Founded in 1919, SAA has grown to become one of the largest community arts organizations in Oregon.

Over the past 100 years, SAA has had a profound impact on the community by bringing nationally and internationally acclaimed artists to Salem, and by being a leader in arts education. Headquartered in the Bush Barn Arts Center, a fully renovated, city owned, historic building, the Association runs an ambitious array of programs and events:

Art Exhibitions – The Salem Art Association provides the public a variety of art experiences through continual exhibitions in three galleries and a gift shop, all located in Bush Barn.

Arts Education – The Community Arts and Education Program provides a unique, hands-on approach to learning through the arts, by helping young people and teachers in schools and communities throughout Marion, Yamhill and Polk Counties. It is a model program, adopted statewide, which brings arts experiences to students of all ages.

Art Annex  – The Art Annex and Artist-in-Residence studio provides a venue for artists services, art experimentation, workshops and talks, and DEI programming.

Salem Art Fair & Festival – For 71 years the Association’s largest event fundraiser has been the annual Salem Art Fair & Festival. With over 200 artists, the Art Fair is the largest juried art festival of its kind in the state of Oregon. It is consistently highly ranked across the nation.

Collaborative Partner - Adjacent to the Arts Center is the Bush House Museum, an 1878 Victorian home, which displays an extensive collection of nineteenth century fine and decorative arts. Bush House, Bush Barn, and the conservatory form one of the most complete Victorian farm complexes in the Willamette Valley.

Please explore our website for a full description of our activities: www.SalemArt.org



The Executive Director (ED) of Salem Art Association (SAA) has ultimate responsibility for providing dynamic, high-visibility leadership, guidance, and focus to achieve the organization’s Mission, including the growth plans and objectives delineated in the strategic plan. The ED will consult with the Board of Directors in the development and implementation of policies and strategies to achieve organizational goals, and will direct and motivate the staff in planning program development to fulfill the Mission and Vision.

Functionally, the ED has responsibility for managing operating, administrative, financial affairs (including development activities, such as donor cultivation and grant writing), business development/marketing programs, long term strategic planning, and oversight of staff and all Board-directed initiatives.



  • Facilitate the cooperation and collaboration among staff and stakeholders needed for SAA to remain and expand as a vibrant, cultural force in the arts community.
  • Secure and reinforce staff commitment to high standards, industry professionalism, integrity, and innovation.
  • Build relationships with a broad audience — inspire both internal staff and external constituencies with the importance and success of the SAA Mission and Vision.
  • Direct and oversee a robust and sustainable advocacy and public affairs program raising the profile of the SAA Mission and gaining attention on the local, regional and state levels.
  • Consistently and professionally represent SAA, as the principal spokesperson, to members of the media, governmental agencies, local civic groups, other non-profit and social service agencies, and the larger mid-Willamette Valley business community.
  • Provide leadership and planning support to the Board and staff of SAA to further the SAA strategic objective of having credibility and visibility, toward the goal of being an entity of distinction in the arts community.

Financial/Operational Management

  • Be responsible for the annual budget preparation, the ongoing financial management, and financial reports to the Board.
  • Be accountable for the monitoring of financial transactions.
  • Ensure financial viability of the organization through creation and implementation of a viable and diversified fund development plan that includes program revenues, special events, sponsorships, and public and private grants. Drive new and creative fund-raising strategies to continue the targeted growth of SAA.
  • Carry out all business functions necessary to maintain the reputation of SAA as a well-run, 501(c) 3 organization with high integrity.

Board Interaction

  • Provide the Board of Directors with effective guidance in understanding the importance/ impact of the SAA Mission and their role in supporting that Mission.
  • Clearly communicate ideas and recommendations at Board and/or committee meetings.
  • Keep the Board adequately informed of activities and affairs of the organization.
  • Prepare and provide materials and reports essential for the effective functioning of the Board.
  • Work with the Board to identify and cultivate potential Directors.

People Development/Supervision

  • Establish clear expectations and goals for direct reports, and hold employees accountable for results.
  • Conduct annual performance appraisals, identifying both areas of needed improvement as well as areas of successful performance.
  • Assume full responsibility for all hiring and professional development opportunities of SAA staff.
  • Foster an environment that supports staff development, leadership, and retention.
  • Ensure, through effective communication, that employees understand organization mission/ vision and changes in direction, structure, or goals.




  • A leader who naturally conveys enthusiasm, authenticity, passion, inspiration, vision, and charisma.
  • Seven or more years of success in a senior executive capacity (ED/CEO/President) in nonprofits or in a mixture of nonprofit and business environments.
    • Strongly Preferred: Including successful prior experience as a long term Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer in an arts nonprofit and/or an organization of similar size and complexity.
  • Background of successfully overseeing financial management in a variety of organizations.
    • Strongly Preferred: Sharply honed financial and business skills with a history of managing complex budgets in organizations of around $1 million.
  • Demonstrated success at driving fund raising initiatives from a variety of sources.
  • Passion for and/or background in the arts with the ability to become a zealous advocate for SAA in its role in the community of the mid-Willamette Valley.
  • A history of successfully working with and supporting a board of directors.
  • Demonstrated ability to forge productive alliances across private, public, and governmental sectors and create new and sometimes unlikely partnerships toward a greater goal.
  • Excellent writing and public speaking skills.
  • An effective listener who demonstrates superior emotional intelligence and can proactively suggest solution-oriented approaches to address issues.
  • Bachelor’s degree.

Additional Preferred

  • Master’s degree in visual arts and/or related field.
  • Experience or understanding of art advocacy.
  • Experience with non-profit organizations, either directly or via serving in a Board capacity.
  • Knowledge/experience in private sector business with the ability to drive toward a bottom line.

Behavioral Attributes

  • A person who naturally exudes diplomacy and finesse as they deal with a wide continuum of styles and personalities — a high degree of emotional intelligence.
  • One 'comfortable in their own skin' — a seasoned leader, demonstrated by a successful ability to navigate multiple and sometimes competing priorities.
  • A well-balanced individual, equally adept at the visioning process, and the adaptation and execution of that vision.
  • An inclusive style that puts a premium on communicating across functions, not nurturing silos.
  • A ‘teacher’ of sorts — able to inspire and equip their staff to learn new ways of doing things, while empowering them to work to the top of their skill set.
  • The new leader must have an unusual balance of charisma and ‘people savvy’ along with a seasoned business sense to help guide SAA operationally and with necessary infrastructure development.


  • Location: Salem, Oregon
  • Compensation: $75,000 to $90,000 commensurate with experience
  • 40 hours /week - 1 FTE
  • Health insurance, vacation, sick leave, etc.

How To Apply


Please email a cover letter and resume to  dia@SalemArt.org

  • Put ‘Executive Director Search’ in the subject line of the email.
  • Make sure your name is in the document title of your resume and cover letter.
  • Priority will be given to applications received by Monday, November 9. However, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
  • A background check and current references will be required for successful candidates.
  • Please, no phone calls.

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