Founded in 1987 by Steven Berkowitz, Marwen is a visual arts education organization located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood that annually offers over 100 free visual art courses on-site to nearly 1,000 young people in grades 6 through 12 from under-resourced communities and schools. Marwen also provides free college and career counseling to high school students and their families who are interested in pursuing a career in the visual arts or wish to continue their education beyond high school.
Through studio courses and workshops, students develop artistic skills, experiment with various media, and discover new interests. Courses and workshops include the following disciplines: Photography; Painting and Drawing; Ceramics; Film and Animation; Digital Design; Comic and Illustration; Sculpture; and Fashion and Fiber.
COLLEGE & CAREER PROGRAMS
Through counseling, workshops, and events, students, alumni, and their families identify pathways to reach their goals whether studying art, or pursuing studies and work outside the arts. Students and families have access to: High school selection process counseling; College applications and financial aid counseling; Portfolio development counseling; Career support counseling; College and career fairs; SAT practice tests; College visits; and Family workshops.
TEACHING & LEARNING PROGRAMS
Through meaningful professional development, teaching artists refine their teaching and practice via assessment of student learning, feedback from surveys, and reflection, which enhances the quality and depth of instruction and artistic practice.
STUDENT & FAMILY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Through a continuum of outreach, registration, and engagement, in tandem with data collection and analysis, Marwen staff foster cross-programmatic planning and continuous program improvement.
The Board of Directors is seeking a visionary leader with an appreciation for the arts and arts education, and high-level development and management skills to lead and direct the activities of Marwen. This leader will build on the organization’s strong history of visual arts education and programming and further the mission through the continual development of new strategies, community partners, and allies. The Executive Director is responsible for leading the day-to-day activities of Marwen and is accountable for strategic and operational priorities; overseeing the implementation and enforcement of policies and procedures; and effectively communicating, interacting, and maintaining positive and ongoing professional relationships with constituents within greater Metropolitan Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the nation. The Executive Director will have principal leadership responsibility associated with Marwen’s fundraising efforts. Reporting to Marwen’s Board Chair, the Executive Director provides direction and oversight to a staff of 26, including a management team comprised of: Deputy Director, Director of Development, Director of Education, and Director of Finance and Administration. Working in collaboration with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will lead the strategic planning process for Marwen, including the creation of a long-range plan for organizational sustainability and growth.
The ideal Executive Director must have the ability to understand and speak to a broad array of programs, and to engage with audiences ranging from students and their families to wealthy donors. As a strong fundraiser and fiscal manager, the successful candidate will manage a budget of more than $3 million, and partner with the Board of Directors to identify opportunities for growth and expansion. The successful candidate will bring a participatory management style, encouraging input from staff while also having the ability to make sound decisions. They will work to support a collaborative and inclusive culture across Marwen’s various programs. They must have a commitment to the mission of the organization as well as the diversity of constituents served. Serving as the public face of the organization, they must possess integrity, excellent outreach and communication skills, and a broad appeal in order to retain and advance Marwen’s reputation in the community.
The Executive Director will be expected to achieve the following in the first 12 – 18 months in the role:
- Optimally align staffing and key functions.
- Develop and quickly implement a holistic funding model, including board, individual, foundation, corporate, and grant sources.
- Develop a plan to more fully leverage existing resources, especially physical space.
- Increase staff diversity to better reflect Marwen’s student population.
Leadership and Management
- Cultivate active and broad participation by the Board and volunteers in fundraising and in all areas of Marwen’s work.
- Work with the Board of Directors and staff to develop the organizational vision and strategic plan.
- Ensure cooperation between departments, bringing all operational elements together in an aligned, cohesive direction.
- Assist in the identification and recruitment of Board Members.
- Collaborate with the Director of Development and Board to develop and execute a multi-year fundraising strategy, monitor its accomplishments, and engage appropriate staff.
- Develop and oversee short-term and long-term fundraising plans in conjunction with the Board of Directors to ensure stability and sustainability.
- With the Director of Development, actively participate in high-level fundraising activities such as cultivation and relationship management, major gift solicitations, grant proposal development strategy, and special event sponsorship.
- With the Board and the Director of Development, lead the organization through funding initiatives that will be undertaken to sustain growth and financial stability.
- Promote an effective and transparent administrative infrastructure through regular communication with the senior leadership team and broader program staff.
- Recruit, retain, manage, and support an effective and committed staff.
- Sustain focus on attracting and maintaining staff diversity.
- Proactively develop and facilitate the senior leadership team.
- Provide staff with opportunities for professional development.
- Provide timely feedback to staff and recognize achievement and good results.
- Ensure financial integrity of the organization through general oversight of business operations and solid management decisions.
- Develop and maintain sound financial practices; work with the Director of Finance and Administration to create and manage operational budgets.
- Assess current and future resource needs in order to coordinate fundraising efforts to support programmatic needs and expansion.
- Report on the financial state of affairs and progress towards organizational goals to the Board of Directors.
- Serve as an effective spokesperson for the organization by promoting awareness of Marwen’s mission.
- Inspire and motivate a wide range of people to support the organization and its work.
- Seek opportunities for strategic alliances and partnerships to help further Marwen’s mission.