Executive Director, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

Location: Columbus, GA
  • March 8, 2015

Job Opportunity

Executive Director

RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

Columbus, Georgia

RiverCenter for the Performing Arts invites applications for the position of Executive Director.

 We seek a Performing Arts Facility professional with a grounding in all aspects of performing arts facility management: diversified programming, community partnerships, fund-raising, marketing, concessions, front of house, ticketing, rentals, board relations, and backstage/technical operations.  This person will become the “face” of RiverCenter in the community and will have the managerial skills and facility experience to take RiverCenter to its next level of achievement.  RiverCenter is poised to dream big dreams.

 A background in working closely with universities and community user groups, as well as experience of reporting directly to a board of trustees for a 501(c)(3) organization, would be assets.    

The Position:
 Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director is the chief operating officer for the corporation and oversees all aspects of RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, ensuring an efficient, effective, and fiscally sound operation.  The Executive Director is charged with working closely with RiverCenter’s constituencies and stakeholders to provide mission-driven, community-serving programming with a healthy balance of at-risk and rental events and activities.  The Executive Director is also responsible for overseeing and steering the cooperative association and interaction of the Center and Columbus State University (CSU), working with the appropriate CSU officials.

Areas of overall oversight include: programming, production, education, operations, finance, marketing, human resources, and development.  The new Executive Director must be willing to work closely with the development staff to raise money and to be out in the community.  In addition there is a need to look closely at all earned revenue opportunities that might exist for RiverCenter.

RiverCenter’s annual budget is approximately $2.4 million.  Forty-four per cent of the annual budget comes from contributed income at this time.

Located in the heart of historic Uptown Columbus, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is the centerpiece of the city’s arts and entertainment district.  With its three state-of-the-art theaters and educational facilities, RiverCenter is the largest arts center in the region.  It is home to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, and regularly partners with the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus, Columbus Ballet, and Cantus Columbus.

Conceived as a vital cultural hub, the Center was designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer and Associates to enrich the Chattahoochee Valley region artistically.  The construction was funded in part by $87.1 million of the over $100 million raised by the Columbus Challenge, an unprecedented public-private fund-raising effort that also revitalized other key local cultural organizations.  The remainder of the funding came from a $17 million state appropriation and a $35 million matching gift from the Bradley-Turner Foundation.

A property of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the 245,000 square foot  RiverCenter is a visually stunning blend of the past and present, mixing the brick and ironwork of the area’s historic buildings with a modern multi-level glass and steel facade.

RiverCenter includes the 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theater, as well as Legacy Hall, a 450-seat  concert hall with the Jordan Concert Organ, and the 150-seat black box Studio Theater.   Legacy Hall and the Studio Theater provide rehearsal and performance space for the Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music.  The Music School’s classrooms, rehearsal spaces, studios, and practice rooms are also located at RiverCenter; oversight of these spaces is provided by CSU faculty and staff.

The mission of RiverCenter is “to bring together a variety of artists and audiences for entertainment, education, and enrichment of the cultural life of our region.”  It is a major component of the successful revitalization of Uptown Columbus.

In accordance with the mission and vision of the organization, the Executive Director  provides full operational and financial oversight of RiverCenter within the policies set by the Board of Trustees. The Executive Director facilitates organizational collaboration and integration; and ensures that RiverCenter is a forum for wide-ranging artistic expression, serving diverse audiences, and spearheading outreach and education initiatives.   Overall responsibilities include fund-raising, strategic planning, board relations, financial stability, community engagement, programming oversight, capital needs, and staff management.

Desired Qualifications:

  • A minimum of five to seven years as either a chief executive offer or in a senior leadership role of ever increasing responsibility in performing arts facilities.
  •  Comprehensive knowledge of many performing arts forms and all aspects of arts venue management.  An industry professional with existing networks within the cultural sector and a personal vision of how the arts and arts education play a role within the life of a community.
  • A graduate degree in arts, arts management, or not-for-profit administration is preferred.
  • A track record of excellent relations with resident companies and other key stakeholders; the ability to build and nurture excellent management teams; and the strategic thinking, personal leadership qualities, political acumen, tact, and  patience required to negotiate and manage change successfully.
  • Demonstrated leadership in annual fund drives and being a good community partner.  Experience in working with development staff and boards of trustees to plan and implement fund-raising goals, objectives, and policies.
  •  An articulate champion for the performing arts with advanced oral and written communications skills and the ability to represent RiverCenter to a variety of audiences and in myriad settings.
  •  Other important attributes would be a collaborate leadership style with the ability to delegate, a high degree of integrity, a sense of humor, and a thorough grounding in performing arts facility operations.

 The City of Columbus:
Once Georgia’s last frontier outpost and now the state’s second largest city, Columbus is a true destination for history, theater, arts, and sports.  It was the first in the state to form a consolidated city/county government and redefined the way public-private partnerships come together.  Columbus, Georgia is a city unafraid of change—yet careful to uphold its heritage.

 Columbus is a mid-sized city (population 202,000) with big city amenities (but without big city hassles) and southern heritage and charm.  It has been recently ranked #4 of Top Places to Raise a Family and made the Top 100 Places to Live in America list.  With excellent public schools, a vibrant downtown, a diversified economy, and such attractions as the Chattahoochee RiverWalk , the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, the National Infantry Museum,  and the historic Springer Opera House,  Columbus is considered a “city of choice.”


Application Process:
Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.  Benefits package.  Deadline for applications:  Monday, April 13, 2015.

Interested candidates are invited to submit a cover letter and resume with a list of references and salary requirements in confidence to:

Margaret Genovese

Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates


 For additional information: www.rivercenter.org,  www.genovesevanderhoof.com, www.columbusga.com