Ars Nova seeks People & Culture Director

  • Deadline / Program Start: 2021-10-29
  • Organization: Ars Nova
  • Organization Type: Performance/Presenting Facility
  • Career Type: Arts, Culture Non-Profit Administrator
  • Grant / Salary: 75,000/year
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Primary Discipline: Theatre (non-musical)
  • Recurring: Array
  • URL: Link


POSTING DATE: October 2021
STATUS: Full-Time Exempt
SALARY: $75,000

Ars Nova seeks a dynamic people-connector, community steward and empathetic leader to join us as our new People & Culture Director. Reporting to the Managing Officer, the Director serves as a key member of the theater’s management team and will help to create and maintain joy-filled and inclusive working conditions by translating our values and ideals into policies and practices regarding caretaking of the human beings that work, and create work, with Ars Nova.

Ars Nova exists to discover, develop and launch singular theater, comedy and music artists who are in the early stages of their careers. We were founded as a playground and a launch pad for emerging artists to create new work, with a dual mission to build the next generation of audiences for live entertainment by prioritizing a zeitgeist-forward aesthetic and marrying it with accessible ticket prices. Today, Ars Nova is known for its “pop-culture-savvy experimentation, with a hipness that sets it apart” (New York Times).

Ars Nova recognizes both that it is a predominantly white institution and that our institutional practices have led to the exclusion of Black, Indigenous and People of Color from our team. We are actively working to become a more diverse, anti-racist, inclusive organization; please see our commitments and progress towards these objectives HERE. We hope BIPOC candidates will accept our invitation to apply.


The People & Culture Director is a steward and caretaker of Ars Nova’s community, including its artists and staff. This role encompasses and expands upon the traditional roles of company management and human resources with a focus on creating and maintaining systems that foster and maintain an inclusive company culture, which we define as one where people’s thoughts, ideas, concerns, and cultures are valued, respected, and welcome (shout out to The Woke Coach for that definition). Specifically, you will:

Serve as a resource connector, sounding board and advocate for artists and staff members at Ars Nova;
Navigate complex investigations, mediations and restorative processes between community members, using and uplifting Ars Nova’s Code of Conduct and Core Values;
Direct and innovate Ars Nova’s recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes as our company and staff grows;
Facilitate the staff-wide efforts in anti-racism, equity and justice work by supervising EDI Working Groups, coordinating trainings, and identifying and advocating for opportunities at the intersection of our mission and our values;
Serve as a member of Ars Nova’s highly collaborative leadership team, guiding initiatives, building consensus and harnessing the expertise of constituents across the organization;
Cultivate a risk-taking work environment that enables innovation and growth by fostering a culture that allows everyone to bring their best and full selves to work.

The responsibilities, competencies and expectations outlined below are representative, not exhaustive. Responsibilities may shift as needed to best align with organizational needs.

Serve as Ars Nova’s Benefits Administrator by maintaining and improving the comprehensive and competitive benefits packages offered to our staff including Health insurance, Dental insurance, FSA, Commuter Benefits, 403(B), Paid Leave, and more; liaising between staff and brokers, and ensuring compliance with ever-changing regulations;
Steward Ars Nova’s company culture, and lead the organization in evolving that culture as the organization’s structure and operations evolves;
Provide empathetic caretaking to ensure that Ars Nova is centering the whole selves of its artists and staff, advocating for the resources Ars Nova can provide to help balance their overall health and wellbeing with their professional lives;
Listen to staff, artists and community members if they observe or experience violations of our Code of Conduct and investigate them thoroughly and sensitively, while maintaining confidentiality and compliance, to continually co-create a respectful environment where harmful behavior is disrupted;
Conduct rigorous and consistent Hiring Processes for all new and open full-time staff positions. This includes: editing and posting job descriptions with an eye towards promoting inclusivity; drafting interview plans with thoughtful and intentional questions and assignments; screening all first round applicants; hosting peer panels for finalists; and supporting each Hiring Manager as needed;
Serve as Health and Wellbeing Officer for our Off Broadway productions, by introducing our Code of Conduct, Core Values, Anti-Racist, and Workplace Safety policies to all artists and support staff at first rehearsals, dropping in at rehearsals, tech rehearsals, and performances to proactively and regularly check in with company members, serving as a sounding board, caretaker and advocate for artists in community with us;
Plan and host all-staff gatherings and social events, with support from our Management Assistant;
Coordinate and support our organization-wide work towards becoming an anti-racist organization, including:
Overseeing Ars Nova’s EDI Working Groups, which advance projects that fall outside of – or require collaboration between – operational teams. This includes leading a biweekly meeting of Working Group Facilitators, helping Working Groups set annual goals, mentoring staff members serving as Working Group Facilitators to meet those goals, facilitating collaboration and integration with Operational Teams, and working with the staff to evolve the mission and membership of each working group as needs and priorities change;
Coordinate and help design our ongoing anti-racist training arc for staff and artists, including identifying education needs, researching and proposing consultants and experts to work with us, negotiating the scope, structure and timeline of the consultant relationships, and scheduling trainings.
Coordinate our Emerging Leaders Group Program which offers paid fellowship positions for up-and-coming cultural leaders who are underrepresented in the theater field, including:
Overseeing the application and selection process for each cohort of Fellows, coordinate the orientation week, mid-term check-ins, and end-of-term evaluations;
Scheduling professional development seminars with guests across the theater industry;
Guiding Manager-level staff in their supervision of each fellow;
Serving as a sounding board for fellows to ensure their time with us is mutually beneficial;
Work with the Ars Nova staff to cultivate healthy and sustainable management, performance feedback, mentorship, and professional development practices, including:
Guiding managers in best leadership practices, and acting as a facilitator and mediator when communications stall between supervisors and supervisees;
Develop, budget, and execute more robust professional development opportunities for our staff, including gap training and a peer mentorship program with other organizations in our industry;
Develop and oversee implementation of Performance Improvement Plans for staff members;
Overseeing and improving our 360 Annual Review process, evolving it to focus more on intention/impact and to systemize multi-directional feedback;
Participating as a strategic thought partner to the Producing Executive Director, Managing Officer and the leadership teams on short and long-term organizational goals and trajectory;

You have an understanding of the artistic practice and the people and structures who support it, and value communities rooted in mutual respect and care;
You are relentlessly curious, question the status quo and engage in solution-oriented systems-thinking;
You are adept at navigating authority and responsibility, and balancing the need for confidentiality and transparency, both vertically and horizontally within a highly collaborative framework;
You are an empathetic leader who values mentorship and cultivating leadership in others;
You have a sophisticated understanding of Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression principles and practices, and are skilled at facilitating conversations and turning ideas and principles into priorities and actions;
You have prior experience and training in a related discipline: including human resources, company management, anti-racism and/or equity, diversity & inclusion leadership.

You love brainstorming and have the ability to conceive of both the strategy and operational aspects of a project or program while simultaneously weighing and managing multiple and competing priorities;
You love innovative theater and live performance of all stripes;
You have a deep commitment to ongoing individual and collective learning;
You have experience in a nonprofit and/or an arts, creative, or forward-thinking organization.

This is an exempt, full-time position with a starting annual salary of $75,000. Ars Nova offers fair pay: we compensate both fairly and competitively within the not-for-profit entertainment industry, as well as on a transparent level salary system within the organization; our Fair Pay Guidelines are available HERE. Benefits include health and dental insurance, an open and unlimited vacation policy, an Employee Assistance Program offering confidential counseling, legal support, work-life solutions and the like, opt-in 403B, FSA, and TransitChek plans, and more.

Please submit a resume and a personal statement. Ditch the “cover letter” and speak from the heart about what excites you about this work. While we ask that resumes be submitted in written form, we invite applicants to submit their Statement via a written piece, audio or video recording – whatever form best supports your self-expression.

Submission link:

In order to help maintain an equitable process, please do not submit unsolicited candidate recommendations. For process or technical questions, please email

Every application received by October 29, 2021 will be reviewed by the Producing Executive Director, Renee Blinkwolt & Managing Officer, Casey York. 6-10 candidates will undergo a first round interview over the phone or Zoom with Renee and Casey in approximately early November. 3-5 semi finalists will be asked to complete a brief homework assignment to demonstrate specific competencies and will participate in second-round interviews. 2-3 finalists will be asked for references and their interviews will take place in approximately late November over multiple in-person meetings with several members of the staff. Additionally, finalists may request a meeting with members of our affinity group for staff members who identify as BIPOC or Latine/x/a/o, if that perspective would be helpful to them. References will then be checked and an offer is expected to be made in early December.

The position is currently expected to start in early January 2022.