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1 Aug 2018

Full-Time Artistic Director – Music Academy

Soulsville Foundation  Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Job Description

The Stax Music Academy (SMA) is the ‘face’ of the Stax brand and the Soulsville Foundation Campus. SMA animates Stax music, the Soulsville Foundation philosophy and our culture.

This position is responsible for steering the artistic and educational vision of SMA. The Director will create goals and job descriptions for the artistic staff, define their responsibilities and ensure they carry out the mission, vision, and curriculum of SMA. The Director will work in tandem with SMA leadership to implement recruitment and retention strategies and oversee all formal and informal music education curriculum development and initiatives. The Director will work closely with the leadership of the Soulsville Foundation and all other Soulsville Departments in continuing the legacy of Stax Records and building the Soulsville/Stax Music Academy brand.

The Director is responsible for the leadership, further development, and management of all musical performances and classroom education aspects of the SMA programs and supervision of all SMA artistic staff.

The Director has the primary responsibility for the management, supervision and direction of all ensembles while meeting the goals and objectives of each program, guiding staff, and developing and instructing student participants.

The Soulsville Foundation ( was created in Memphis, Tennessee, in the late 1990s by a group of local business leaders, philanthropists, and former employees of Stax Records to carry forward the rich legacy of the Soulsville USA community, home to Stax Records in the 1960s and 1970s. The mission of Soulsville Foundation is to uplift and invigorate the music and heritage of Stax Records to develop young people for lifelong success, and continue to inspire and transform the world through the power of soul music. In service to this mission, the Soulsville Foundation funds and operates three subsidiary organizations on its campus at the original site of Stax Records:
• Stax Music Academy ( was purposely the first effort established by the Soulsville Foundation to address the artistic needs of children residing in Soulsville USA. The Stax Music Academy has been mentoring youth since 2000, initially from the surrounding Soulsville USA neighborhood and increasingly from across Memphis, using music as a connector. A highly regarded after-school program housed in a state-of-the-art facility, the Academy personifies the spirit of harmony, respect, and cooperation that defined the legendary Stax Records. The Stax Music Academy serves approximately 120 high school and middle school students in its SNAP! after School program during the school year and approximately 100 high school students during its five- week SNAP! Summer Music Experience.
• Stax Museum of American Soul Music ( opened its doors as the first and only soul music museum on the original Stax Records site in 2003. Since then, the Stax Museum has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, sharing the story of American soul music – and especially the “Memphis Sound” – through special exhibits, events and various community outreach programs. An exact replica of the original Stax Records home, the Museum has more than 2,000 cultural artifacts, music exhibits, video footage, and items of memorabilia, all assembled to preserve and promote the legacy of American soul music.
• The Soulsville Charter School ( is a tuition-free public charter school whose mission is to prepare students for success in college and life in an academically rigorous, music-rich environment. Launched in 2005 with 60 students, the school’s current enrollment is 600+ students serving grades 6-12 with an emphasis on college and post-secondary success. The Soulsville Charter School is a force rising up against ordinary expectations and the status quo of public education in Memphis.

The Artistic Director will collaborate with the COO, other SMA leaders and staff to build on SMA’s history; further the organization as a global leader in soul music; support the media and fund raising efforts of the organization; grow the youth development component of our work; and deepen out impact in the local community.

Soulsville Foundation, Stax Music Academy, Artistic Director
Reporting to the Director of SMA, the Artistic Director will lead the artistic direction of SMA, a youth development program and elite music academy, and have the following responsibilities:

• Commit to the “One Soulsville” principle of the Soulsville Foundation – this is an essential element of the work e.g. to leverage and collaborate across the Soulsville campus with The Soulsville Charter School and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music
• Develop, document, and implement music education curriculum that meets or exceeds national music education standards
• Oversee set list creation as well as charting and arranging for all productions to ensure quality performances
• Supervise all artistic staff and foster effective and efficient instruction and rehearsals
• Create and maintain a culture that reinforces faculty, staff, and student dedication, commitment, and accountability
• Oversee all performance and rehearsal related budgets and schedules
• Supervise the planning and execution of SMA’s periodic study/performance interests in the U.S. and abroad
• Work in tandem with SMA programming staff to develop youth development lessons and workshops
• Coordinate the development, scheduling, and implementation of workshops, conferences, field trips and lectures
• Manage the audition and skill evaluation process for each student and ensemble
• Support the mentoring component of SMA both in terms of supporting youth; and supporting students’ musicianship
• Ensure departmental reports are communicated in a timely manner
• Initiate, develop, and maintain a positive relationship and network with all partner school/entities, local and national arts organizations as well as other service agencies
• Work with the Development Director of the Soulsville Foundation to create and solicit funding opportunities and grant opportunities for SMA programs
• Work in tandem with the SMA Leadership to oversee community engagement and recruitment
• Perform other reasonable duties as assigned by other Soulsville management
• Ensure that graduates of SMA are musically prepared for further training and acceptance at four-year education institutions or other academic performance programs (e.g. Berklee College of Music, AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, etc.)
• Represent the organization, and help the Communications Director and President & CEO, appropriately manage media attention that comes to SMA. Have a sensitivity to how media attention both helps policy makers, researchers, as well as potential development efforts for the Soulsville Foundation

The successful candidate will have:
• Vision and ability to lead consensus-driven strategy setting
• The Artistic Director will need to have the ability to lead, influence, and collaborate with key leaders of SMA and Soulsville Foundation staff, and exhibit transparency and openness to all staff
• Ability to pivot and adapt successfully
• Dedication and passion for the mission of Soulsville Foundation, the history of Stax Records, and the community of Memphis
• Knowledge of soul music, youth development, and education
• Dynamic and inspiring communication skills:
– Excellent communicator with ability to communicate passion for mission to students, parents, as well as outside stakeholders
– Ability to effectively build buy-in internally through engaging staff in vision and strategy-setting
• Natural ability to understand what motivates others, how to find collaborative opportunities, and how to foster a positive culture
• Emotional intelligence with demonstrated self-awareness, self-regulation, social rapport, passion, and motivation
• Cultural sensitivity and adept at connecting with diverse communities

The successful candidate will be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Must possess a valid driver’s license and show proof of liability insurance coverage as required by the laws of the State of Tennessee.
Requires excellent PC skills; experience with Windows, Word, and Excel; aptitude and willingness to learn new software programs through hands-on use and self-study

Master’s degree or six years equivalent experience in a relevant field
• Desire and ability to work with multicultural youth, as well as a demonstrated commitment to the mission, traditions, and expectations of an urban learning environment
• A proven track record of strategic leadership in providing academic and social support for urban youth
• Ability to handle and prioritize multiple complex tasks within a deadline and with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
• Demonstrated ability to bring a creative and entrepreneurial approach to problem solving
• A strong sense of protocol, tact, and diplomacy
• Ability to work well with a variety of people, especially creative personalities, and a willingness to take and utilize constructive feedback
• Personal characteristics of maturity, honesty, consistency, and integrity with the ability to serve as a role model to students and staff
• Enthusiastic self-motivation, the ability to motivate others, and little need for direct supervision
• Demonstrated ability to function as a “team player”
• Ability to make timely and difficult decisions
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Physical requirements include ability to sit for extended periods at a desk and at meetings on airplanes and automobiles, standing, climbing stairs, walking, mental pressure; lifting files, boxes, suitcases, etc., weighing up to 25 pounds. Ability to work flexible hours, including some weekends and holidays.

Fast paced office environment and travel to schools, community events, (and potential travel out of state or abroad) etc.

This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, highly respected organization. We are seeking an individual of outstanding quality with a respected track record. The Soulsville Foundation is prepared to offer a very attractive compensation package, including a competitive base salary as well as health, 401(k), and vacation benefits.
Soulsville Foundation is an equal opportunity employer that embraces a diverse, multicultural work environment. People of all ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, and people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply.

If you are interested in applying for this position please send a letter explaining your interest along with your current resume and salary requirements to and be sure to include “Soulsville Artistic Director” in the subject line.
All nominations and expressions of interest will be held in the strictest confidence.

Job Categories: Music. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: director, education, music, non-profit, performing arts, and recruitment. States: Tennessee.

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