25 May 2023


Executive Director

Art Enables

 Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Art Enables - Gallery Jobs

Job Description

About Art Enables

Art Enables is an art gallery and vocational arts program dedicated to creating opportunities for artists with disabilities to make, market, and earn income from their original and compelling artwork. Since 2001, the organization has offered these artists the creative space, materials, and marketing support they need to develop and succeed as professionals. In addition to earning income from art sales, artists build the skills, relationships, and experience necessary for a successful career in the arts.

Art Enables believes that artists with disabilities offer unique voices, experiences, and perspectives that are vital to a robust arts landscape and should be afforded the opportunity to pursue art professionally. We work with artists who experience a broad range of developmental and cognitive disabilities and mental health challenges, including autism, Down’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.


Programmatic activities include:

  • Studio Art Program: 35-40 adult artists (age 18+) with developmental disabilities or a mental health diagnosis living in the D.C. metro area experiment, develop, and create artwork in a supported and professional studio environment.
  • Exhibitions and Gallery Program: Showcases and promotion of artists through large group, small group, and individual exhibitions at the onsite gallery and through shows at other local, national, and international venues.
  • Community Arts Program: Opportunities for the general public and local area artists to join our artists in the art-making process through community-based workshops, joint art projects, events, and exhibitions.

The COVID-19 pandemic both challenged and strengthened Art Enables’ model. Despite the pandemic’s financial impacts, Art Enables retained its entire staff, pivoted to maintain a full slate of programs, and ended 2021 with a modest budget surplus through careful expense management, fundraising efforts, and a dedicated staff, board, artist community, and supporters.

Art Enables artists are largely self-taught and tell powerful stories through their artwork, harnessing the power of the arts to heal, inform, strengthen, transform, challenge, inspire, empower, and unite individuals and communities. Since its founding, countless pieces of artwork have been created, with more than 200 exhibitions locally, nationally, and internationally, with nearly $1.5M generated in art sales. In recent years, media impressions have skyrocketed in recent years, with artists featured in various media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC4 Washington, and The Washington City Paper.  


Position Overview

Art Enables seeks an Executive Director to steer its highly successful and unique model into its next era. A top priority will be the development of a vision and guiding framework to create a new strategic plan, in consultation with the board, artists and their families/caretakers, staff, partners, and other stakeholders.

In 2022, Art Enables had a revenue budget of approximately $1M, with about half of that income comprising funding from the District’s Department of Disability Services and the balance comprised of an equal mix of public and private grants and individual contributions. There is a modest earned income stream from artwork sales commissions. The position reports to the Board of Directors and oversees a small professional staff in Washington, D.C. that includes a Gallery Director and Curator, a Development and Communications Director, a Program Manager, a Studio Art Coordinator, and an Operations Manager and Partnerships Coordinator, supported by a part-time Studio Assistant.

Key Responsibilities

Like all leaders of small nonprofits, the next Executive Director should bring a balanced approach as a visionary and operational executive. They should have the capacity for organized, focused work, an ability to manage multiple projects, and an openness to changing situations and opportunities. A high level of emotional intelligence is also a necessary skill set.

Specific areas of responsibility include:

Strategy, Vision, and Leadership 

  • Enthusiastically set strategic direction for Art Enables’ mission, vision, and goals in collaboration with the Board of Directors, staff, and stakeholders.
  • Maintain ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve strategic goals.
  • Lead a collaborative strategic planning process, exploring scenarios for organizational and programmatic growth.
  • Implement the new strategic plan, including setting measurable goals that reflect the needs of the organization; monitor and report activities related to goals to the Board of Directors.
  • Advance diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout programmatic initiatives, policies, operations, and organizational culture.
  • Foster a culture of care, mentorship, transparency, and effective internal communication among staff, artists, volunteers, and the Board of Directors.
  • Maintain and expand Art Enables’ local and regional reputation as a leader in professional development programming for adult visual artists with disabilities through dynamic civic engagement and partnership development with area leaders and institutions.
  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors on good governance, including recruiting and onboarding new board members, and advising in key programmatic, management, and resource development activities.
  • Establish strong working relationships and collaborations that advance Art Enables’ mission with a range of key partners, policymakers, government agencies, funders, and others.
  • Actively engage and energize Art Enables’ volunteers, board members, partnering organizations, and funders.

Advocacy, Fundraising, and Partnerships

  • Serve as an external voice, locally, regionally, and nationally, that communicates program results with an emphasis on the successes of the artists.
  • Manage the refinement of all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations—with the goal of creating a stronger brand and raising Art Enables’ visibility.
  • Lead a comprehensive fundraising strategy that includes annual and long-term plans to expand fundraising and earned revenue activities that support existing and new programs, general operations, and long-term financial goals.
  • Cultivate relationships with individual, corporate, and institutional funders, including identifying new prospects, engaging lapsed donors, and creating stewardship systems to recognize donors at all levels. Serve as the primary solicitor for support from major institutional, corporate, and individual donors.
  • Manage the relationship with the District’s Department of Disability Services
  • Use external presence and relationships to generate new opportunities and partnerships in arts venues and markets regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Organizational Development and Management

  • Manage day-to-day operations, including human resources, finances (with the assistance of an outside accountant), legal and regulatory compliance, and facilities management.
  • Oversee relationships with the District’s Department of Disability Services and the Department of Human Services to ensure compliance
  • Manage and develop a team of professionals with the skills and expertise to administer programs with a high degree of creativity, professionalism, and sustainability.
  • Facilitate strong working relationships, clear communications, and effective decision-making.
  • Nurture a strong relationship with the Board of Directors; seek and support Board involvement in the organization’s strategic direction; serve as a liaison between board and staff; provide regular reports.
  • Set annual financial goals in partnership with the Board. Provide strategic leadership in maintaining, diversifying, and growing revenue.
  • Oversee budget preparation, manage income including grants and contracts and member dues, monitor expenditures, support long-range budget planning and analysis, and administer grant awards in accordance with funders’ regulations.

Experience, Skills, and Qualities 

The position of Executive Director is an exciting opportunity that requires a diverse set of skills and experiences. The Board is seeking qualified candidates that can lead the organization with vision, skill, and creativity. While we understand that no single candidate can possess every qualification listed below, the following are priority areas:

  • No less than 5 years of leadership roles in nonprofit, public sector, academic, or small business settings; experience in arts institutions or government agencies is highly valued but not required.
  • Deep understanding of the disability community as first and foremost a community of people and that a disability is merely one part of a person’s identity.
  • Demonstrate a strong equity and justice frame, with high levels of emotional intelligence, integrity, cultural sensitivity, and interpersonal skills.
  • Experience developing and implementing strategic plans, transforming systems, tools, and processes that take an organization to the next stage of growth.
  • Excellent organizational management, including budgeting, financial management, human resources, grants, contracts, facilities management, and legal compliance.
  • A hands-on work style, comfort with technology, and an ability to work in a collaborative environment to build positive and mutual relationships with artists, board members, staff, and the community
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
  • A significant supervisory record coaching staff, developing high-performing teams, and setting an inclusive, positive workplace culture.
  • An effective spokesperson, eager to interact with a variety of collaborators, including partner organizations, grantmakers, and local government leaders.
  • Past work with or serving on a nonprofit board. Understands the importance of governance, board development, and collective decision-making.

Considered a Major Plus:

  • Experience working with people with disabilities and their families or caregivers
  • Experience in arts organizations
  • Experience with local government agencies


The budgeted salary is $120,000-$130,000 with a benefits package that includes health, vision, and dental insurance, ample paid time off and all federal holidays, and an employer-matched 401(k) retirement plan.


Art Enables is based in Washington, D.C. The organization has a hybrid work arrangement.

Application Process

The Board of Directors has retained the services of Good Insight, a national executive search firm serving small nonprofits. Interested applicants should submit a resume and a cover letter that describes their interest in and qualifications for this role, emphasizing related leadership experience. Visit www.good-insight.org/careers to upload application materials. Direct confidential inquiries to Kate Dykgraaf, Director of Search at ArtEnables@good-insight.org.

For best consideration, apply by June 16, 2023. Qualified applicants will be contacted on a rolling basis. Early applications are encouraged due to the pace of the search.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Art Enables is an equal employment opportunity employer. It is a fundamental policy of Art Enables not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, breastfeeding, and reproductive health decisions), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran or military status, citizenship, status as unemployed, personal appearance, family responsibilities, political affiliation, matriculation, credit information, or any other characteristic prohibited by federal or D.C. law.


Full-Time Job in Arts and Culture:
Executive Director
Art Enables
 Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Job Categories: Arts and Culture. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: art gallery, development, director, executive director, finance, fund-raising, gallery, and management. States: DC.
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