Director of Public Relations

Washington D.C.
May 17, 2017
Jun 21, 2017
Full Time

The Director of Public Relations is responsible for maintaining and positively positioning the public image of the Kennedy Center through local, national, and international media placements, new media, self-generated content and storytelling, and by influencing a range of internal platforms including the Center’s social media and website. The Director will manage the day-to-day media operations of a fast-paced PR office, directing artistic and program announcements, leveraging publicity opportunities, driving media cultivation, and determining positioning of institutional news and issues. He/She will be the chief strategist and partner for the Kennedy Center’s Education staff in shaping compelling stories that highlight the educational programs and initiatives both locally and across the nation. By building productive relationships with media, artistic partners and internal staff, he/she will generate significant and high-impact coverage of more than 2,000 performances and events held at the Center each year. This position will work closely and proactively with the VP of Public Relations and other senior leadership to guide the voice and messaging around pivotal institutional projects including the ongoing capital expansion project, the John F. Kennedy Centennial Celebration, and preparations for the Center’s 50th Anniversary. The Director may serve as spokesperson on occasion and when appropriate. This position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers, I.A.T.S.E. Local 18032.  ATPAM membership is not a prerequisite for application to this position.

Duties and Responsibilities:

30%     Publicity & Media Relations: Devise and implement short and long-term public relations strategies that support and leverage the unparalleled breadth, vibrancy and excellence of the performing arts offerings at the Kennedy Center. Help to craft and deliver a message that consistently positions the Center as an enterprising arts leader across America and the world. Review and edit press releases and media communications that reflect the Center’s overarching artistic vision and mission. Primary areas of discipline and focus: Dance, Performing Arts for Everyone, comedy, jazz, Hip Hop, education, international programming, and special projects including Galas.

25%     Management of staff: Provide leadership and guidance to junior press reps in their work towards meeting job objectives and goals. Work with direct reports on long-range PR planning and campaigns and direct efforts to achieve maximum publicity for Kennedy Center events, artists, and stories. Work closely with social media team to guide the voice, messaging, and branding of the Center’s social media activities, and ensure its compatibility and inclusion in the news cycle.

15%     Together with the VP, generate and manage publicity for the Center’s marquee award events, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (October) and the Kennedy Center Honors (December), to generate a higher profile of the Kennedy Center locally, nationally, and internationally.

10%     Write, edit, and disseminate press releases for institutional news announcements and specific programs to include season announcements, Expansion-related news, fundraising activities, education, community outreach, and general institutional affairs.

10%     Work proactively and meet regularly with senior leadership, directors and managers cross-institutionally to develop and execute strong messaging and PR tactics that generate buzz, reach a broad range of media (beyond arts beat), and cultivate new audiences.

10%     Assist VP in overseeing the office’s creation and editing of Playbill for all Kennedy Center-produced and presented performances each year, as well as the Annual Report.


  • Minimum of seven years of public relations and/or corporate communications experience with demonstrated success at managing complex issues in a fast-paced environment.
  • College degree required; public relations or communications degree a plus.
  • Demonstrated, established and constructive relationships with key journalists and media outlets highly valued for this position (arts beat and editorial leadership relationships, but also general/mainstream reporters).
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; outstanding writing and editing skills.
  • Personal characteristics of poise, calm, and composure in stressful, crisis communications situations.
  • Expansive knowledge and a love of the performing arts.
  • Demonstrated supervisory skills, and a capacity to build strong teams.


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world premier performing arts organization and our nation’s cultural center. Diversity is a critical component of our mission, vision, and values. Our staff exhibits a wide variety of perspectives and experiences which enable us to foster and strengthen an environment of diversity and inclusion.


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