VSA Programmer

Washington DC
Nov 16, 2018
Jan 23, 2019
Executive, Director, IT
Full Time

The Programmer, VSA Programs and Projects in the Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility, oversees the development, administration, coordination and implementation of performing and visual arts programs, projects, competitions, performances and exhibits for/by/with children, youth, emerging and professional artists with disabilities. Programs and projects include but are not limited to: 1) Music competitions, programs and performances, 2) Writing for theater/performance competitions, programs, readings and performances, 3) Visual arts competitions, programs, exhibitions and touring exhibitions, 4) Performances, festivals and events, 5) Art and media collection exhibition, loan, archive and preservation, 6) Arts-based career and professional skills development programs such as internships. The Programmer will also be engaged in other programs and activities of the Office of VSA and Accessibility including the execution of meetings, annual conferences; and social media, marketing and communication. Responsibilities and the intensity of the workload will vary depending on the cyclical and seasonal nature of the programming. This position may have supervisory duties and all work is accomplished under the direction of the Director, VSA and Accessibility.

Duties and Responsibilities

25% Performances, Festivals and Events

Plan, administer and implement performances by emerging and professional artists with disabilities, including but not limited to the Artists on Stage program, the Jean Kennedy Smith Series, festivals, celebrations and other events or opportunities to present performers with disabilities in programs and activities of the Kennedy Center (KC) This includes but is not limited to: a) collaborating with KC programmers across genres to present performers with disabilities; b) identifying talent and maintaining in-depth familiarity with and knowledge of performers with disabilities; c) negotiating with and booking talent, scheduling performance series dates and locations, managing travel, meals and lodging; d) developing/performance show content, overseeing accommodation needs of artists and audience, arranging rehearsal space and accompanists, handling production and tech needs such as lighting, staging, sound, equipment rental and running the show/performance.

25% Music and Writing for Theater Competitions and Programs

Plan, administer and implement VSA International Young Soloists, Playwright Discovery, TiLT programs which are career, skill development and arts education based competitions and programs for children, youth and young adults with disabilities. This includes but is not limited to: 1) developing schedules, procedures and calls for entry; developing and implementing plans to recruit participants; 2) handling logistics, organizing, and running competitions including submission, adjudication, selection and notification processes; 3) collaborating with related programs at the KC; developing, planning and organizing learning opportunities such as workshops, masterclasses, staged readings, and mentors; arranging performances, presentations and event dates; 4) securing, scheduling and organizing internal resources, rehearsals, rehearsal spaces, artistic and production support; 5) producing brochures, playbills and other collateral material; 6) identifying and providing access accommodation needs; working directly with the program participants to support their full participation and benefit from these programs.

25% Visual Arts Competitions, Programs and Exhibits

Plan, administer and implement VSA International Children's Art and VSA Emerging Young Artists programs which are arts education based, career, skill development competitions and programs for children, youth and young adults with disabilities. This includes but is not limited to: 1) developing schedules, procedures, themes and calls for entry; developing and implementing plans to recruit participants; 2) handling logistics and running of the competition including submission, adjudication, selection and notification processes; planning and organizing learning opportunities; arranging receptions and event dates; 3) securing, scheduling and organizing national and local exhibits sites and dates including exhibit design and logistics; arranging delivery, receipt, tracking, preparation, movement/handling, packing/crating, inspection and shipping of art and objects ; installation/de-installation of exhibit at various sites; 4) producing brochures, catalogues, displays, labels, text panels, and other collateral material for exhibits and tours; 5) arranging the visiting artists programs with each exhibit site; 6) working directly with the program participants to support their full participation and benefit from these programs.

5% VSA Art Collection and Archives

Maintaining the VSA art and media collection including storage, upkeep, documentation, acquisitions and loans; up-to-date collection catalogue with descriptions, photographs, and inventory of the location, condition and status of each piece. Tracking and securing documentation, accurate lists/files of ownership and rights, releases, waivers, and permissions for the display and use of the artwork. Fulfilling requests and assisting with displaying VSA program or collection artwork in the KC. Monitoring and negotiating with storage site for safe-keeping, inventory, packing, moving and storing artwork; organizing and maintaining archived and historic VSA materials, documents, and media.

5% Arts Based Career Programs

Coordinate and assist with the planning, preparation, logistics and implementation of arts based career programs including the Rosemary Kennedy Initiatives which support a variety of arts based career programs and projects supporting the employment and advancement of individuals with disabilities seeking arts-based careers. Identifying or creating resources and opportunities for emerging and established performing and visual artists with disabilities; collaborating within the KC, mainstream cultural field, disability community, and educational arena to support arts-based careers for individuals with disabilities.

15% General Administrative Duties and Marketing, Promotions, Communications

For all of the above there are common and general duties that this position will administer and implement including but is not limited to: 1) managing program expenses and budgets, negotiating and executing, independent contractor and vendor agreements and contracts; 2) arranging travel, lodging, and catering; ensuring and providing accessibility accommodations for participants and audiences; 3) arranging for all event, performance and exhibit design, production, construction and installation needs; 4) using traditional and social media to promote and market programs; keeping up-to-date marketing/promotional contact lists; tracking and maintaining relationships with of program alumni; 4) establishing procedures and caring for the day-to-day administration of the programs, engaging in exemplary customer service including in-person, phone and email communication and correspondence, providing technical assistance and addressing requests for information and resources on visual and performing arts programs around the world for visual and performing artists with disabilities of all ages and abilities.


Bachelor's degree (master's degree a plus) and at least 7 years of professional arts management festival or programming experience in the performing and/or visual arts at a cultural institution such as a theater, arts or performing arts center. Experience must demonstrate progressively upward levels of duties, responsibilities, and experience with developing, administering, coordinating and implementing programming, producing, presenting and managing visual and performing artists, performances, festivals, exhibits and tours. Experience must include working in professional or educational settings with students with disabilities (high school thru college).

Applicant must demonstrate:

  1. Knowledge and experience in coordination, administration and implementation of complex, multiple simultaneous performing and/or visual arts programs; experience in event planning; keeping to and working within budget; experience in executing performing and/or visual arts competitions, and in presenting public performances and/or exhibitions.
  2. Knowledge and experience in the disability community, with education and art for/by/with artists/performers with disabilities; and in developing and implementing arts-based careers and skills learning for performing/visual artists with disabilities.
  3. Experience in developing and implementing marketing and social media plans; working with designers and vendors to produce materials, collaterals, educational materials, resources, and public correspondence. Experience using traditional and social media to promote programs, competitions, performances and events

Minimum Skills and/or Knowledge Required

  • Superior organizational and planning skills, attention to detail, ability to anticipate project needs, discern work priorities and work productively on multiple projects and tasks simultaneously and still be adaptable and flexible.
  • Ability to take charge, work independently, complete complex assignments with little or no supervision, yet still take instruction, supervision and work with a team and build relationships with diverse communities internally and externally.
  • Must have the ability to work well under pressure, meet deadlines, address and solve time-sensitive problems. Demonstrate discretion, common sense and good judgement in decision making.
  • Comfort and confidence interacting with colleagues across the institution, and with vendors, contractors, artists, performers, actors, musicians, designers, directors, and persons with disabilities of all ages and abilities.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, enthusiastic professional with pleasant positive manner and demeanor, strong desire to satisfy customer/participant needs and ensure quality delivery of services.
  • Exemplary writing, editing, proofreading and communication skills (mail, email, in-person, phone), ability to adapt and clearly communicate with people and without disabilities that have a variety of communication styles.
  • Able to work evenings and weekends, occasional travel (national and international).
  • Must be able to manage schedules, calendars, correspondence (mail and email). Must have strong office and computer skills with advance knowledge of the suite of MS office software, experience with Tessitura a plus.
  • Knowledge of and experience with arts, education, and disability issues.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Work routinely at desk and computer, but also required to work on events in and around the building and at external venues.
  • Must be able to work in an open office environment and in large crowded noisy public places.
  • The noise level in the work environment is moderate. It is an open cubical office in which conversation, photo copier, and Braille embossing machine can be heard easily.
  • Evening and weekend work required for activities, programs, receptions, shows, and events that are scheduled in advance or added last-minute.
  • Travel up to 10% may be required.

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. We offer a comprehensive range of benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, paid vacation and sick leave, and a 403(b) retirement plan.

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