Community Access to the Arts (CATA) seeks a full-time Program Director to lead dynamic performing arts programs for artists with disabilities and nurture partnerships with community-based organizations.
Community Access to the Arts (CATA) is an innovative nonprofit that nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities through the arts.
For 28 years, CATA has been a trailblazer in artistic inclusion. In powerful arts programs, children, teens, adults, and elders with disabilities explore new interests and express themselves creatively, developing personally and artistically through dance, theater, singing, drumming, juggling, painting, yoga, creative writing, and more. Their vibrant work is showcased in CATA’s public events– dynamic performances, readings, and art exhibits, presented in collaboration with premier cultural institutions in the Berkshires including The Clark Art Institute, Shakespeare & Company, and The Mount.
In recent years, CATA has dramatically expanded its programs, scope, and impact, cultivating robust partnerships with 50 community-based organizations, including disability agencies, residences, and schools to serve over 800 CATA artists through 1,500 annual arts workshops. Programs focus especially on people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism, and brain injuries–historically among the most underserved groups in the arts–and are taught by a professional faculty of talented teaching artists, all experts in their artistic fields.
In 2020, the organization harnessed its exceptional community support to complete a highly successful capital campaign and create a beautiful, fully accessible arts center with dedicated studios for the visual and performing arts.
CATA is an arts organization with a profound social mission: to create an inclusive community where people with disabilities are recognized for their talents. We believe the arts can be a force for inclusion, creativity can be embraced by all of us, and tiny moments of connection can lead to tidal transformations.
Located in Great Barrington MA, CATA has an annual budget of $1.6M. CATA is led by a dedicated team of 10 full-time staff with 25 part-time teaching faculty and an 18-member board of directors. CATA prizes its intentional organizational culture, which is characterized by collaboration, inclusivity, openness, mutual respect and a shared commitment to innovation, bold thinking, and excellence. CATA strives to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.
CATA has been recognized for its groundbreaking work through the Massachusetts Cultural Council Commonwealth Award, NEPR Arts & Humanities Award, Mass Nonprofit Network Excellence Award, 1Berkshire Trendsetter Award, and the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative.
The Program Director is a key member of a three-person arts leadership team that works collaboratively to advance a shared vision for a unique arts organization that is on the rise. Within this team, the Program Director holds primary responsibility for leading CATA’s performing arts programs and for nurturing relationships with a group of community-based partners and agencies.
Following the recent retirement of a long-time senior leader in programming and performing arts, coupled with vigorous growth in programs, CATA has restructured staff roles to develop a shared program leadership model. Two exceptional employees with deep expertise in the visual arts and in leading inclusive arts programs have been promoted as Program Directors. CATA now seeks to hire a third Program Director with deep expertise in the performing arts as the critical final piece of this arts leadership team. The three-person arts leadership team reports directly to the Executive Director and works closely with the ED to set program priorities and translate CATA’s mission into exciting, ongoing opportunities for artists with disabilities.
The Program Director will bring to bear their deep expertise in the performing arts to shape and direct performances showcasing the talents of CATA artists, including our annual gala performance, while also nurturing CATA’s day-to-day work by building partnerships with community-based organizations through which we recruit and engage artists with disabilities. This is an exceptional opportunity for a performing artist-slash-administrator with expertise as a dancer, choreographer, actor, director, musician or in other fields of the performing arts to use their talents to create broad community impact.
CATA is a strong organization that has a proven track record and significant recognition for its work. Staff members are experienced, highly dedicated self-starters who share a passion for CATA’s mission and genuinely enjoy working together.
The organization is at an especially exciting stage in its growth, with a beautiful new building, robust community partnerships, and expanding programs. CATA successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic financially and artistically, deepening its commitment to artists with disabilities by piloting new art forms, strengthening equity and inclusion initiatives, and developing innovative online programming including a virtual gala performance attended by over 2,000 supporters and community members.
• Manage relationships and program needs for a distinct group of CATA’s program partners, focusing on day programs and residences, working closely with two other program directors who bear responsibility for other groups of partners. Oversee day-to-day arts programs taking place off-site for CATA artists affiliated with your group of partners.
• Hold primary responsibility for CATA’s public events in the performing arts alongside colleagues who will hold primary responsibility for visual arts exhibits.
• Provide mentorship, guidance, and oversight to CATA’s performing arts faculty in dance, theater, music, juggling, storytelling, and other genres; Recruit, hire, and train new performing arts faculty in line with strategic goals.
• Direct the planning and conception of CATA’s annual gala performance to showcase the talents of artists with disabilities, guide and oversee the work of performing arts faculty, and illuminate CATA’s mission for the larger community including the vital supporters who underwrite our work.
• Grow partner relationships and performance programs in alignment with the organization’s strategic goals.
Qualifications and Experience
• A minimum of 8-10 years experience in the performing arts and art administration, with an extensive background in the performing arts that includes directing dynamic shows on stage.
• Demonstrable skills in creating just, equitable, and inclusive programming.
• Superb written, verbal, and interpersonal skills.
• Proven track record of managing successful relationships and cultivating strong partnerships with community-based organizations.
• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in a team setting.
• Ability to engage groups of performing artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an inclusive manner while also upholding a high degree of artistic excellence.
• Availability to work on-site at CATA and adhere to our COVID safety policies, including being fully vaccinated.
• Proficiency in Google and MS Office suites required.
• Spanish-language and/or ASL interpretation is a plus.
Strategic thinker: Solves problems and overcomes challenges creatively and effectively, combining long-term planning and short-term tactics and translating broad goals into achievable steps.
Exceptional leader and project manager: Ability to juggle multiple long-term projects and handle complex concepts and problems, managing timelines and delegating where needed.
Invested in personal relationships: Positive, outgoing person, dedicated to establishing and maintaining strong relationships with staff, partners, artists, faculty, volunteers, board, and donors. Actively listens to stakeholders to nurture authentic relationships, recognizes the importance of engaging diverse communities, and knows how to create a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive environment.
Collaborative work style: Demonstrates initiative while also communicating effectively and respectfully with colleagues and working successfully in a team to establish common goals, performance measures, and guidelines.
Passion for CATA and the arts: Believes in CATA’s mission and will be an impassioned advocate for our artists and for CATA’s work in the community.
The Program Director is a full time exempt position. Local travel is required to meet with partners and observe CATA programs on site. Salary is commensurate with relevant experience, within the framework of the organization’s operating budget, and in the range of $65,000 to $80,000 annually. An excellent benefits package includes:
• 100% employer-paid health & dental insurance premiums for employees (retroactively effective to hire date)
• Family health and dental packages
• Retirement savings program of Simple IRA plan with 3% employer match
• Generous paid vacation (80 hours in first year increasing to 120 hours after second year) plus separate sick time
• Paid holidays including all federal holidays plus days before and after Thanksgiving; three extra December days, two floating religious holidays, and birthday holiday
• Short- and long-term disability coverage
• Life insurance
• Paid family leave
• Paid professional development opportunities
• CATA is a qualified employer under the PSLF federal student loan forgiveness plan
• Active participation in a mission driven organization with a positive and inclusive work culture and a strong impact on the community.
Guidelines for Applicants
This search is being conducted by TSNE in partnership with CATA. Interested candidates should submit materials via this link:
Electronic submissions sent through this link are preferred. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential within the hiring team.
Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of CATA. The search will remain open and applications accepted until the right candidate is identified, with interested candidates strongly encouraged to apply by February 18.
CATA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates. CATA welcomes people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, gender identities, religions, ages, and sexual orientations to apply.