Executive Director

Hawaii Contemporary

The Executive Director position is an opportunity for someone who wants to give back to their community through initiatives that strengthen the local arts ecosystem and create an accessible local and global hub for contemporary art in Hawaiʻi. Hawaiʻi Contemporary provides a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment and embraces a team culture of self-starters and independent thinkers. All team members are essential to the fulfillment of HC’s vision, mission and strategic planning, and as such should possess a work style that facilitates an open, positive and collaborative team atmosphere.

Job Summary

The Executive Director is responsible for implementing strategic plans and managing all day-to-day operation and administration of the Hawaiʻi Contemporary organization. The Executive Director shall direct employees and contractors of the organization and reports to the board of directors of Hawaiʻi Contemporary.

This position is physically located in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi with occasional travel to the Continental US and Pacific regions. Candidate should be willing to work from home and provide constant leadership to team and contractors located in various timezones. Must be willing to pursue innovative and creative solutions with limited on-island third-party resources and in the pursuit of funds in a scarce environment. Strong leadership and administrative experience are required.


Key Responsibilities

The Executive Director assumes an integral leadership role in managing a small team with big ambitions and stewarding key partnerships and sponsorships for the organization. Leading quarterly board meetings and attending regular committee meetings is critical to maintaining effective communication with both Board of directors and key stakeholders.

The main pillars of the organization are dedicated to supporting the signature Hawaiʻi Triennial event and on-going public programming. Duties include fiscal management, fundraising, meeting with partners and staff, attending board meetings, strategic planning, hiring and managing the day-to-day operations of the organization.

This position is responsible for ensuring these areas work smoothly and with attention to detail. Strong written communication and digital fluency is preferred. A collaborative and professional demeanor is essential. The selected candidate must demonstrate the ability to adopt new procedures when change is required to support the growth of Hawaiʻi Contemporary and when presenting the Hawaiʻi Triennial.

● Management (30%)

○ Facilitate curatorial strategic development plan for the Hawai’i Triennial 2025 and future periodic contemporary art exhibitions and public programming in Hawaiʻi (2028; 2031)

○ Identify and establish key organization partnerships at a national and international level, including artists, arts professionals, and cultural leaders

○ Communicate with Board of Directors & key partner stakeholders

○ Develop and manage triennial (three-year cycle) program budget and oversees all annual project finances

○ Oversee core staff including Associate Director, Development Associate, and Project Director; as well as key contractors including Curatorial Director, Associate Curator(s), Registrar, Project Manager(s)

● Development (Fundraising) (40%)

○ Establish exhibition venue and partner agreements

○ Communicate with and steward donor, stakeholders and expanding development relationships in Hawaiʻi, nationally, and internationally

○ Oversee the strategy, writing and presentation of grant applications (state, federal and private) and sponsorship (private, corporate, institutional) proposals

○ Oversee donor development program and implementation of special events,

including annual fundraiser, triennial opening/closing events and on-going Director’s Circle events

○ Develops and translates a fundraising plan into team activities and priorities

○ Determines and allocates resources to achieve fundraising strategy

● Administration (30%)

○ Recommends, prioritizes, and operationalizes team systems and improvements.

○ Prepare monthly financial statements and present quarterly budget updates to the Board

○ Manage all accounting, tax reporting, and execute major purchase orders

○ Work directly with legal counsel on all matters requiring their services.

○ Oversee all HR issues, develop job descriptions, recruit and interview candidates, perform reference checks and onboard candidates, and manage team deadlines.

○ Work with Associate Director to manage public programming schedule and curatorial activities

○ Work with Development Associate to write individual proposals and corporate sponsorships; manage donor database & acknowledgements

○ Work with Project Director to oversee external communications and marketing


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

● Bachelor’s of Arts degree and minimum of ten years relevant professional experience required

● Knowledge of Hawaiʻi arts and culture community and passion for social impact preferred

● Experience with non-profit organization, operations and/or (arts) events management preferred

● Excellent writing and effective communication skills are essential

● Develops and translates a fundraising plan into team activities and priorities

● Determines and allocates resources to achieve fundraising strategy

● Extremely organized, detail-oriented, and punctual

● Strong desire to learn with an ability to show initiative

● Takes accountability for work and has excellent follow-up skills

● Outstanding interpersonal skills, project coordination experience, and the ability to work well with other staff and community partners.

● Collaborative work style receptive to feedback from the Board of Directors

● Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Adobe Acrobat, and use of Google Drive online platforms required; Familiarity with Network for Good (or other donor management system), Quickbooks (or accounting software), and/or Squarespace (or web design platform) preferred

Working Conditions

This position accommodates working remotely with regular in-person or online check-ins and staff meetings located in Honolulu, Hawai’i

The full-time work week is Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Due to the nature of the event, with the understanding based on operation needs there will be on occasion the need to work evening and/or weekends and frequent need to work evenings and/or weekends during the immediate lead-up, duration, and de-installation period.

Physical Requirements

Must be able to lift up to 35 pounds.

The ability to focus, bend, carry, reach to the side, front and overhead, push, pull, walk, stand, twist and squat are occasional requirements in an arts organization.


Occasional travel may be required, as well as necessary overnight stays as expected.


Compensation is commensurate with experience. Benefits are available for full-time employees.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and the names of three professional references to Katherine Don, Executive Director: ExecutiveDirector@Hawaiicontemporary.org

Deadline Extended: Monday, June 20, 2022 5 PM HST

Note: Cover letter should include a vision statement for leading Hawaiʻi Contemporary and outline key strategic priorities both for the organization and Hawaiʻi Triennial going forward.

Only successful candidates will be contacted for an interview. Unless the email bounces, please regard it as having been received. All personal data collected will be used for recruitment purposes only. Applicants not hearing from us within two months may consider their applications unsuccessful and all personal data supplied will be destroyed within six months.

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Posted on June 6