Executive Director

High Desert Test Sites


High Desert Test Sites is a platform for art and experiences that enables us to step outside everyday life and envision new possibilities. The nonprofit arts organization is based in Joshua Tree, CA. Over the course of the last 20 years, HDTS showcased 460 artists,12 expansive site-specific programs and 25 solo projects.

In January 2022, HDTS took over management of the programs and infrastructure of A-Z West, founding Director Andrea Zittel’s lifework located on eighty acres in the California high desert next to Joshua Tree National Park. Since its inception, A-Z West has functioned as an evolving testing ground for living—a place in which spaces, objects, and acts of living all intertwine into a single ongoing investigation of what it means to exist and participate in our culture today.

These structural transitions have expanded the mission for the organization, as well as presented new opportunities for programming.

HDTS will launch a new residential Fellowship program in Fall 2023 with our inaugural Fellow Eric-Paul Riege. This curated program invites artists to spend extended time in residence while creating work that engages our local community. In addition, HDTS hosts ongoing residencies, workshops, and exhibition-based projects on the grounds of A-Z West – and is developing an educational program for local students.

Learn more at our interim website www.HDTS.site and at the HDTS archive https://archive.hdts.site/


HDTS is seeking an Executive Director who will continue to grow the creative vision of the organization and expand it’s reach and impact. They will be forward thinking with a passion for growing our support base to develop a stable, sustainable financial future. They will be an enthusiastic, articulate communicator who can demonstrate our mission to funders, public officials, partners, and community members. In tandem with our small staff, they will be hands on and knowledgeable about the daily operations of a nonprofit organization.



The Executive Director will serve at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Directors in the following capacities:


  • Work with Board and Founder to refine the identity, vision, and voice of HDTS.

  • Develop long term goals for HDTS - both within the local community and in the contemporary art world.

  • Further develop and define programming and events run and hosted by HDTS.

Development & Fiscal Oversight

  • Create a long-term growth and financial plan for HDTS.

  • Proactively cultivate new sources of revenue through both individual donors and sponsorship relationships.

  • Identify and track potential grant making entities in tandem with programming needs and operational opportunities.

  • Maintain ongoing relationships with current supporters and cultivate new connections with VIP visitors and potential donors.

  • Oversee and facilitate our annual Fundraising dinner.

  • Help to develop, maintain, and track our new Membership program.


  • Serve as the public face of HDTS.

  • Liaise with a variety of stakeholders including the Board, Founder, donors, the public, and community partners.

Team Supervision

  • Manage and mentor Administrative Coordinator as well as other staff, including A-Z West Caretaker and Ceramics Production Manager.

  • Further define staff roles and identify additional staffing needs as the organization grows.

  • Oversee the management by the Admin Coordinator of West Work sales and production, visitor services, A-Z West schedule, and program coordination.

Public Relations

  • Compose and distribute compelling monthly email announcements and annual membership newsletters in line with vision and voice.

  • Write and distribute press releases for all events.

  • Oversee HDTS social media presence and voice.



Candidates should demonstrate aptitude in arts fundraising, grant writing, budgeting, and organizational management. The Director must be an outgoing “people person” with excellent communication skills who can work collaboratively and amiably with diverse and creative professionals and a wide variety of external stakeholders. The ideal candidate will be an original thinker with creative vision. He/she/they should be a highly organized self-starter who is motivated to work in a small, evolving organization with minimal supervision in the high desert of Southern California.


A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in arts management or related field and 3-5 years growing an arts institution or gallery is required.


This is an on-site position located in Joshua Tree, CA; occasional remote work may be permitted.


This position is full-time with a starting salary range of $70,000-$90,000, commensurate upon experience. Some evening and weekend hours will be required during special events or special visitors and tour groups.

How to Apply


To apply, please send a letter detailing skills and applicable experiences, a resume, a writing sample, and contact information for 3 references to info@hdts.site.

Applications must be received by June 30 and ideal start date is September 1.

Posted on May 16