Program Manager for Public Art

City of Seattle

City of Seattle

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) seeks a visionary advocate to serve as our Program Manager for Public Art who can lead the City’s program to inspire, provoke and enhance the experience of living and working in Seattle. The Program Manager for Public Art oversees the City’s investments in generative artmaking in the public realm and serves as a local and national advocate and spokesperson for the field. The nearly 50-year-old program invests an approximately $3.5M budget in 40+ temporary, permanent and experiential artworks and installations annually throughout the City, and oversees several rotating galleries, 400 permanent artworks and 4,000 rotating portable works with a strong programmatic focus on racial equity and social justice. Current projects range from murals to documentary photography and film to monumental permanent works to graphic novels to community engagement strategies; the program is regularly looking to push the boundaries of traditional public art practice.

ARTS manages the Seattle’s public art program, grants for arts and cultural organizations, The Creative Advantage arts education initiative, the Cultural Space program, and cultural facilities such as the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute and ARTS at King Street Station to foster connections, amplify stories and build community. ARTS works to ensure access to programs and services, promote the values of the arts and culture in Seattle, and raise the visibility of the public benefit provided by the department. In alignment with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, we work to eliminate institutional racism in our programs, policies and practices and commit to anti-racist work practices that center on the creativity and leadership of people of color to move forward systems that benefits all.

The Program Manager for Public Art is responsible for the management, development, and direction of the Public Art Program. The selected candidate will join a nationally recognized arts office with programs focusing on grant-making, arts education, cultural space, and racial equity, in addition to the public art program.


Here is more of what you will be doing:

Lead the Public Art team, which is responsible for project managing new artworks in collaboration with other City capital departments, maintaining the existing collection, and programming the new ARTS at King Street Station Gallery

Operationalize and expand programmatic structures and initiatives that actualize ARTS’ commitment to racial equity.

Manage the program budget management with its complex revenue sources and requirements.

Serve as staff liaison to the Seattle Art Commission’s Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC), who reviews public art projects, and support the PAAC’s long-term plans and policies

Partner with City departments, and colleagues in the field, to promote a shared vision of how public art contributes to a vibrant and healthy City

Provide strategic leadership to the team and the Office through partnership development, resource allocation, vision setting, and advocacy

Supports the Office’s goals around expanding the public’s access to cultural experiences and broadening and diversifying the field of public art.


Your effectiveness in this role will depend on your ability to:

Develop authentic relationships with community partners, nonprofit organizations, City departments, particularly with people from different cultures, experience, and backgrounds

Effectively manage projects, including the ability to produce, track and manage multiple deliverables with overlapping deadlines in a creative environment

Develop, grow, and mentor individuals and teams

Coordinate, in a time-sensitive manner, efforts to solve problems through collaborative action

Work successfully within a political environment while building strong relationships with investing departments

Think creatively, spur innovation and be proactive in mitigating conflict and addressing problems

Thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment as leader of a cross-functional team

Implement actions that support an anti-racist culture with mindfulness of the history and impact of racism

Believe that collaborative action results in positive change

You will be prepared for this role if you have the following knowledge and skills:

Knowledge of Architectural, Art, and Design trends and issues, architecture and art theory, principals, historical precedents involving artists and architects and the community based collaborative process.

Robust knowledge of public policy approaches to cultural and art programs, and current public art issues and initiatives on a local, regional, and national level

Knowledge of and ability to interpret and apply federal, state, City and agency requirements regulating the application and placement of public artworks, contracting with artists and consultants, laws, codes and regulations governing public agency and financial operations and record keeping, and other related policies and practices.

A commitment to listening, creating space for diverse perspectives, and the pursuit of inclusive and just outcomes

Ability to communicate at all levels effectively and tactfully, create trusted partnerships and demonstrate strong interpersonal skills

A successful applicant will have a professional career that reflects a commitment to public service and community engagement and has:

Championed equity by valuing the strengths and benefits of full participation of BIPOC communities in the creative economy.

A portfolio in public art program administration that includes: project management; coordination of artist selection process (artist call, selection panels, commissioning process); contracting, construction and installation processes.

Worked in progressively responsible roles in public art programs with experience developing, monitoring, and managing budgets, with various revenue sources and fiduciary requirements.

Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with staff, community leaders, artists, contractors, developers, consultants, and the public.

A track record of leading and supervising successful teams that draw their strength from collaboration and inclusion.

Delivered meaningful outcomes by working with a diverse range of partners.

A passion for issues relating to ending systemic racism and contributing meaningfully through public service.

How to Apply

For your application to be accepted you must:

Include a resume detailing your relevant talents and experience.

Include a cover letter that describes:

Your interest in the position

Your motivation to work within the public art realm

Your lived and learned experience working toward anti-racist practices and issues facing historically underserved communities

Your accountability as a team leader and supervisor

The information in your cover letter is critical to evaluating your candidacy for this position. We encourage you to be thoughtful and purposeful in the construction of your letter.

If you have questions, please contact Pam Inch, Senior Executive Recruiter at

Who May Apply: This position is open to all candidates that meet the qualifications. The Seattle Department of Human Resources values diverse perspectives and life experiences. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Department encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experiences.

We intend to conduct interviews will be conducted via video conference the week of November 16th.

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Posted on October 12