Career Opportunities

Current Openings

Executive Director of Education & Lifelong Learning


The Van Wezel Foundation was established in 1987 as a public/private partnership with the City of Sarasota to provide fundraising support for arts education programs and capital initiatives at the Van Wezel Hall. As the Van Wezel Foundation enters a new chapter, we are expanding our mission: To create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts.


The Bay  master plan has been approved by the City of Sarasota with the aspiration to develop 53 acres of the bayfront into a vibrant park with a new, world-class performing arts center as its centerpiece. The Van Wezel Foundation is in the leadership position to shape this legacy project for Sarasota and the Gulf Coast Learn more about SPAC


Join our growing Foundation team of dynamic professionals as we enter a bold new chapter.


Position:  Executive Director of Education & Lifelong Learning

Reports to: Chief Operating Officer


Summary: The newly created position of Executive Director of Education & Lifelong Learning of the Van Wezel/ Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation will lead the strategy and implementation of three key phases over the next 5 years, with the goal of deepening the Foundation’s education and community impact mission, and to facilitate the transition of a comprehensive, integrated Education Center into its new home in the Sarasota Performing Arts Center.


Essential duties and responsibilities

·         Develop the Education and Lifelong Learning programmatic vision for the Sarasota Performing Arts Center in alignment with the newly adopted strategic plan.

·         Identify opportunities to collaborate with Cultural Arts Partners and serve as support to assure alignment with Foundation strategic plan, including building forward thinking partnerships within the community, school districts, and national arts and education organizations.

·         Serve as staff liaison to Board Education and Community Engagement Committee, and work with Chair to develop methods for evaluating and making recommendations to align programmatic efforts to strategic plan.

·         Serve as department head in phases 2-3 for all strategic, programmatic, learning and community impact-based opportunities.

·         Lead and facilitate local, regional, and national artists and educators in establishing the Foundation as a thought leader and incubator for innovative, diverse work and cross sector collaboration through the arts.

·         Develop and implement program evaluation systems including data collection, analysis, and synthesis of data, with the objective of tracking efficacy and impact to inform decision making and resource allocation.

·         Represent Education & Lifelong Learning Initiatives to engender support for fundraising solicitations, in partnership with the Chief Advancement Officer.

·         In partnership with the Director of Communications and Community Engagement, raise awareness of the Foundation’s Education and Lifelong Learning mission and vision for SPAC.

·        Represent the Foundation at local, regional, and national conferences.

·        Responsible for leading development and implementation of a multi-year plan for lifelong learning opportunities as revenue generating programs for SPAC.


The Executive Director will take a long-term view in optimizing the Foundation’s education programming and arts engagement using the Foundation’s five-year strategic plan as the blueprint with key phases: Strategic, Transition, and Implementation steps to establish a sustainable, national model for education and community impact.



·         In partnership with Executive Team and Education and Community Engagement Committee to execute and monitor tactics identified in 5-year strategic plan.

·         Act as liaison and provide content expertise in the development of the SPAC Education and Lifelong Learning Center operating model/plan.

·         Ensure that all program investments stay true to the Foundation’s core values as collaborative, inclusive, accessible and inspiring. This will include current programming funded by the Foundation at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and new alliances and partnerships.

·         Oversee donor-funded programming, including Unscripted, Appleton Award, IDEA Artist in Residence, and new initiatives to assure maximum impact and alignment to strategic plan.

·         Assess community needs to develop and or extend investment in new programs in areas such as SEL and mental well-being, across all ages, delivered with external partners.

·         Oversee development and implementation of evaluation systems to show impact and efficacy of existing funded programs, while creating a blueprint for future programmatic evaluation.

·         Guide the Education and Community Engagement Committee in setting annual priorities to support the strategic plan including, community assessments, surveys, and exploring potential partners and alliances that extend the Foundation’s mission deeper throughout the region.

·         Cultivate and steward community partners and stakeholders including the school system and social service and health organizations.

·         Partner with the Director of Education at the Van Wezel Hall to ensure meaningful collaboration and outcomes for all education programs and school time performances within the Van Wezel’s Arts Education Department.

·         Manage expense and revenue budgets, including working with Van Wezel Hall and other grantees and partners, to assure maximum impact and donor intent.

·         Research national models of Arts Based Education, Lifelong Learning, Community, and Impact based programming to develop strategic operating goals for the new SPAC.

·         Act as advisor to Executive leadership and Board on grant-making priorities for arts-integration and community impact opportunities.

·         Serve as the Foundation liaison to the Van Wezel Hall for all arts education programmatic support, and appropriate Marketing staff collaborations.



·         Work with Executive Team to strategically develop programmatic and staffing needs and operational plan for agreement with the City of Sarasota and existing VWPAH for transition of the Foundation to operate SPAC.

·         Facilitate systems evaluation and space planning in SPAC to assure a cohesive transition.

·         Convene appropriate advisory committees to identify opportunities and barriers to accessibility and work with the Executive Team to implement tactics to address these as part of SPAC planning goals and aspirations.

·         Serve as Education and Community Impact Programs Department Head, providing strategic leadership, and operational planning to build a team to lead all programmatic activities for SPAC and collaborative initiatives with the Bay Park.

·         Work with Executive Team to identify an effective organizational model that aligns Foundation staff and VWPAH.

·         Research and identify potential opportunities for new SPAC education center including financial needs to assure success of programs once new performing arts center is open.

·         Build credibility as a national leader in Arts Based Learning impact, including presenting at national conferences, and identifying professional development opportunities and accreditation.

·         Support Advancement team to secure funding from national Foundations, and state and federal appropriations.

·         Secure contracts and formal agreements with community organizations, school districts, and external vendors to assure program sustainability and long-term growth for SPAC to open.

·         Convene partners and collaborators to Identify areas of both satellite (off-site), transition (could be held anywhere) and Education Center home-based (reliant on new SPAC) programming that positions SPAC as a cultural asset and community gateway.

·         Identify contemporary adult learning opportunities that focus on relevant topics including the arts, community leadership, social and environmental issues, and more to position SPAC as a place for ideas, a venue for creative thought leadership, and a community gateway.

·         Participate with the executive team in the building program and design planning phases for SPAC.



·         Work with Executive team to develop and execute a robust, inclusive programmatic plan that fulfills the mission for the new performing arts center that represents the aspirations of the community.

·         Remain knowledgeable of the field and at the forefront of collaboration with artists, educators, and community leaders to identify areas of collaboration and impact that further the mission of SPAC.

·         Identify place-based opportunities to leverage the new SPAC as a place for ideas, including accessible arts activities, community and social impact initiatives, and lifelong-learning events to expose the region to the programs and mission of SPAC.

·         Execute year-round programming strategic plan master classes, lectures, camps, and more to serve as revenue generating programs in collaboration with the artistic booking department.

·         Implement lifelong learning program plan, positioning the education center as a home for thought leadership and inspiring year-round programs (i.e TedTalkX, industry Conferences, Aspen Institute and more).

·         Oversee all aspects of the operations, financial success and programmatic impact of education and lifelong learning in the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center. This list of functions is not intended to be exhaustive. The Foundation reserves the right to revise or alter this description of essential job functions as needed to comply with the actual job requirements.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

·       Strong organizational skills that reflect ability to perform and prioritize multiple tasks seamlessly with excellent attention to detail.

·       Demonstrated ability to achieve high performance goals and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.

·       Be adaptable to various competing demands and demonstrate the highest level of customer/ client service and response.

·       Highly resourceful team-player, with the ability to also be extremely effective independently.

·       Forward-looking thinker who actively seeks opportunities and proposes solutions.

·       Very strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with stakeholders, including staff, board members, external partners and donors.

·       Demonstrated proactive approaches to problem-solving with strong decision-making capability.

·       Emotional maturity


Required Education and Experience:

·       Master’s degree in arts, management, or non-profit related field.

·       10+ years providing arts integration and education programming serving various populations in a leadership role.

·       Proven track record of strategic program development, implementation, management, and assessment.

·       High Level of Expertise with School Based Standards, IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) work, Community Development practices. Experience with related marketing and corporate philanthropy


Preferred Education and Experience:

·       Knowledge of Sarasota, Manatee, and surrounding Counties and School and Community programs using the arts.

·       Experience with National Arts Integration and Education Practices in a leadership capacity.



Position Status: This is an exempt full-time position. Generally, the hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, for a 40-hour work week. The hours may be adjusted as required to ensure that the job is accomplished. Some weekends/nights work during season to be expected. This position generally has some regional and national travel, but generally no more than five percent of the time.


Acknowledgement: The Foundation has reviewed this job description to ensure that essential functions and basic duties have been included. The Foundation reserves the right to change it at its sole discretion at any time and without any advance notice. It is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all functions, responsibilities, skills, and abilities. Additional functions and requirements may be assigned by supervisors as deemed appropriate.


The Van Wezel Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.