After leading Public Art Saint Paul for 8.5 years, President and Executive Director Colleen Sheehy is retiring, and our organization is accepting applications for this position through February 5, 2024. “It’s been an honor to participate in city-making, in activating public spaces and public life, and in supporting artists and communities in my work at Public Art Saint Paul,” stated Colleen Sheehy. “Through many great art projects over these years, from The Art of Food in Frogtown and Rondo to Bee Real Bee Everywhere and our recent major initiative, the Wakpa Triennial, I’ve seen how the work of this organization is vital to building strong communities. I’ve learned so much from our artists, partners, and audiences. I look forward to passing on this knowledge to the next President and Executive Director.”
Job Description and Application Deadline and Instructions
Public Art Saint Paul is seeking its next President and Executive Director to lead the organization into its next phase of public art programming and to build on the strong history and successes of its 36-year history.
Public Art Saint Paul’s President and Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is the senior leader responsible for fulfilment of Public Art Saint Paul’s mission and for all aspects of Public Art Saint Paul’s management and operations, strategic planning, creative and artistic leadership, fundraising, finance, marketing and communications, operations, and personnel management. The President and Executive Director is a visible, active member of the Saint Paul and Twin Cities civic and artistic communities, representing Public Art Saint Paul to a wide range of audiences. The President and Executive Director serves as Public Art Saint Paul’s lead fundraiser.
The President and Executive Director is responsible for achieving Public Art Saint Paul’s long-term goals, which are:
– To create public art of the highest quality over a long expanse of time and over the expanse of the geography in Saint Paul, as well as beyond city borders in the Wakpa Triennial (initiated in 2023);
– To serve as a leader in innovative public art practice and further its evolution;
– To nurture artists and communities through art and civic engagement;
– To catalyze positive social change and environmental stewardship through the work of artists and works of art, with an understanding of contemporary public art as physical objects and places and as temporal, social, and ephemeral experiences;
– To elicit our communities’ self-understanding and to build their capacities for creativity, hope, and leadership through arts programing;
– To foster understanding of art in the public sphere, of interactive engagement in its production, and of commitment to its care;
– To expand and sustain a network of community, organizational, professional, and financial partnerships that support artists working in the public sphere;
– To support creative artistic exploration that will lead to new approaches to public art;
– To build organizational capacity during a leadership transition.
The President and Executive Director is the primary contact with the Board of Directors and, as such, is responsible for working closely with Board Members to communicate financial and strategic issues, report regularly on progress toward attaining goals, and to maintain and strengthen Board effectiveness. Responsibilities include identifying and recruiting Board candidates (with the Board Nominating Committee), working with individual Board members on fundraising, and planning Board meetings and preparing Board materials in ways that engage and support transparency and active Board involvement. The President and Executive Director is a member of the Board of Directors and serves as an ex-officio member of all Board committees.
The President and Executive Director will:
– Serve as the organization’s lead artistic entrepreneur, staying abreast of artistic work, ideas, and trends articulating the benefits of artists’ involvement in civic life and defining the vision of the organization’s artistic programs and profile;
– Nurture and continue to build Public Art Saint Paul’s vital partnership with the City of Saint Paul and other partners;
– Cultivate strong relationships with existing and new donors; identify, develop, solicit, and secure new funding sources from individuals, foundations, government, and corporations;
– Lead the strategic development of marketing and communications efforts to clearly articulate the organization’s mission, build its regional and national reputation, and reach and engage artists and audiences;
– Develop and submit for approval an annual operating budget and ensure that expenses are appropriately authorized, monitored, and adjusted, as required;
– Ensure that business operations are appropriately maintained working with our accounting firm to oversee purchasing, payroll, document retention, compliance requirements, human resources and systems, and correspondence;
– Negotiate and sign the contracts for the organization including with artists, government agencies, program personnel, partners and venues;
– Ensure the use of best practices throughout the organization including all aspects of fundraising, program delivery, public relations, technology, human resources, and customer service.
Ideal Candidate Qualities
– Leadership Experience – Proven leadership skills and approaches that value diversity, equity, and inclusion. Bold vision with an interest in innovation and ability to achieve bold goals. Ability to connect with and collaborate with people and organizations from the grassroots and neighborhood levels to City-wide, MN state, and federal bureaucracies. Experience working with Board, staff, and volunteers to set and achieve long-term goals. Demonstrated management and organizational development experience sufficient to ensure effective leadership of people, finances, and operations.
– Fundraising Experience—Strong fundraising track record, including individual, foundation, corporate, and government funding experience.
– Artistic Knowledge and Experience – Knowledge of current and historic work of artists in the public sphere and of contemporary art practice. Experience managing the creation of art projects and programs from inception to implementation. Knowledge of other key professionals and organizations working in the public art field, locally, nationally, and internationally, and of field-wide ideas and trends. Ability to partner creatively with artists, curators, and producers to develop and support public art projects and programs, educational programs, and public forums.
– Public Presence and Communications Ability – Ability to articulate persuasively the artistic vision for the organization and to advocate for artists’ roles in public life. Capacity to represent Public Art Saint Paul inside and outside the organization with confidence, clarity, and enthusiasm.
– Creativity – Ability to lead Public Art Saint Paul in strategic and creative directions and to use limited resources in an imaginative and entrepreneurial manner.
– Collegiality/Partnership Ability – Ability to create and maintain an effective working relationship with Public Art Saint Paul’s many collaborators, including artists, city officials, grant makers, individual donors, businesses, members of the community, and other partners.
– Passion for the contributions of artists to civic life and for the mission and programs of Public Art Saint Paul;
– Undergraduate degree in art, art history, American studies, cultural studies, urban studies, landscape architecture, architecture, nonprofit management, or related field; Master’s degree preferred;
– Demonstrated commitment to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for
and organizations, artists, audiences, and communities
– Respect of artists as a supportive and effective producer and collaborator;
– At least six years of increasingly responsible leadership experience in the non-profit sector including significant interaction with or leadership of a Board of Directors;
– Experiencing managing staff;
– Experience developing and managing annual budgets and financial processes and monitoring finances;
– A track record of successful fundraising.
Salary and Benefits
Starting Salary: $87,000 – $97,000, depending on experience
PASP offers ample PTO, ESST, and paid holidays and maintains an employee retirement plan. Executive Director receives an additional $300/month benefit stipend.
To Apply – Interested applicants should:
1. Send an email with an attached cover letter describing their interest in the position and qualifications.
2. Attach a résumé in the email detailing relevant experience including education, job history, and accomplishments.
3. The résumé should include three references with full contact information: name, position title, organization; phone, email, mailing address, and information on their relationship to the applicant e.g., (supervisor, teacher, colleague, etc.).
4. Candidates must use the subject line in the email: PASP Executive Director Application_FirstName_Last Name.
Send application materials and any questions via email to:
Madeline Skjervold, Admin and Development Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications must be received by Monday, February 5, 2024 by 8 PM.
Interviews will be held February 15 – 28. Position starts in mid-to-late March for onboarding with current PASP ED Colleen Sheehy.
Public Art Saint Paul is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Public Art Saint Paul Overview
Founded in 1987, Public Art Saint Paul (PASP) is a unique public art non-profit with a strong history of collaboration, innovation, and commitment to the role of artists in city-making and city life. For 36 years, PASP has been a force in the development of public art in the Twin Cities Metro and its programs have impact regional and nationally. The ongoing partnership with the City of Saint Paul has forged a private-public relationship that benefits public art in this capitol city of 308,000 residents. PASP works with a wide network of partners, ranging from grassroots organizations to large institutions, knitting partners together for collaborative art projects with relevance to communities and impact.
PASP is a producing, place-based organization, commissioning and building public art in its many forms, connecting with audiences where they live and work, and supporting artists as important collaborators in building public life and public spaces. Community engagement and social practice are central to this work as well as a deep commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion to create cities where everyone thrives. PASP believes in the power of public art to make positive change in social justice, environmental conditions and awareness, community vitality, people’s sense of agency, and their attachment to place. PASP believes art and artists play critical roles in addressing the challenges that we face today.
PASP values innovation and has a history of landmark programs and projects that advance the field of public art and reflect emerging ways artists are working today in public spaces and in community. For example, the PASP City Artist Program, launched in 2005, is the longest-running artist-in-residence in a municipal government in the nation and has inspired the growth of similar positions across the U.S. The idea of “city art” made from the systems of the city has been a cornerstone concept to the work of City Artists. The famed Sidewalk Poetry Program, initiated by City Artist Marcus Young in 2008, exemplifies how a city function of replacing sidewalks can become a vehicle for artistic expression. In this program, the sidewalks become a place to publish short poems by St. Paul residents by stamping them into wet cement. Today there are 1,400 sidewalk panels bearing poems, dispersed into every neighborhood.
As with the City Artist Program, PASP has a history of bold thinking and undertakings, from the MN Rocks! International Stone Carving Symposium to Wing Young Huie’s University Avenue Project, Seitu Jones’s CREATE: The Community Meal, Christine Baeumler, Amanada Lovelee, and Julie Benda’s Bee Real Bee Everywhere, to the Wakpa Triennial Art Festival.
With St. Paul as a geographic program base, PASP expanded into broader geography as leader of the first Wakpa Triennial, held in summer 2023 with partners and art projects not only in St. Paul but also in Minneapolis, Bloomington, Saint Anthony, Red Wing, and Winona.
Public Art Saint Paul places artists in leading roles to shape public spaces, improve city systems, and deepen civic engagement.
Through daring leadership, we will champion innovative public art practice, imagining and
creating with artists, civic leaders, and our neighbors a 21st-century city that is just, sustainable,
Equity: We value accessibility and inclusiveness and are committed to fostering a just and
Boldness: We are daring in challenging the status quo and in providing bold and creative
Beauty: We value quality, excellence, and extraordinarily strong and impactful art.
Joy: We bring fun, celebration, and play into city life and into the way we work together.
Stewardship: We take seriously our responsibility for the art we produce, restore, and
maintain; our organization’s financial health; and the stewardship of donor and partner
PASP maintains a small but mighty staff and works with a wide network of contract artists,
teachers, and consultants with personnel expanding and contracting based on current projects
– Wakpa Triennial Art Festival, a major new initiative, with the inaugural edition presented in June 24 – September 16, 2023 that addressed urgent issues of equity and interdependence with the theme, “network of mutuality,” from Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. PASP worked with 35 partner organizations, presented work by more than 110 artists, commissioned major projects, presented a robust roster of live programs, and reached 100,000. PASP is part of the emergent Ennials Alliance of North America, a group of leaders of biennials and triennials in the U.S. and Canada.
– City Artist Program places artists in collaboration with City of Saint Paul staff and leaders to forge new approaches to city issues, places, and processes.
– Sidewalk Poetry features a poetry contest for St. Paul residents, juried by professional writers, who jury poems to be stamped onto sidewalks throughout the city.
– Western Sculpture Park maintains an exhibition of 16 sculptures at this City park and produces eARTh Lab youth workshops, festivals, and other arts programming there.
– Next Public Art features new approaches that artists are taking to public art and social engagement. This area generates new initiatives:
– The Art of Food in Frogtown and Rondo implements a community-developed food plan addressed to food justice and healthy eating that involves public art and place making. It builds on PASP collaboration with artist Seitu Jones on CREATE: The Community Meal (2014) on food traditions and food justice.
– Distinguished Public Artist Program gives the public, artists, and urban planners and creatives the opportunity to interact with innovative artists.
Public Art Saint Paul uses a hybrid approach to staffing with at least one day/week together in
the office and remote work on other days. Programs take place at project sites and other
locations, depending on program partners in many locations.
The current PASP Board of Directors comprises 14 individuals with a range of backgrounds and experiences as artists, writers, teachers, art advocates, engineers, business leaders, attorneys, municipal employees, retired city leaders, communications professionals, and more. The Board meets quarterly, providing leadership in the overall direction and policies of the organization, collaborating with management on the development of programs, financial plans, monitoring financial systems and results, supporting the organization’s fund-raising, and advocating for the organization. Several Board committees meet regularly with a focus on specific areas of programs and operations. The Executive Director is a voting member of the Board and serves as an ex-officio member of all Board committees.
PASP serves all people who live, work, study in, and visit Saint Paul and also expands into other geographies in the Wakpa Triennial. Artists who work with the organization come from across the Twin Cities primarily but can include artists based around Minnesota, the U.S., and internationally. In St. Paul, our work reaches every neighborhood. PASP has devoted sustained attention to low-income, diverse neighborhoods of Frogtown, Rondo, and Summit U. Saint Paul is an international city with vibrant communities of immigrants from all eras and geographic origins and many Indigenous residents and organizations, particularly Dakota, whose land the Twin Cities inhabit, and Ojibwe. Generous people, organizations, and government support have made the City home to many refugee populations that continue to diversify city arts and culture, languages, businesses, and neighborhoods. St. Paul has the largest Hmong population of any American city, along with other SE Asian communities of Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Thai, and Karen. Somali and Sudanese populations have been more recent immigrants. The West Side, particularly, and other neighborhoods, are home to a growing Latinx population, primarily of Mexican origins. African Americans have a long history in St. Paul extending to pre-Civil War years. Pilgrim Baptist Church, the oldest African American Baptist congregation in Minnesota, has nurtured the African-American community in St. Paul since 1863, established by 50 former slaves who sought freedom. It served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, an informal network of people and religious institutions that assisted people escaping slavery in the South and fleeing to Canada.