Program Director at United States Artists

Full Time
Senior Manager/Supervisor

About United States Artists

United States Artists plays a pivotal role in the United States’ cultural ecosystem, advancing the well-being of artists through unrestricted funding and tailored professional services, amplifying artists’ work, and improving conditions that support their essential roles in society.

Our founding

United States Artists was founded in response to a 2003 Urban Institute study, which revealed that 96% of Americans valued art in their lives, while only 27% valued artists.* Motivated by the study and in response to the NEA’s severe budget cuts, four inspiring leaders of the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations spearheaded the launch of an organization to illuminate the value of artists to American society and address their economic challenges.

Current work

Since our founding, we have awarded more than 850 artists and cultural practitioners with more than $41 million of direct support through the signature United States Artists Fellowship program. The Fellowship recognizes the country’s most compelling artists in all disciplines, including Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing. With this unrestricted award, recipients decide for themselves how to best use the money—whether it is creating new work, paying rent, reducing debt, getting healthcare, or supporting their families. 

Five years ago, United States Artists began Initiatives, a program area that offers experience, capacity, and methodologies to donors and philanthropies who seek to support artists in specific, focused ways and require research, project design, and management to meet their goals of providing new resources for artists. Currently, United States Artists Initiatives partners with leading philanthropies to offer Disability Futures, Maxwell | Hanrahan Awards in Craft, The Rainin Arts Fellowship, Seed and Bloom: Detroit, and the Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship.

Additionally, United States Artists spearheads special programs and develops resources that are responsive to the needs of artists. The most outstanding example of this type of USA work is Artist Relief (2020-2021), a $20 million emergency initiative to support artists facing dire financial circumstances due to COVID-19. Organized by a multi-disciplinary coalition of nonprofit individual artist funders, Artist Relief provided emergency grants to artists practicing across 10 disciplines and in nearly every state and US territory, beginning in April 2020, distributing $5,000 grants totaling more than $20,000,000.

In 2022, Judilee Reed became the fourth President and CEO of United States Artists. With more than 30 years of experience in the public and not-for-profit sectors, and in philanthropy, Judilee is supporting the expansion of United States Artists work, exploring new ways for the organization to care for and support artists. While much of this work is in process, by 2024, United States Artists anticipates announcing its expanded programs and services.

Annually, USA works with select nominators and panelists to determine awardees; organization partners and collaborators to expand the potential of existing resources; and artists who receive an award, commission, or stipend support for their participation. Finally, we actively fundraise each year and receive support from a broad range of philanthropic foundations, companies, and individuals committed to cultivating contemporary culture in the United States.

For more information about United States Artists, please visit

*From “Investing in Creativity: A Study for the Support Structure for U.S. Artists,” 2003


About the Opportunity

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Program Director role is an exciting opportunity for a mission-driven, creative person to lead a team in designing and implementing outstanding programs that deliver unrestricted financial support and other important resources to artists across the country. This individual is a leader with the ability to work collaboratively, think creatively, problem-solve, meet objectives efficiently – on budget, and on time – and build excitement for our work internally, within the organization, and externally among constituents and the general public.

The Program Director is responsible for the design and delivery of excellent, artist-centered programs and services that comprise the organization’s strategic vision. On a daily basis, the Program Director  works with fellow team members on awards, artists services, publishing, and public programs. This work requires a hands-on collaborative approach to meet department objectives.  

The Program Director represents the organization and communicates regularly with donors, philanthropies, and other external stakeholders. The Director stays abreast of trends in the field and best practices through regular interaction with colleagues and partners, artists, and places of focus.

In addition, the Program Director is a member of the Leadership team, working across departments to ensure coordination and alignment while advising the President and CEO on broader organizational processes, strategy, and goals. Working closely with the President and CEO, the Program Director identifies and develops ideas for mission-aligned programming, initiatives, and projects with a focus on mindful scaling, sustainability, and learning and developing in new areas.

In order to carry out the organization’s programmatic vision, the Program Director also leads a team currently comprising four managers, one coordinator, and two assistants. The Program Director supervises contractors hired to support programs, and works collaboratively with staff across all departments to evolve United States Artists' reach and impact within the artist and creative community.

Program Director candidates bring experience, skill, and commitment in the following primary areas of responsibility:

  • Advocate for artists and their essential role in society by inspiring and leading expansion of USA’s support for artists through: strategic infrastructure expressed by artist services, targeted research and improved policies, and the administration of current (and future) professional services for artists, including financial planning, career coaching, legal assistance, and other professional supports
  • Represent USA’s mission, values, programs, and goals, internally and externally, through: online, in-print, and live communications, relevant field meetings, conferences, symposiums, convenings, etc. 
  • Ensure partnership objectives are met by directing USA’s various awards, working with the team to identify key nominators and panelists and supervise application and selection processes, as well as serving as a contact with key stakeholders, including external partners/funders to facilitate design and implementation of awards
  • Build new relationships and foster existing ones, ensuring USA’s mission, vision, values, and impact resonate within and beyond the creative ecosystem, across colleagues, artists, partners, supporters, including issuing reports to the Board of Trustees and its Program Committee
  • Collaborate in the development of branding and storytelling strategies that deliver values-driven messaging and tone that reflect USA’s programs, including supporting interdepartmental projects to grow and foster partnerships, such as grant proposals and reports, and including the production of digital newsletters and publications, such as New Suns and Shift Space
  • Forge a strong programmatic function and cohesive team, including its budgets and schedules, that plans for, execute, and report on program deliverables 
  • Lead a combined, diverse, and geographically dispersed team, ensuring the well-being of its members through building trust and prioritizing clear communication about individuals’ and the team’s capacity and preservation
  • Co-create annual work plans and foster the skills and professional development opportunities necessary to support the team’s ongoing growth and impact, including coaching and mentoring direct reports through regular check-ins and approving and tracking HR-related administration, and annual performance reviews 

Core Competencies

To effectively fulfill these responsibilities, United States Artists is seeking creatives with the following experience and qualifications:

Passion for USA’s mission, vision, values and goals

  • Passion for art and culture, and for supporting artists’ work and livelihoods
  • Ability to listen to and understand various perspectives and identities, with particular inclusion of those who are often underrepresented and under resourced
  • Deep knowledge of, if not first-hand experience with, creative expression in the cultural landscape

Programmatic Leadership and Expertise

  • Long standing track record of program leadership, including: program design, development, evaluation; and project and budget management (ideally within an art-focused nonprofit, but not required)
  • Experience and comfort leading program strategy within an anti-racism, disability justice, and intersectional framework
  • Proven communication skills; experienced with effective written and verbal communications and storytelling to internal and external audiences 

Cross-Collaboration and Relationship-Building

  • Demonstrated experience and comfort working effectively as a part of an incredibly diverse community, including: staff at all levels, grantees/award recipients, senior leaders, Board members, funders/supporters, etc., having collaborated internally with staff and externally with stakeholders and constituents
  • Experience and clear understanding of the dynamics of working within a small, productive team/staff that is dependent on and accountable to one another and naturally engages in work together through giving and receiving constructive, thoughtful, and inclusive feedback
  • Track record of maintaining relationships with key partners across a landscape while simultaneously developing new partnerships and relationships

Team Leadership

  • Proven ability to articulate a clear vision and build consensus around it in order to move multiple work functions forward with and through others, including managing a team, multiple direct reports, and through layers
  • Track record of being a hands-on team leader who plays an active role in both developing and executing a variety of activities ranging from internal day-to-day, to external, high-level strategy and coaching and developing others for career growth
  • Fluency with project management and database software, such as Asana and Airtable, as well as communications and work sharing platforms such as Zoom, Gmail, Google Drive, and Dropbox

Salary, Benefits & Location

This is a full-time role, with a 4-day work week, and starting salary range of $90,000 - $110,000, annually.

In addition to United States Artists’ 4-day work week, the full compensation package also includes medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage, with benefits eligibility after the 30 day introductory period. Additional benefits include: 8 vacation days; 8 sick days; flexible work scheduling; paid holidays; two annual office closures for one week in August and in December; a 403b contribution, plus an additional match; professional development coverage; and telecommunications reimbursement. 

United States Artists is headquartered in Chicago, IL. This position works with a team that is largely remote, with current members based in Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, and New York. The person in this role can also work remotely and should expect to travel at least 4-6 times per year, within the US, for team gatherings, in-person Board meetings, and program-related events. 



United States Artists (USA) is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination as an Equal Opportunity Employer. USA’s policy is to maintain and promote nondiscrimination regarding race, color, creed, national origin or ancestry, marital status, gender, physical or mental handicap unrelated to ability, sexual orientation, religion, political philosophy, unfavorable discharge from military service or age in all phases of employment practices and facilities in accordance with all applicable laws. The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. 


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