Manager of Public Programs

Company Name: 

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center


11 NW 11th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

Contact Name: 

Jaime Thompson




Job Description: 


Position Title:  Manager of Public Programs

Reports To:  Director of Education and Public Programs 

Department:  Education and Public Programs 

Status:  Exempt – Salaried  

Salary:  Salary commensurate with experience $45,000- $48,000; excellent benefits package that includes health care, dental, vision and retirement plan. 

Position Summary

The Manager of Public Programs is responsible for developing, executing, and evaluating a successful and balanced annual roster of strategic, mission-based, engagement-focused programs for adult audiences. This position works closely with the Artistic Director, Director of Education and Public Programs and exhibition curators to develop adult programs that embody Oklahoma Contemporary’s mission, enhance exhibitions, and emphasize diversity, innovation, collaboration, and a sense of community. These public programs will connect adult audiences to the institution and its new campus in meaningful ways, contribute to increased attendance and expanded audiences locally and nationally, and support the institutional goal to serve as a cultural resource and destination for Oklahoma City, the state and beyond.

Essential Job Functions

  • Confers with the Director of Education and Public Programs, Artistic Director and exhibition curators to identify and develop public programs with the additional support of the Project Manager of Education and Public Programs.
  • Leads the development, supervision and evaluation of exhibition and contemporary art-related public programs and experiences including, but not limited to, lectures, artist talks, symposia, films, gallery talks, performances, college programs and community days. 
  • Works with the Director of Education and Public Programs to create thoughtful and sustainable seasonal calendars of programming that include Youth and Family, Teen and Studio School Programs through quarterly planning sessions.
  • Builds relationships with local, regional and national artists, scholars, thinkers and professionals within the fields of art, art history, performance, film, design and architecture and other fields related to contemporary art. 
  • Cultivates strategic and sustainable partnerships with individuals, cultural organizations, academic institutions and community agencies to broaden awareness, support, resources and revenue for public programs and the institution.
  • Negotiates contracts, ensures accommodations and develops opportunities for visitors while at Oklahoma Contemporary.
  • Coordinates with the Technical and Production Manager for each program to ensure smooth onsite event management including setup and take-down.
  • Analyzes evaluation data and attendance numbers to determine prospective users, audiences and potential funding sources for programs and partnerships. 
  • Evaluates public programs and community collaborations to assess quality and determine improvements needed in development and presentation of programs. 
  • Contributes to strategic plans for the organization that relate to the future of programs, institutional memory and community engagement.  
  • Possesses strong decision-making capabilities and a flexible nature to accommodate many ideas and working styles. 
  • Works closely with the Director of Education and Public Programs and the Finance Department to draft the annual program budget and monitor expenses throughout the year, ensuring adherence to budget.  
  • Works with Communications Department to produce key communications and promotional materials and shape the language used to describe programs and community engagement. 
  • Works with the Development Department to identify new and maximize current foundation, corporate and individual sponsorships and funding opportunities for public programs. Writes programmatic grant and report copy as needed.
  • Maintains current knowledge of contemporary art and museum programming, including the activities of peer organizations, emerging and established practices and trending topics in critical cultural discourses. Participates in national dialogues about public programs in museums/art centers.
  • Serves as a key Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center ambassador for offsite presentations, conversations and events.

Essential Job Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in studio art, design, art history, museum studies, art education or related field. 
  • Minimum of three to five years of professional experience in program development, project management and/or event planning and promotion; experience working in nonprofit cultural sector preferred.
  • Direct experience working with contemporary art and artists preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to both envision and execute a broad range of public programs and activities inspired by the exhibitions on view and contemporary art and artistic practice. 
  • Confident public speaker, skilled writer and proven relationship builder.
  • Highly organized with the ability to prioritize multiple tasks while managing time efficiently.  
  • Responsive to frequently shifting priorities and adaptive to change.
  • Experience in creating and sustaining productive relationships with senior leadership. 
  • Strong interest in working to develop Oklahoma Contemporary’s relationships with historically underrepresented populations.  
  • Crisis resilient and comfortable with navigating the unexpected.  
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office required; experience with Adobe Creative Suite and Tessitura is a plus; able to navigate or learn other platforms as needed.   
  • Fluency in English: speaking, reading and writing. Additional fluencies in Spanish or Vietnamese a plus.
  • Positive and professional.

Limitations and Disclaimer
The above job description is meant to describe the general nature and level of work being performed; it is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required for the position. Continued employment remains on an “at-will” basis. Nothing in this job description is to be construed as a contract of employment. All job duties are subject to change as business needs necessitate.  

Other Requirements and Working Conditions

  • Our office is an open workspace with seated desks and an additional meeting room can be reserved.
  • Regular evening and weekend availability to accommodate the events and programs schedule.
  • Use of a car required; legally registered and insured for daily use  
  • Use of a computer/monitor, telephone and copier daily  
  • Our salaries are consistent and competitive with similarly sized nonprofits and our health benefits are excellent.
  • Team environment with frequent group meeting participation  
  • Physical requirements: Lifting/Carrying - heavy work may include routine lifting of a maximum weight of 30 lbs. - combination of sitting, standing, walking and driving on a frequent basis  

Oklahoma Contemporary is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity or veteran status.  

To Apply
Ready to apply to be part of the inaugural staff of our new campus? Submit a cover letter and resume or CV highlighting your education and experience along with three references to the careers pages on our website:

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Unfortunately, because of the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to give status updates. If you are invited for an interview, you will be contacted directly by the hiring manager by June 1, 2021. Anticipated start date is June 2021.

Salary commensurate with experience; excellent benefits package, including healthcare, dental, vision and retirement plan.

About Oklahoma Contemporary

Oklahoma Contemporary is an inclusive center for the arts where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience art, encounter new ideas and ignite their creative potential. Through visual art exhibitions, performances, public programs, community-building initiatives, outdoor installations and special events, Oklahoma Contemporary creates opportunities for everyone to come together in celebration of contemporary culture and artistic expression. With year-round classes and seasonal youth camps across multiple disciplines, the arts center’s education programs encourage youth and adults to express their ideas across a variety of media and learn new skills. Oklahoma Contemporary believes that art is for everyone and places accessibility and education at the center of all programming. Admission to exhibitions is always free. Oklahoma Contemporary is a regional 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by businessman and philanthropist Christian Keesee and Kirkpatrick Foundation Director Marilyn Myers.

Oklahoma Contemporary strives to demonstrate leadership by modeling excellence and best practices for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. We believe in the power of human creativity and value the opportunities for connection and learning that exist when cultures and communities come together in collaboration and understanding.

We commit to championing policies and practices that value diversity, foster cultural equity and create an accessible and inclusive environment. Oklahoma Contemporary does not discriminate based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status or religion. We recognize our strengths lie in the broad range of people who contribute their time and talents to our mission and are dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive place for them to explore creativity.