Mercer University seeks executive director for performing arts center

Mercer University seeks executive director for performing arts center

Applications must be submitted by January 29, 2016.

Mercer University is seeking an executive director to oversee the administrative and programmatic operations of its performing arts center, The Grand Opera House, a historic, 1,000-seat theatre located in downtown Macon, Ga. The executive director is responsible for developing and overseeing an annual operating budget and fundraising to support the operation of The Grand. The executive director is also responsible for selecting and presenting programming for a diverse regional community that aligns with the mission of Mercer University. The executive director reports to the senior vice president for Marketing Communications and chief of staff of Mercer University and works closely with the Office of University Advancement as well as an advisory board composed of community leaders to ensure successful operation of The Grand.

Detailed job description

The executive director of The Grand Opera House provides innovative leadership, implements sound financial strategies, and supervises and builds community support for the ongoing activities and operations of the theatre. The executive director is involved with all aspects of the operation of The Grand and supervises staff in marketing, Mercer ticket sales and production to ensure patron and partner satisfaction.

Responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Acting as a liaison between Mercer University administration and Grand Opera House advisory board and staff;
  • Drafting and managing an organizational budget of approximately $1.6 million to ensure that revenues and expenditures remain at expected levels;
  • Communicating with Mercer University staff to create and implement development strategies that support the operation of The Grand;
  • Coordinating development and fundraising efforts from identified funding sources;
  • Building relationships with community foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors in order to develop solid financial support for The Grand;
  • Researching and surveying local and regional audiences to establish market preferences;
  • Developing and implementing a programming strategy that attracts audiences from local and regional markets;
  • Negotiating artist contracts, rental agreements and vendor agreements;
  • Supervising the staff and operations of the theatre, including facility management, production, marketing, Mercer ticket sales, and front of house operations.


The executive director is a representative of The Grand Opera House and Mercer University and, as such, should possess outstanding written and verbal communication skills, be comfortable speaking to a wide variety of audiences, and excel in maintaining and developing relationships that deepen ties between The Grand and the community. The executive director must be a thought leader with well‐developed management and fundraising skills, have a record of progressively responsible experience in the performing arts, and the ability to effectively serve audiences, artists, and community organizations and entities.

Specific requirements:

  • Extensive management experience in arts administration including fundraising, programming, presenting, facilities management and operations;
  • Strong budgeting and financial management skills;
  • Significant experience with fundraising and development activities, including prospect identification and grant writing;
  • Experience developing and working with an advisory board as well as community cultural organizations, promoters and presenters;
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively and to develop strategic initiatives that align with the organization’s mission and vision;
  • Demonstrated ability to lead multiple long and short-term projects at the same time;
  • Prior success in developing and implementing creative, innovative and engaging arts and cultural programs (including presenting programs) that successfully serve diverse audiences;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of trends impacting the performing arts industry;
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, hands-on environment;
  • Leadership skills that support a positive, collaborative work environment for Grand Opera House staff;
  • Ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with a wide variety of groups and individuals;
  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field required, master’s degree preferred.


Salary is dependent upon qualifications. The university offers excellent fringe benefits.

How to apply

Interested candidates should complete the brief online application at and attach a cover letter, current resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references. Only candidates who apply online will be considered.

Applications must be submitted by January 29, 2016. Anticipated start date of employment: March 2016.

About Mercer University

Mercer University is one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning, offering rigorous programs that span the undergraduate liberal arts to doctoral-level degrees.  As a university committed to excellence and innovation, Mercer challenges members of its community to meet and exceed high standards in their teaching, learning, research, scholarship and service.

With more than 8,600 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges on campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah, and at three Regional Academic Centers around the state of Georgia, Mercer is consistently ranked among the nation’s leading institutions by such publications as U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review. Mercer’s more than 70,000 alumni are making important contributions to their professions and communities throughout Georgia, the Southeast and the world.

While offering a breadth of programs found at much larger universities, Mercer maintains an intimate, student-focused culture more characteristic of smaller liberal arts colleges.