Caldera Arts was founded by Dan Wieden and his family in 1996 as an arts and environmental summer camp in the mountains of Central Oregon. The idea was to bring young people with limited opportunities together with talented creative professionals to make art and be in relationship with the natural world. For nearly 25 years, the power of creativity has transformed Caldera from a small summer camp to a thriving year-round community enriching hundreds of lives every year. All programs are provided free of charge to the families served.
Caldera is a catalyst for the transformation of youth from historically underserved rural and urban communities through innovative, year-round art and environmental programs. Beginning in sixth grade and continuing into young adulthood, students are led by caring mentors and nurtured through enriching arts and nature-focused experiences year-round, including summers at “Camp Caldera” on the shore of Blue Lake in Central Oregon. Working with artists, naturalists and mentors, young people develop their voices and build relationships with the natural world that empower them to be creative agents for change in their families and communities.
Through its Artists in Residence (AiR) program, Caldera supports artists, creatives, and cultural workers to build skills, relationships and projects that inspire growth, activate change, and work with the Caldera youth. Residencies take place during the fall, winter and spring months at the Camp Caldera Arts Center.
Caldera has a $2 million budget, currently 14 fulltime, year-round employees as well as seasonal artists and youth workers and volunteers. The administrative office is located in Portland, Oregon and the Arts Center is located outside of Sisters, Oregon between Suttle Lake and Blue Lake.
Over the past 25 years, Caldera has worked with more than 15,000 young people, 600 artists and hundreds of teaching artists, partners and community members. Caldera’s Youth Program has been named one of the top 50 youth development organizations in the country by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Caldera is seeking a new Executive Director to lead the organization into its next phase of growth and impact. Reporting to the Board of Directors and supervising staff, the new Executive Director will join Caldera as it transitions, over the next 5 years, from founder-led and funded to a sustainable, community supported organization. The position is based in Portland, Oregon.
The Executive Director has the unique opportunity to shape “Caldera 2.0”—an organizational refresh that builds on a 25 years of exceptional program delivery while strengthening the foundation on which future growth and innovation will rest. The Executive Director is an inspiring leader who brings vision, courage and the management chops required to transform Caldera into vibrant and sustainable organization. Working in close collaboration with an experienced Board and knowledgeable staff, the Executive Director will leverage Caldera’s considerable assets and exceptional programming to fully realize its potential and deepen its impact.
The Executive Director will bring to the role an understanding for how to balance the complementary nature of fund development and programs, ensuring an integrated approach in service to the mission. They must ensure internal operations run smoothly and identify systems improvements to allow Caldera to readily navigate the disruptions that naturally arise from growth and change.
Caldera staff and board are deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion; staff are advanced in their training and practice. It will be critical for the new Executive Director to take on racial equity leadership from day one to nurture and maintain an organizational culture where racial equity is at the center. They will need to be well versed in this work and possess the agility to work with board and staff at various stages in their equity journeys while simultaneously advancing the entire organization.
Externally the Executive Director is an active spokesperson and ambassador to the broader community. They must bring both authenticity and a passion to partner with the youth and families served whether in Portland or Central Oregon. The Executive Director readily connects with all audiences, be they with artists, youth, parents, community partners, donors, or board members,
Strategic Leadership and Change Management
- A key priority for the new executive director will be to develop, refine and drive a strategic vision for the organization that is reflected in decision making and fundraising. They will champion and lead a culture of forward momentum on the established strategic plan, encouraging bold and innovative ideas that will advance its mission and promote a spirit of continuous improvement and adaptation to the evolving needs of the youth, artists and communities being served.
Team, Board and Operational Leadership
The Executive Director will dramatically impact the organization by demonstrating experienced, effective management and leadership principles. Critical priorities include:
- Developing a high performing, empowered team by committing to clear goals, communication, and lines of accountability: The Executive Director needs to effectively leverage the collective talents of the entire staff with effective coaching, best practice management, well-defined roles and expectations, and professional development.
- Leading racial equity work: bringing a strong skill set and deep commitment to the work of continuing to integrate a racial equity lens in all decision making, the Executive Director will have an action-oriented mindset and readily engage and support the staff and board in the work underway and ensure it remains an organizational priority.
- Financial and operational management: Sound business judgment, proactive financial management, efficient practices, and standards of excellence to support the sustained financial and programmatic health of Caldera is critical.
- Engaging the 12-member Board: appropriate, effective, and clear channels of communication are essential elements of the executive director/board relationship. The Executive Director has an incredible resource in the Board’s experience and support; by ensuring there is trust, transparency, clarity of roles and alignment around the mission, they can collaboratively co-create an exciting forward strategy for Caldera.
- Caldera has relied extensively on the founder’s deep commitment and generosity as well as support from individual donors and grants to meet its goals. The new Executive Director will spearhead fundraising efforts, working with the development team and board, to identify and engage new supporters by nurturing positive donor relationships, making the ask and stewarding key relationships.
- The Caldera community comprises a diverse group of deeply committed stakeholders all of whom feel a strong sense of connection to the organization, the program and camp. The Executive Director will need to authentically connect with everyone—youth and families, fulltime and seasonal staff, alumni, artists and board members– listening to their concerns and inspiring them to engage in a shared vision.
- The Executive Director will have an active role in generating, supporting and maintaining collaborative school and other community partnerships in both Portland and Central Oregon.
Caldera seeks a compassionate, natural leader with a genuine passion and enthusiasm for using the power of the arts and the natural world to serve youth who would otherwise lack access to either. We seek a leader who brings a deep, community-centered understanding of the challenges faced by our youth (many of whom are youth of color), and who is prepared to bring all their energy and professional skills to lead the effort.
Candidates who have led an organization through significant growth or change are well positioned for this role. The ideal candidate evaluates opportunities with an eye to mission alignment and strategic impact. The ability to forge a path forward guided by a clear vision and supported by consensus is essential. The successful candidate is both a bridge builder and a change maker, someone who engenders trust and brings people along in a collective effort to move the organization to new heights. They are unafraid to make hard decisions yet always accountable.
We are looking for candidates who are confident and effective in nuanced leadership positions that require exceptional interpersonal skills as well as strong nonprofit and financial acumen. An outgoing, professional demeanor that inspires trust will serve the Executive Director well. They should be comfortable and confident on their feet when making the fundraising ask, with the warmth and spark to effectively engage with people of all ages and life experiences.
As a people leader, the ideal candidate brings a proven ability to build an inclusive culture. They also possess the humility to empower staff and support them with structures for accountability that define progress and success. The Executive Director is an active listener who values honesty, transparency and integrity, fostering mutual respect at all levels. A caring and approachable leader, the Executive Director demonstrates a deep commitment to equity and will nurture an open, trusting, and welcoming work environment that prioritizes advancing the organization’s racial equity work.
- 10+ years’ experience in progressively responsible leadership roles in a nonprofit of a similar size or larger ($2M+ annual budget).
- A deep passion for young people facing systemic barriers and a clear understanding of how the creative arts and/or natural environment help youth self-actualize.
- A demonstrated commitment to racial equity.
- A background in the arts or K-12 education (ideally with an arts or environment focus).
- Previous responsibility for facility-based programs (camp, community center) and teams sited in multiple locations.
- Nonprofit management experience, a fundraising track record across diverse funding sources, and strong financial acumen.
- Previous experience reporting to or as part of a governing and fundraising board.
- This is place-based work and a physical presence in Portland is required as is the ability to travel to Central Oregon year-round.
The salary range for the Executive Director position is $125,000 to $150,000. This is a national search and support for relocation will be available.
To Be Considered
Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the Become a Candidate button. Letters may be addressed to Sarah Meyer.
Caldera Arts Statement of Equity and Inclusion
We recognize that Caldera communities face many societal inequities. We recognize the history and ongoing impacts of racism in our country, state and institutions. We acknowledge that we will always have room to grow as an organization and as individuals in our understanding of racism and oppression.
We commit to continually examining our role in both perpetuating and combating institutional racism. We also commit to ongoing alignment of our policies and practices to advance racial equity, inclusion and freedom of expression.
We commit to integrating equity and inclusion into all areas of our work to better serve our mission: when we do, we get closer to the world that we want for our youth. To ensure our own accountability, we will (1) seek deeper relationships with and feedback from our larger community; (2) use our Equity Plan to guide ongoing work; and, (3) apply our Equity Lens to decision making. We will also seek inspiration from artistic and cultural traditions.
Caldera Arts EEO Statement
Caldera is an equal opportunity employer encouraging applicants of all backgrounds and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.