Job Opportunity: Executive Director, Western Folklife Center
The Western Folklife Center (WFC) is searching for a new executive director to succeed Charlie Seemann, who is retiring. Headquartered at Elko, Nevada, a historic ranching, mining, and railroad town in the northeastern part of the state, the WFC has a dozen full-time employees and an annual budget of over $2 million. It is housed in the historic Pioneer Hotel, with a 300-seat multi-use performance space, a museum gallery, a video and media theater, a gift shop, catering facilities, an archive and library, the Pioneer Saloon, and office space. The WFC’s Media Office, which produces film, video, and radio programs, is located in Salt Lake City.
The WFC is best known for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, an annual event that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The Gathering is held in Elko at the end of January and attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of poets, musicians, and craftspeople. In addition, the WFC has earned national acclaim for museum-quality exhibits and programs on traditional rural arts and for a wide array of media productions. Many of the WFC’s programs are based on original fieldwork, outreach, and research efforts by staff and cultural specialists.
The executive director shapes the WFC’s vision, mission, and strategic plan; leads a team of folklorists, media specialists, and administrative staff; and manages the annual budget. He or she is hired by and reports to the volunteer Board of Trustees. The new director will also be expected to expand fundraising efforts, develop new directions in programming, and recruit new audiences, with particular emphasis on attracting younger audiences through the use of social media. In addition, the director will be asked to work on board development and to develop innovative marketing strategies to expand the organization’s regional impact.
The new director will ideally be someone who has extensive leadership experience through managing a nonprofit organization, government office, festival, media enterprise, or business, and who has also raised significant funding over an extended period of time. He or she will have an instinct for developing partnerships that can expand the organization’s reach and the fundraising savvy to increase its operating revenue and endowment.
A degree in folklore or a related field is a plus, but this is not an absolute requirement. What is most important is the talent to navigate diplomatically and cheerfully within our broad community of members, artists, donors, and staff. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications. Link
to detailed job description, qualifications and information on application procedures.
Applicants should send a cover letter and resumé to
. Inquiries should be directed to the chair of the search committee, Gail Steiger, at