Wanted: Cultural Czar
Two months ago, inquiring minds wanted to know why the city was taking so long to post a job opening for the Director of Cultural Affairs post vacated by Jack Anderson in October. We learned that the delay was the handiwork of councilmember Beverly Griffith, who felt the job was too vital to Austin's burgeoning arts scene to be filled indiscriminately. She wanted to huddle with City Manager Jesus Garza and devise a new job description -- and compensation package -- befitting a city with 21st-century art museums and cultural centers in its future. Well, just before the New Year, the new job description popped up on the city's Web page, http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/city jobs/projobs.htm. It calls for a "Manager, Cultural Affairs -- Parks and Recreation Department," whose duties include:
• Planning and directing the city's arts and heritage & conservation programs, and its Parks & Rec facilities;
• Planning, directing, and coordinating such city programs as a cultural arts center, museums, and a historic farm;
• Managing the city cultural contract program that distributes some $3 million annually;
• Developing funding guidelines for the cultural contract program;
• Overseeing the division budget;
• Overseeing staff work with citizen advisory groups, including City Council-appointed boards and commissions.
Candidates should hold an advanced degree in Arts Administration, Museum Science, Arts, Natural History, or a related field, and four years of experience in the administration of relevant programs. Salary is noted only with the vague "Commensurate." Is that enough to lure some national-class arts administrator away from a comparable post in another artsy city? Hard to say, but anyone familiar with Austin and our current cultural boom might read something appealing between the lines. Deadline for applications is 1pm on Friday, February 5.
Green Light: TFAA Director
The Texas Fine Arts Association (TFAA) opens a new exhibition this week -- "Luminous Code: Photo-Based Artworks" -- and it's notable for a couple of firsts: first show TFAA is opening in 1999 and first show with the association's new Executive Director at the helm. This week, Sue Graze came on full-time at 700 Congress, the Jones Center for Contemporary Art, and she'll end her first week doing the wine-and-cheese schmooze that goes along with the visual arts territory. Given that it took them 13 months to fill the Executive Director position, the TFAA board is naturally eager to introduce Graze to the arts community, so it's calling the party at this week's exhibition opening a reception honoring Graze. The event is Saturday, January 16, 6-8pm, at the Jones Center.
Red Light: Frontera Director
Ouch! Just after announcing its selection of a new managing director, Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre has had to retract the happy news. Once she had accepted the job, Charlottesville arts administrator Teresa Dowell-Vest had second thoughts about it and opted to stay in her Virginia hometown. One might expect such news to deflate the overworked Frontera crew, but artistic director Vicky Boone was impressively serene when talking about it this week. The daredevil company will plunge ahead into its five-week performance party FronteraFest, its new Sound & Vision Festival, and the premiere of Laurie Carlos' work Alaskan Heat, Part Two, then resume the search in March.