Role of a Regional Arts Executive Director
Executive Director of a Regional Arts Development Organisation (RADO) in NSW is the head of the organisation, a non-profit incorporated association governed by a volunteer board. Although the position descriptions vary from region to region, they are developed to reflect the arts and cultural infrastructure, geographic location, demographics and available resources of each region. In some regions where there is little arts and cultural infrastructure, or few groups engaged in arts and cultural development, the Executive Director undertakes the planning and development of projects in partnership with existing groups to meet the needs of local communities. Sometimes this involves facilitating the establishment of local groups.
In other regions where there is well established and mature arts and cultural infrastructure, the Executive Director works at a regional strategic and planning level to assist groups to work together and access additional resources, thereby strengthening the network of arts and cultural activities that already exist.
Additionally, Executive Directors access regional, state and federal resources for local arts and cultural groups that may not have the knowledge or skills to do this. Increasingly these resources are sought through government agencies that do not have an arts and cultural brief, and Executive Directors have become adept at engaging them in worthwhile arts projects that also meet their departmental guidelines and goals.
In order to maintain the regional role of Executive Directors and their staff members, it is important to remember that they are not local arts workers but function on a regional level, facilitating communication; programming and planning; working with local arts and cultural groups; local government; and cultural workers engaged by other agencies (regional library officers, regional gallery personnel and regional tourism officers).
The role of the Executive Director is evolving rapidly and this is reflected in the name change from Regional Arts Development Officer implemented in 2016. These positions have become more sophisticated and require greater professional skills in policy development, planning, management, financial management, resource management, project and program development. As a result, Executive Director position descriptions require frequent reassessment to ensure that they are accurate depictions of the roles that they play.
The fourteen Executive Directors now form a state-wide network of professional arts and cultural workers who share skills, knowledge and work practices from all corners of the state.