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Saturday, April 15, 2017


The internationally acclaimed American nonprofit center for craft education locate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina seeks recommendations and expressions of interest for the leadership role

Penland’s next Director has an unparalleled career opportunity to join a leading organization at the pinnacle of its historical success. S/he will step into a respected educational institution with a high reputation in the craft field, a strong and engaged Board, a healthy financial position inclusive of Endowment, Operating, Building and Equipment Reserve Funds, a world-class campus and facilities, and a committed staff eager to embark on Penland’s exciting next chapter under new leadership.

WNC Magazine characterized this opportunity effectively in its recent cover story, "Well Crafted: Penland’s Tradition of Innovation":

“While remaining true to its past, the world-renowned Penland School of Crafts never stops exploring the reaches of contemporary art… [it’s] an international melting pot of art and community [where] social media and digital technologies are as much a part of the picture as the
traditional materials of wood, glass, clay and metals… the Board is like a small army sustaining the “Penland heartbeat” [and] everyone who visits can agree there is a certain magic to the place.”

Penland’s Board of Trustees seeks a positive, inspirational leader with a clear vision for how Penland can build upon all its strengths and set the pace for contemporary art and craft as the School’s Centennial approaches in the year 2029. The vision should be inclusive of Penland’s staff, instructors, and community, who are such an important part of the School’s success. In fact, Penland stakeholders are integral to this search process, and finalists for this role will be invited to present publicly to them during final round interviewing on campus.

Penland’s next director could be either an emerging talent or a well-established cultural leader—but preferably someone who is recognized and respected in the art, craft, and/or education fields. S/he will need to demonstrate a professional background or applicable experience that is conducive to taking the reins of a multi-million dollar cultural enterprise with an excellent senior management team and a substantial real estate portfolio, with its associated physical plant demands. S/he will have experience energizing teams of high-performing people and leading others with positivity, a strategic mindset, and infectious enthusiasm.

In the arena of financial management, Penland’s annual funding is 51% earned, 36% contributed, and 13% from its endowment. Penland’s next director will need a demonstrated ability to craft high-level revenue plans and galvanize others to execute against the comprehensive marketing, art sales, and fundraising strategies needed to fuel the School’s annual operating needs. Penland has a seven-person marketing and development team—along with a gallery director and sales staff—to accomplish these goals. While fundraising and marketing experience will be highly regarded, they are only two facets of the holistic leadership skill set needed to succeed in this role.

Ultimately, Penland is about its people: they are the keys to its success, and have always been its most valuable resource. From the youngest student and the most junior groundskeeper, to the most acclaimed artists and generous philanthropists on the Board, all of Penland’s people look to its Director to be the personification of “Penland passion” and the Pied Piper of Penland’s continued journey.

Like Penland’s charismatic founder, Lucy Morgan, Penland’s next director needs to be someone who can inspire Penland’s people and the local community to lift the School to new heights through their shared efforts and group achievements.

Candidates with some or all of the following qualifications will be the most favorably reviewed within the competitive set of potential leaders for Penland:

• A university degree in a relevant discipline;

• Passion, integrity, subject matter expertise, and demonstrable personal engagement around Penland’s mission and the people it serves;

• Past professional experience operating successfully in a large, complex, multi-faceted cultural or educational organization;

• The ability to build and maintain positive personal relationships with the many staff and stakeholders whose support is critical to the School’s success;

• A positive, consensus-oriented leadership style, including strong verbal and written skills, emotional maturity, self-confidence, and a sense of humor;

• The ability to make decisions and lead others through ambiguity, setting clear goals and motivating teams to achieve substantive results in times of change;

• High personal credibility, trust, enthusiasm, and integrity;

• Previous exposure to major gifts fundraising and the enthusiasm to learn; and

• A willingness to travel, work on weekends, and live on or near campus.

Compensation and Benefits
Compensation and benefits are competitive and will be negotiable based on experience. Health care, retirement, transitional housing, and travel benefits are among the components of the director’s compensation package.

How to Apply
Telephone calls are welcome and strongly encouraged before applications are made. Please contact Emma Dunch at (212) 877-0500 for a confidential discussion of your suitability for this role. To formally apply, please submit the following materials in a single PDF document to
  1. A written expression of interest detailing your suitability for this role and articulating your broad vision for Penland’s future;
  2. A detailed professional resume;
  3. Your salary history; and
  4. Three (3) professional references, who will not be contacted without your approval.
All inquiries and materials will be confidential. All applications will be acknowledged. Please do not mail hard copies.

To learn more about Penland School of Crafts, please visit:

Telephone calls are welcome and encouraged, to: Emma E. Dunch, President, DUNCH: Cultural Leadership for a Creative World, Tel: +1-212-877-0500,

Penland School of Crafts is an equal opportunity employer. The School employs qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status or domestic partnership, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status; status of victim of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking; or any other characteristic protected by law, federal, state or local, rule or regulation.


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