Studio in a School New York City

New York, NY   |   September 4, 2019

The Opportunity

Studio in a School’s Board of Directors seeks a charismatic, visionary, politically fluent leader to serve as the new President of Studio NYC as it enters a key phase of its evolution. This is a highly specialized opportunity for an experienced, thoughtful individual to build on Studio NYC’s outstanding 40+ years legacy of championing the arts in New York City and ensure that visual arts education evolves with the rapid social, political and economic changes that are shaping New York City public school students’ future. The President will provide management acumen and strategic vision for the organization, and build bridges among artists, schools, students and families, arts organizations, neighborhoods, and elected officials to advance arts programming, access, and equity in the New York City region. The President will play a significant and influential role in the continuing development of quality instruction in the visual arts and enhance its impact on students’ lives.

The new President of Studio NYC will serve as a key leader in the New York City region and nationally as an influencer and change agent in the arts and education. In positioning Studio NYC for continued success as an active and important advocate in these areas, the President will have a powerful voice in shaping the strategic direction of the organization, its support for students and artists, its community partnerships, and its development and fundraising strategy. In addition, the President will lead Studio NYC’s partnerships with New York City, regularly interfacing with City and County leaders, including the Mayor’s office, and other elected officials and City agencies such as the Department of Education, Department of Cultural Affairs, and other potential partners.

The President will endeavor to actively create meaningful arts education programming and pioneering strategies and initiatives, will deepen Studio NYC’s existing partnerships and build and establish new enterprises, collaborating with community groups, nonprofits, schools, foundations, and cultural organizations across the region and nationally. The President will be charged with substantively increasing access to and improving arts programming and education, proactively striving to create opportunities for the region.

About Studio in a School New York City

Studio in a School New York City (Studio NYC) is one of two LLCs under the aegis of the Studio in a School Association, Inc. Studio NYC engages over 30,000 public school students in all five boroughs each year and aims to ensure that New York City public school students receive standards-based, quality instruction in the visual arts regardless of socio-economic status. While nurturing age-appropriate skills in artmaking and art literacy, Studio NYC programs affect the “whole learner” by stimulating student development in realms such as habits of mind (e.g., envisioning, persistence, observation); language acquisition; and social-emotional growth. Students in Studio NYC programs become more willing to experiment and problem-solve; learn to work collaboratively; acquire and use new vocabulary; and grow adept at reflecting on their work and that of their peers.

This quality visual arts instruction, therefore, positively influences the acquisition of what have come to be identified as “21st Century” skills, described in “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope” (Aspen Institute / National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development, January 2019) as follows: Young people who have stronger social, emotional, and cognitive skills are more likely to enter and graduate from college; succeed in careers; have positive work and family relationships, better mental and physical health, and reduced criminal behavior; and be more engaged citizens. Success in the future economy also rests on this broad set of integrated skills. . . . Employers recognize that it doesn’t matter how much workers know if they can’t work well in teams, communicate clearly, and persevere when confronted with complex problems.

Studio NYC believes that professional artists are particularly suited for creating this impact, and therefore hires and provides extensive training for working artists to enable them to be Studio NYC Artist Instructors. Professional artists have the necessary knowledge and technical skill to teach Studio NYC’s curricula, they also model key habits of mind – practices such as curiosity, experimentation, problem-solving, persistence, and reflection.

Studio NYC has received a number of accolades for its work providing visual arts education to young students. In October 2017, in recognition of Studio NYC’s consistent quality and accountability, it was awarded the 2017 Arts Education Award, one of the National Arts Awards bestowed by Americans for the Arts. More recently, in October 2018, Studio NYC received the inaugural Chapman Prize from the Council on Foundations in recognition of Studio’s “significant contributions to American society.”

The other LLC under the umbrella of the Studio in a School Association (SIAS) is the Studio Institute, which shares tested innovations, visual arts curricula, classroom program models, professional development models, arts internships, research grants, and assessment methods with arts and educational communities outside of New York City. Studio NYC and the Studio Institute are designed to work collaboratively, sharing best ideas and practices among their leadership, staff, and artists.

For more information, please visit

Studio NYC’s programs include:

Long Term Program

Over a minimum five-year partnership, the Long Term Program establishes a sequential, standards-based visual arts program in schools where little to no such instruction exists. In the first two years of the partnership, 80% of costs are covered by Studio NYC with the generous support of its funders. From year three, the school increasingly assumes responsibility for supporting visual arts instruction in its community. In the 2019-20 school year, the Long Term Program will serve 8,750 students and 520 teachers in 25 Title I schools in all five boroughs.

Artist Instructors forge deep partnerships within their site to implement curricula for students, professional development for staff, arts engagement for families, and to transform the school environment with artworks created by students, families, and teachers. Deep collaboration with Long Term sites also provides opportunities to explore new instructional strategies and curricula in diverse media.

Studio NYC has also recently expanded its efforts within partner schools to encourage more co-teaching on the part of school staff in the art studio, and more extensions of art into other areas of study.

Further, the Long Term Program promotes engagement with art outside of school through partnerships with cultural institutions such as the Americas Society, Asia Society, Museum of Modern Art, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as visits to the classrooms by prominent guest artists, most recently Cecily Brown, Teresita Fernandez, Rachel Hovnanian, and Jeff Koons. Through inter-visitations between Long Term partner sites, students also see and discuss the work of their peers in other communities.

Early Childhood Program

Studio NYC’s early childhood pedagogy is based in exploration and discovery, with distinct, center-based curricula for three-year-olds, Pre-K, and Kindergarten classes offered in partnership with Title I public schools and publicly-funded early childhood education centers citywide. In the 2019-20 school year, the Early Childhood Program anticipates serving 4,400 students and up to 455 Pre-K classroom teachers in 70 partner sites. Through the generosity of funders, Studio NYC will subsidize the cost of the full-year Pre-K/Kindergarten Residencies, and fully cover the cost of the semester-long Pre-K Mentoring Residencies, 6-week Alumni Mentoring Residencies, and 8-week Back-to-School Early Childhood Painting Residencies.

Further, the program includes robust professional development for educators which aims to raise the bar on Pre-K teaching citywide. In recent years, Studio NYC has effectively doubled the number of these training days to 24 interactive workshops annually for classroom teachers. In these sessions, held at Studio NYC’s West End Avenue facility, teachers from around the City share challenges, successes, and strategies with peers from other schools and sites. As these teachers learn from each other, Studio NYC gains insight into the impact of our programs on the development of their students.

Residency Program & Special Initiatives

The Residency Program provides customized classes for the needs of a particular school or community organization; groups with special needs, such as students with disabilities or homeless students; or new areas of artistic content and forms of artistic expression. In the 2019-20 school year, Studio NYC expects to engage 17,750 students and 1,110 teachers in up to 130 partner sites through the program.

Each year, approximately two-thirds of Residency partners are returning sites. In some schools, fee-for-service residencies help to fill gaps in visual arts instruction; in others, the program plays a key role in revamping existing visual arts offerings.

Special Initiatives managed through the Residency Program range from this year’s DO IT project – a partnership with Independent Curators International which introduced a practice of community engagement through the visual arts to students in four public high schools – to Studio NYC’s continued collaboration with the Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects to provide visual arts residencies specifically for multi-language learners, students with disabilities, and family engagement in the arts.


Sharing students’ creativity with their school communities and with the broader public remains a priority to Studio NYC. Exhibitions in partner schools are used as opportunities for students and family members to engage with artwork and reflective discussions about the student’s choices and process. The exhibits are also extremely effective in allowing the entire school community to see the comprehensive nature of Studio NYC’s program, and the level of skills and expression acquired by the students during the year. Throughout the year, exhibitions of student work are also held at venues such as Christie’s and the gallery at One East 53rd Street in Manhattan.

Main Focus, Priorities, and Key Responsibilities

In serving as Studio NYC’s chief advocate, strategist and visionary, the President will be a leading figure in the arts and education community in New York City, the region, and nationally. The President plays a central role in creating an ecosystem where visual arts education thrives and advances social justice. Working closely with an experienced and passionate staff, public officials, arts organizations, and other stakeholders, the President contributes their vision to the dynamic role played by arts and education in the region.

The President will be a highly experienced executive who will oversee the organization’s overall operational and administrative functions, including finance, human resources, and Studio NYC’s 16 full-time staff plus more than 100 artist instructors and a seasonal workforce of about 150 additional employees, approximately $5M annual operating budget, and $12M endowment. The President and the NYC team also provide management services for Studio Institute, providing financial oversight, fundraising, human resources, and marketing assistance.

The President will be a decisive and transparent leader with the ability to execute on goals, lead collaboratively and by example, and support the activities of staff, the Board of Directors, and project committees and working groups. In addition, the President will be responsible for raising approximately $5M annually, leading fundraising efforts with foundations and individual donors, establishing and overseeing fee for service contracts with local government entities, and working to raise overall arts and education funding while also making tough decisions on resource allocation.

The President will have a passion for and commitment to visual arts education. Comfortable in the distinct spheres of nonprofit governance, arts administration, and government, the President will be a fluent advocate for Studio NYC and the organization’s priorities.

The President will report directly to the Board of Directors of the Studio in a School Association and will interact regularly with the Chair of the Board as well as the Vice-Chair for Studio NYC.

Core Competencies

Ideal candidates will have experience in arts administration, and relevant knowledge and expertise regarding the arts and education, including fluency with the City’s governance and politics, knowledge of public education and arts organizations, and the ability to build meaningful relationships with artists, educators, and community leaders.

This leader will demonstrate visionary, executive-level leadership and management abilities, demonstrated expertise in change management, flexibility, and a passion for and commitment to visual arts education. The President will possess a high degree of emotional intelligence and a natural ability to connect with people at all levels bringing forth a sense of humility and warmth towards Studio’s partners and participants in all aspects of the work. This leader will need to be comfortable working with multiple stakeholders, including students and school administrators, donors, and key partners in government.

The ideal candidate should possess the following professional expertise, leadership competencies, and personal qualities:

Executive Leadership / Management: The President will have proven strategic abilities, strong senior management experience, sound financial acumen, and a demonstrated record of collaborative leadership and executive-level experience in program leadership and resource development. The ideal leader will possess the skills to collaborate with staff and the Board of Directors to articulate the organization’s vision and lead its implementation. An executive with an open, inclusive, and collaborative style, this leader will have a proven ability to nurture, inspire, and empower an effective and diverse team. The President will have a record of initiating and overseeing complex projects and bringing them to a successful conclusion, as well as directing and ensuring accountability for all finances and operations of a multifaceted organization.

Mission Fit and Expertise: Studio NYC seeks a President who has a demonstrated passion for visual arts education, and the leadership, competencies, experience, and skills to work with other community leaders to advance the role of arts and education in the community. The ideal candidate will be familiar with current trends in visual arts education and a leader in and champion for the arts, with the gravitas and credibility to influence arts and education programming and funding.

Business Acumen and Operational Expertise: The President will have a strong record of successful oversight and management of finance and operations. This person will promote a culture of excellence and high-quality execution at all levels within the organization, providing outstanding stewardship for the advancement of Studio NYC. Highly skilled in budget, financial, and personnel management, this individual will have the perspective to consider the impact of decisions, strategic plans or initiatives, and programs on the organization, and make sound recommendations accordingly.

Skilled and Inspirational Manager: The President will be a decisive, results-driven leader with a collegial, team-oriented working style, open and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities. They will have a proven record of visible and effective leadership and management, and the demonstrated ability to professionally develop, nurture, and retain a strong team that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability, and efficiency. This individual will be a motivator, able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance, and strong morale, empowering and cultivating staff through active and effective communication, feedback, and delegation, and will actively promote teamwork and collaboration.

External Relations and Fundraising: The President will have a compelling public presence, and be exceptionally skilled at developing, building, and sustaining excellent relationships. They will have a demonstrated ability to connect with and build bridges among the various stakeholders of Studio NYC and throughout the field, including staff, Board members, students and families, school officials, colleagues, community leaders, and donors. The President will be a highly skilled fundraiser with an ability to raise funds from individual donors, institutions, and events and serve as the face of Studio NYC, able to speak and write fluidly about the organization’s history, impact, growth strategy, and future direction to all audiences. This executive will be considerate and open, working collaboratively to find opportunities for the benefit of Studio NYC as a whole, promoting dialogue to identify best practices, synthesizing divergent views, and coalescing all constituencies around a shared view or plan.


Studio NYC has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Katie Bouton and Stephen Milbauer. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here or email Stephen at the following:

Katie Bouton
Founder & CEO, Koya Leadership Partners
President, Diversified Search

Stephen Milbauer
Vice President and Senior Associate

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises.  We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit