Northwind Art, the visual arts nonprofit based in Port Townsend, is searching for a new executive director to guide development of its downtown gallery spaces, as well as the …
Northwind Art, the visual arts nonprofit based in Port Townsend, is searching for a new executive director to guide development of its downtown gallery spaces, as well as the Northwind Art School at Fort Worden.
Northwind Art co-founder Teresa Verraes resigned as executive director on Dec. 15, “to take a breather from full-time work,” according to communications director Diane Urbani.
Six years ago, Verraes became the founding executive director of the Port Townsend School of the Arts, which she shepherded through its merger with the Northwind Arts Center in 2021.
Northwind Art operates not only the Jeanette Best Gallery, which houses two exhibit spaces in the 1885 Waterman & Katz building at 701 Water St., but also the Northwind Art School, which occupies Buildings 306 and 324 at Fort Worden State Park.
The gallery presents seven to nine art exhibitions per year, plus artist talks and other events, while the school offers more than 120 courses, open studios, and workshops annually, targeted toward youth and adults alike.
“Northwind Art’s mission is to build community through art, to cultivate creativity, and to support artists’ growth,” Urbani said. “This aligns with our vision of an art-rich community, and a vibrant quality of life for everyone.”
Dr. Linda Rosenbury, president of Northwind Art’s board of directors, stipulated that Northwind’s new executive director must possess “a demonstrated appreciation” of the visual arts, as well as experience in nonprofit organizational fields including budgeting, fundraising, and staff leadership.
Rosenbury also emphasized that applicants should be comfortable with databases, websites, and systems management.
In a public statement, Northwind called for its new leader to inspire and empower its staff; support its mission, vision and goals, and inspire the same in others; and to foster strong relationships with its donors, board, and partner organizations.
"The best bosses I've worked with in the nonprofit sector were careful to keep the whole staff informed,” Urbani said. “When we received a grant or donation from a community member, the executive director would tell us about it. They likewise told us about changes that were coming up, such as staff members resigning. They built a culture of openness, and that does a great deal for morale."
Rosenbury elaborated that the executive director’s priorities will include implementing a three-to-five-year financial plan balancing earned and contributed income, while also recruiting volunteers and “investing in a healthy organizational culture.”
Urbani noted the new director will be tasked with overseeing the completion of renovations at Fort Worden to yield the full utilization of Northwind’s buildings there.
And since Northwind Art is recognized as a leader in the arts community, Rosenbury specified that the new executive director would be expected to “nurture and grow” collaborations with other creative nonprofits in Jefferson County, as well as to cultivate relationships with the Olympic Peninsula’s tribes.
The executive director reports to the board of directors, supervises all Northwind Art staff members, and would have a salary range of $70,000 to $88,000, depending on their experience.
For more information on Northwind, visit northwindart.org online. To inquire about the executive director position, submit a cover letter, resume and contact information for three references via email to EDsearch@northwindart.org.
“We expect to begin initial interviews via Zoom by late February,” Urbani said. “Once finalists are selected, they will be invited to an in-person interview process that will include meeting key stakeholders and touring the community and Northwind’s galleries and school.”
In the meantime, Urbani spoke about how fortunate Northwind is to have artist and businesswoman Martha Worthley as its interim executive director.
“She's spent the past five weeks asking us questions about our respective jobs, and really listening to our responses,” Urbani said. “She's also scheduled a staff and board retreat next week, so we can plan together for the new year.
“One really important quality of a nonprofit organization's leader is helping keep the mission prominent in our minds,” Urbani said. “In our day-to-day work, we can stay inspired by the deeper 'why' of what we're doing. Northwind's mission is to build community through art. That's what keeps me motivated."