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Chief Marketing Officer- Overture Center for the Arts




Overture Center for the Arts (Overture Center), dedicated on September 18, 2004, in the heart of beautiful downtown Madison, Wisconsin, supports and elevates the community’s creative culture, economy, and quality of life through the arts. Overture Center’s unwavering commitment is to be the region’s preeminent stage for wondrous artistry, to develop diverse and emerging talent, and to be the arts’ epicenter for community engagement. It aspires to provide extraordinary experiences for all.

Overture Center features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, nine resident companies, and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year. Overture Center takes great pride in offering spectacular performances as well as free and low-cost programs to nurture creativity, curiosity, and diversity while helping drive the local economy and supporting a vibrant and growing city.

Designed by César Pelli, the centerpiece of the 388,000-square-foot facility is the 2,255-seat Overture Hall, a crisp geometric form in limestone and glass with a grand lobby that extends over the sidewalk to shelter the entrance. Inside the lobby, light-wood ceilings and travertine flooring all help create a warm and serene atmosphere. In the auditorium, a cascade of softly lit balconies and an undulating acoustic ceiling define a contemporary space. Unobstructed sightlines, excellent acoustics, and state-of-the-art technical support enable flawless performances for music, theater, dance, and much more.

The 1,098-seat Capitol Theater retains original details, including its Grand Barton Organ, ornate ceiling, wall niches, proscenium arch, and chandelier lighting. The Playhouse, a 347-seat thrust theater, was redesigned to add three flexible black box theaters. An architectural landmark, the design of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art consists of a triangular four-story glass lobby and stairs that recalls the traditional entrances of museums around the world. By integrating existing venues and elements of historic buildings, the complex maintains the pedestrian-friendly character of downtown Madison. The circa 1920 stone façade of the former Yost’s Department Store was retained as an entrance to the entire Overture Center. At the center of the complex, the glass façades of Overture Hall links with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, a separate nonprofit organization with independent governance, operations, and building maintenance. A new glass dome brings sunlight to all levels of the building. Inside is a four-story rotunda with art galleries off the main lobby and the Rotunda Stage, an indoor amphitheater.

In addition to its dynamic resident companies, part of Overture Center’s great value is in its presentation of performances. The 2022-2023 season brings over 37 performances, including the Tony-Award winning productions of Six and Hadestown and five other Broadway titles, as well as Overture Presents touring productions, the acclaimed UpClose series and Cabaret Series, National Geographic Live presentations, and free Kids in the Rotunda shows.

Overture Center also recognizes its tremendous and unique responsibility to the community to ensure it is a true reflection of the society in which it exists and with the humanity that it shares. Representing a variety of constituencies, Overture’s Community Advisory Council makes recommendations to Overture Center staff regarding community and educational programming. The Council recommends opportunities to deepen and enrich community engagement and helps develop relationships with community constituents and organizations.

Overture Center Foundation, Inc., a private 501c (3) nonprofit corporation, became the sole operator of Overture Center on January 1, 2012. Overture Center Foundation is governed by a 24-member board of directors, chaired by John Surdyk. Overture Center engages a total full-time staff of 75 employees, more than 136 part-time and variable front of house staff, more than 256 variable stagehands, and more than 500 volunteers.

Its 2019/20 Annual Report stated revenues of $22.6 million, which included $17.6 million in program services, $2.3 million in contributions and grants, and $1.6 million through the generosity of the City of Madison. 2020/21 financial information is not included as it is not reflective of a typical year for Overture Center due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.


With a population exceeding 258,000 residents, Madison is a city of neighborhoods and strong communities with a vibrant cultural hub of art, music, food, and more. The capital of Wisconsin and the state’s fastest-growing city, Madison has an economy that features a large and growing technology sector and serves as the home to many corporate headquarters. Access to schools, hospitals, and infrastructure; affordability and income; and how residents take advantage of those opportunities are a few key reasons why the Madison region and Dane County continue to be one of the best places to live, work, study, and enjoy a high quality of life.

With almost 48,000 students, the University of Wisconsin-Madison strongly believes in improving people’s lives outside of the classroom. Known as the Wisconsin Idea, this tradition includes collecting and distributing farm crops for needy families, mentoring and tutoring programs for local school children, and a university policy that offers free humanities courses to low-income adults. Educated young professionals continue to move into high-density rental units throughout Madison’s downtown area, with high demand fueled by the proximity of the university and large private-sector employers.

The five lakes in the city’s vicinity offer ample recreational opportunities, such as fishing and boating, and the 1,260-acre University of Wisconsin Arboretum provides 20 miles of trails. USA Today ranked Madison in its list of 10 best cycling towns due to its widespread network of bike paths and lanes and its convenient bike share program, BCycle. NerdWallet named Madison as the greenest city in America, awarding high marks for air quality and a ratio of 12.7 parks per 10,000 residents—more than any other city. The ranking considered Madison’s 200 miles of hiking and biking trails and the fact that there are more bicycles in the city than cars. Madison also has a relatively high number of green jobs and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings and venues.

Position Summary

As a member of Overture’s Executive Leadership Team, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) will provide strategic guidance in all aspects of communications and marketing, including ticketing and audience development. This forward-thinking individual will oversee branding and the building of a strategic plan for the marketing and communications teams. They will have a deep understanding of current technologies in marketing and ticketing, as well as the skill to utilize data and the digital realm to enhance the work of their teams. They will build a connection with staff that supports event success and the overall success of this fast-paced and ambitious organization. The CMO will have a deep appreciation for and understanding of the arts, in particular the varied presentations at the Overture Center, and will champion the ongoing improvement of the Overture Center’s communication and marketing efforts, to support the organization’s long-term growth and success.

Roles and Responsibilities

Earned Revenue Maximization

 Create strategies to optimize artistic decision making on programs, schedules, and venues to ensure effective allocation of resources for maximized earned income.

 Direct the implementation of integrated marketing and sales campaigns to support subscription, single ticket, and group sales goals through traditional tactics as well as contemporary channels of demand-based ticket sales, digital media, direct response, and out-of-home advertising.

 Manage content and messaging for website and digital communications, including targeted email marketing, video production, and social media.

 As the brand manager, develop key messages for all of Overture Center’s external marketing communications providing copywriting and content development.

 Actively collaborate with other Executive Leadership Team members to create the visual assets that dynamically tell the story of Overture’s mission, initiatives, and programming.

 Support marketing and communication efforts across the organization, including development, education, rentals, and community partnership needs.

 Serve as Overture Center’s public relations spokesperson, guiding all media relations including writing and approving press releases, overseeing crisis management, providing timely responses to media requests, and generating consistent local, regional, and national media interest.

Financial Accountability and Data Analytics

 Regularly monitor sales, forecast revenue, and provide analysis of season and single ticket sales throughout the season.

 Prepare annual income goals for earned revenue and create/manage expense budgets for all sales campaigns, institutional marketing, and other related expenses.

 Recommend appropriate demand-based pricing adjustments resulting from sales analysis.

 Conduct and analyze audience and market research to assess audience satisfaction, understand demographic and psychographic profiles, and hone tactics for increasing audience size and market footprint.

 Establish standardized reporting metrics to provide business intelligence regarding direct response rates and website data analytics.

 Fully utilize the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system (Tessitura) ensuring the data integrity of subscription, ticket, and group sales information and supporting appropriate data hygiene and records management.

Audience Accessibility and Community Visibility

 Cultivate opportunities for audience development and community connections that serve and engage underrepresented and marginalized audiences.

 Create strategies that are centered around a feeling of belonging, intentionally developing audiences and inspiring personal participatory experiences in programs.

 Devise and implement audience engagement plans based in quantitative and qualitative research on attending and non-attending audiences, evolving market trends, and contemporary outreach strategies.

 Assess and adapt audience engagement plans based on the markets served, addressing the distinctive community features of the Greater Madison Area.

 Evaluate and set pricing strategies that maximize revenue while ensuring that Overture Center remains accessible to the widest possible audience.

 Establish and cultivate collaborative relationships with industry leaders, board members, media, government and city officials, key business partners, promotional partners, performing arts organizations, and community leaders.

Box Office and Audience Engagement

 Create a customer experience—online, on the phone, at the box office, and in the performance halls—that is at the highest level and documented in standard operating procedures.

 Provide consistent and engaging leadership and training for box office staff.

 Implement customer service training, policies and procedures that incorporate Overture Center’s vision and values around diversity, equity, and inclusion

 Monitor vendor contract compliance for the ticketing customer database, and patron access software, managing renewals, performance standards and fee negotiations.

 Establish audience satisfaction benchmarks and a system for continuous feedback from audience members to support a service-oriented experience with Overture Center that spans all audience touchpoints.

Team Leadership and Administration

 Create a productive and positive work environment for the marketing and communications team.

 Empower and diversify the marketing, communications, and box office teams to better represent the communities that Overture Center serves.

 Manage the performance of the marketing and communications team by providing thorough and thoughtful performance appraisals and feedback.

 Establish and maintain productive and collaborative working relationships with Overture Center staff and board members.

 Inspire a results-driven environment by sharing research and results, revenue and expense projections, and other marketing updates with the marketing team, Executive Leadership Team and board committees as required.


Traits and Characteristics

The CMO will be a gifted collaborator, who puts the well-being of the customers and their staff at the heart of their process. Goal-oriented and forward-thinking, they will lead with inclusion, having the decision-making process a team-supported effort. A diplomatic leader, the CMO will be people-oriented and adaptive to change, while maintaining a customer focus and responsibility for their own and their team’s actions. The CMO will have a passion for the arts and a commitment to communicating that passion in a manner that supports the goals of the Overture Center.

Other key competencies include:

 Diplomacy and Personal Accountability – The facility to address issues and conflicts that may arise with tact and grace, with the self-assurance to take responsibility for one’s actions.

 Futuristic Thinking and Goal Orientation – The capability to imagine, envision, project and/or create strategies and practices that have not yet been actualized to move goals forward.

 Leadership, Decision-making Skills – The ability to create a sense of purpose and influence others to support a vision, while ensuring that timely decisions can be made in the face of any obstacles.

 Understanding of Others and Customer Focus – The capacity to understand and utilize the contributions of others, and anticipate and exceed customer needs and expectations.

Experience and Qualifications

Qualified applicants will have senior management experience and senior-level marketing and communications experience. A proven record of achieving earned revenue results and interpreting statistical data that advances decision making is required. A demonstrable commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential. This role requires the ability to effectively manage a team, work in a fast-paced environment, meet multiple deadlines, organize time and priorities, and collaborate well as a member of the team. Marketing skills in patron loyalty and retention, strategic branding, market research, direct marketing, and digital marketing, including web and social media, are critical to success in the role. Strong written communication and public presentation skills and a passion for the arts are essential. Tessitura or related CRM experience is preferred.

Compensation and Benefits

Overture Center offers a salary range between $130,000 and $140,000 commensurate with experience. The total benefits package includes vacation and holiday time as well as medical, life, vision, and dental insurances, and short- and long-term disability. Retirement benefits are provided through a 401(k) plan, with Overture Center matching 100% of deferrals up to 1%, plus 50% of deferrals over 1% and up to 6% of employee compensation with immediate vesting.

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