Executive Director- Levitt Pavilion Denver
Los Angeles, Colorado, United States
Levitt Pavilion Denver (LPD) is a grand social initiative that harnesses the power of live music and the performing arts as an outdoor venue to transform audiences into neighbors that share a love for culture and community. LPD finds common ground between people who vary in class, race, and socioeconomic status beyond its free programs and events. While event production is LPD’s main focus, it remains a tool to build a better Denver, and a better world. In the 2022 season, LPD saw almost 140,000 visitors, about 80,000 at their free concerts and about 60,000 at their ticketed events.
LPD opened in 2017 with an open-air stage and state-of-the-art sound and lighting. Its lawn seating utilizes the park’s natural topography, and the venue includes an outdoor concessions plaza and performer amenities. Shortly after it opened, it was nominated by Pollstar as a “Best New Concert Venue” and named by Billboard as “one of the freshest venues to check out”. LPD is also the centerpiece of a 2009 master plan to improve the use of Ruby Hill Park in Denver. LPD is now known as a key Denver music venue, consistently offering free family-friendly programming, while also supporting local musicians by always providing fair pay and above-market rate wages for a more equitable and community driven venue. Ruby Hill Park also includes a mountain bike skills park, a playground, picnic areas, a community garden, football and softball fields, and a winter rail yard.
LPD’s states its mission is “to bridge cultural gaps and to find ways to heal schisms, erase divisions, and embrace differences in the communities we serve. We believe that nothing brings people together better than music; to truly build and revitalize communities around it, it has to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.” LPD endeavors to build community through free-to-access music and has a firm commitment to hire local talent – not only in the musicians and artists who are paid an above-market rate, but also the staff and sponsors. LPD also invests in the next generation of creative artists through its Bodies of Culture program, an initiative that “supports BIPOC youth in the Greater Denver Area to participate in music through initiatives that celebrate cultural identity and self-expression, understand the healing power of music, and empower musical self-discovery and exploration.”
LPD offers 50 free concerts yearly, comprising of local, regional, national and international acts and spanning a wide variety of musical genres. Since 2017, the total value of these free concert, based on ticket pricing across the United States, is over $32 million. In addition, 15 to 20 ticketed concerts were offered through a partnership with Live Nation, and the venue is available for event rentals.
In 2021, through a multi-stakeholder process, LPD created a strategic plan with the desire to make the Levitt Pavilion a world-class music and performing arts venue for the Greater Denver area. Key elements to be developed and implemented under the new Executive Director include improvements in marketing strategy, supporting the new initiatives being outlined, and additional board development; ideally community driven and data-led to increase cultural partnerships and the developments of these programs.
In the future, LPD wishes to program a more varied roster of concerts, making their offerings attractive to a wider, more diverse audience, reflective of the neighborhoods surrounding the venue and inclusive of the Denver community at large, both in programming and artists performing on stage. An emphasis on community-engaged music going and outreach will be included in this process, as will assuring bilingual access. Further, the plan raises the question of an off-season presence for LPD, to “sustain attention and loyalty”.
With a visionary Executive Director, LPD will begin to establish its artistic staff as “thought leaders” in the public eye and in the arts and music community, bringing the venue’s visibility and impact to the forefront of Denver’s competitive music scene.
LPD is part of a three-pronged public and private partnership between Denver Parks and Recreation, the Friends of Levitt Pavilion, and the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. The Levitt Foundation has other permanent venues on public land in Los Angeles, CA; Arlington, TX; Westport, CT; Bethlehem, PA; Sioux Falls, SD, and Dayton, OH, with more planned. Levitt Pavilion Denver consists of a 16-member Board of Directors and a staff of approximately six full-time workers and 156 seasonal staff. For the fiscal year ending 2021, reported total revenue was $3.5 million, with $3.2 million from sponsors, donors, grants, and concessions.
Denver, Colorado’s Mile High City, sits at the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains and enjoys 300 days of sun per year. Approximately 716,000 residents live in the city and almost 3 million people live in the greater metropolitan area. The demographics of Denver are representative of a diverse community, with a population breakdown as follows: 50% White, 29% Hispanic, and 10% Black, with the remaining population belonging to mixed race, American Indian, Native Hawai’ian and other Pacific Islanders.
Founded in the mid-1800s on the traditional territories and ancestral homelands of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations, Ruby Hill Park and the Levitt Pavilion are on the ancestral land of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ peoples. According to the ACSM American Fitness Index, Denver is the fourth-fittest city in the United States due to its affordable healthcare and more than 5,000 acres of parks, trails, golf courses, playgrounds, hiking, biking, and year-long mountain adventures.
Denver’s central downtown area is thriving with shops, restaurants, nightspots, and galleries. A mile-long pedestrian mall cuts through the heart of the city near the United States Mint, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The addition of three new stadiums within the last seven years for the Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Broncos shows the embrace of the professional sports teams in the state.
Highlighting the rich cultures of the area, special events celebrating diversity happen year-round, including Denver March Powwow, one of the nation’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations; Colorado Irish Festival; Colorado Gay Rodeo; Denver PrideFest; Museo de las Americas; and Art District on Santa Fe. The Five Points neighborhood is home to the Black American West Museum and the Five Points Jazz Festival. Denver is also home to the University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver, and Regis University, among others.
Sources: levittdenver.org; denvergov.org; denver.org; homeia.com; msudenver.edu; hometodenver.com; denver.org/blog/post/levitt-pavilion-denver; census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/denvercitycolorado, denvercountycolorado/PST045221
The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer of Friends of Levitt Pavilion Denver, the 501©3 that operates the Levitt Pavilion Denver. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. Partnership and communication are key to collaboration between the board, the Executive Director, and the community. While the performing arts are an important part of the arts and culture sector, the Executive Director of LPD will leverage the communal power of free live performances to bring together diverse audiences for social impact. Serving as a caretaker for the citizens of Denver, the staff of LPD, and an international community of artists and musicians, the Executive Director will harness the synergies between these various stakeholders to create a place of rejuvenation for all who come to support the arts, and each other.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Initiative and Thought Leadership
Guide the organization’s strategic direction in alignment with the mission, vision, and values of the Levitt Foundation and the national network of Levitt venues.
Leverage the role that technology can play in supporting LPD’s reach and connection with audiences.
Contribute to the growing understanding of how free access to community hubs can positively affect change within urban environments.
Understand the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on live performing arts, and how presenters are adapting their practices to serve re-emerging audiences.
Program and Community Development
Maintain a deep understanding of current programming trends in the performing arts, including international music and arts festivals.
Understand the local music and performing arts markets, with a keen awareness of what draws audiences to live venues.
Engage with local community leaders to better understand the needs of Denver’s diverse constituents.
Maintain an open line of communication and ongoing collaboration with the Recreation & Parks Department as well as Denver’s city leadership to ensure ongoing site maintenance and improvements that support LPD’s programming and events.
Tailor program offerings to the particular demographics of Denver, with attention to co-habitation of several communities within a single event.
Develop relationships with local public transit systems to ensure events are accessible to communities that live outside of LPD’s immediate area.
Operation and Financial Oversight
Oversee all operations, staff and financial reporting for LPD, ensuring that the organization is always adequately resourced.
Create an environment that supports the retention of employees, providing opportunities for growth and training.
Ensure that all internal and external reports are delivered in a timely manner.
Develop financial projections, budgets, policies, and standard operating procedures for LPD.
Certify that LPD complies with all local, regional, and federal rules and regulations as it carries out its mandate.
Engage with legal counsel, as needed, in representing and negotiating contractual matters with partner organizations, agents, promoters, presenters, touring groups, ensembles, musicians, and other independent contractors.
Maintain relationships with vendor and service providers to ensure maximal benefit for LPD’s stakeholders.
Establish that LPD is always a safe environment for the staff and public, ensuring that real estate and facilities always exhibit the highest degrees of maintenance and functionality, as well as plan for future capitalization needs.
Board Collaboration and Fundraising
Communicate with board and committee chairs regularly.
Assist the board with the preparation and dissemination of materials for all meetings.
Guide the board, staff, and volunteers in strategic development activities so that they can more effectively develop authentic relationships with individual major gift prospects, grants, and foundations.
Diversify sources of funding so that LPD can continue to fulfill its mandate of providing free, accessible events for the public.
Identify potential board and committee members in collaboration with the board.
Ensure year-over-year growth in Ruby Star Membership program, LPD’s primary fundraising tool to engage individual and corporate giving.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a leader who puts the well-being and care of the community and the organization’s staff at the center of their professional activities. They are driven by new ideas and seek opportunities outside of the quotidian ways of viewing problems. They strive for balance and seek to reconcile the viewpoints around them. They are collaborators at heart, seeking inclusive input from various stakeholders.
Other key competencies include:
Personal Accountability and Diplomacy – The capacity to take responsibility for one’s actions and strive to improve based on feedback, while addressing any issues that arise from their actions with tact and grace.
Leadership and Interpersonal Skills – The ability to inspire and guide others towards strategic risk-taking for the improvement of the organization, while demonstrating a sensitivity to the impact of any action on individuals in a prompt manner.
Project Management, Negotiation, and Teamwork – The capability to ensure that the organization runs smoothly, addressing any larger issues while building an effective team to implement the details.
Qualified applicants should have a minimum of eight to 10 years of related senior management experience in creative industries. A successful track record of best business practices in the nonprofit, corporate, arts education, or music presenting sectors with demonstrable leadership in generating mission impact, donor stewardship, fundraising and fiscal management skills are needed. A deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and community engagement is required. Proficiency in business management software, customer relationship management tools, and other operating systems is expected.
Compensation and Benefits
Levitt Pavilion Denver provides a competitive and equitable compensation package for a full-time position with an estimated salary range between $135,000 and $175,000. In accordance with standard operating hours of a venue, an average of 50 evenings will be required for event oversight and management. Other benefits include an “unlimited” time off structure that demands working on certain holidays during the season when there is a show and medical and dental insurances.