California Institute of the Arts and REDCAT

Steven D. Lavine Executive Director of REDCAT and Vice President for Cultural Partnerships, Los Angeles, CA


The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) seeks a bold leader to chart the future for innovation and experimentation in the arts internationally through its vibrant downtown Los Angeles gallery and performance space, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT),which islocated in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, and by extending the mission of CalArts further into greater Los Angeles, the United States, and the world. By engaging the large and diverse cultural scene of Los Angeles, and by supporting the Institute's half-century tradition of generating and leading the experimental edge of contemporary culture in all the arts, the ideal candidate for the position of Executive Director and Vice President will energetically connect REDCAT and CalArts to the diverse and thriving community of artists in Los Angeles, while also bringing artists of international interest to the LA community. In collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, this new leader will further activate REDCAT as a nexus of the contemporary arts in downtown LA and firmly establish the concept of REDCAT beyond Southern California.


The Executive Director of REDCAT and Vice President for Cultural Partnerships will report to the President of CalArts and will build a team that maps experimental cultural territory others only later explore. We seek candidates who will:

  • Continue the groundbreaking leadership in contemporary experimentation and culture for which REDCAT and CalArts are known;
  • Boldly define the space between emerging and established art and artists through programming and partnerships;
  • Inspire artists, staff, the Institute community, and patrons with ideas and powerful interpersonal skills; be a leader who can energize, collaborate, mentor, and delegate;
  • Arrive connected and respected within the international arts community;
  • Be a willing, talented, and tested fundraiser who raises resources and builds and maintains long-term relationships successfully;
  • Team with CalArts's faculty and staff to develop and make manifest a bold vision for REDCAT and CalArts's cultural partnerships.

Objectives in support of the above include but are not limited to:

External Priorities

  • Affirm and advance REDCAT's institutional identity as a can't-miss destination for artistic innovation; enhance overall visibility regionally, nationally, and internationally;
  • Expand the activity of REDCAT and CalArts beyond the walls of its physical footprint;
  • Cultivate relationships with artists and emerging movements in the contemporary arts;
  • Connect with and capitalize on REDCAT's unique access to the future of talent and content at CalArts, while ensuring it remains programmatically relevant and autonomous;
  • Continue to define REDCAT's audiences clearly and expansively; expand the rules of engagement for artists and audience in response to dramatic shifts in technology, artistic practice, and innovation;
  • Develop collaborative relationships between CalArts and established and emerging players in the region, and institutional peers and leaders in the global cultural world;
  • Be a prominent external fundraiser in conjunction with CalArts's advancement operations that at once builds community, civic support, trust, and financial security.

Internal Priorities

  • Establish a transparent, proactive, and collaborative workplace that includes open communication across the organization and with the Institute;
  • Be an integral part of Institute leadership as a part of the President's senior staff;
  • Supervise, retain, and recruit a highly qualified professional staff; provide clear direction, empower, and hold accountable staff and partners for specific and collective performance;
  • Collaborate with centralized Institute operations (e.g., advancement, communications, human resources, etc.) for the betterment of REDCAT;
  • Ensure and promote a diverse and inclusive REDCAT in programming, outreach, staffing, and culture;
  • Develop close relationships with the members of the REDCAT Advisory Council; find ways to bring forth new ideas, new resources, and prospective members;
  • Lead constituents in an inclusive process to envision and execute a strategy for REDCAT that aligns with the Institute's current planning efforts;
  • Model institutional best practices with respect to governance, programming, presentation, and facilities.


The Executive Director and Vice President must have or be:

  • A background in an arts field with a demonstrated level of accomplishment;
  • Deeply committed to the multidisciplinary nature of REDCAT and CalArts;
  • An innovator, with a vision for the future of creative expression and how to realize it;
  • A tested, enthusiastic, and effective fundraiser;
  • Proactive and committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a demonstrated track record;
  • Accessible and collaborative, generous of spirit, outgoing, organized, hard-working, humorous, and one who enjoys the social demands of an externally oriented senior management role;
  • Strong organizational skills; effective under pressure; the ability to manage competing demands and remain focused while multitasking;
  • The experience, ability, and acumen to manage financial operations heavily reliant on fundraising;
  • A deft leader who finds strength when working as part of a team and has the ability to delegate to her or his own staff and ensure goals are achieved;
  • Credibility and extensive experience in the field, and the networks to support both;
  • Excellent communication skills; inclusive and astute;
  • Good judgment and integrity; compassionate yet decisive;
  • An entrepreneurial spirit with a track record of coalescing others around objectives and proceeding with determination until their successful implementation.


Deep into his fabled career, Walt Disney conceived of a new school for nurturing future generations of creative talent: a multidisciplinary "community of the arts" built around the real-life experience of working artists instead of the conventions of the academy. Moreover, the school would remove the walls separating the creative disciplines and encourage artists from different branches to mix and collaborate as a way of sparking new ideas and methods. Walt and his brother Roy started making this vision a reality in 1961 when they formed California Institute of the Arts through the merger of two existing LA schools for art and music.

A decade later, in 1971, the new college, CalArts, opened its doors to offer programs in art, design, film, music, theater and dance. It turned out to be a fiercely countercultural version of Walt's utopian concept, and the Institute immediately became prominent as an incubator of artistic originality.

In the half-century since then, successive generations of innovators from CalArts have set the leading edge of contemporary artistic practice from conceptualism, feminist art and design, video art, and computer music to the Disney Renaissance, Pixar Revolution, and SpongeBob; from interdisciplinary performance art and digital design to the latest directions in creative music, interactive media, hybrid arts, and immersive experience.

Along the way, the Institute and its alumni have helped fuel the rise of a multifaceted LA creative scene that is among the most dynamic in the world, and inspired similarly enterprising artistic communities across Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Today's CalArts community high-achieving, eclectic, globally connected encompasses a greater breadth and diversity of artmaking than at any point in the Institute's history.

An all-inclusive community for authentic voices, CalArts today offers more than 70 comprehensive degree programs in the visual, performing, media, and literary arts through its six Schools Art, Theater, Critical Studies, Film/Video, the Herb Alpert School of Music, and the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance.

The CalArts faculty of more than 350 are professionally active in their disciplines of expertise. The student body, numbering slightly under 1,500, is multigenerational and multidisciplinary, and pursues study in consistently top-ranked programs of art, theater, film, animation, music, dance, writing, and aesthetics and politics. The students are exceptionally diverse, hailing from across the United States and from 47 countries, with students of color representing more than half of the population. The Institute is also highly selective relative to many arts institutions, taking on average only one of every four applicants, with 91 percent of attendees receiving financial aid.

CalArts has an active international Board of Trustees which, along with the President, oversees the Institute, including REDCAT. The Institute also has an advisory Board of Overseers based in New York City and a REDCAT Council that provides advice and support for REDCAT's programming and operations.

In recent years, CalArts has experienced steady growth; it's operating budget for this coming fiscal year is just over $70 million, approximately 75 percent of which is generated by tuition and fees, with the rest coming from donations, investment earnings, and other revenue sources. The endowment is currently over $170 million. To learn more about CalArts, please see https://calarts.edu.


Thirty miles away from CalArts' campus, in the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) is a multidisciplinary downtown lab for innovative visual, performing, and media arts. Launched by CalArts in 2003 and led by founding Executive Director Mark Murphy for its first 16 years, the purpose of REDCAT is to extend the mission of CalArts that of incubating experimental, new work and bringing new voices to the cultural sector into a professional venue in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Through performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences to the most influential, and often challenging, contemporary developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in the region the creative platform they need to achieve national and international stature. Called "The gold standard of the avant garde in LA" by The Huffington Post, programming at REDCAT in the performance space has been thus defined by four main strands: work by high-profile international artists; work by cutting-edge Southern California-based artists; community service programming; and work related to CalArts (including Herb Alpert Award recipients, alumni, faculty, and students). Many of the visiting artists featured at REDCAT come to campus to give lectures, lead workshops, and conduct master classes. The Gallery at REDCAT has focused on experimentation through commissions that often mark the first major US presentation by artists, as well as by connecting artists and their work to other fields and disciplines. REDCAT is known for launching the careers of many who, in turn, influence and inform our culture and become internationally prominent. This success has come, not only from invited guests, but also from among its programmatic staff.

REDCAT currently has an annual operating budget of approximately $2.4 million, of which a little more than 10 percent comes from CalArts through direct and in-kind support, and $1.5 million is contributed, half of which is raised at an annual gala. Earned revenue garners another $400,000, and a final $400,000 is culled in a conservative draw on the $8 million to $9 million endowment. Rent within the Disney complex is a delightfully affordable $1.00 a year.

REDCAT has been presenting more than 150 critically acclaimed productions annually with a team of nine (eight full-time) in its 219- to 277-seat theater. The Gallery is free to the public and has presented about four exhibitions a year. Historically, approximately 60 percent of the REDCAT annual program has been related to the CalArts community. For more information, please visit https://www.redcat.org/.

CalArts recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its community and integral to an arts education. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected characteristic as established by law. CalArts is an equal opportunity employer.

Applications and nominations are requested to be submitted to the attention of

Sarah James and Becky Klein at REDCAT@PhillipsOppenheim.com.