The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Program Officer for Arts and Culture (Performing Arts), New York, NY


The Mellon Foundation (the Foundation) believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and the Foundation believes that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom to be found there. Through its grants, the Foundation seeks to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Mellon makes grants in four core program areas: Arts and Culture (AC); Higher Learning; Humanities in Place; and Public Knowledge.

Reporting to the Program Director for Arts and Culture and managing a small team, this person shapes the Foundation's grantmaking in the performing arts and contributes to the overall strategic direction of the Foundation. The Program Officer will make individual grant recommendations as well as design and launch philanthropic initiatives leveraging the grantmaking, convening, and research assets of the Foundation. The Arts and Culture program's priority is to seed and cultivate the related conditions that enable performing artists to center contemporary performance as a primary vehicle for their creativity. The role will focus on nurturing an ecosystem that centers performing artists, their processes and practices, to ensure that they are empowered to imagine expansively and across time, space, sector, and discipline.

The ideal candidate will be an experienced and recognized leader in the performing arts and a strong collaborator with a broad and an extensive network of artists and practitioners alike. For more information, please visit https://mellon.org/.


  • Manage and monitor relevant program activity, grantmaking budgets, related special initiatives, and the performing arts grants portfolio
  • Invite and evaluate proposals and prepare docket recommendations
  • Oversee the review and reconciliation of grant narratives and financial reports, encouraging a culture of learning and informed decision making
  • Recruit, cultivate, mentor, and supervise a collaborative program staff that endeavors and excels together
  • Proactively engage with other program officers to advance aspects of the Foundation's mission across program areas, such as the Monuments Project, community-based archives, or arts and culture in higher learning
  • Offer internal and external leadership around a breadth of interdisciplinary and emerging practices in the performing arts, particularly for performing artists who regularly work outside traditional institutional structures
  • Foster and strengthen personal and professional networks that enable Mellon to leverage its and its partners' best efforts to further develop the ecosystem needed to support performing artists looking to transcend the confines of performing arts practice, experimenting with how their work is created, delivered, presented, and received
  • Serve as an informed thought partner and problem solver with peers, direct reports, Foundation leadership, and grantees to shape and improve Mellon's programmatic impact and influence in the field
  • Represent the Foundation in meetings with current and prospective grantees, Foundation partners, and professional organizations in the field of arts and culture
  • Attend meetings of the Board of Trustees and succinctly present grantmaking strategies and recommendations
  • Perform additional duties as the AC program may require


  • Demonstrated leadership and expertise in a particular performing arts area such as dance, theater, or music is required, with a minimum of seven to 10 years of leadership experience
  • Demonstrated understanding of the current performing arts ecosystem and trends in performing arts practice, with substantial experience working at the intersection of the arts, social justice, and equity
  • Experience in managing large and complex projects
  • A terminal degree in a relevant field is preferred
  • Facility with data collection and analysis, and working knowledge of, and interest in, applied research
  • Experience in balancing relationships between institutions and individual artists and proven track record in advocating on behalf of individual performing artists
  • An understanding of the historic role of philanthropy in the arts and culture sector
  • An experienced multitasker who requires minimal supervision and can perform within monthly deadlines yet sustain long-term goals
  • Outstanding interpersonal communication, team building, mentoring, and leadership skills
  • Practices leadership with humility
  • Demonstrated fluency in public speaking and written communication
  • Advanced digital and office skills, and ability and willingness to use the Foundation's communication and data management systems
  • Willingness to travel domestically and internationally

Candidates should apply by submitting a thoughtful letter of application and a resume to: MellonAC@PhillipsOppenheim.com. We will consider each response carefully but contact only those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.