Recess is Seeking a Co-Director

Recess seeks a Co-Director to work alongside Artist & Co-Director, Shaun Leonardo.  This is a unique opportunity for a leader to fully integrate into a multifaceted organizational ecosystem with a shared power structure. The Co-Director will collaborate with all members of our very involved and invested community including staff, board, artists, youth, partners and stakeholders. 

About Recess

Recess believes in artists as visionaries within an ecosystem of care and accountability. We, therefore, work with artists, system-impacted individuals, and community partners to continually foster a holistic effort toward fairness and wellness across our organization. By pursuing new models internally (staff, operations, board governance) as well as externally (programs, fundraising, communications) we can realize our mission with integrity and proliferate this ethos of care that constantly strives toward the abolition of interlocked systems of harm.

Recess partners with artists to build a more just and equitable creative community. By welcoming radical thinkers to imagine and shape networks of resilience and safety, Recess defines and advances the possibilities of contemporary art.

Our programs offer space and resources to generate art, ideas and actions that challenge dominant narratives and activate new forms. Recess is always free and open to the public to serve as a meeting place for meaningful exchange across a multiplicity of communities.

Co-Director Role

Recess seeks a forward-thinking, mission-aligned Co-Director to lead and manage the organization, as well as strategize and envision a future in line with the organization’s core values: our belief in creative reimagination toward social change, artist & youth driven initiatives and decision-making through a racial justice lens.  The Co-Director reports to Recess’s Board of Directors; runs the organization with the support of the leadership team; and is responsible for a budget of $2.5M and a staff of 9 members. This is a full-time position, with built in studio time for artist applicants.  Work is conducted in-person at our space in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

The ideal candidate will have a deep and personal understanding of art and relationships with artists, as well as experience in organizing and advocacy efforts.  They will come with experience supporting community-engaged art practices, nonprofit management, finance and fundraising, and ability to work collaboratively within a shared power leadership model.  The Co-Director will offer a desire to work with a broad range of partners and an ability to articulate Recess’s mission and vision within and outside of the organization.  The Co-Director must share our passion and commitment to equity through an abolitionist lens.


    • Advance a strategic vision for Recess’s work and ensure that decision-making is led by shared strategy and values
    • Provide support for staff to actualize strategic vision and priorities
    • Ensure that all programs, projects, and other activities align with Recess’s values
    • Engage in ongoing evaluation to hone existing programs and spearhead new initiatives
    • Collaborate with and engage the Recess Board of Directors
    • Strengthen existing relationships and cultivate new partnerships with institutional funders (foundations, government, and corporate) 
    • Build Recess’s individual donor base through our community building framework
    • Diversify funding sources to ensure organizational stability
    • Create and manage the organizational budget of 2.5M
    • Conceive of continuous resource mobilization to our creative community
    • Steward Recess’s meaningful relationships with our community members and partners
    • Increase awareness of Recess and our partners’ mission; Be a visible public voice for Recess and serve as a model for staff and board members to be spokespeople
    • Identify funding opportunities and resource acquisition that expand and deepen our work
    • Care for and remain accountable to Recess’s staff, board, and supporters
    • Guide Recess branding, messaging, and communications 
    • Serve as a thought leader in the fields in which Recess operates
    • Co-lead our passionate team with care for, and accountability to, our constituents 
    • Source professional development opportunities for all staff 
    • Lead with creativity, curiosity, collaborative practice, and authentic relationship building
    • Continue to build a team of individuals with relevant skills, training, and lived experience 
    • Provide direct support and supervision to staff
    • Maintain personal, authentic relationships with artists and youth
    • Partner with board to recruit and train new members 
    • Develop organizational infrastructure and systems to manage risk, support the organization’s needs, and plans for its future 
    • Ensure that organizational structures, policies, and procedures are consistent with our values and are continually evolving 
    • Support evaluation and learning to push against the edges of policy and possibility

Skills and Experience:

Recess thrives at the intersection of art, community building, and justice.  The Co-Director must be able to show proficiency in and build credibility with partners and staff.

Core Qualities

  • Art and artists — Demonstration of strong passion for art, relationships with artists, and knowledge of the creative field, whether through formal training and/or lived experience
  • Community-engaged creative practice — Experience successfully leading community-engaged art or other participatory creative practice from an abolitionist perspective that centers directly impacted communities
  • Lived experience — Cultural competency needed to participate in and facilitate conversations on issues related to power, race, oppression, and justice

Alignment with Recess’s values

  • Strong belief in expertise of artists and system-impacted communities to build power to support social change
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial justice and ability to apply an abolitionist lens to Recess’s policies, processes, programs, budgets, and communications. 
  • Remain flexible and responsive to evolving conditions

Organizational leadership experience

  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in a relevant field
  • Prior leadership of an organization, department, or other unit of multiple staff members 
  • Demonstrated ability to raise revenue from diverse sources
  • Proven track record managing an annual budget of at least $1M
  • Experience with program oversight, financial reporting and evaluation 

People, culture & collaboration

  • A track record building, developing, and empowering strong, collaborative teams 
  • Demonstrated experience creating a work culture of care and accountability 
  • Ability to build transparent and trusting relationships with broad range of stakeholders


  • Track record articulating compelling, clear narratives that engage all audiences
  • Strong communication skills, with clear and transparent messaging both internally and externally
  • Track record as a compelling public speaker and writer

Reports to Board of Directors
Salary: 120k. Includes health, dental, vision benefits; 401K plan.
Position start date: February 2023
Schedule: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm; occasional events and programs outside regular hours

Timeline & Selection Process

Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm on November 20, 2022. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we encourage applicants to submit their materials early.

A committee made up of Recess staff and board members will review all complete applications and schedule interviews on a rolling basis. Finalists may be asked to complete a short assignment, and will be compensated for their time.  Applicants will receive an update on their submission by 12/15. Expected start date for the role is February, 2023.

Application Instructions

If you are interested in the position, please apply online via Submittable.

To apply, you will need to create an account on Submittable, fill in your contact information, and upload the following materials:

  • A cover letter, in which you address why you are interested in this position, how your experience qualifies you for it, and why you wish to lead Recess;
  • A current resume;
  • A short writing sample (3 pages maximum), preferably that demonstrates your ability to write about a topic that is relevant to Recess’s work;
  • A list of 3 references, including name, how you know them, and their contact information. (No need to provide letters. We will not contact these references until later stages in the review process and will let you know before we do so.)

Please note that we will NOT review applications that do not provide all requested materials.

Recess is an equal opportunity employer and considers all candidates for employment regardless of age, color, sex, gender identity or expression, disability, national origin, ethnicity, race, religion, veteran status, housing status, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, or previous homelessness or legal system involvement.
Note of Encouragement: Statistics show that individuals coming from historically excluded or oppressed groups apply to jobs only if they meet every qualification. Recess invites you to skew that statistic. Applicants rarely meet 100% of the qualifications. We look forward to hearing from you.