The Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts (Center) on the campus of Boise State University is the premier performance venue for arts, culture, and world-class entertainment in Idaho, fulfilling an important role in the state’s unique identity, quality of life, and economy. Coined by its founders, Harry and Velma Morrison, as “The Peoples’ Theatre,” more than 160,000 individuals visit the Center annually for approximately 160 events. The Center is consistently ranked by Pollstar as one of the top 100 theatres for worldwide ticket sales as well as one of the most frequented university venues in the nation in its size category.
The Center is integral to Boise State's mission to provide arts education and enhance cultural opportunities throughout the region. It presents a diverse range of artistic programming, including the only professional Broadway touring series in Idaho, the Velma V. Morrison Family Theatre Series, and summer camp and performance experiences for youth. As a place where artistic growth is nurtured and experimentation is valued, the Center also provides performance space for local artists and institutions that have developed their work specifically for the surrounding region and community, including the Boise Philharmonic, Ballet Idaho, and Opera Idaho. The university’s theatre, music, and dance departments also utilize the Center facilities extensively for rehearsal and performance.
As an auxiliary unit of Boise State, the Center currently operates on an internal annual budget of approximately $2 million. Annual gross revenues, including gross ticket sales, can reach approximately $8 million. Ninety percent of total annual operating revenue is derived from earned sources, including rental fees and ticket sales. The balance of the Center’s revenue comes from contributed sources, including the Morrison Center Endowment Foundation, Morrison Center Volunteers, general community support, and university support for certain programs and capital improvements. The Center has also established reserves to fund future capital projects. It has a staff of 14 full-time equivalent employees, hundreds of part-time employees, and more than 450 volunteers who provide approximately 29,000 hours of community service annually.
The 2,000-seat Center, with its 10-story stage house, is a significant architectural feature at the west end of the Boise State campus. The academic wing of the structure is home to the Music and Theatre Arts Departments. The Center was officially named a Cultural Ambassador for the City of Boise in 2018.
Boise State University
Boise State University is a public university located on the edge of downtown Boise along the south bank of the Boise River. Originally founded in 1932 by the Episcopal Church, the university became an independent institution in 1934 and has been awarding baccalaureate and master’s degrees since 1965.
Boise State is classified as a doctoral research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The university offers degrees in 190 fields of study. In the fall of 2018, Boise State had a record enrollment of 25,540 students from more than 60 countries and welcomed the largest first-year class in school history for the third year in a row. It is the largest public institution of higher education in the state of Idaho and has the largest graduate school in the state. Among the fun facts about Boise State: it is the only school in the country that offers a master’s degree in Raptor Biology and is recognized as one of the top three universities in the country for outdoor adventure and fly fishing, where one can hook a trout in the shadow of the Morrison Center.
Boise, Idaho, inspires superlatives as one of the best river towns in America (Outside magazine), hottest music cities in America (The Atlantic), fittest towns of the West (Sunset magazine), best cities for raising a family (Forbes), top ten cities for buying a house (Business Insider), and many more. In 2018 Forbes named Boise first among America’s fastest growing cities.
As the capital of Idaho, Boise is the third largest city in the Pacific Northwest, with a metropolitan statistical area population of just more than 700,000 people. Boise is a hub of commerce, innovation, government, and industry and is the headquarters for several major companies, including Albertsons, Micron Technology, Inc., WinCo Foods, Inc., J.R. Simplot Company, Lamb Weston, and Boise Cascade Company. The metropolitan area’s six school districts include several K-12 schools that regularly top lists for effectively preparing students for college. Additionally, the College of Western Idaho is the fastest growing community college in the United States, serving more than 28,000 students annually.
In addition to the Center and the local arts organizations that perform there, Boise is home to the Boise Art Museum, Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Idaho Historical Museum, and Idaho Shakespeare Festival, among many other arts and culture organizations. Sports lovers can enjoy the Boise Hawks (affiliate of the MLB Colorado Rockies), the Idaho Steelheads (affiliate of the NHL Dallas Stars), and a variety of sports from the Boise State Broncos. With mild winters and dry summers, outdoor recreation opportunities abound, including the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt, which is accessible from the Morrison Center. Boise is known as one of the best biking cities in America. Within a 45-minute drive of the city, adventurers can float the Payette and Boise River systems, ski at Bogus Basin, climb more than 500 sport and traditional routes, and mountain bike on hundreds of miles of trails, and more.
The Executive Director (ED) of the Center will report directly to Boise State University’s Chief Financial Officer, who reports directly to the President of the University. The ED will have overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Center. This individual will work with University leadership on the development and implementation of strategies designed to help the Center achieve its programmatic and financial goals within an operating plan and budget formally approved by Boise State. The ED will maintain a high professional profile at the university, in the community, and at regional and national cultural presenting organizations, building relationships to benefit the Center and Boise State in terms of finances, audience development, and local, regional, and national visibility.
Roles and Responsibilities
Programming and Strategic Planning
Oversee all activities that impact the use and rental of the Center, maintaining an overall vision for quality programs that reflect positively on the Center’s brand.
Cultivate relationships with various users to ensure a supportive environment that encourages their continued use of the facility.
Partner with producers to bring a wide selection of entertainment, including Broadway touring, family, and educational programs, while collaborating with Boise State departments and local arts organizations to create synergies and support mutual goals.
Plan, schedule, contract, and evaluate a diverse array of programming activities.
Develop, implement, and update a strategic plan for the Center, consistent with the Boise State strategic plan, articulating mission, values, and goals as the foundation for program and facility development.
Continually reinforce a business model that generates a substantial portion of the Center’s revenue from operating as an effective presenter and landlord.
Institutional Visibility and Community Relations
Act as the public face and voice of the Center, providing leadership locally, regionally, and nationally in the broader arts and cultural community on behalf of the Center and Boise State.
Develop substantial ties to the university and other leaders in the community.
Work collaboratively with the Morrison Center Endowment Foundation, Morrison Center Volunteers, and principal university stakeholders to extend the Center’s reach into communities of potential influence, support, and need.
Advocate for and engage with the regional arts and culture community, identifying opportunities for collaboration and partnership while cultivating and maintaining strong working relationships with faculty and university departments, with the goal of increasing campus and community involvement.
Devise and execute strategies to identify stakeholders and define how key messages will be delivered in order to maximize visibility, brand, and broader and deeper community participation in the Center’s programs.
Fiscal Management and Operations
Lead the day-to-day operations of the Center to ensure audiences, artists, donors, volunteers, staff, vendors, partners, and other stakeholders have an exceptional experience every time they interact with the organization.
Carefully manage the Center’s growth and financial resources in order to protect its stability and maintain an ongoing balanced budget.
Create a positive and rewarding work environment in order to attract and retain skilled employees.
Facilitate programs and activities to meaningfully engage and recognize volunteers.
Ensure a focus on facility and equipment maintenance and improvement, safety management, environmental policy, and contractual compliance.
Confirm that organizational policies, systems, controls, and procedures are in alignment with the Center’s mission and values and are regularly reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness.
Traits and Characteristics
The next ED will be a diplomatic, energetic, and collaborative leader who values service to and engagement with the Center’s many university and community stakeholders. This versatile individual will be a strategic and practical thinker with an entrepreneurial instinct, strong interpersonal skills, and a passion for and sophisticated understanding of the performing arts.
Other key competencies include:
Stakeholder Focus– The commitment to the satisfaction of patrons, resident organizations, university stakeholders, staff, donors, and volunteers, with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs.
Leadership and Personal Accountability – The capacity to organize and motivate other people with a sense of purpose and direction while being accountable for personal and professional actions.
Negotiation – The ability to listen to many points of view, identify and understand needs and issues, and facilitate agreements.
Time and Priority Management – The dexterity to balance timelines and desired outcomes, effectively manage difficulties and delays, and prioritize tasks to stay on schedule.
Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (advanced degree preferred) plus a minimum of seven to 10 years of increasing responsibility in the programming and/or management of a multidisciplinary performing arts facility serving a variety of user groups. Prior experience in a higher education setting is beneficial. Candidates must also possess a deep working knowledge of the presenting field and strong ties to its principals on a national level. Business and financial acumen, experience in facility management, and strong communication skills are required. Qualified applicants must have proven effectiveness in team cultivation, staff development, and collaboration with groups of arts leaders and organizations in the facilitation of a creative environment.
Compensation and Benefits
The Center provides compensation and benefits (including health insurance, retirement plan, paid time off, and holidays) that are competitive with similar positions throughout the United States.
Applications and Inquiries
Please submit a letter and resume with a summary of accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:
Ms. Rebekah Lambert Senior Vice President Arts Consulting Group 818 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 236 Portland, OR 97204-2405