Executive Director

National Council for the Traditional Arts

Celebrating 90 years of folk and traditional arts programs

Silver Spring, MD

Work Location: In-office

Nonprofit Service Organization

  • Full Time
  • Silver Spring, MD (Remote)
  • Sat, Sep 30, 2023
  • Work Location: In-office
  • Nonprofit Service Organization
  • $0.00

Website National Council for the Traditional Arts

Celebrating 90 years of folk and traditional arts programs

National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA)
Position: Executive Director
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland (Washington, D.C. area)
The National Council for the Traditional Arts is a leader in the field of folk and traditional arts, and the originator of the nation’s longest-running multi-ethnic traditional-arts festival, known as the National Folk Festival. We seek a dynamic Executive Director to secure the organization’s future well into the 21st century. The ideal candidate will be a confident, proven leader and institution builder with a passion for the NCTA’s mission, vision and values.

The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the nation’s oldest producing and presenting organization with such a focus. Its programs celebrate deeply rooted cultural expressions—music, dance, crafts, rituals, foodways and stories passed on through time in families, communities, tribal, ethnic, regional and occupational groups.

NCTA’s flagship event is the National Folk Festival (NFF), first staged in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1934, and held most recently in Salisbury, Maryland. Since the 1980s, NCTA has presented a three-day, admission-free event in a different city or town for a three-year period, typically attracting audiences of more than 150,000. Host cities are encouraged to carry forward the festival under a new name at the end of the residency, and may seek services and support from NCTA if desired. There are five NFF legacy events currently in operation.

NCTA enjoys longstanding cooperative agreements with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Park Service (NPS). For many years, the organization has assisted NEA with the annual production of ceremonies honoring recipients of the National Heritage Fellowship, and has produced programming in partnership with the NPS.

Since the mid-1970s, NCTA has, when possible, organized touring programs, international cultural exchanges, workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions, media productions, school programs, and other activities. Whenever possible, the organization provides assistance and support for traditional artists and public folk-arts coordinators.

Staffing and Operating Budget
The NCTA currently employs 15 full- and part-time staff members, some of whom work remotely. The annual operating budget in recent years is typically around $2 million.

The NCTA’s offices are located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. Silver Spring is a major business, entertainment, dining, residential and transportation hub situated at the north apex of Washington, D.C. Over the past 15 years, the area has undergone extensive redevelopment. There is nearby access to public transportation, including Metrorail. The Red Line station is located four blocks from the office, with a travel time to downtown Washington of 35-45 minutes.

Position Summary
The Executive Director will direct the overall operations of the NCTA and its activities including administrative and financial management, strategic planning, fundraising, marketing, the hiring and management of staff, board relations, and oversight of event/project planning, programming and production.

The Executive Director is responsible for implementing the policies and directives of the NCTA Board of Directors and is expected to keep in close communication with the board’s executive committee through regularly scheduled meetings.

The Executive Director is expected to be present in the office when not traveling for business purposes.

The Executive Director of NCTA should have a proven track record as an effective manager and administrator in a small- to medium-sized nonprofit organization with the ability to raise funds from a variety of sources, including foundations, government agencies, and individuals.

Experience with the production of large-scale performing-arts festivals will be a significant advantage. Knowledge of and professional training in the fields of folk and traditional arts, folklore, and ethnomusicology are highly desirable, but not necessarily required if the candidate has demonstrated abilities to successfully manage nonprofit cultural organizations and to quickly master new subject matter.

The Executive Director must be able to develop detailed annual operating budgets and to provide careful and accurate financial oversight.

Superior communication skills are essential.

The ability to inspire teamwork and confidence within the staff, some of whom work remotely, is of paramount importance.

Competitive compensation, commensurate with experience. Benefits package includes health insurance, paid time off and holidays, and participation in the company retirement plan.

For more information, or to submit a cover letter and resumé with a summary of accomplishments and a minimum of three professional references, contact:

Via email (preferred) : edsearch@ncta-usa.org

Via mail: ED Search Committee
c/o National Council for the Traditional Arts
8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 450
Silver Spring, MD 20910


To apply for this job please visit ncta-usa.org.