Job Opportunities

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) is a unique community destination, hosting arts and cultural events, organizations, and programs in historic buildings and piers along San Francisco’s northern waterfront. In operation since 1977, the nonprofit FMCAC is an extraordinary example of repurposing former military land and buildings for contemporary uses, including museums, performance spaces, and a vibrant schedule of art and cultural exhibitions and events.

Located just inside San Francisco Bay, FMCAC is part of the National Park Service’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The campus is located on a highly desirable, 13-acre waterfront site that is open to the public and offers unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. More than 1.5 million people visit FMCAC annually. FMCAC is a national historic landmark.

Open Position:           President and CEO 
Reports to:                 Board of Directors

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (“FMCAC”) engages and connects people with arts and culture on an historic waterfront campus. We inspire and foster creativity by providing a vibrant gathering place and a home for thought-provoking programs, events, and organizations. 

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture engages audiences with art experiences resonant across its site and within the Bay Area’s art ecology through its programs, events and tenancies.

With an eye to its physical location at the Golden Gate, FMCAC looks to art that expands horizons and inspires new views. It presents artists from near and far who think deeply about art as an encounter, a journey, and a personal exchange. FMCAC invites audiences to approach art as a necessary and public resource enriching the experience of its historic campus, the organization’s place within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and its home in San Francisco. FMCAC uses art in what was the Army’s Port of Embarkation as a launching site for memory, present-tense assembly, and future imagination.

In order to achieve this mission and vision, FMCAC continues to restore, improve and redevelop portions of its historic campus. The short- and medium-term physical improvements envisioned include:

  • Continued development of a welcoming plaza and outdoor seating areas throughout the campus.
  • Rehabilitation of buildings and piers as tenants change or leases are renewed.
  • Improvements in public transportation and connections to the city.
  • Opening up ground floor spaces and improving connections from exterior to interior.
  • Providing direct access to the Bay.

Many of these improvements have commenced and additional actions are programmed for 2020 and beyond.


Pursuing a vision to activate the campus, FMCAC has focused on creating accessible gathering spaces, pedestrian plazas, and presenting free and public art installations. Implementing diversity amongst ground floor residents (restaurants, an art supply store, a coworking space, cafes, a bookstore) activates the buildings making the campus a lively and inviting cultural center. FMCAC has three distinct but complementary programs drawing 1.5 million visitors per year to 15,000 separate events and activities.

  • Residents at Fort Mason

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture hosts nearly two dozen carefully curated nonprofit and arts organizations as permanent rent-paying residents. These permanent organizations are sub-lessees of FMCAC and receive annual support from FMCAC in the form of discounted rent, which allows them to focus on producing original artistic programming and aiding local artists.

  • Rental Venues at Fort Mason

Another area of operations is the rental of piers, gallery, theater, and meeting spaces to others for short term or one-off exhibits, fairs, lectures, festivals, performances, symposia, classes, workshops, and conferences. Some of these focus on reinforcing the arts and culture mission, some purely on revenue generation to support FMCAC and its nonprofit tenants, and some focus on both of these goals. Since 2015, FMCAC has converted several former rental venue spaces to resident tenants to both focus its brand identity and further activate the campus.

  • Fort Mason Center Arts Program

The organization created an arts program that substantially contributes to the sustainability and vitality of FMCAC. The goals of this program are:

    • Enhance FMCAC’s status as an arts leader in the region and beyond.
    • Provide an on-going culturally valuable experience that is accessible to visitors and residents.
    • Create an active campus and compelling sense of place.

While the Fort Mason Center Arts Program is proportionally a small part of its annual budget, it is a very important part of branding as an institution. This arts programming has produced a number of notable exhibitions and events by well-known international and local artists; these have been well-publicized and reviewed and have put FMCAC on the map as an important presenting institution.

Organizational Structure
FMCAC is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors selected across a variety of interests and constituencies. They bring specific skills and experiences to help guide implementation of FMCAC’s mission and vision, as well as their interest in public engagement, creative arts and events, and real estate management. Board members assure the organization’s commitment to the mission and vision, for carrying out the commitments of the National Park Service (“NPS”) lease, for financial monitoring and maintaining financial stability, and for legal and regulatory adherence. There are eight committees of the board, each staffed by one or more senior employees.

The current FMCAC staff is comprised of approximately 30 full-time employees, and up to 50 part-time employees in a calendar year. FMCAC is a seven-days-a-week business, from morning through late nights, reflecting the operations of venue rentals and resident organizations such as theater company productions and performances. Direct reports to the President and CEO include:

  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Director of Capital Projects and Planning
  • Director of Arts Programming and Partnerships
  • Director of Sales
  • Director of External Affairs

Budget and Finance
Prior to 2020 FMCAC has had a $13 million revenue annual operating budget, with net income over the past four years ranging from $2.3 million to $2.9 million. These net income amounts are reinvested in facility maintenance and capital improvements.

FMCAC has three major categories of revenue sources:  short-term venue space rentals (50%), tenant lease revenue from approximately 24 resident organizations (40%), and parking lot operations (10%). FMCAC’s expenses include salaries, direct resident tenant and venue operations, and other general and operating expenses.

FMCAC also maintains required and discretionary operating reserves and capital project reserves.

Major Projects
There are two specific major projects that FMCAC and the National Park Service are currently in active discussions on:

  • Pier 3 (Festival Pavilion). This 50,000 sq. ft. facility requires seismic upgrades as well as overall updates and improvements to continue to function as FMCAC’s major large event venue.
  • Pier 1. This 55,000 square foot pier is the responsibility of NPS; it is not in FMCAC’s lease. It is not used for commercial purposes. NPS and FMCAC are currently in discussions on the best way to bring this restoration and redevelopment opportunity into FMCAC control in order to turn this disused asset into a vibrant addition to the campus.

Organizational Culture
FMCAC is a dynamic organization that has been rapidly developing in focus and public perception for the past decade. There have been a series of successes that have built a common direction and sense of purpose within the NPS and FMCAC. The FMCAC Board of Directors is united on the mission and the vision, and on next steps needed to further implement that vision of an ever more vibrant and financially stable center for arts and culture. There is a positive and mutually supportive respectful relationship between Board and highly motivated and team-oriented staff.

For additional information on Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, please visit www.fortmason.org.

FMCAC has been successful in moving towards a more active and welcoming campus with a respected art program. The Board seeks a visionary leader to build on recent accomplishments and guide the organization through its next phase of evolution, capitalizing on FMCAC’s stunning, unique location on the northern waterfront of San Francisco’s Marina district.

The President and CEO (“CEO”) of FMCAC provides strategic vision and leadership on FMCAC’s relationship with the National Park Service, real estate management, financial strategies, and operations. S/he will ensure the financial stability and long-term viability of the organization; build, lead and motivate high-performing staff and board members; and enhance the organizational culture. The CEO is responsible for all staffing decisions, within the adopted FMCAC budget.

Given the prevailing economic and social uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEO will be required to work collaboratively with board and staff to chart a course of organizational and economic sustainability over the next 12 to 24 months and beyond.

The CEO brings a public presence, to raise the profile and visibility of FMCAC as a hub of community artistic activities, and to build an enthusiastic community of supportive resident organizations.

S/he brings private, nonprofit, or public sector experience working with government regulators, ideally with the National Park Service (“NPS”). Experience with public-private partnerships is highly desired.

The CEO possesses real estate asset management/planning experience, to develop and carry out a leasing plan to further populate and activate the campus with the right vibrant uses, and the ability to develop financial strategies for execution.

S/he brings an appreciation of the arts, including engagement with the arts community and an understanding of arts fundraising.

The CEO possesses an appreciation of both historic preservation and quality architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design, so that every physical improvement adds to a consistent, memorable character for the place.

S/he demonstrates the ability to attract, develop and manage a staff commensurate with the growing level of development activity on the campus. Savvy and skilled people management experience is highly valued.

The President and CEO reports to the Board of Directors, with the Board Chair as the primarily liaison.

Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Organizational Management

  • Ensure the financial and overall health of the organization.
  • Lead the organization, in collaboration with the board and staff, on strategies, techniques, and execution of steps to advance FMCAC’s mission, vision and brand as an arts and cultural organization.
  • Nurture high levels of board engagement.
  • Align staff, board, and the National Park Service on priorities.
  • Strive for excellence and develop consistent professional practices, systems, and processes throughout FMCAC.
  • Recruit the best people into every level of the organization – board, staff, other volunteers.
  • Provide timely feedback, guidance, coaching, and support to the staff.
  • Build talent management programs to develop, reward, and retain top talent.
  • Develop a culture that seeks to understand different perspectives and embraces diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Work with lawyers regarding any legal obligations or issues.

Community Building and Advocacy/External Relations

  • Actively participate in People for the Parks/Presidio.
  • Work with the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the Presidio Trust, the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the Market Street Railway, and others on implementing the Golden Gate Promenade, extension of the historic E-line trolley, and advancing the Northern Waterfront Vision Study.
  • Build relationships with, at a minimum, the San Francisco supervisors for District 2 and District 3 and Mayor’s Office.
  • Build relationships with our senators and congressional delegates and look for funding opportunities.
  • Strengthen and support the Fort Mason Residents’ Group, to develop an active group of supporters for FMCAC initiatives.

National Park Service Relationship

  • Maintain a cordial and mutually supportive relationship with FMCAC’s landlord, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including regular meetings with the General Superintendent and with cognizant staff.
  • Assure that FMCAC meets all terms of our lease with the NPS and with other NPS regulations and guidelines.
  • Work with NPS staff to develop a mutually respectful approach to both historic preservation and campus activation.
  • Working with NPS, develop strategies so that Pier 3 substructure and superstructure work can be undertaken concurrently.
  • Working with NPS, and senators and congressional delegates as appropriate, add a restored and reimagined Pier 1 as a vibrant part of FMCAC.

Real Estate Management

  • Keep abreast of events management trends and best practices.
  • Working with staff, the board, and FMCAC’s real estate broker, develop a master leasing/space programming plan as a guide when re-leasing and re-tenanting opportunities arise in order to fill available spaces and increase campus vibrancy.
  • Work closely with FMCAC’s real estate broker to develop and execute lease terms.
  • Working with staff and board, continue to restore, rehabilitate, and enhance the physical campus buildings and spaces.
  • Working with staff and board, continue execution of the Public Realm Plan.
  • Preserve, protect, and interpret FMCAC’s historic significance.
  • Work with staff to manage architects, landscape architects, estimators, contractors, and others to assure a high level of consistent design integrity throughout the campus.
  • Engaging staff, board, and financial consultants as appropriate, develop, execute, and monitor strategies to finance major projects such as Pier 3 and Pier 1.
  • Investigate ways to better connect FMCAC to the Bay.

Arts Programming

  • Ensure that FMCAC continues to provide innovative programming that fulfills the mission and vision of the organization.
  • Work with staff and Board to build a community of FMCAC enthusiasts in the local art world.
  • Convey FMCAC’s arts vision to opinion leaders in the greater arts community.
  • Investigate possibilities for philanthropic contributions to FMCAC’s arts programs and develop strategies and plans as appropriate.


Education:          A bachelor’s degree required. An advanced degree or certification in a related field, e.g., real estate development, development finance, real estate management, commercial leasing, planning/architecture/landscape architecture/urban design, historic preservation, arts management, nonprofit management, is desirable.

Experience:       Minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in the private, public, or nonprofit sectors, ideally including experience with public/private partnerships.

A well-qualified candidate will bring experience and a demonstrated track record in the following areas:

  • Leading and managing a significant organization or business unit of a larger enterprise, including effective management of finances, business operations, programs, and staff.
  • Leasing commercial space including tenant mix strategies.
  • Successful capital projects.
  • Effectively working with a diverse Board of Directors.
  • Outreach to and collaboration with community and governmental bodies.
  • Activating a network of business and community leaders to benefit the organization.
  • Serving as the public face or spokesperson of an organization.
  • Managing a community center or similar.
  • Managing an arts organization or similar.

The successful candidate will be:

  • Passionate about FMCAC’s mission and vision and respectful of its history
  • Strategic thinker and experienced implementer
  • Results focused
  • A relationship builder, skilled in artfully managing external relations with stakeholder groups
  • Culturally competent, with a commitment to and comfort level with working with a wide array of diverse individuals
  • Collegial, respectful, supportive and empowering of FMCAC’s staff while holding to standards of accountability
  • Skilled at the art of compromise while maximizing FMCAC’s best interests
  • Able to make difficult decisions and articulate the decision rationale
  • Appropriately transparent in communication and information sharing
  • Flexible and collaborative, patient and persistent
  • Trustworthy with demonstrated integrity
  • Receptive to technological advances that serve FMCAC’s programs, audiences and mission

The successful candidate will have:

  • “Deal making” savvy including public-private partnerships
  • Lease negotiation savvy
  • Technical knowledge of real estate re/development
  • An orientation towards marketing and branding to increase visitors
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Compelling communication skills including knowing when and with whom to overcommunicate
  • Ability to collaborate and develop consensus
  • Excellent sense of and track record of effective diplomacy
  • Sense of humor
  • A commitment to an expanding arts program

FMCAC offers a competitive compensation package, including comprehensive benefits, commensurate with experience.

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture is an equal opportunity employer and encourages the candidacy of diverse professionals.

For additional information on this opportunity, please contact:

Sally Carlson                                               Heidi Holzhauer
Managing Partner                                        Partner
sally@carlsonbeck.com                                heidi@carlsonbeck.com