Director of Public Policy

01 Jan, 2022


Director of Public Policy

Americans for the Arts
Washington, DC


Americans for the Arts builds recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value of the arts and serves, advances, and leads the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America. The vision of Americans for the Arts is that the arts are recognized as integral to the lives of all people and essential to healthy, vibrant and equitable communities across the nation. Founded in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. Americans for the Arts is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a second office located in New York, NY.


The Government Affairs and Arts Education team advances advocacy and policy priorities at the federal, state, and local levels of government. Team staff work to build advocacy efforts and training for the field at large, grassroots campaigns, policy initiatives, and national coalitions with cultural, civic, and private sector organizations with the goal of influencing public policies that advance direct and indirect support for the arts and arts education. At the federal level, this includes lobbying Congress and the executive branch. At the state and local level, this encompasses supporting a network of state arts and arts education advocacy and services organizations, state arts agencies, local decision makers seeking strong pro-arts public policies and includes partnerships with public sector associations representing elected officials at all levels of government.


The Director of Public Policy works to develop and promote the federal legislative agenda of Americans for the Arts to Congress and the Administration.  Advocacy efforts include direct lobbying; proposing, monitoring, and analyzing legislation; and working in formal and informal coalitions. The Director is responsible for legislative policy development relating to tax policy, technology, education, economic development and other issues considered by both the House and the Senate, the Administration and state and local governments.

The Director of Public Policy will identify policy needs and execute strategies under the direct supervision of the Vice President of Government Affairs and Arts Education. The Director should have a strong background in public policy and legislative affairs, with a minimum of eight years of experience in government affairs, including at least two years’ experience working for the federal government in a legislative/policy capacity. The Director should understand the role of the arts in education and community and economic development, as well as larger policy issues impacting the nonprofit sector (i.e., tax policy) and be able to develop materials and products that advance the policy knowledge of the organization’s members.  The Director works across teams to explain the federal-state-local policy pipeline to key stakeholders and must be oriented to the big picture while remaining focused on details.


Key duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Serve as lobbyist to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for Americans for the Arts’ legislative portfolio, which includes arts funding, tax policy, education, international issues, community and economic development, and other issues as needed
  • Review, analyze and craft federal policy solutions on behalf of the creative workforce
  • Maintain relationships with congressional, committee, federal agency and Administration staff and participate in select stakeholder legislative coalitions. Visit the Hill frequently to maintain and develop congressional contacts.
  • Research and pursue previously untapped federal funding opportunities for the community and economic development arts field, and communicate such opportunities to the organization’s membership through member briefings and Americans for the Arts’ ArtsU platform
  • Submit annual testimony to the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and other committees as appropriate; make aggressive attempts to secure opportunities for live witnesses to testify on behalf of Americans for the Arts
  • Monitor and assess key legislation, policy, research, and media impacting the nonprofit arts industry
  • Review and analyze state policy initiatives to inform and leverage our public sector partnerships Write timely legislative updates, action alerts, blogs, position papers and other communications, and provide relevant content to Americans for the Arts grassroots advocacy, congressional, and legislative news webpages
  • Conduct grassroots policy training workshops as needed
  • Develop, in consultation with the Vice President of Government Affairs & Arts Education, the program areas’ annual budget and maintains it accordingly
  • Assist with fundraising strategies for the government affairs work of Americans for the Arts
  • Execute other projects and assignments given by the Vice President of Government Affairs


  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred (work experience can serve as substitute for postgraduate studies)
  • Eight years of public policy, government affairs, or other political work
  • Detailed knowledge of the federal legislative process
  • Ability to comprehend and explain complex public policy ideas
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • General knowledge of arts and nonprofit issues
  • A positive attitude and an earnest interest in providing quality customer service to our members, stakeholders, and partners
  • Ability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships
  • Ability to work well with a team of peers as well as with stakeholders and partners
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to handle multiple projects
  • Strong Personal Computer (PC) skills including Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Internet research experience, a basic knowledge of any Content Management System (CMS) and basic PC troubleshooting


  • This position works 37.5 hours per week Monday through Friday around core business hours (10:00 am – 4:00 pm ET)
  • Some travel required


Americans for the Arts acknowledges the existence of systemic and structural biases and believes it is necessary to be strategic and intentional in pursuing cultural equity in all aspects of governance, operations, and programming. As an employee, you are expected to:

  • Pursue substantive learning to achieve greater cultural consciousness by attending at least one Americans for the Arts Learning Lab per quarter and/or other professional development opportunities
  • Support adoption of best practices to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work experience for colleagues and external partners
  • Strive to consider the people, places, and cultures that might be missing from your work and look for opportunities to increase inclusivity in all the work you do.
  • Support the mission and vision of Americans for the Arts in all interactions with colleagues, members and stakeholders
  • Encourage colleagues and external stakeholders to advance cultural equity by adhering to the standards outlined in the Staff Values & Behavior Agreement in all interactions


Americans for the Arts believes that one of its greatest strengths is the rich diversity of its staff.

We provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, creed, gender and gender identity or expression, age, mental or physical disability, medical condition, including pregnancy and childbirth, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, genetic information, political belief or activity, veteran or military discharge status, or any other basis protected by local, state or federal law and regulations under Title VII.

The policy applies to all employment practices, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, training and development, promotion, transfer, termination, layoff, compensation, benefits, social and recreational programs, and all other conditions and privileges of employment in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

All employees have the right to work in a workplace that is free of discrimination. Any person who believes they have been subjected to discrimination of any kind should contact their immediate supervisor or Human Resources. All complaints will be thoroughly investigated and any person violating this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. The law prohibits retaliation against any employee for reporting discrimination or perceived discrimination, or for participating in an investigation of incidents of discrimination or perceived discrimination.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2022-01-01