Through comprehensive programming, The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts inspires, educates, and empowers an engaged community.
The roots of The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts reach back as far as the Roaring Twenties. The theater now operated by The Reg was first opened in Jamestown, New York, on February 5, 1923, as The Palace Theatre – a “high-class vaudeville house.” In its first three years, the theater would typically show short comedy and feature films both before and after its twice-daily vaudevillian performances.
In 1926, The Palace and its facility was purchased by businessman Nikitas Dipson, who continued its usual programming of film and vaudeville shows until he secured a 20-year lease making The Palace a Warner Brothers theater. Once the lease with Warner Brothers concluded in 1950, an extensive remodel to the facility took place. One of The Palace’s finest moments came in 1956 when it hosted the world premiere of “Forever, Darling” starring Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. The comedy couple visited Jamestown, Ball’s birthplace, to attend the screening, drawing thousands of adoring fans downtown and to the theater to welcome the Hollywood stars in their Western New York visit.
In February 1987, a $3.35 million Palace Civic Center capital campaign was started to completely renovate the old Palace. The Reginald and Elizabeth Lenna Foundation made an early donation of $1 million and by fall the campaign had exceeded its goal by raising $3.5 million. In the following year, the Palace was officially renamed the Reg Lenna Civic Center. Renovation began in 1989. The beautifully restored, 1,269-seat Reg Lenna Civic Center held its grand reopening on October 12, 1990 and soon after received a League of Historic American Theatres award for the quality and workmanship of its restoration.
For several years, The Reg operated side by side with the Arts Council for Chautauqua County. Both organizations saw significant growth with property acquisitions and management, Arts In Education programs with Jamestown Public Schools, the Wright Gallery and Palace Gallery, the start of Infinity Performing Arts, and The Lucy-Desi Museum and Center for Comedy (and the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival). The Arts Council and the Reg Lenna Civic Center continued their partnership through the early 2000s, while Infinity and the Lucy-Desi Center branched off into their own separate endeavors. In 2004, Dennis Drew, a founding member of 10,000 Maniacs and Jamestown native, founded community radio station WRFA-LP 107.9 FM.
By 2012, however, the economic landscape had changed significantly. With funding streams drying up and capacity reaching its limit, the boards of both the Arts Council and the Reg Lenna Civic Center decided to merge their organizations into one. This occurred in the fall of 2013, and the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts was born.
In 2015, staff and board of The Reg - along with regional foundation representatives, Jamestown city officials, and community members - joined with an architectural firm to conceptualize a complete overhaul of The Reg to fully realize the potential of the block as a focus for community arts involvement, and in December 2017, construction began on an extensive renovation encompassing the Center’s seven buildings and over 37,000 square feet. The project included enhancing the lobby, box office, and concession stand; moving the 3rd on 3rd Gallery to street level; creating new offices; remodeling and updating WRFA studios and offices, and creating a community media arts studio. A new digital marquee was installed, and a snow melt system was established along the entire block. In addition, the famous 1878 Buffalo Bill Cody billboard was relocated to a Third Street lounge room dedicated to its public display.
Jamestown is a city in southern Chautauqua County, New York, with a population of 31,000. Jamestown is situated within a three hour drive of Buffalo, Toronto, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Rochester. Located between Lake Erie to the northwest and the Allegheny National Forest to the south, Jamestown is the largest population center in the county. Just minutes from world-renowned Chautauqua Institution on the shores of Chautauqua Lake, the Jamestown area is rich in cultural, educational, and entertainment opportunities including the National Comedy Center which opened its doors in 2019 to much acclaim.
In addition to a strong K-12 public school system, Jamestown is home to Jamestown Community College offering a two-year education and four-year degrees through matriculation agreements with several universities. Recent additions to the campus include a state-of-the-art LEED certified science building and three residence halls. Jamestown Business College, near the downtown core, offers a four-year degree.
On any given day, residents can experience a wide variety of entertainment, food, and shopping options in Lucille Ball’s Hometown. The vibrant performing arts scene offers comedy, music, festivals, and other live events year round. When it comes to dining, Jamestown offers both casual and formal options to suit all tastes.
Jamestown offers all the cultural advantages of a city combined with rural beauty and recreational opportunities including nearby ski resorts, acclaimed golf courses, nature preserves, an ice arena, and water sports on Chautauqua Lake. Boasting two historic districts and hundreds of architecturally significant buildings, visitors will enjoy exploring the scenic downtown and visiting a variety of world-class attractions.
Reporting to the Board of Directors (BOD), the Executive Director (ED) is the Center’s primary ambassador and chief fundraiser. The ED is responsible for the creation and implementation of a strategic development plan for the Center including the expansion and diversification of its development programs emphasizing membership, individual/major donors, planned giving, grant-writing, institutional partnerships, and sponsorships. The ED will build a culture of trust and develop authentic relationship with major donors and key corporate, foundation, civic, and community leaders via a targeted and streamlined stewardship process. The ED holds significant internal and external relationship management responsibility and will represent the Center at all events. As chief administrator, The ED is responsible for financial functions including the creation and management of the annual budget and audit, oversight of data management protocols, donor recognition, and day-to-day operational integrity.
The ED will hire, mentor, and train all staff and will provide performance appraisals and career development opportunities as available. The ED will review, assess, and modify the organizational chart to best meet the Center’s vision and strategic goals.
Roles and Responsibilities
Donor Cultivation/Engagement & Fundraising
Expand and diversify annual giving programs, membership, sponsorship, and institutional giving through strategic and proactive donor and stakeholder engagement.
Significantly grow contributed income within first 18 months.
Proactively develop, implement, and track the performance of long- and short-term strategies for fundraising in partnership with the BOD.
Build board success in fundraising through mentorship and utilization of best practices in fundraising and donor engagement.
Build a strong culture of accountability through regular communication and proactive, accurate reporting of development goals to the BOD.
Leadership and Operational Administration
Develop and foster an internal culture of respect and continuous learning that models transparency and sets the highest standards for visitor experience and operational excellence.
Oversee all day-to-day operations; manage the senior team; and initiate and maintain effective communication with and between board members, staff, and volunteers.
Supervise and mentor staff by setting clear expectations, providing constructive feedback (including regular professional evaluations), and motivating the team.
Design, implement, and execute a strategic development plan designed to significantly increase contributed income.
Ensure that the appropriate organizational structure, policies, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
Embrace other leadership and administrative roles and opportunities as required.
Create a collaborative professional environment focused on inspiring and partnering with the BOD.
Ensure the preparation and monitoring of monthly reporting of the annual budget; manage cash flow; regularly present appropriate balance sheets, income statements and other financial oversight tools for board review.
Ensure the ongoing financial health of the Center by providing sound budgeting, financial management, and analysis.
Provide accurate and timely information to the BOD so it can effectively fulfill its policy, fiduciary, and decision-making responsibilities.
Ensure organizational and fiscal policies, systems, controls, and procedures are in alignment with the Center’s vision and values and are regularly reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness.
Develop and obtain board approval for the Center’s annual budget, adhere to the budget, and ensure the most effective use of the Center’s resources.
Internal and External Advocacy
Actively contribute to a strong and visible public profile for the arts and culture sector in Jamestown and the surrounding area.
Build and maintain strong relationships with funders, government officials, media, and community leaders.
Represent the Center in high-profile community activities and events.
Possess strong aptitude for public speaking and the ability to communicate the Center’s vision and values with credibility, passion, and enthusiasm.
Create a positive and supportive work environment for staff and volunteers.
Utilize and engage the BOD to their fullest potential.
A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of related senior management experience are required. Significant experience in fundraising, including a successful track record of engagement with both corporate and individual donors, is preferred. Expertise in program and organizational development, finance, and teambuilding is necessary. Qualified candidates will have a passion for arts and culture and an enthusiasm for growing an organization’s commitment to excellence, equity, diversity, and access. Superior written and verbal communication, interpersonal, and emotional intelligence skills are key.
Salary and Benefits
Salary commensurate with experience.
Competitive benefits package.
Application and Inquires
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to:
Reg Lenna Center for The Arts is at the heart of the arts and cultural district in Jamestown NY. The Reg showcases a wide variety of events including live concerts, movies, ballet, orchestras, gallery shows and more. The center includes a 1,165 seat historic theater, a multi-media arts studio, pre-function event space, Bill's Place - home of the 1878 Buffalo Bill Billboard, 3rd On 3rd Art Gallery and WRFA-LP 107.9 FM low power community radio station. The Reg showcases a wide variety of events, workshops, gallery shows and is utilized by many community organizations.
Through comprehensive programming, the Reg Lenna Center for The Arts inspires, educates, and empowers an engaged community