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Recreation and Arts Director

Recreation and Arts Director

Santa Monica, CA, USA

Santa Monica, CA, USA

City of Santa Monica

Bryan Noblett and Greg Nelson


Lead Recruiter

Recreation and Arts Director

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Santa Monica, a world-renowned city ideally located on the beautiful Southern California coast, seeks a Recreation and Arts Director to lead the newly formed department and to provide visionary leadership as the community emerges from the pandemic. The next Director will have a hallmark career opportunity to assist the city in recapturing and reimagining the delivery of recreation services, along with ensuring arts and culture are embedded in this highly engaged and frequently visited community.


The City of Santa Monica is a beautiful beachfront community of 8.3 square miles, but with a significantly large feel and impact. Home to some 91,000 residents, Santa Monica has earned an international reputation as a progressive and forward-thinking municipality well known for its high quality of life, innovative programs and service delivery, a highly engaged community, along with a strong commitment to social and economic diversity, fair housing, the arts, and sustainability.

Residents, businesses, and visitors alike are attracted to Santa Monica, a community-centered, multi-cultural beach town, because of its desirable location and world-class amenities. The city offers beautiful neighborhoods, world famous beaches, the iconic Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, a thriving arts community, beloved local restaurants, excellent schools, exceptional health care providers, award-winning City facilities, and delightful weather.


The City of Santa Monica recently undertook a reorganization, dividing its Community Services Department into two separate departments in order to give each greater focus on their specific service areas. As a result, the Recreation and Arts Department is a new department within the City with the mission to be responsive to the community’s recreational, arts, and cultural service needs. The next Director will work closely with the City Manager and City Executive Team to develop and implement the budget for the department going forward.

The Director will oversee a proposed FY 23-24 budget of $13.2 million in this new department made up of approximately 43 FTE’s. The successful candidate will be assisted in leading the department by a Community Recreation Manager and a Cultural Affairs Manager. In addition, the next Director will have the opportunity to work closely with Santa Monica’s Recreation and Parks Commission and with the Arts Commission as a means of including this highly engaged community in these service areas.


This at-will position is a key member of the City Manager’s Executive Team. The Recreation and Arts Director directs and manages the activities and operations of the Department of Recreation and Arts, including administrative coordination of the arts, event facilities, sports and recreation and community program functions; meets with community leaders, civic organizations, and community members to stimulate interest in recreational and cultural activities; establishes budget priorities based on revenue and expenditure trends, makes adjustments as necessary, directs budget preparation and control, including the development and implementation of fee for service and other revenue producing programs in addition to pursuing partnership opportunities; and formulates and administers programs designed to ensure access to community, cultural, and recreational opportunities that meet the needs and interests of the entire community.

The new Recreation and Arts Director will have exceptional management, interpersonal, and communication skills, with a hands-on and proactive approach to addressing a broad range of challenges and opportunities related to recreation, culture, and arts. The successful candidate must value relationships and be an empowering leader who encourages innovation and problem solving while holding people accountable for quality work. In addition, the new Director will be an experienced collaborator who has a demonstrated ability to work with stakeholders from the community, the City organization, other governmental and non-governmental organizations, and others to deliver quality services to Santa Monica residents and visitors alike.


The following are the minimum qualifications for the position of Director of Recreation and Arts:

  • Education: Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s degree.

  • Experience: Seven years of recent, paid progressively responsible professional work experience in a public organization administering and managing a variety of programs, services, and projects related to cultural, recreational, or community service programs designed to promote the community and/or promote participation in such activities.


The annual salary range for the Recreation and Arts Director is up to $225,000. Placement within the range is negotiable and dependent upon qualifications (DOQ).

Santa Monica offers an outstanding benefits package which includes retirement benefits provided by CalPERS. Employees who are Classic members of CalPERS or a reciprocal system, but new to the City of Santa Monica will be enrolled in the CalPERS 2% @ 55 benefit formula. Employees who are new CalPERS members (those obtaining initial membership on or about January 1, 2013), will be enrolled in the CalPERS 2% @ 62 benefit formula. Other benefits include a 457 deferred compensation plan, with City contributions, as well as retiree medical benefits.


This recruitment will be handled with strict confidentiality. References will not be contacted until mutual interest has been established. Confidential inquiries are welcomed to Bryan Noblett or Greg Nelson at (916) 550-4100.

Interested candidates are encouraged to immediately apply below, as this recruitment will close once a sufficiently strong candidate pool has been established.

The City of Santa Monica is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to build balanced teams from all walks of life without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, ancestry, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal, state and or local law.  We aim to create a workplace that celebrates and embraces the diversity of our employees.

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