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Kennon Reinard

Director of Programs & Partnerships

Director of Programs & Partnerships

Reports to: Executive Director

Manages: Manager of Teaching & Learning, Manager of Studio Programs, Manager of Youth Pathway Programs, Emerging Artists & Alumni Pathways Lead, and Coordinator of Artist Pathway Programs


Marwen educates and inspires young people through out-of-school visual arts, postsecondary, and career pathway programs for young people from nearly every neighborhood in Chicago. The no-cost programs engage 6th-12th graders annually in an 8-studio facility at 833 North Orleans. Teaching artists and program teams utilize the tools of creative youth development to facilitate programming in a wide range of disciplines, including painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, animation, fashion design, and mixed media.


The Director of Programs & Partnerships (DPP) is a visionary leader, strong manager, and critical contributor of the leadership team. Working closely with the Executive Director, the DPP sets a strategic vision across all program areas (studio and pathways programs). The DPP collaborates with the programs team to engage with teaching artists, young artists, and families to design, implement, and assess the impact of programs.

As a thought leader with experience in holistic teaching practices, creative facilitation, youth development and artistic practice, the DPP works to ensure that programs are relevant, responsive, and aligned with youth development and education best practices and are connected to contemporary arts practice. This also includes supporting social and emotional needs of young people, having a racial equity lens, and embodying Marwen’s core values -- belonging, joy, imagination, lived experiences, and collaboration.

This collaborative leader will have experience developing human-centered systems and practices. With these skills, the DPP will work to ensure programs and funding resources are equitable and to center the needs of young people.

As a mentor to the program team, the DPP works with the team to foster a culture of feedback and reflection with a focus on the personal and professional growth of each team member. As a key spokesperson of Marwen programs, the DPP works collaboratively with all staff to ensure transparency and cultivates reciprocal and values-aligned external relationships that drive Marwen’s program evolution and impact.


Organization Leadership

  • Work with Director team to shape and facilitate strategic planning based on Marwen’s theory of impact
  • Serve as ambassador and spokesperson for Marwen programs, both internally with all staff and Board and externally across the arts, education, youth development, and philanthropy fields
  • Facilitate transparent communication for Marwen staff as it relates to program development updates, goals, and impacts on a regular basis

Education Leadership

  • Shape vision for relevant and inspiring creative youth development and arts education programming
  • Build and sustain an efficient, collaborative, and cohesive team; and enable interconnectivity across all program areas and departments
  • Embody and cultivate a culture of respect across Marwen programs and shared expectations and values between education staff, young people, teaching artists, and families to ensure safety and well being
  • Work with staff to deepen and refine the Marwen curriculum to reflect the values of Creative Youth Development: Racial Justice, Collective Action, & Youth Voice
  • Oversee programs (studio and pathway programs) to ensure that each young person engages in a holistic and high-quality experience at Marwen
  • Work with the Manager of Teaching and Learning to shape the vision for professional development at Marwen, in collaboration with education staff and teaching artists
  • Collaborate with education staff to create a strong shared vision for youth, family, and teaching artist outreach and advisory board engagement
  • Provide support through thought partnership, feedback, and supervision:
    • Emerging Artist and Alumni Pathways Lead to establish the vision, implementation, and assessment of new programs for 18-24 year olds and alumni at Marwen
    • Manager of Studio Programs to oversee development of art center-based programming, outreach and enrollment, partnerships with teaching artists and young people, facilitation of course development, and day-to-day management of the art center
    • Manager of Teaching and Learning Programs to oversee professional development, including the teaching artist cohorts, and a holistic plan and implementation of evaluation and documentation across all program areas
    • Manager of Youth Pathways to continuously develop youth pathways programming that is relevant, responsive, and holistically integrated into all program areas
    • Coordinator of Artist Pathway Programs to develop a community of practice to support pathways for emerging artists to become teaching artists and access opportunities to develop their practice

Communications Partnership

  • Establish and nurture reciprocal relationships with other youth and arts-centered organizations, community-based artists, community organizations, Chicago Public Schools, CPS Department of Arts Education, and higher education institutions in support of deepening of Marwen’s programs and impact
  • Partner with Communications staff to guide and inform alignment between programming and communications strategies for Marwen’s online presence, social media platforms, printed materials, special events, and other internal/external communications as needed
  • Guide and inform opportunities to leverage Marwen’s facility and programs to host or convene stakeholders to advance Marwen’s mission, presence in the field, and strategic vision

Development Partnership

  • Support board engagement, as directed by the Executive Director, including leading program components of board and committee meetings and promoting attendance at open programs
  • Work closely with the Development Department to identify and pursue funding opportunities that align with program vision and goals, including reviewing proposals, monitoring grant compliance, and participating in meetings and site visits
  • Assist in cultivating and maintaining key donor and funder relationships
  • Support earned income initiatives with a focus on Marwen’s programmatic integrity

Operations and Human Resources Partnership

  • Collaborate with the Director of Finance, director team, and budget managers to craft, oversee, and update budgets
  • Ensure that job descriptions and work plans are revised and created as needed
  • Ensure ongoing feedback and support annual performance reflection process across program teams
  • Work closely with the facilities team and studio program staff to ensure safe, clean, and well maintained studios and public spaces


  • Minimum of five years experience in visionary leadership of youth programs and building relationships with students and families, specifically with those from disinvested communities
  • Extensive experience developing and overseeing program budgets with keen financial acumen
  • Extensive experience and knowledge of youth development and education best practices
  • Comprehensive understanding of the Chicago arts, education, and youth development landscape
  • Comprehensive understanding of data-informed decision making and establishing a data-informed culture across youth programs
  • Comprehensive understanding of introducing and sustaining an equity and inclusion lens across programs with a focus on promoting conscious community building and addressing implicit bias
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, mentor, and motivate a team, while fostering enthusiasm for professional development and creativity towards implementing new ideas
  • Demonstrated ability to manage individuals and teams with a focus on delegating roles, managing expectations, delivering constructive feedback, and implementing problem solving tools
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate and nurture internal and external partnerships to enhance program outcomes and impact
  • Knowledge of Spanish a plus, but not required
  • Master’s degree preferred, but not required


  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including some evening hours and Saturdays
  • Ability to prioritize tasks efficiently with a strong attention to detail, time management, multi-layered procedures, and complex systems
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with priority on strong interpersonal skills (with youth and adults) and a proven ability to develop and maintain effective relationships
  • Possess a commitment to leadership driven by compassion, respect, and belief in the enormous potential of all young people
  • Possess cultural competency and respectful dedication to working with young people, families, and community members aligned with Marwen’s mission

The compensation for this position is $85-100K annually commensurate with experience, generous PTO, full health benefits, and retirement plan match.

Marwen is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and equity in the workplace. We strongly encourage those who reflect our communities to apply, including bilingual individuals, LGBTQI and/or people of color. Please send a resume and cover letter to with the subject line “Director of Programs & Partnerships.” The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2021.

Contact Info:
Akilah Halley
Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago