We’re hiring an Art Agency Manager

As a charitable public art organization, The STEPS Initiative creates some of Canada’s largest and most community-engaged public art initiatives. We transform urban areas into vibrant public spaces, helping artists, community organizations, BIAs, and developers push creative and technical boundaries—breathing new artistic energy into our community.

Through our social enterprise, we offer high-quality public art management services including construction hoarding exhibits, percent-for-public-art projects, murals, sculptural installations, and public space activations. Under the direction of STEPS’ Program Director and working closely with our program team, the successful candidate will lead our art agency’s activities, including business development, public art curation, service development and market expansion in support of the organization’s social and sustainability mandates.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Friday, November 29, 2019, 5pm

ANTICIPATED START DATE: Monday, January 20, 2020

This is a one-year full-time contract position, with the possibility of renewal.


  • Managing artist engagement and curation activities:
    • developing artistic approaches in response to client, site, or stakeholder needs
    • identifying artist research needs for agency opportunities 
    • managing PATCH artist roster and other agency calls-for-artists
    • assessing the ongoing needs of the agency artist community

    • developing programming in service of artist needs in collaboration with STEPS’ Program Team

    • fostering a community of practice among agency artists, including looking for ways to amplify the work of artists beyond agency projects

    • identifying ways to diversify agency artists across a spectrum of identities, media, and aesthetics

  • Implementing agency business development activities:
    • identifying, developing and stewarding relationships with current and prospective clients, artists, fabricators/suppliers, and agency stakeholders

    • identifying agency relevant requests-for-proposals and expressions-of-interest

    • preparing proposals for agency opportunities, including cost estimates

    • contributing to fundraising proposals for agency operations 

    • maintaining a catalogue of template agency proposal materials

    • pitching agency services to a variety of prospective clients

  • Delivering public art agency services, including but not limited to:
    • liaising with artistic, material, fabrication and/or site vendors
    • negotiating and administering artist / supplier contracts and fees
    • presenting rationale for agency projects to clients or approval bodies
    • ensuring project deliverables are carried out on-time and on-budget
    • developing outreach, public relations, and promotional content
    • ensuring compliance with both legislated and organizational policies, including liaising with municipal representatives as needed
    • arranging for photo / video documentation of agency projects
    • facilitating debriefs with clients, artists, and other stakeholders
    • reporting project outcomes, including collecting testimonials
    • identifying opportunities for agency service improvements

  • Growing agency brand, reach, and reputation:
    • overseeing agency outreach and communications strategies

    • seeking opportunities to extend agency reach to new markets and audiences

    • anticipating and responding to the public relations needs of the agency

    • representing the agency and/or STEPS at external meetings and events

  • Monitoring, evaluating and reporting on agency financial and social impact targets:
    • working closely with Executive Leadership and specialists to develop agency strategic plans and targets 

    • developing new agency services and enhancing existing services 

    • identifying new agency market opportunities

    • identifying opportunities to serve charitable mandate within agency services

  • Managing the diverse agency project teams required for successful project execution:
    • supervising STEPS’ support staff, contracted artists, and suppliers

    • selecting and supervising agency placement students and seasonal staff


  • Experience:
    • 3-5 years of public art or other cultural project management experience

    • Developing program or growth plans with measurable targets

    • Building successful cross-sectoral partnerships

    • Managing project teams for on-time and on-budget project deliverables

    • Cultivating relationships with artists and/or arts organizations

    • Delivering client-facing and/or account management services 

    • Liaising with the public sector or large institutions – asset

  •  Knowledge:
    • Strong knowledge of both contemporary permanent and temporary public art practice
    • Curatorial and production approaches to public art, street art, and/or placemaking
    • Knowledge of the city’s past and recent history is a definite asset, including City of Toronto public art policies and strategies
    • Outreach strategies to reach diverse audiences in person and online
    • Familiarity with land development and construction practices – asset
    • Proficiency with Google Drive Apps and Adobe Creative Cloud – asset
    • Proficiency with cloud-based Client Relationship Management and project management platforms, such as Insightly and Asana – asset
  • Skills:
    • Curation
    • Concept Development
    • Proposal Development
    • Business Development
    • Cultivating Relationships
    • Negotiation
    • Account Management
    • Project Planning
    • Project Management
    • Team Management
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Performance Management
    • Budgeting
    • Effective Written Communication
    • Engaging Oral Communication & Presentation Skills
    • Marketing
  • Ability: 

    • Disciplined self-starter

    • Cultivating and stewarding relationships across public, private, non-profit and cultural sectors – preferably with artist engagement/relationship management experience

    • A team player who thrives at being independently resourceful in a fast-paced organization

    • An adaptable facilitator, comfortable fostering a collaborative environment among program teams and stakeholders, who sometimes have divergent interests

    • A familiarity and willingness to navigate (the sometimes bureaucratic) processes required to manage successful and safe public art projects

    • Self-motivated, with the capacity to work independently under minimal supervision to accomplish high-profile tasks, as well as meet multiple and concurrent deadlines

    • Demonstrated good judgment and discretion in relation to human capital, business and/or client information

    • Excitement for bringing personal creativity and experimentation to a startup environment, including proposing ideas to enhance organizational impact and culture

    • High Level of Attention to Detail

  • Education:
    • Post-secondary education in arts management, creative industries, curatorial studies, visual arts, urban planning, business or related fields and/or the equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Physical Working Conditions:
    • Each day will be different, demand flexibility, comfort with ambiguity and require a diverse range of skills. The incumbent must recognize that a degree of chaos is required for innovation to take place
  • Other Requirements
    • Can pass a Toronto Police Vulnerable Sector Screening

    • Passionate about the impact of public art in fostering vibrant communities

    • A licensed Province of Ontario full G driver’s license – asset 


Qualified applicants are invited to submit a cover letter, CV, and complete contact information (name, relationship, phone number, email) for 3 professional references as one combined PDF to administrator@stepsinitiative.com by no later than 5pm EST, Friday, November 29th, 2019. Please indicate “Art Agency Manager Application” in the subject line of the email.

This is a two-stage interview process. First interviews with short-listed candidates are tentatively scheduled for Friday December 6th, 2019. Second interviews are tentatively scheduled for Friday December 13th, 2019. While we appreciate the interest of all applicants, we can only communicate with those shortlisted for an interview.

As an equity-seeking organization, STEPS encourages applications from individuals that represent the full diversity of communities in Canada, including the complexities of intersecting identities such as ability, age, class, gender, race, and sexual orientation.