Programming Specialist (Temporary)

Job Type

Full Time




United States


The Programming Department operates as a shared-services team, allowing for cross-disciplinary collaboration with an emphasis on work with artistic directors Jason Moran, Q-Tip, Renee Fleming, and Mason Bates. Programming areas within the department include Kennedy Center Jazz, Hip-Hop Culture and Contemporary Music, Classical and New Music, Comedy, and Special Programming (e.g. Kennedy Center Honors, Mark Twain Prize, and the Spring Gala).

This position reports directly to the Manager of Programming and supports the management of the day-to-day operations of the department, as well as project management, development, and coordination efforts for Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music, Special Programming, Comedy, Jazz, and Classical and New Music presentations. The Programming Specialist leads large and medium-sized produced and presented shows, including galas, Center and city-wide festivals, and series’, depending on experience.

The Programming Specialist must be able to make decisions and exercise discretion in order to prioritize assignments and work under significant pressure, as many projects are time-sensitive and involve concurrent deadlines. An eagerness to take initiative, communicate and problem-solve with a positive, team-focused, and compassionate attitude is essential.

Duties and Responsibilities:

45%    Project Management: Act as lead producer of large and medium-sized festivals, produced and presented short-run or one-night concerts featuring prominent artists, including but not limited to creating project work-plans and timelines, advancing productions details, managing and tracking artist contracts, managing and/or arranging artist travel, accommodations, and hospitality, developing day-of-show and run-of-show schedules, creating itineraries, managing comp ticket requests, processing artist payments, production invoices, preparing final settlements, updating ArtsVision holds.

20%    Act as primary liaison between the Kennedy Center and artist and/or their representative(s). Maintain communication with production managers, education coordinators, press reps, advertising, marketing and social media personnel, special events coordinators, theater managers, security and facilities personnel in order to ensure the flow of information between these departments and visiting artists. Distribute confirmed programming and production information throughout organization in a timely and consistent manner.

15%    Assist directors with budget development, tracking and reporting, creating and tracking offers, managing show set-up process, and managing Pod meetings.

10%    Request and distribute promotional materials from artists to marketing and press departments. Draft content for web and marketing materials. Review Ad and Ecomm approvals, press releases, Playbills, inserts, and website.

5%      Assist director with program development initiatives, including researching artist career trajectories and local performance histories.

5%      Report to and pay quarterly Performance Rights Organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC). Contract and process payroll for union and non-union stage managers, lighting, and sound designers on produced shows. Assist Manager with managing task delegation among coordinators, administrative assistant, and interns, and refining departmental processes and protocols.


  • A bachelor’s degree is required for this position, preferably in the arts, cultural studies, or literature.
  • Minimum of five years’ work experience in the performing arts, preferably in live music production or tour management.
  • Advanced understanding of performing arts administration, operations, and production in a large, complex organization; a background in producing/presenting live music desired.
  • Experience with high-level artist contracts, deal structures, and understanding of intellectual property rights’ considerations necessary.

Minimum Skills and/or Knowledge Required:

  • Must have great interpersonal skills and work well in a team environment; discretion, discernment, maturity, composure, compassion, and a sense of humor are essential.
  • Superior organizational, writing and verbal skills, unwavering attention to detail, resourcefulness, excellent problem-solving skills, and ability to work both independently and as part of a team necessary.
  • Must have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, manage stress and pressure well, and be able to meet and set realistic deadlines.
  • Demonstrated interest in and knowledge of diverse live music trends appropriate to a performing arts institution required. 
  • Knowledge of a foreign language, especially Spanish, French, Italian, German, or Portuguese a plus.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access. ArtsVision and/or Tessitura, a plus.
  • Demonstrated experience and comfort working with world-renowned performing artists, as well as senior level management required.
  • The position requires availability on evenings and weekends.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world premier performing arts organization and our nation’s cultural center. Diversity is a critical component of our mission, vision, and values. Our staff exhibits a wide variety of perspectives and experiences which enable us to foster and strengthen an environment of diversity and inclusion.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree