Job Opportunity: Executive Director, Rothko Chapel

Mission Statement: The Rothko Chapel inspires people to action through art and contemplation, nurtures reverence for the highest aspirations of humanity, and provides a forum for global concerns. 


Nestled on a one-acre campus in the heart of Houston, the Rothko Chapel is an iconic, internationally renowned destination. Home to the acclaimed masterworks of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, the Rothko Chapel offers an intimate setting for meditation and reflection every day of the year. More than 80,000 people, representing over 70 different countries around the globe experience the transformative power of its art each year. 

In the world today, there is no other place like the Rothko Chapel. It functions as a sacred space, a forum for matters of global concerns, and the ultimate installation of Mark Rothko’s art work. It integrates art, spirituality and human rights and social justice in a way that is both seamless and uniquely powerful. Affiliated with no particular religious tradition, the Rothko Chapel embraces contemplative practices of the world religious traditions and is committed to principles articulated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. 

History and Key Achievements 

The Rothko Chapel, founded by Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief. In 2011 it celebrated its fortieth anniversary, having achieved in those years recognition as one of the greatest artistic achievements and spiritual landmarks of the second half of the twentieth century. 

In 2000, the Rothko Chapel was listed in the United States National Register of Historic Places. It is regularly included in essays about twentieth-century art and architecture and in works devoted to sacred spaces such as National Geographic’s Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, where it is a featured entry. Past, distinguished guests include Nobel Laureates Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rigoberta Menchú, Nelson Mandela, Amartya Sen and President Jimmy Carter, artist Brice Marden, and spiritual leaders Robert Thurman and Thomas Moore. 

Services and Programs 

Open every day of the year free of charge, the Rothko Chapel responds to the enduring need for quiet, still places. It was the desire of the de Menils to provide a place for contemplation on what it means to be fully human and to treat each other with dignity and respect. Through active programming, the Rothko Chapel engages a broad community with an integrated set of offerings that elevate the spirit, foster dialogue and champion ethical action. Approximately 100 events and programs are presented on an annual basis, attended by over 6000 individuals. Nearly all programs are made available to the public at no charge. 3 

The Chapel serves as a gathering place for locally and globally recognized voices alike to hold courageous conversations on difficult issues in the spirit of mutual understanding. Finally, the Chapel provides an inimitable atmosphere for private ceremonies such as weddings, memorial services and other celebrations of life and all its passages. 

Organizational Structure: 

The Rothko Chapel is an independent, 501(c)(3) organization solely responsible for its own funding and governed by a small, dedicated Board of Directors. Led by an Executive Director, the Chapel has seven full-time staff and nine part-time employees. 

Executive Director Position 

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will be responsible for ensuring that the Rothko Chapel mission and programs continue to develop and thrive. He or she will work to both sustain and enhance relationships non- profit and local communities as well as with benefactors, volunteers, and other key constituents. The ED will provide overall strategic leadership to the Rothko Chapel, and day-to-day guidance and mentorship the staff. He or she will play a lead role in fundraising and developing and maintaining strategic partnerships with stakeholders. 

The ED will be a confident leader and engaging team player who possesses the skills, ambition and energy to drive a highly acclaimed organization, with a national and global reach. The ED will be able to passionately and convincingly communicate the vision and mission of the Rothko Chapel. The individual will need to possess sufficient gravitas to effectively engage with the Chapel’s many constituencies and stakeholders and have the clarity of vision and operational savvy to anticipate and capture the opportunities ahead, while providing workable solutions for challenges. Arriving at the Chapel with a strong fiscal track record, the ED must demonstrate excellent management skills with a flair for maximizing resources, staff productivity and funding opportunities. 


Strategic Leadership 

  • Work closely with the Board to implement the organization’s vision, define and implement the Rothko Chapel’s strategic plans, and identify and secure funding and other necessary resources. 
  • Oversee the implementation of the several site projects that constitute the central portion of the Rothko Chapel five year strategic plan. 
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the organization and communicate the identity and mission of the Rothko Chapel to enhance and advance the strategic priorities and goals. Effectively communicate the vision, values and strategic direction to external and internal constituencies. 

Board Relations 

  • Keep the Board informed on matters of governance and the organization’s activities as well as challenges and opportunities for the Rothko Chapel. 

Resource Development and Fiscal Oversight 

  • Develop and drive fundraising strategy and activities with foundation, individual, corporate and collaborator donors. Attract and diversify major giving to Rothko Chapel while maintaining the existing donor relationships. 
  • Assume managerial responsibility for the financial health and stability of the Rothko Chapel. Work closely with and empower the staff to ensure that the organization is managed responsibly and effectively. Oversee the planning and management of the budget and all revenues and expenses. Tailor budgets to optimally fund strategic goals. 

Program Oversight 

  • Assure the programming efforts are consistent with the overall mission, comply with the requirements of funding sources and align with organizational capacity. 
  • Administer the organization in a way that provides transparency to its programs and operations, engenders public trust in its financial stewardship, and enables the highest level of service to the public. 
  • Initiate development and implementation of strategic partnerships and collaborations with complementary local, national and global organizations. 

Staff Supervision 

  • Build and support an effective internal team environment and culture, in which each staff member and volunteer is an active and valued participant in the mission of the organization. Develop, inspire, motivate and mentor the team to collaborate and to continue to build expertise internally. 


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university required. Advance degree preferred. 
  • At least 10 years of relevant work experience; non-profit or foundation work. 
  • Dynamic leadership and proven management skills 
  • Effective fundraiser. Experience managing a successful capital campaign strongly preferred. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, and a strong public speaker. 
  • A sophisticated understanding of human rights, interreligious dialogue, and the arts. Grounding and education in one or more of these areas strongly preferred. 
  • Experience overseeing building and site projects preferred. 


This is a full-time, salaried, exempt position. Compensation includes base salary commensurate with experience, group health insurance, pension plan and paid time off. 5 

To Apply 

Interested candidates should submit a resume, cover letter and three references to: 

Rothko Chapel is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. 

No phone calls please.