Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) Assistant, Protection Programs

PEN America
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Posted
    May 24

Position description

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic, committed, and highly organized protection programs assistant to support our growing Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) team. This is a full-time position based in Washington DC or in New York and reports to the senior manager, protection programs.

At PEN America, ARC safeguards the right to artistic freedom of expression around the world and works to ensure that artists of all disciplines everywhere can live and work without fear. With a global network of 800 organizations providing crucial resources for artists and cultural practitioners at risk, ARC plays the critical role of liaising between threatened artists and the organizations that support them. Since its inception, ARC has assisted more than 500 artists from over 63 countries in receiving direct support, including fellowships and residencies, emergency funding, legal assistance, and advocacy, among other forms of assistance, from partner organizations.

The protection programs assistant will provide direct support to the senior manager, protection programs on a wide range of protection, especially in assisting ARC’s new grantmaking initiatives dedicated to visual artists in Russia and Belarus. The position affords the opportunity to work directly with artists at risk and the organizations that support them, with opportunities for growth as the project evolves. The capacity to advance multiple work streams simultaneously, track deliverables, and carry out a wide variety of tasks is required. The assistant must be fluent in Russian.


  • Support the senior manager in developing and implementing a grantmaking and protection program for Russian and Belarusian artists at risk 
  • Track action items and work plans to ensure initiatives are progressing on schedule
  • Monitor on-the-ground developments impacting artistic freedom in Eurasia 
  • Conduct research and outreach to build the network of organizations assisting artists at risk in the region; coordinate relationships with new and established partners engaged in order to provide effective support to artists at risk
  • Review and assess grant applications based on established ARC criteria
  • Complete financial transfers for approved grants in collaboration with the finance department
  • Regularly monitor grant applications and communicate with applicants 
  • Support ARC’s global connections portfolio
  • Support planning and implementation of coordination calls, public programs, workshops, and trainings
  • Other responsibilities as defined by the senior manager

All PEN America staff are considered to be stakeholders in the development of our shared organization. As such, staff play a role in varied activities within the workplace as part of their job responsibilities. These may include committees or task forces to work on office issues, diversity and inclusion, strategy projects, training or other initiatives.

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $45-55k, commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits and a 403b retirement plan.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in political science, international relations, anthropology or human rights and social justice related field 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English AND Russian are required 
  • Commitment to, and passion for, the mission and values of PEN America, including human rights and artistic freedom
  • One to three years professional experience, preferably working in a non-profit setting (this can include volunteering and internships). Experience working specifically on human rights issues is strongly preferred.
  • Relevant non-profit and/or project management experience preferred 
  • Superb organizational and process management skills, including demonstrated ability to meet deadlines, identify creative solutions to implementation challenges, and advance multiple projects effectively.
  • Experience with online databases, website management, and social media
  • Sensitivity to the needs and circumstances of threatened artists, activists, human rights defenders and/or victims of trauma and the organizations that serve them; experience handling sensitive information in a secure and confidential manner a plus
  • Exceptional interpersonal and cross-cultural skills

Application instructions

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. Please use “ARC Protection Program Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “ARC Protection Program Assistant – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.