Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) Coordinator, Protection Programs

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic, committed, and highly organized protection programs coordinator to support our growing Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) team. This is a full-time position based at PEN America’s New York City headquarters or Washington, D.C. office, reporting 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 coordinator is a key team member who provides support to the senior manager for protection programs on a variety of protection initiatives, particularly in facilitating ARC’s grantmaking and referral programs. This dynamic role offers the unique opportunity to work directly with artists at risk and the organizations dedicated to their support and is ideal for someone with a passion for human rights and arts. As the ARC’s protection program grows, so will the opportunities for professional development. The role requires an individual who is adept at managing multiple projects, tracking critical deliverables, and performing a diverse range of tasks.

In alignment with PEN America’s current policy, all applicants should be available to report to the office at least three days per week. This policy is subject to change.


Program Coordination:

  • Lead efforts alongside the senior manager to craft and execute a comprehensive grantmaking and protection strategy tailored for artists facing risks
  • Proactively monitor incoming requests for assistance and manage the grant application process, ensuring responsive communication with artists at risk


Research and Advocacy:

  • Conduct in-depth research into human rights and artistic freedom issues pertinent to the applicants’ situations and meticulously verify allegations of risk
  • Keep abreast of global trends and specific threats to artistic freedom; create articulate and impactful press materials and advocacy letters in response to these threats.


Financial Administration:

  • Execute financial transactions for approved grants, working in concert with the finance department and external intermediaries to ensure seamless fund transfers


Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Serve as a primary liaison between at-risk artists and a diverse array of partners, including NGOs, art residencies, fellowships, academic institutions, and entities like the OHCHR


Strategic Planning:

  • Collaboratively design and implement action plans to provide targeted assistance to at-risk artists under the guidance of the senior manager.


Event and Workshop Facilitation:

  • Facilitate the organization and execution of coordination calls, public programs, workshops, and training sessions to advance program objectives


Project Management:

  • Vigilantly track and manage project tasks and timelines to guarantee that program initiatives advance according to plan


Data Management:

  • Undertake the collection, cleaning, and refinement of program data to enhance tracking systems, providing a reliable basis for grant reporting and program evaluation



  • Contribute to preparing grant reports, documenting program activities and outcomes for stakeholders


Additional Duties:

  • Perform other related duties and tasks as assigned by the senior manager, contributing to the overall success of the protection programs

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.


  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in political science, international relations, anthropology, or human rights and social justice-related field
  • One to three years of professional experience with grantmaking, paralegal work, social work, resettlement, and social justice issues. Experience working specifically in the human rights or arts sectors is strongly preferred.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English AND an additional language are required
  • Commitment to and passion for the mission and values of ARC, including human rights and artistic freedom
  • 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
  • Proactive and able to self-manage, prioritize work assignments, and balance multiple deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • A team player with the ability to work on diverse teams with accountability and responsibility
  • Experience with online databases, G-suite, and forms
  • 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 securely and confidentially a plus
  • Commitment to PEN America’s mission, centered on the celebration and defense of free expression for all. Willingness to defend the right to engage in speech that may be offensive and discomfiting and that reflects a wide range of political opinions and ideologies. PEN America promotes open and respectful dialogue across differences, and we work to allow a diversity of perspectives to flourish.
  • Commitment to PEN America’s advocacy and support for writers, artists, and their allies around the world, without regard to the ideology or actions of their country’s government


Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $50k-65k, 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, ten paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits, and a 403b retirement plan.


Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample to [email protected]. Use “ARC Coordinator, Protection Programs” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “ARC Coordinator, Protection Programs – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body of your email. 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. 


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.