Program Assistant, Artists at Risk Connection

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a dynamic and detail-oriented program assistant to support the day-to-day operations of our Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) program. This is a full-time position based in the New York office. The position is temporarily remote due to guidelines provided by health authorities, but applicants should be available for daily in-office work starting in September 2021 if it is safe to do so.

ARC strives to protect artists from all disciplines around the world by improving access to resources for artists at risk, enhancing connections among supporters of artistic freedom, and raising awareness about threats to artistic freedom. ARC advances this mission primarily by managing a coordination and information-sharing hub that aids, unites, and furthers the work of organizations that provide assistance to artists at risk of persecution globally.

The program assistant will provide direct support to the director of ARC and on a wide range of ARC’s activities, gaining hands-on experience in ARC’s core activity of supporting artists in emergency situations around the world, building a network of partners across the arts and human rights, and developing diverse and dynamic programming. Because the ARC project is small in size but large in scope, the role will afford experience in everything from fundraising and budgeting to casework and advocacy, event planning, and writing and researching. The program assistant will also have access to the ever-changing, thrilling literary and free expression work of PEN America at large and collaborate across departments as necessary. This role will have opportunities for significant growth as the program continues to evolve.

The successful candidate will be an energized and collaborative individual with a highly organized work ethic, exceptional writing skills, and experience working with individuals at risk or otherwise vulnerable communities. They should have a commitment to the arts and human rights internationally. Proficiency in at least one other language is required (target languages: Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, and/or French). Basic familiarity with graphic design programs, content management systems, and/or HTML/CSS is a plus but not required.


Referral Work

  • Support review of applications from at-risk individuals who are seeking ARC’s assistance, including by conducting research on human rights and artistic freedom concerns in applicants’ home countries and vetting allegations of risk
  • Liaise regularly with imperiled artists and a global network of partner organizations, including NGOs, residencies and fellowships, universities, and international bodies, such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Monitor threats to artistic freedom and draft press statements, open letters, and other public-facing publications as necessary when violations occur

 Content Management

  • Draft, edit, and produce content for website (org) and coordinate with relevant partners and artists
  • Draft social media posts; design graphics; and manage Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and editorial calendar
  • Draft quarterly newsletters and other communications on Mailchimp
  • Draft and edit other publications as necessary

ARC Platform

  • Manage online database of resources, including regularly maintaining organization profiles and reviewing pending submissions
  • Research and update resources provided to artists at risk, collecting additional referral resources which may be of use to artists regarding legal assistance, language courses, mental health, and other identified needs

Administration & Program Operations

  • Support the monitoring and evaluation of ARC’s work by tracking and reporting on project-based metrics
  • Plan and execute in-person and virtual events, including public programs and trainings/workshops
  • Research funding opportunities and assist in drafting of proposals and grant reports
  • Assist with management of program budget, including processing payments, expense tracking, and financial reconciliation
  • Participate in the recruiting and management of interns and fellows
  • Other responsibilities as necessary


  • Minimum of one to two years of relevant office experience or equivalent work experience
  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights and/or artistic freedom
  • Proficiency in at least one other language (target languages: Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, and/or French)
  • Excellent writing, editing, and research skills
  • Proactive and able to self-manage, prioritize work assignments, and balance multiple deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to manage verbal and written communications tactfully and professionally with a high level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • A team player with an ability to work on diverse teams with accountability and responsibility
  • Expertise in digital outreach, database development, and international coalition building a plus
  • Familiarity with content management systems, G Suite, Mailchimp, social media management tools, and Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, etc.) a plus

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Priority will be given to applicants who apply before April 30, 2021. Please submit the entire application to [email protected] and [email protected]. Please use “ARC Program Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “ARC 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.

About PEN America:

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.