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Christopher Hunt
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Elisabeth Andrews
IU Media Relations

Jenny Cohen
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Last modified: Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Christopher Hunt brings global arts management expertise to SPEA

Christopher Hunt image

Christopher Hunt

Print-Quality Photo

Sept. 19, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Christopher Hunt, an internationally renowned festival director, opera administrator, artist's manager and writer, has joined the Arts Administration Program in Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. His 45 years of experience are expected to bring a real-world sensibility to a program devoted to balancing artistic ambitions with management proficiency.

"We are elated to have someone of his professional stature in the world of performance to enrich our faculty ranks and to bring a global and pragmatic perspective to our students," said SPEA Dean Astrid Merget. Merget said Hunt's experience and connections will be equally valuable to the students. "He will truly enhance their understanding of how the arts world works, and he can do so in a comparative manner, drawing on his experience in different areas. In addition, he has an extraordinary network of connections that can also enhance and animate the educational experience."

Hunt's accomplishments include directing Australia's Adelaide Festival, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Virginia and PepsiCo Summerfare in New York. His experience with opera administration extends to London's Royal Opera Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera and the Bastille Opera in Paris. He has also worked as a consultant with the National Endowment for the Arts and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York. In his early career, Hunt ran a management firm representing artists such as Pink Floyd, sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan and conductor James Levine.

The Arts Administration Program prepares students for leadership positions in the arts. Hunt's appointment was made possible by a Commitment to Excellence grant from the IU administration.

After nearly five decades managing arts programs on three continents, Hunt was looking forward to a relaxing retirement. When the Arts Administration search committee contacted him, Hunt was drawn by IU's strong reputation in performance, especially music.

"I awakened to the hope of something still left to do," he said. "When I thought about coming to teach at IU, the idea became more and more fascinating. I want to try to pass on something of what I have learned running arts organizations around the world."

Hunt will also use the classroom to encourage a higher regard for the place of the arts in society, he said.

"We as administrators have not succeeded in positioning art as a necessity. We tend to use apologetic language when discussing the arts, although artistic expression really is central to every culture. I hope to help students to approach arts administration as seriously as any other business and to recognize that they will be key parts of an essential -- not an optional -- social service."

Charles Bonser, director of the Arts Administration Program, said that Hunt's appointment is a "major step forward" in line with recent efforts to expand the program. A new undergraduate certificate in arts administration will be offered through the program this year in addition to the long-standing Master of Arts degree. Next fall, Bonser plans to add a Bachelor of Science in arts management.

"This is a great time for us to bring in someone with Hunt's background," Bonser said. "We think he is the perfect fit."

Hunt can be reached by phone at 812-855-0832 or 646-257-0749 or by email at