Dan Hunter is a founding partner of Hunter Higgs.
Dan has 25 years’ experience in politics and arts advocacy, serving as Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (a cabinet appointment requiring Senate confirmation), serving as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities (MAASH), a statewide advocacy and education organization, and running a successful advertising and political consultancy firm in Des Moines.
As Director of MAASH, Dan successfully campaigned for new state funding for Massachusetts’ aging cultural facilities. In seven years, through the design and implementation of a statewide grassroots advocacy campaign, he secured more than $35 million in new state funding. Overall cultural funding in the Commonwealth increased 70% during that time – a period when the total state budget increased by only 14%.
Dan previously served in the Iowa State Governor’s cabinet as Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Upon his departure, an editorial written by The Des Moines Register stated: “[Hunter] instilled a renewed vigor in a neglected area of state government. He made people think about art as a way of life…He was able to hopscotch across the state with a message, not from a bureaucrat, but from someone intimately involved with the arts, someone who understands the nuances of the arts community and of those who support the arts.”
Dan is also an award-winning playwright, songwriter and humorist. He is the author of two books; Let’s Keep Des Moines a Private Joke and The Search for Iowa (& We Don’t Grow Potatoes). He has written several plays including Un Tango en La Noche and La Mujer Sin Cara (The Woman Without a Face). His play, The Monkey King, was a finalist for the 2004 Heideman Award from the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and his play, Red Elm, was produced to critical acclaim in December 2005 at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, one of three plays nominated for the Best New Play of the Year award by the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE).
Dan was Managing Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at Boston University from 1999 to 2002, and has subsequently taught playwriting at BU. Several of his one-act plays have been published in Baker’s Plays, including Mirror Man, Internal Medicine, and The Monkey King. He is the composer and writer of Picture Postcard Musicale, based on the texts of picture postcards from 1906-1910. Dan has performed a one-man show of topical humor in original song, and has made numerous radio and television appearances including ABC’s Good Morning America, National Public Radio, the BBC, and CNN Nightly News.
From 1980 to 1997, Hunter owned and operated Dan Hunter Creative Services. He earned his B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, and his M.A. from Boston University. In August 2005, he also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD.
Hathalee has twelve years’ experience working with nonprofit arts organizations in Vermont and Massachusetts. For two years (2008–2009), she served as Development Director of Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences & Humanities (MAASH), a statewide advocacy organization that promotes the educational, economic, and social benefits of the arts and culture in the Commonwealth. In conjunction with her role at MAASH, Hathalee formed Emerging Arts Leaders of Massachusetts (EALM), a career development and advocacy group for young arts professionals in the Boston area cultural community.
From 1999 until 2007, Hathalee was Producing Director of Kingdom County Productions (KCP), an independent film production company and nonprofit media arts organization in northern Vermont. At KCP, Hathalee worked with award-winning filmmakers Jay Craven and Bess O’Brien to produce dozens of projects, most notably the feature films Disappearances (Kris Kristofferson, Genevieve Bujold), The Year That Trembled (Fred Willard, Jonathan Brandis), and seven episodes of “Windy Acres,” an Emmy award-winning comedy series for Vermont Public Television. She was Associate Producer on the Virginia-based feature film Swedish Auto (Lukas Haas, January Jones) with producer Tyler Davidson and director Derek Sieg.
Hathalee was also Administrative Director of Fledgling Films, Kingdom County Productions’ educational division. For five years she produced the Fledgling Films Summer Institute, an intensive writing and production program for teenagers, during which 25 short narrative films and five documentaries were created with young filmmakers. From 2001 to 2004, she was Curator and Producer for the Fledgling Film Festival, a youth film and video festival featuring teen-made media from all over the world.
Hathalee earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.S. in Arts Administration from Boston University.