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Arts consultant from Texas to take helm at Hult Center.

Byline: Fred Crafts The Register-Guard

The Hult Center for the Performing Arts has reached deep into the heart of Texas for its new executive director: Austin arts consultant Robert `Robb' Hankins.

Hankins, 57, was selected Tuesday after a national search that drew 28 applications. He succeeds Rich Scheeland, who retired Feb. 28 after working at the facility in various capacities for more than 20 years.

Angel Jones, executive director of Library, Recreation and Cultural Services for the city of Eugene (which includes the Hult Center), said Hankins' "passion for the arts and energetic demeanor will be welcome assets to the department."

Hankins is expected to begin work on Dec. 3.

"I enjoy the challenge of coming into communities and connecting more people to the arts," Hankins said by phone from his home in Austin.

"In my mind, two decades after its opening, the Hult Center remains one of the most impressive facilities I've seen across America, so I'm very excited," he continued. "Job No. 1 is to make sure that institution continues to thrive and grow."

Outgoing director Scheeland said he believes Hankins "might be just the right person at the right time to take this facility to the next level."

Hankins and his wife, Claudette, will move to Eugene later this month. The salary range for the job is between $63,523 to $79,164.

Hankins, who holds a bachelor's degree in theater from the University of Wisconsin and master's degrees in communication and in arts administration from the same school, has been a nonprofit arts consultant since 2002. Among his clients have been the city of Long Beach, the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, the city of Sacramento Arts Council, the Arts Council of Baton Rouge and Bat Conservation International.

Before that, Hankins was president and CEO of the Public Corporation for the Arts in Long Beach, Calif., where he helped to increase the city appropriation from $500,000 to $1.75 million.

Hankins was the executive director of the Greater Hartford (Conn.) Arts Council from 1994 to 1998; executive director of the United Arts Council of Calhoun County, (Battle Creek), Michigan from 1989 to 1994; executive director of ARTSBRIDGE, a regional cultural development agency in Parkersburg, W.Va., and Marietta, Ohio, from 1986 to 1989; executive director of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts from 1983 to 1986; and director of the City of El Paso (Tex.) Arts Resources Department from 1979 to 1983.

Hankins has served on numerous regional arts boards and committees and has won awards from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, American Association of Landscape Architects and National Society of Fund-Raising Execs.
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Title Annotation:City officials choose Robert Hankins as new executive director; General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 5, 2003
Words:441
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