Park City Summit County Arts Council going through changes
After 11 years, Kathy Hunter has stepped down as executive director of the Park City Summit County Arts Council, but she does it with confidence, knowing the nonprofit is in good hands with her successor, Hadley Dynak.
“I’m so excited because she gets it,” Hunter told The Park Record. “She has the experience to hit the ground running and I’m excited to see where she takes us.”
Dynak comes to the position with a plethora of experience in fundraising, programming and building awareness for San Francisco’s Ninth Street Independent Media Center, the International Museum of Women, Headlands Center for the Arts and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, helping with funding, developing, programming events and building community awareness.
Dynak, who is also the vice chairwoman of the Summit County Public Art Advisory Board and was the project lead for the Inside Out — Park City exhibit currently on display in Newpark, said she is looking forward to her new adventure.
“Kathy has taken the arts council to where it is today,” Dynak said. “She has moved it from an organization that was programing into an organization that worked to market and strengthen the arts and culture community we have here and to make sure the extended community knows about what we have to offer.
“I’m excited to step in and find more opportunities to build on what she has done and moving the work forward,” she said. “I believe arts and culture is at the foundation of Park City and Summit County. We have wonderful arts and culture organizations and amazing artists. We have strong supporters of arts and culture and I feel honored to pick up and build on the history and legacy of the Park City Summit County Arts Council.”
Arts and culture are a passion for Dynak and for most of her professional career she has worked with nonprofits.
“My educational background is in public health and I worked with community-based organizations and tried to bring in work with arts and culture organizations,” she said. “I’m excited to tie together all of my experience working with nonprofits and arts and culture organizations here.”
Dynak is also a documentary producer and has worked on a number of television broadcasts and festival films in the Bay Area.
“I was largely inspired when I came to the Sundance Film Festival 15 years ago,” she said. “I started to understand the connection of nonprofits working on social issues and documentary filmmaking, [because] documentary filmmaking is a great way to tell about social issues in an engaging way and getting people to change things.”
Dynak’s first day as Park City Summit County Arts Council executive director was Friday, July 1, and she was able to work closely with Hunter, whose last day as executive director was Friday, July 8.
“We were able to work together for a week or so to help me understand the many things she does for the arts community,” Dynak said. “I feel there is a renewed interest and energy in the greater arts and culture community about how arts and culture connects to our larger priorities as a town and as a county.
“The arts council wants to play a role in defining what that means and looks like in the future,” she said. “I would love to continue what the council has done in the community and move that further into the 21st century.”
Kathy Hunter ready for her next step with lessons from the past
Hunter said it was time she stepped down from the job.
“One of the reasons is because my parents, who are 89, live in Virginia and I’ve been wanting for a while to go back and spend more time with them and help them when they need it,” Hunter said during a Park Record interview. “I lived there for 20 years and a couple of things came into play in the last six months that got me thinking of making the move.”
Hunter said she plans to keep her home in Park City, so she can come back when it’s time.
“I’ve been here 22 years and I couldn’t love it any more than I do,” she said. “My kids and friends are here and my roots run deep here.”
Hunter took the helm of the Park City Summit County Arts Council in 2005, after she was approached by then city manager Tom Bakaly.
“I had been working in Salt Lake for the past three years on the 2002 Winter Olympics, so, this was an opportunity to work, again, with the Park City and Summit County community,” Hunter said. “That appealed to me.”
Hunter took the job because she was excited to expand on the organization’s mission.
“It was created in 1986 and served as a granting organization that helped launch other organizations such as Mountain Town Stages and the Park City Film Series,” Hunter said. “It also helped create the Recreation, Arts and Parks (RAP) tax grant.”
Hunter started her job redefining the organization’s mission and goals.
“I moved away from programs and moved more into promoting all the incredible arts and culture created by the organizations in the community,” she said.
In doing so, the council came up with a two-fold role.
“One was to promote and market those programs as I said, but the other was growing cultural tourism, which is comprised of people who identify arts and culture as the primary reason to visit Park City and Summit County,” Hunter said. “To accomplish that, we marketed more regionally and with the help of RAP tax grants, we took our marketing campaign nationwide and piggybacked on Park City Chamber marketing to target cities they were targeting. And through that campaign we have tripled the number of cultural tourists.”
Two years later, the Park City Summit County Arts Council created the Eastern Summit County initiative.
“We pulled together a group of representatives from all the Eastern Summit County communities and asked them their artistic and cultural goals,” Hunter said. “The biggest issue that was raised was finding more opportunities for artists of all ages and abilities.”
The annual Summit Arts Event Exhibit that was held last weekend came out of those meetings.
“This is the only fine arts show in Eastern Summit County designed to showcase Summit County and match seasoned artists with emerging artists,” Hunter said.
“We’re proud that we’ve accomplished that.”
Another overall goal was to have the arts council serve as a central resource for arts and culture for the state, businesses and residents, according to Hunter.
The organization rebuilt its website and began utilizing social media, such as Facebook.
“[In keeping in that vein] one of the things I’m most proud of is starting monthly networking meetings with all of the arts and cultural organizations,” she said. “The main goal was to identify opportunities for collaborations. Park Silly Sunday Market was new at that time and we helped them find culinary artists and musicians and things like that.”
Looking back on the past 11 years, Hunter was quick to list the rewards of her job.
“I got to work with the community and getting to know everyone and work through issues together with people I lived with,” she said. “That was also the most challenging thing at the beginning as well. It was a challenge getting to know how all of this fit together when we were redefining our goals.
“I want to thank everybody for making this such a rewarding job,” Hunter said. “I look forward to reconnect when I come back when the time is right.”
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