After a little more than one year at the helm of Aspen Film, executive director Kip Hubbard plans to step down in mid-October, the nonprofit organization announced Tuesday.
Hubbard, 57, will join Carbondale-based Core Healing Arts, a wellness organization founded and operated by his wife, Robyn, according to Aspen Film, whose 35th annual festival started Tuesday evening and runs through Sunday.
Both Hubbard and Howard Gross, president of the board of Aspen Film, insist there’s nothing more to the resignation than Hubbard’s own personal change in direction. For many years before moving to Aspen in 2006 — when he landed a position with the Aspen Historical Society — he worked in a variety of roles as a mentor to youths, and that’s what he wants to do now.
He said he became drawn to working with kids while living in Los Angeles in the 1990s at two struggling middle schools.
“I have the deepest respect for the Aspen Film board of directors and staff, but my heart lies elsewhere. The time is now for me to reconnect with adolescents, teens, young adults and anyone in a life transition,” he said in a statement.
In an interview at The Aspen Times on Tuesday, Hubbard elaborated on his pre-2006 work with youths. While in Port Townsend, Wash., he co-managed the Right of Way Youth Enrichment Program, a nonprofit.
“Most of my work was centered on kids. My practice (with Core Healing Arts) will be doing mentoring work, not only with kids but young adults, and coaching work. I taught drumming for almost 13 years, and a lot of that work was youth-development related. The drumming is a kinesthetic experience; it’s very tactile. And so we connect with the kids, and they do performance.”
Hubbard also founded and operated a national teacher -raining program called Project Drum, which he described as one of the biggest programs of its type in the country.
“The program was huge, and we trained teachers, mostly elementary school teachers, to integrate African drumming and dance into their music programs and curriculum,” he said.
Though Core Healing Arts primarily focuses on “dream facilitation,” his work with youths and young adults will be under that organization’s umbrella.
“I’m excited to be collaborating with my wife, Robyn,” Hubbard said. “Her work is deeply spiritual, grounded in human transformation and part of a global revolution of personal awareness. My previous work with ethnic drumming, art and soul-centered facilitation will help inform a new dimension of transformative human intention.”
Gross said he’s sorry to see Hubbard go.
“Kip has been a tremendous asset to the organization, and we will miss his energy and enthusiasm,” he said.
Hubbard said he was hired by Aspen Film in September 2012 to strengthen its staff, which had a fair amount of turnover at the time, and “build income streams.” He said his focus has been on grant writing, sponsorships and mentorships. During the past 12 months, the board of directors formed new committees.
Laura Thielen, artistic director at Aspen Film, and George Eldred, program director, will take over as co-directors of the organization effective immediately. Hubbard plans to participate in the transition and will continue to work through mid-October.
This week’s Filmfest will feature 21 films, including Tuesday night’s festival kickoff screening. The films are being shown at the Isis Theater and Paepcke Auditorium.