Anderson Ranch Arts Center president steps down |

Anderson Ranch Arts Center president steps down

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Saying that he is leaving one amazing visual arts organization for another, Anderson Ranch Arts Center president Hunter O’Hanian has announced his resignation from the Snowmass Village institution for a position as vice president at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.

O’Hanian, who took over the leadership of Anderson Ranch late in 2006, will leave his current position at the end of July.

In an e-mail statement, Mary Scanlan, chair of Anderson Ranch’s board of trustees, said “We are grateful for his leadership over the past several years. He helped strengthen the Ranch’s programs and operations.” Scanlan added that the creation of a Presidential Search Committee is under way. Once organized, the committee will install an interim leadership, and a plan for finding O’Hanian’s successor.

O’Hanian said his decision was driven by the offer of the job in Boston. He noted that Mass Art, as it is called, has an annual budget of between $40 million and $50 million, and, unlike Anderson Ranch, is an accredited school, offering the opportunity to earn both BFA and MFA degrees. He opined that Mass Art is one of the top 10 accredited visual arts schools in the country.

“To have that ability to affect that many students in an urban environment is too big an opportunity to pass up,” said O’Hanian, who will be one of four members of Mass Art’s senior management. “It’s really about training artists. Their commitment to aesthetic values is remarkable.”

O’Hanian’s view of the organization he is leaving is no less glowing. He called Anderson Ranch one of the top five nonaccredited visual arts institutions in the country. He believes he is leaving the ranch in excellent shape; while in Snowmass Village, he thinks he accomplished the goals of strengthening programs, workshops and outreach efforts, and creating solid bonds between the arts center and the community.

“I’m sad. I would have liked to have stayed here a few more years,” O’Hanian said. “The worst part is leaving the good friends I’ve made.”

O’Hanian, who came to Anderson Ranch from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, is looking forward to be heading back to Massachusetts. Specifically, he is pleased to trade the resort setting of Snowmass Village for the city environment of Boston.

“Being in an urban environment is more suited to my personality,” said O’Hanian, a graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University Law School, also in Boston. “I’d never thought much about the difference between a man-made environment and a natural environment. I like the city life.”

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