Clayton Center director announces retirement
From Maryville College
After serving as executive director of the Clayton Center for the Arts since 2008, Robert Hutchens announced Tuesday he will be retiring at the end of this fiscal year, May 31.
Hutchens has agreed, however, to aid in the transition to new leadership by serving as executive director emeritus.
“Robert has been vital to the startup and development of operating policies and practices for the Clayton Center, and we are grateful for the work that he has done,” said Holly Jackson-Sullivan, vice president for advancement and community relations at Maryville College, the office charged with overseeing the Clayton Center for the Arts.
“Over the last three years, the Clayton Center has become known as a high-quality venue for concerts, theatrical performances, art exhibits, arts festivals and camps, and meetings and fundraising events for organizations and businesses. The Clayton Center is an extremely busy place.”
Constructed through a partnership of the college, the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, and state and federal governments, the $47-million Clayton Center for the Arts was envisioned to celebrate the art and culture of the Appalachian region by serving as a venue for local musicians, performers and artists. Its name recognizes the support given the project by Clayton Homes, the Clayton Family Foundation and key volunteer Kevin Clayton.
Faculty and classes for the college’s Fine Arts Division moved to the center in January 2010; the center’s grand opening was held March 25-29, 2010.
Jackson-Sullivan acknowledged that the executive director’s job has had its challenges, as the local economy struggled out of the 2008 recession and as both the college and the community figured out what the Clayton Center should be and what audiences wanted.
“We have learned a lot in these first years, and I believe the Clayton Center is well-positioned to become the ‘regional hub for the celebration of the arts’ by 2015, as its vision statement reads,” she said.
Hutchens formerly served as an assistant director in Maryville College’s Center for International Education, specializing in teaching and recruiting international students for programs in English language learning.
A retirement reception for Hutchens will be announced at a later date.
Jackson-Sullivan said that the college will use this opportunity of executive leadership change to implement a new staffing model that will unite Clayton Center operations and the college’s Corporate Sales & Events services under one general manager.
Corporate Sales & Events handles space rentals on campus, as well as bookings for camps and conferences.
“By uniting these two departments under one general manager who reports directly to the college’s president, the college and the Clayton Center will be able to better ensure that the customer experience is a priority and that the goals of regional leadership in the arts are met,” said Dr. Tom Bogart, Maryville College president.
“We will be looking for someone who has a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry, is entrepreneurial in spirit and can provide strong leadership for the staff members in these areas.”
Once the position is finalized, a national search will begin. Interested applicants may forward a resume and cover letter to (HumanResources@maryvillecollege.edu) (Please note “General Manager” as the subject line.)