Robb Hankins, the flamboyant Executive Director of the Greater
Hartford Arts Council (GHAC), has resigned his position to take
a job as head of the Public Corporation for the Arts in Long
In his five-year stint with the GHAC, Hankins rejuvenated the
27-year-old agency through increased funding and recognition.
He is best known as the founder of the "Connect the Dots"
program, which highlights the GHAC's numerous member organizations
(each one being represented by a dot). His vigorous promotion
of the campaign led to his being known around town as "The
Hankins also created the "First Thursdays" program
in Hartford, which combines numerous shows, performances and
other activities throughout the city on the first Thursday of
Hankins, who will leave for his new job next month, described
his departure from the GHAC as "firing" himself. "It's
something I've done five times before. It's part of a process
of stepping aside so that new leadership with new skills and
new energy can come in and keep the momentum going," he
said. Before coming to Hartford, Hankins worked on arts councils
in Wisconsin, Texas, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Michigan.
Gordon Kreh, President and CEO of Hartford Steam Boiler and President
of the GHAC's Board of Directors, said Hankins' decision was
"an inevitability we all knew was coming because Robb completed
everything we asked when we hired him five years ago."
Kreh said that as a fundraiser, Hankins had helped boost revenue
for the GHAC's annual United Arts Campaign from $1.5 million
to $2.5 million, an increase of about 66 percent (well above
the national average of four percent). He also praised Hankins
as the creator of "Culture 200," which has been adopted
by the Hartford Millennium Project as its official arts and entertainment
The GHAC will begin a nationwide search to replace Hankins and
hopes to have a new director in place by January. Hankins said
the search should be relatively easy because the GHAC is now
"one of the ten best in America and because now everything
in Hartford is on the upswing."
Austin Lydon, Chairman of the GHAC's Board of Directors agreed,
saying, "Sure we'd love him [Hankins] to stay for another
five years, but we are so strong now that this transition will
be an easy one."