Plans to return to Hartford after one year assignment in Sunshine State
February 26, 2009
Although he had planned to step down from his position as executive director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council on June 30, Ken Kahn will be leaving town at the end of April. The driving force behind our region’s impressive growth in public art over the last several years has been hired by Broward County, Florida’s Cultural Division to be its public art administrator. He will assume his new responsibilities in Fort Lauderdale on May 1.
Kathleen Lynch Bolduc, who earlier this month was named as Kahn’s successor, will become the chief executive officer of the Greater Hartford Arts Council on April 27. Bolduc will be working with Kahn on a volunteer basis in March and April to ensure an orderly transition.
“I had always planned to continue in arts administration after leaving the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and this is an exciting opportunity in an area I know well,” Kahn said. “While I’m sorry to be leaving two months earlier than expected, I’m grateful that our board of directors had a succession plan in place early. That gave me the flexibility to pursue my options knowing that the Arts Council and its United Arts Campaign would be in good hands.”
Kahn noted that the one-year appointment will give him vesting in the Florida state retirement system. He had been an arts administrator in Florida government for several years in the 1980s.
Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Board Chair Peter Kelly congratulated Kahn on his new role. “Broward County is very lucky to be getting such a talented and passionate promoter of public art,” he said. Kelly noted that, after decades of inattention to this community-building, civic-pride-generating art form, Kahn made public art a priority in Hartford again, installing 30 pieces over the last six years. In addition to 16 pieces along the city’s riverfront and five more at the Learning Corridor, Kahn arranged for the installation of public sculptures at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Ancient Burying Grounds, Elizabeth Park, Pope Park, Keney Park and elsewhere. He also directed the installation of murals in city schools and neighborhood centers.
Board President Stephen Mulready added that Kahn has received a multitude of awards in the past few months for his leadership of the Arts Council, including its public arts program. Recent honors include Leadership Greater Hartford’s Polaris Award, The Hartford Courant’s Tapestry Award, Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Vision Award, Hartford Children’s Theatre’s Kid At Heart Award, the Connecticut Humanities Council’s Wilbur Cross Lifetime Achievement Award and the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy’s Martha S. Newman Award. “Clearly, Ken had an enormous impact in Greater Hartford,” he said. “He will be truly missed.”
In Broward County, Kahn will administer the commissioning, selection and installation of public art pieces for the county’s parks, airport, seaport and other locations.
Kahn said that he plans to return to Hartford following his yearlong assignment in Florida. “I love this community. My home is here in the city, and I remain very hopeful about its prospects. I intend to come back and contribute to the region and its cultural sector in some meaningful way,” he said.
Kahn has been executive director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council since November 1999. He announced his intention to step down as its leader more than a year ago. He has more than 40 years’ experience in arts administration. His previous positions include president of the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County in Texas, (1990-1999), executive director of Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council in Florida (1983-1990), chairman of South Florida Cultural Consortium (1984-1990) and executive director of he Maryland State Arts Council (1976-1983).