2022 NASAA Leadership Awards: Luminary Award for Transformative Executive Leadership

Margaret Hunt

Director, Colorado Creative Industries

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has named Margaret Hunt, director of Colorado Creative Industries, the recipient of its 2022 Luminary Award for Transformative Executive Leadership. The award recognizes an executive director who has exhibited exemplary leadership and made a significant contribution to public support for the arts at the state, regional and national levels. The Luminary Award is inspired by Gary Young, an early state arts agency leader, and will be presented on September 24 during NASAA Assembly 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.*

Margaret Hunt has served as director of Colorado Creative Industries in the governor’s Office of Economic Development since 2013 under Democratic Govs. Jared Polis and John Hickenlooper. She previously served as director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums beginning in 2005 under Republican Govs. Jon Huntsman and Gary Herbert. She was executive director of community and economic development for Salt Lake City, where she oversaw housing, planning and zoning, business licensing, transportation, and the Salt Lake City Arts Council.

Hunt is rooted in community building and strategic planning from her days as manager of economic development for PacifiCorp Energy Company in a seven-state western region. She served as director of the International Microfinance Training Program for Naropa University and vice president of a fundraising consulting group leading capital campaigns for nonprofits.

Hunt has served as a trustee of NASAA and WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) and has received leadership awards that include the Utah Governor’s Leadership Award from Utah Small Cities, Inc., the Pathfinder award for mentoring women in business from the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, the Governor’s Helping Hands Award for corporate volunteer programs in Utah schools, and United Way’s Volunteer of the Year award.

Hunt is a visual artist, with work hanging in the Salt Lake City International Airport, and a published author. She currently chairs Philanthropy Colorado’s Arts & Culture Funders Group and is a member of the International Women’s Forum of Colorado. She is a very proud mother and grandmother.

“NASAA is honored to recognize Margaret Hunt and her many accomplishments with the Luminary Award for Transformative Executive Leadership,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “Throughout the West, Margaret changed public support for the arts with her strategic thinking, bold ideas and skill for implementing public policy. Her unique experience at the intersection of economic development and creative industries allowed her to develop innovative programs that transformed individuals, organizations, communities and entire states. Her visionary leadership extended to all parts of Colorado, the region and the nation and has made a long-lasting impact on the state arts agency field. I can think of none more deserving to receive this highest of distinctions for executive leadership in our field.”

Previous Gary Young Award Recipients

2020 Gary Gibbs, Texas
2018 Suzanne Wise, Nebraska
2016 Randall Rosenbaum, Rhode Island
2014 Rich Boyd, Tennessee
2012 Christine D’Arcy, Oregon
2010 Arlynn (Arni) Fishbaugh, Montana
2008 Suzette Surkamer, South Carolina
2007 David Fraher, Minnesota
2006 Robert Booker, Arizona
2005 Philip Horn, Pennsylvania
2004 Dennis Holub, South Dakota
2003 Barbara Fulton Moran, New Jersey
2002 John Paul Batiste, Texas
2001 James Backas, Maryland
2000 Betty Price, Oklahoma
1999 Peggy Baggett, Virginia
1998 Al Head, Alabama
1997 Bennett Tarleton, Tennessee
1996 Shelley Cohn, Arizona
1995 Mary Hays, New York
1994 Wayne Lawson, Ohio
1993 Alden C. Wilson, Maine
1992 David Nelson, Montana
1991 Mary Regan, North Carolina

2022 Leadership Awards Task Force

CHAIR: Carla Du Pree, Former Vice Chair, Maryland
Mary Bordeaux, Chair, South Dakota
Victoria Panella Bourns, Director, Utah
Chris Cathers, Executive Director, Kentucky
Stephanie Conner, Chair, Tennessee
Gary Gibbs, Executive Director, Texas
Abigail Gómez, Former Chair, Virginia
Peter Jasso, Former Director, Kansas
Adriane Jefferson, Council Member, Connecticut
Nola Ruth, Council Member, Missouri
Allison Tratner, Executive Director, New Jersey
George Tzougros, Executive Director, Wisconsin
Bhavna Vasudeva, Council Member, South Carolina

*In 2022, NASAA’s National Awards Task Force changed the name of the Gary Young Award to the Luminary Award for Transformative Executive Leadership.