Thursday, March 10, 2022

Developing and presenting cutting-edge work across the performing arts has been a constant throughout the University of Iowa’s 175-year history.

To further build on this legacy, the UI is announcing the creation of a new office dedicated to expanding the Hancher mission of supporting and showcasing artists from campus, the community, and around the world.

Reporting to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Office of Performing Arts and Engagement will elevate Hancher Auditorium’s role on campus as it grows to become a university-wide hub for the development, production, and presentation of performing arts.

“The University of Iowa has a long and rich tradition in the performing arts, thanks in large part to the vision and generosity of our alumni and patrons,” says Peter Matthes, UI vice president for external relations and senior advisor to the president. “Establishing this new effort within the Office of the Provost will provide an even stronger campus and community partner in the performing arts.”

The new office will allow Hancher Auditorium to build upon its history of supporting the UI’s academic mission and student experience. In addition, the newly named presenting arm of the university, Hancher Presents, will expand to include a range of potential venues across the university and Iowa City area to further enable arts engagement on a local and national level. Hancher Presents will take up the mantle of what has historically been considered the “Hancher season.”

“We sometimes tend to think of Hancher as the building,” Matthes says. “But its reach goes far beyond that beautiful performance space by the Iowa River. Hancher Presents has great potential to further expand the University of Iowa’s performing arts footprint.” 

The university will conduct an internal search for an executive director of Hancher, who will also lead the Office of Performing Arts and Engagement. The search will be led by UI Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Kregel, Matthes, and Sara Sanders, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Individuals are encouraged to apply through the My Career tab in UI Self Service.

Upon the retirement this summer of Chuck Swanson, Building a Legacy Hancher Executive Director, the new executive director position will be named the Chuck Swanson Hancher Executive Director.

“This new office will give Hancher greater ability to partner across campus, which has always been one of my priorities as director,” Swanson says. “I wish my successor the best of luck and am grateful to all the donors who made this named directorship a possibility.”

The new office will be operational on July 1, 2022, with the executive director to begin their work during the summer academic session.

“Identifying and hiring a seasoned leader to collaborate with our campus and community is the next step in this exciting opportunity to shape the future direction for the performing arts at the University of Iowa,” Kregel says. “We have remarkable talent across our campus. I have no doubt we will develop a slate of candidates that has a deep knowledge of our community and our legacy in the performing arts and can quickly get to work bringing this ambitious vision to life.”

Within the new office, Hancher Presents will continue to transition into a self-sustaining unit. With strong commitment from university leadership to its mission, the UI also will continue to annually fund $750,000 for Hancher facilities and maintenance costs.