Dan Hunter is a founding partner of Hunter Higgs, LLC, an advocacy and communications firm specializing in cultural non-profits. Hunter is the originator of the Creative Challenge Index, a public policy initiative to increase the priority of creative work in public schools.
He is the former executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities (MAASH), a statewide advocacy and education group. An award-winning playwright, songwriter and humorist, Hunter also has 25 years’ experience in politics and arts advocacy, serving as Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (a cabinet appointment requiring Senate confirmation) and running a successful advertising and political consultancy firm in Des Moines. As director of MAASH, Hunter successfully campaigned for cultural facilities funding and an increase of 70% in cultural funding during a time when the total state budget increased by only 14%.
Hunter’s new book of humor, Iowa?,,,It’s a State of Mind, was published in 2011 joining his two other books of humor, Let’s Keep Des Moines a Private Joke and The Search for Iowa (& We Don’t Grow Potatoes). He has written several plays including Un Tango en La Noche (winner of a national Kennedy Center award) and La Mujer Sin Cara (The Woman Without a Face). His play The Monkey King was a finalist for the 2004 Heideman Award from the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Hunter’s play, Red Elm, was produced to critical acclaim in December 2005 at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, one of three plays nominated for the Best New Play of the Year award by the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE).
The Massachusetts Association of Arts Educators named Hunter the Friend of Arts Education for 2010. Hunter previously served in the Iowa State Governor’s cabinet as Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.