Butler corrals performing venues under new executive director

Butler University has named Texas arts administrator Ty Sutton to a newly created position overseeing the school’s major performing arts venues, including 2,200-seat Clowes Memorial Hall.

Ty Sutton mugTy Sutton

Sutton, 40, currently is general manager of the Wagner Noel Center in Midland, Texas. The venue serves the University of Texas in the Permian Basin. Like Clowes Hall, it hosts a healthy schedule of touring concerts, a Broadway series, and presentations by local arts groups.

Sutton will join Butler on Oct. 19 as executive director of the Butler University Arts Center, the university announced Thursday morning. In addition to Clowes Hall, he will run Butler’s 450-seat Schrott Center for the Arts, along with the smaller Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall and Black Box Theatre.

“I enjoy working in an academic environment, and I think Butler has a lot to offer,” Sutton said in a prepared statement. “I run a university-owned building now, and it’s one of the busiest in the country. So this move made sense in a lot of ways.”

Sutton’s hiring was triggered by the retirement this year of Elise Kushigian, who served as executive director of Clowes Hall for 20 years. Butler officials decided to hire Los Angeles-based Arts Consulting Group Inc. to search for a successor who would not only run Clowes Hall but the other venues, which have been treated as separate entities.

Putting them under a single umbrella is expected to help streamline ticketing, booking and other support services, as well as enhance Butler's presence as an arts destination.

“We want to consider Butler arts as a whole,” Ronald Caltabiano, dean of the Jordan College of the Arts, told IBJ earlier this year. “We’re thinking holistically—thinking grander than a ‘Clowes season’ or a ‘Schrott season.’”

Sutton will relocate to Indianapolis with his wife, Polly Creer Sutton—a retired professional dancer who performed with the American Folk Ballet—and two children.

Prior to the Wagner Noel Center, Sutton served as general manager of The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado; as programming director at his alma mater, the University of Utah; and audience serve manager at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California. He also worked as a venue manager for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games.

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