Most Interesting and Influencial 2006: Clyde Hanna

Manager of Group Sales, Cultural Diversity & Community Outreach
Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Michigan State University

     As Manager of Group Sales, Cultural Diversity & Community Outreach for Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Mr. Hanna is responsible for a myriad of programs at Michigan’s largest performing arts center. 
     As group sales manager, he serves as a liaison to corporations, community organizations, tour companies, and others, with 20 or more individuals wishing to attend a Wharton Center attraction(s). Groups receive priority seating, special services and discounts to most shows.  “Group purchases are an important piece of Wharton Center’s sales strategy,” says Hanna.  “Developing relationships throughout the community is crucial to our long-term success as a performing arts center.”
     As manager of cultural diversity and community outreach, Mr. Hanna is responsible for personally inviting groups of all interests and cultures to enjoy the culturally-diverse programming at Wharton Center.  In recent years, Wharton Center has focused much of its energy on diversifying its programming in order to appeal to a wider, more diverse audience.  “One of our goals is to ensure that our audience reflects the diversity we see throughout our community and on our stages,” says Hanna. “Developing meaningful relationships with individuals who have not otherwise seen Wharton Center as an option for cultural entertainment takes patience and persistence, but it’s vital to our mission.”
     Another important part of community outreach is developing partnerships with community organizations such as Cristo Rey Community Center and Black Child & Family Institute.  “Earlier this season we had a wildly successful community meet and greet in conjunction with Ballet Folklorico de Vera Cruz,” says Hanna.  “We hosted a reception with the artists and over 100 community members on-site at Cristo Rey.”  Mr. Hanna and other members of the Wharton Center staff are currently dialoguing with the Black Child & Family Institute about additional engagement opportunities.
     Mr. Hanna also serves as staff liaison to Wharton Center’s community advisory groups (African-American, Hispanic).  These advisory groups help shape the direction of Wharton Center’s programming and marketing efforts to reach underserved communities.  “Developing unique programs and strategies to appeal to diverse communities takes time,” says Hanna.  “But we’re committed to enhancing our role as a meaningful cultural asset for the entire community and the state of Michigan.”
     Mr. Hanna has been a resident of the Lansing area for 30 years and is a single father of (4) children David, Candice, Kristina, and John Jacob. The performing arts have always been important to the Hanna clan.  Kristina is now a freshman studying dance at Julliard in New York City.