Five Questions for Adam Huttler
Name: Adam Huttler
Title/Occupation: Executive Director
Organization/Company: Fractured Atlas
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?
I grew up in Maryland right outside of DC. After graduating college in 1998 I moved to New York and started Fractured Atlas. I stayed in the city until November 2001, when my wife and I headed out to the NJ burbs. Today we live in an old house in Metuchen, NJ with our two kids, Evelyn and Andrew. I worry sometimes that living in the suburbs undermines my street cred; almost all of my colleagues are in the city. But I tell myself that they’re jealous of my garden and that they’d stop making fun of my minivan if they actually drove it.
2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?
I saw a show at the 1996 Edinburgh Fringe Festival called The Last Supper of Doctor Faustus. It was a kind of perverse dinner theatre adaptation of Christopher Marlow’s play. There was a high level of audience participation, but not in an obnoxious or self-conscious way; we were just completely immersed in the world of the play and our participation grew organically out of that. The experience sparked a long, personal journey in which I seriously explored the social and metaphysical functions of art for the first time.
A runner up would be the production of Arthur Giron’s Edith Stein that I produced and directed in 1998. That experience led me to realize that I would never be a great artist but that I had a knack for the business side of things, thereby setting me off on the path that led to where I am today.
3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?
I appreciate the importance of “emotional intelligence” more and more as I get older. I’m far from autistic, but I do wish I were better at reading people and had more intuitive communication skills. When you’re running a growing business, it eventually becomes clear that your own talent and intelligence will only take you so far (and it’s not very far). Growth and success beyond that point depends on your ability to direct and leverage the work of others. It’s far more important that I identify and provoke brilliance than that I do brilliant things myself.
4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.
I wear about a dozen different hats, which is a good thing, since it keeps me from getting bored. On a typical day, I might meet with one of my program directors for an impromptu strategy session, write some software code for automating Fractured Atlas’s operations, help my deputy director wrestle with an accounting issue, do some writing for a grant application, and then have a partners’ meeting for Fractured Atlas’s for-profit subsidiary.
5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?
So far I’ve mostly been able to find “win-wins” between work and art. I suppose I’ve been fortunate in that respect, but it’s also by design. Fractured Atlas’s business model is designed to reconcile making money and supporting artistic creation. I try very hard to align incentives so that the two goals support each other rather than compete for resources.