Creativity Abounds in Portland: Catching Up with Dinah Minot Hubley ’72

By Alison Sellers on January 11, 2019

In our most recent issue of Brookwood Magazine, we caught up with Dinah Minot Hubley, a Brookwood alumnus from the Class of 1972 (pictured above in Portland, Maine with her husband, Whip Hubley, and children Molly, Ella and Ben). Dinah is the Executive Director of Creative Portland, the city’s official non-profit arts agency that coordinates First Friday Art Walk, among other initiatives, in an effort to grow and sustain Portland’s creative economy. Dinah moved to Portland in 2015 after 25 years in the arts and entertainment business in Los Angeles. In addition to her work in Hollywood as a film producer (which included Wayne’s World, Coneheads, Lassie, Black Sheep and Kids in the Hall), she was co-producer and head of talent for Saturday Night Live from 1985 to 1990, and director and editor of Lorne Michaels Productions from 2006 to 2009. After graduating from Brookwood, she attended Milton Academy and then earned a B.A. in Art Education and Art History from the University of Vermont.

(Pictured above left: Saturday Night Live cast and crew shot taken in 1986 at NBC’s Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Dinah is pictured in the third row back, fifth from the right side. Right: Dinah with Batimbo United drummers and dancers at Portland’s First Friday Art Walk, 2018.)

Brookwood: What drew you and your family to Maine?
Dinah Minot Hubley: I grew up spending summers on a small island in the Penobscot Bay. Whenever I would land in Boston from Los Angeles, on my way up to Maine, I could smell the breezy sea and rich familiar soil. Like a bird homing, I was home. I love the coast of Maine.

Brookwood: What attracted you to the mission of Creative Portland?
Dinah Minot Hubley: The coast is alive with the sound of music! Our mission is to boost the creative economy through the arts. When my husband and I were exploring the possibility of moving back east after becoming empty nesters, Portland intrigued us. Getting to know artists and arts administrators inspired me to fully immerse myself in the cultural life of Portland and to see that it’s about to burst. I think it has the potential of becoming a real arts hub in New England. As a lifelong advocate of the arts, Creative Portland really appealed to me. Starting a new chapter of my life as an executive director after being a producer in the entertainment business has been a natural seque for me. Community organizing, scouting talent, networking, fundraising and marketing are all the same skills I’ve applied since the beginning of my career. However, working for a nonprofit and for a quasi-municipal organization requires boundless energy and perseverance. The board meetings, mapping exercises and methodologies are exhausting at times, but the artists, musicians and creative placemaking opportunities make every waking hour worthwhile.

Brookwood: How did your time at Brookwood create an inspirational foundation for future successes?
Dinah Minot Hubley: I loved being in the plays and I loved art class. I come from a large family of artists and competitors, so I think the instinct to tryout for the audition and to take risks in general has really stuck with me. The collaborative spirit at Brookwood has influenced my career and has always attracted me to working in groups, teams and ensembles, just like in sports and in school plays. I am also most grateful for lifelong friendships that were first established at Brookwood. We were a class that had a lot of fun together. It’s amazing how Brookwood has influenced all our lives. After raising a family in California, it has been such a pleasure to return to New England, visit the Brookwood pond, and see ol’ classmates again.

Dinah 1972Brookwood: Was there a faculty member who made a lasting impression on you? (Pictured right: Dinah, 1972.)
Dinah Minot Hubley: I remember, fondly, Mr. Beane, Ms. Gibbons and Ms. O’Brien. I loved the teachers who had senses of humor. Six years after graduating, I returned to Brookwood as a teaching assistant in the art department to satisfy my student teaching field requirements for my under-graduate degree. Teaching in the “new wing” art department was exciting and thrilling, and Mrs. Nickerson was kind enough to let me plan some of the curriculum. It was an empowering experience and it reinforced my passion for art and art history.

Brookwood: What advice do you have for Brookwood students?
Dinah Minot Hubley: Life is less daunting when you embrace humor. Keep your creative juices flowing—always have scissors or a pen nearby. Write in your journal, sketch in a book, join a team, try out for a play and collaborate with others. Paint, cook, photograph, edit movies and go on adventures. Explore, explore, explore!

View the full issue of Brookwood Magazine here!