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Robert Fitzpatrick (art executive)

Robert Fitzpatrick (born 1940) is an Irish American art academic and executive, entrepreneur and former politician. In 1972, he was elected as Baltimore, Maryland's youngest city council member while also serving as a professor of medieval French literature and dean of students at Johns Hopkins University. Time Magazine named him one of its "200 Faces for the Future" in 1974.[citation needed]

In 1975 Fitzpatrick was appointed President of California Institute of the Arts (colloquially known as CalArts), where he remained for 12 years. CalArts is an arts institute in Valencia, California, offering undergraduate and graduate arts degrees in visual arts, music, theatre, film and video, dance, animation, and creative writing. In 1987 he resigned as President of CalArts to take the position of head of EuroDisney in Paris.[1]

During his tenure at CalArts, Fitzpatrick served as the director of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles, California.[2] He was also the founder and director of the Los Angeles Festival, which grew directly out of the 1984 Olympic Games.

From 1987 to 1993, he served as CEO of Euro Disney Resort, overseeing the creation of the $4 billion theme park and resort: Euro Disneyland, 7 resort hotels, and a dining, entertainment and shopping district (Festival Disney). The resort opened in April 1992, and Fitzpatrick left the company following year.[3]

In 1996, Fitzpatrick became the dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University in New York City,[4][5] serving there for two years. He joined the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago as its Director and CEO in 1998,[6] holding the longest tenure of any director to date.[7] During his tenure, MCA was awarded the Arts Presenters/MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence in Arts Access.[7]

In February 2008 Fitzpatrick left his position at MCA[8] in order to join the London-based (and Christie's-owned) gallery Haunch of Venison as its international managing director, where he oversaw the opening of Haunch New York, housed at Rockefeller Center. He stepped down from that post in March 2009.

Fitzpatrick is the father of Michael Fitzpatrick, the titular "Fitz" of the neo soul band Fitz and the Tantrums.[9]


  1. ^ California Institute of the Arts
  2. ^ Steven Leigh Morris (December 11, 2003). "Ten Weeks That Changed the City". LA Weekly. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Disney in Europe". The New York Times. March 13, 1987. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Press Release: Columbia Names Robert Fitzpatrick Dean of the School of the Arts". June 1, 1996. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "CHRONICLE – New York Times". The New York Times. June 21, 1995. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  6. ^ Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago website Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b McClure, Vaughn (September 7, 2011). "Featured Articles From The Chicago Tribune". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "Fitzpatrick leaves MCA". September 22, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  9. ^ "Interview: Fitz and the Tantrums specialize in art of performance". Chicago Tribune. January 30, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2017.