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Culture 2020 40 Under 40: DUSTIN VAN ORNE

2020 40 Under 40: DUSTIN VAN ORNE

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Paul Harral
Paul is a lifelong journalist with experience in wire service, newspaper, magazine, local and network television and digital media. He was vice president and editor of the editorial page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and editor of Fort Worth, Texas magazine before joining the Business Press. What he likes best is writing about people in detail and introducing them to others in the community. Specific areas of passion are homelessness, human trafficking, health care and aerospace.




Dustin Van Orne has been an integral member of the Modern’s staff since the Tadao Ando building opened in 2002 and wears many hats facilitating new programs including Day in the District, Modern ’til Midnight, interpretive gallery guides and a point of sale/data analysis program, said nominator Kendal Lake of the Modern Art Museum.

“His original, creative ideas lead to successful outcomes for programs and events. He is also an important liaison with partners including the other museums, Fortress Festival, the Cultural District Alliance, and the City of Fort Worth,” Lake said.

Van Orne stays current with museum trends and activities and has implemented new technology as well as new staff activities in the museum’s visitor services department.

His continued focus on customer service and visitor experience is of the utmost importance for the organization.

“He has been a successful leader of the Cultural District Alliance, with engagement and activities growing through his creative input, diligent operational ability, and marketing expertise. Dustin is also a gifted photographer,” Lake said. “He participates at the highest level and never fails in his commitment.”

Van Orne has a bachelor of fine arts degree from TCU and a master of business administration in nonprofit administration form Marylhurst University in Marylhurst, Oregon.

He was a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Fort Worth’s LeadingEdge in 2009 and a graduate of Leadership Fort Worth’s Class Program in 2015, the first graduate of both programs.

Civic involvement includes Cultural District Alliance 2016-present and board chair 2019-2021; Historic Fort Worth, Inc., Public Affairs Committee Member, 2015-present; MHMR Visions Foundation, Board Member, 2009-present, Chair (2013-2015) and Vice Chair; and Circle Theatre, board member and secretary, 2009-2011.

– Paul K. Harral

Where did your first paycheck come from?

I worked at a custom golf club maker, regripping golf clubs after school. I learned a lot about golf and realized how much better a custom set of clubs makes for your golf game. For me though, better is entirely relative.

What movie, TV series, play or video game influenced you growing up?

The Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Calvin was an imaginative, creative, precocious, mischievous

kid that was always on adventures or questioning the world. Bill Watterson’s iconic imagination

made me look forward to reading the paper every morning.

What other profession would you like to try?

A travel photographer. I love taking pictures, and traveling, so if someone wanted to pay me for

both, I would be a happy camper.

Tell us about an influential person in your life, how they influenced you and why he or

she was important.

It was always hard when my dad, an Air Force pilot, forced us to move every few years, uprooting us and forcing me to a new school, often in a new country. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how much he taught me about leadership, responsibility, duty and instilled a love of travel.

Even though I didn’t follow in his footsteps as a fighter pilot, I learned more about life from him

and his job than I could ever understand.

When did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I still haven’t decided as I refuse to accept that I have grown up.

What is your favorite song?

Skanky Panky, Kid Koala

Tell us about your photo shoot prop.

My wife and I love to travel and while traveling I love to take pictures, so I brought my camera. I also brought my speed square from my workshop. In my spare time, I love to build furniture and tinker around making things.

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