COLUMBIA — Marie Nau Hunter's proudest moment as manager of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs came in 2007, when Columbia was named the state's first "creative community."
"It's so significant that Columbia was the first community to receive that designation," Hunter said.
The award from the Missouri Arts Council and the state Department of Economic Development was given to Columbia because it demonstrated that art promoted economic growth.
Hunter's resignation, effective in February, was announced Monday in a news release from City Manager Bill Watkins. Hunter has led the Office of Cultural Affairs since 2001. Before that, she worked for the city as a cultural program assistant and a cultural program specialist.
"I remain so supportive of the arts locally and so thankful for the opportunities I've had with the city," Hunter said.
In February, Hunter received a Leadership in the Arts award. She said she is proud to have worked for a city that supports the arts.
"Columbia is such a unique and special place that there is an Office of Cultural Affairs," Hunter said. "It was a great fit for my interests and background."
Watkins said in the release that a search for Hunter's replacement will start in the coming weeks.
Hunter, who is on maternity leave with her second child, plans to stay in Columbia with her family. She said balancing family and work was the reason she is stepping down as manager.
"The next chapter in my life," she said, "is to raise my kids.”