California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

February 08, 2016Caitlin Fitzwater

Ayanna Lalia Kiburi Joins the California Arts Council as Deputy Director

Kiburi to serve as key executive for California’s state arts agency

Sacramento -

  The California Arts Council today announced that Ayanna L. Kiburi has been named Deputy Director for the state agency. In this position, Kiburi will serve as the primary advisor to the Council and Director and will oversee the agency's administrative operations. Kiburi begins her work at the Arts Council today, February 8, 2016.

Ayanna L. Kiburi, a West Sacramento resident, joins the Arts Council from the Office of AIDS at the California Department of Public Health where she served as Branch Chief for the HIV Care Branch for more than six years. In that role she oversaw four statewide health programs and managed multiple funding streams from both State and Federal sources.

Prior to her work with the California Department of Public Health, she held a variety of health care related positions in both the public and nonprofit sectors, including Program Director for the National African American Tobacco Education Network and Every Woman Counts programs of the Health Education Council, and Professional Education Specialist with the Cancer Detection Section (CDS) Professional Education Unit for the University of California, San Francisco. Kiburi holds a master's degree in public health from San Jose State University and bachelor's degrees in Sociology and African-American Studies from UC Davis.

Ayanna L. Kiburi is a member of Authentic Voices, a Sacramento-based reader's theater designed to stimulate authentic dialogue on inherent equality through personal life experiences and perceptions. She began performing in theater and dance troupes at a young age. Kiburi was a member of the Black Repertoire Dance Troupe of UC Davis, Yemaya Dance Troupe, and Ebo Okokan of Sacramento.

"Ayanna's considerable experience in both the public and nonprofit sectors, coupled with her passion and dedication to the arts, will serve our agency well," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "We are delighted to welcome Ayanna to this leadership position where her talents and background will help advance the work of the agency on behalf of the arts throughout all of California."

"I am delighted for this opportunity to utilize my state management experience to promote and support the California Arts Council and arts communities across the state," said Ayanna L. Kiburi. "Access to and enjoyment of the arts is a social determinant of healthy individuals and communities, and ensuring that is a huge passion of mine. I am grateful to work with such a dynamic team at the Arts Council. It's a perfect marriage between my vocation and avocation."

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

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