Governor Brown Appoints Anne Bown-Crawford Director of California Arts Council

Updated January 2018

SACRAMENTO – Anne Bown-Crawford has been named the new Director of the California Arts Council, the state agency announced today. Bown-Crawford was appointed December 22, 2017, by Governor Brown to fill the vacant position.

As lead executive, Bown-Crawford will promote the Arts Council’s mission to advance California through the arts and creativity by way of the agency’s grant programs, services, and initiatives. She will begin her work at the California Arts Council on January 17, 2018.

With nearly 40 years as a teacher at the secondary level, Bown-Crawford is a champion for arts education in California, serving as administrator for numerous exemplary arts programs. Outside the classroom, Bown-Crawford’s sphere of influence spans from community-based work, helping to link the creative industry with economic development; to statewide leadership as an arts advocate; to international impact, endorsing creative education in higher education and technology settings.

Bown-Crawford is on leave from her position as the Director of the Arcata Arts Institute and the Innovation Design Institute, both programs within Northern Humboldt Union High School District; as well as the Fine Arts Department Chair at Arcata High School.

Bown-Crawford a founder of the Create CA Leadership Council, a statewide collective impact organization with a mission to rethink and create an educational environment for all California students featuring arts education as a central part of the solution to the crisis in our schools. Her work in that capacity led State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to appoint Bown-Crawford to help write the “Blueprint For Creative Schools.”

Bown-Crawford is a new media studio artist and a freelance graphic designer who specializes in branding not-for-profit organizations via print, web, and social media. She is currently a FabLearn Fellow in the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and an Adobe Education Leader. Bown-Crawford holds a Master of Arts in Education from UC Berkeley, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design from Northern Illinois University, and was an MFA Design candidate at the California College of Arts. Bown-Crawford is a member of the National Art Education Association and the California Art Education Association.

“Anne Bown-Crawford will step into her new role as Director of the California Arts Council and have an immediate impact,” said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. “Anne is smart, savvy, and filled with surprises – she has the kind of quick intellect that sizes things up and gets things done. Anne also listens well, deeply understands people, and can quickly galvanize a group to action. I enjoyed working with her on Create CA’s Equity Committee and I look forward to working with her in this new role. On behalf of our Council, I extend our gratitude to Governor Brown for this wise and insightful selection.”

“I deeply believe that the California Arts Council’s work to nourish the arts and creative expression in all communities across California is essential for our society’s health,” said Anne Bown-Crawford. “I have worked my entire career toward developing arts and culture in California, and I am passionate about continuing the work to amplify personal voice through creativity, equity, and the arts as Governor Brown’s appointed Director of the California Arts Council.”

Bown-Crawford succeeds former California Arts Council Director Craig Watson, who stepped down from the position in March of this year. Ayanna L. Kiburi, who has served as Interim Director during the past nine months, will return to her role as the agency’s Deputy Director.

“We thank Ayanna for bringing stability and inspired leadership to the agency during this important transition,” Harris added.

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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 Nashormeh Lindo, Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

Kimberly Brown

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