Entry installation at Design Show 2015

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Anne Focke Arts Leadership Award

Submitted on November 9, 2018 - 2:25pm

The biennial Anne Focke Arts Leadership Award is offered by the School of Art + Art History + Design at the University of Washington to recognize individuals who pave the way for art, art history, or design to enliven and strengthen the community through their visionary and active leadership.

2019 Award + Event

The awardee will be announced in March followed by a celebratory dinner and program in the spring honoring the recipient:

  • April 13, 2019
  • 5~9pm, UW Seattle Campus

Event registration will be available in early 2019.

For more information about the award or celebration, please contact Merith Bennett, mab4@uw.edu or 206-543-0971.


Named for Anne Focke, an alum­ who exemplifies the traits in the award description, it is a non-cash honor organized by the School’s Advisory Board and other community leaders. The Anne Focke Arts Leadership Award was originally hosted by 911 Media Arts. The awardees were Anne Focke, Richard Andrews, Helen Gurvich, and Ed Marquand. 2017 was the first year the award was offered by the School, signifying our commitment to preparing students for both professional and leadership roles. Beth Sellars was the recipient.

Anne Focke received her Art History bachelor's degree from the School in 1967, making her one of the earliest graduates of this program. She was also our Alum in Residence during 2016–2017. Focke was the first staff person for the City of Seattle’s arts agency, first director of its public art program, and director of Bumbershoot (the city’s annual arts festival) the year it got its name. Focke freelances in the arts, philanthropy, and civil society. She has worked as an editor, writer, and researcher; a consultant and planner; nonprofit executive; organizer and start-up activist; public arts agency staffer; curator; and artist. Focke served for ten years as the first executive director of Grantmakers in the Arts and for eighteen years as co-editor of its journal, GIA Reader. She has participated in founding new enterprises including Arts Wire, an early national online network; Artist Trust, serving Washington State artists; and/or, an artist center; and Artech, a for-profit art-handling company.