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California Arts Administrator Tapped As New ArtsKC Leader

Bruce W. Davis was named Tuesday as the new president and CEO of Arts KC — Regional Arts Council. ArtsKC has a staff of 10 people and a budget of $2 million to advocate for the arts in the five-county metro area. 

"I'm excited to play a role in Kansas City's arts renaissance," said Davis in a news release. "What is going on in all genres of the arts in Kansas City is history-making, and I'm thrilled to be part of it." 

Davis has worked in arts administration, fundraising and arts advocacy in California's Bay Area for more than three decades. 

For 18 years, he served as executive director of the Arts Council Silicon Valley, the largest nonprofit arts council in California. Previously, he held positions as executive director of Taiko Community Alliance, promoting the art form of Taiko, and executive director/producer of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. 

Brad Douglas chaired the ArtsKC search committee, and he's also the incoming board chair. The board of directors worked closely with Arts Consulting Group in the search process, and Douglas says it resulted in a strong pool of applicants.

"It was a priority of the arts council to look for national, diverse candidates that were not only ethnically diverse, but geographically diverse," he says. "We had candidates from D.C., from New York, from Silicon Valley, and we had also had candidates from here in Kansas City. They were all outstanding." 

At the end of the day, says Douglas, it came down to who was the best "fit" for the organization. 

"Bruce is a proven leader nationally in the arts. He has a long track record of being a leader in the arts world and through that has built relationships across the country," Douglas says. 

"We were looking for somebody who could take the good work that's gone on before his arrival —by both former leaders of the arts council and by former boards — and take their good work and take it to another level."

Susan Stanton has served as interim president and CEO since July with the departure of leader Harlan Brownlee. Davis will transition into his new role at ArtsKC on Feb. 8. 

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter, @lauraspencer.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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