Concept drawings of ceramic award by Morgan MacDonnell, 3D4M MFA student.

The Anne Focke Arts Leadership Award is a community-based biennial award offered by the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design. As the region’s leading research institution, we are privileged to acknowledge and honor individuals in the fields of art, art history, and design for their exceptional vision, leadership, and innovation.

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. 2017 was the first year the award was offered by the School, signifying our commitment to preparing students for both professional and leadership roles. In addition to Focke, past recipients of the award include Richard Andrews, Helen Gurvich, Ed Marquand, Beth Sellars, and Steve Kaneko.

Anne Focke was one of the first art history graduates from the School, as well as its inaugural Alum-in-Resident. Her career parallels the history of the arts, both nationally and here in our local community. Focke is both a creator of and a collaborator on many non-profit, for-profit, and informal enterprises and exchanges, including: Jini Dellaccio Project, Common Field Council, Grantmakers in the Arts, Community Democracy Workshop, Arts Wire, Artist Trust, Artech, and the gallery and/or. Her legacy looms large in the City of Seattle, where she was instrumental in creating the Seattle Arts Commission (now the Office of Arts and Culture), as well as the Art in Public Places program. The eponymous gallery in City Hall is named for Focke and celebrates her contributions to Seattle.