Creative Edge Lecture

Bringing renowned thought-leaders on creativity and innovation to inspire our own work as artists, educators, and community leaders since 2010

Please enjoy the lecture, shared on video for the first time!
Photo Gallery included below

2022 Speaker - Donn K. Harris

"Culture Clash: Creativity, Curriculum and Chaos in the Millennial Classroom"

Thanks to our generous sponsors for making this event free to attend!*

Sidney Poitier Circle Sponsor

Phil and Mary Lyons


Frida Kahlo Circle Sponsor


Isamu Noguchi Circle Sponsor

Judith F. Posnikoff


Joy Harjo Circle Sponsor

Susan K. Hori
Ellen Breitman & Brien Amspoker


Other Gifts

Sophia and Larry Cripe


Community Partners


* Sponsors as of March 21, 2022

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Karen Ahola at:

About the Speaker

Donn K Harris FINAL Headshot 1-27-22

Donn K. Harris

Arts Education Thought-Leader &
Former Chair, California Arts Council

Donn K. Harris, based on his experience as a teacher, principal, Executive Director of Creativity, Vice President of the national Arts School Network and Chair of the California Arts Council, explores the contradictions, confluences and challenges of a creative agenda in today's schools, with some surprising observations and insights about arts education and its place in the current economic and educational climate.

Donn K. Harris just completed his second four-year term on the California Arts Council, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013 and 2017 and extended by Governor Gavin Newsom for 2021. He served as the Council chair from 2015-2018, a time of unprecedented growth, with the State arts budget growing from $3 million to almost $40 million in that period. Prior to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Council had created and funded arts programs for Veterans, Traditional Arts, New Media, Cultural Pathways, Juvenile Justice, the California Prison system, and a range of arts education programs that at their peak saw $7 million committed to the public schools annually.

Known as an administrative innovator, as well as for his commitment to diversity at all levels of the arts ecosystem, he initiated the concept that eventually became the Council’s Arts Leaders of Color Fellowship program, whose first cohort hit the field this past year. Mr. Harris has also crafted innovative statistical models for measuring diversity in schools and begun work on a Creativity Index that would empower schools with a measure for the creativity they bring to their students’ daily experience. Combined with academic and social-emotional ratings, Mr. Harris believes with this measure we would have a more complete picture of a school’s true achievement.

In July of 2019 Mr. Harris retired from public education. His last position was as the Director of Creativity for the San Francisco public schools; prior to that he was the Principal of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and the Executive and Artistic Director of Governor Jerry Brown’s Oakland School for the Arts. Through innovative outreach and support programs, both schools experienced increased levels of ethnic diversity in the student population. Harris has been the recipient of the California Lawyers for the Arts’ 2017 Artistic License Award for his part in restoring state funding for the arts and the national Arts Schools Network’s 2011 Arts Innovation Award for the Circus Arts program he introduced in Oakland.  An Air Force Veteran, Harris was honored to be part of the 2017 Creative Forces kick-off event in San Diego as the military begins to explore creativity and artistic expression in the healing of trauma and the reunification of families following prolonged separation.

An aspiring novelist and Creative Non-Fiction writer, his creative work can be found on and Amazon, extending into fields beyond the arts. Mr. Harris holds a BA and MA in Theater Arts from California State University at Los Angeles, and Education Credentials in Language Arts, Special Education with an emphasis on Emotional Disturbance, and School Administration from San Francisco State University. He currently lives in Nevada City and serves on the board of the Nevada County Arts Council and as the Chief Financial Officer for Color Me Human, a non-profit exploring racial equity and bridge-building between groups that have clashed over the complex issues we face in the COVID-19 era.

Mr. Harris has two daughters, both products of K-12 Spanish immersion and advanced arts programs in the public schools, and shares with Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares gran orgullo in his children’s achievements as college graduates and bilingual, artistically engaged examples of public education in California.



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