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CHARMAINE JEFFERSON

Executive Director, California African American Museum
Executive Vice President, Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum

Charmaine Jefferson

Ms. Jefferson was appointed by then Governor Gray Davis as Executive Director of the California African American Museum (CAAM), a State agency, in June 2003. Housed in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park in a 44,000 sq ft. facility containing 5 galleries, and an exhibition courtyard, CAAM's mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and present for public enrichment the art, history, and culture of African Americans. CAAM’s collection exceeds 3,800 objects of art, artifacts and historical memorabilia and a research library of over 20,000 volumes of books, magazines, journals and videos. Ms. Jefferson also serves as Executive Vice President of Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum (Friends Foundation), the 501(c)(3) non-profit partner organized to provide CAAM with financial and human resource support. On a combined budget of $3.1M, CAAM and Friends deliver free, 9 to 13 exhibitions and 53 public and school-age education programs annually. Between 2008 – 2009, CAAM published 5 catalogs and continued its Mentoring Generations initiative with Young Docents (high school employment and training) Docents & Buses (free transportation for school field trips); Conversations at CAAM (community leaders); and monthly performances and support for “Artpreneurs” through Target Sundays at CAAM.

Following a professional career as a fine art concert dancer, Ms. Jefferson went on to become the Senior Dance Program Specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts. From then on she developed extensive expertise in executive and non-profit arts management serving as Deputy and Acting Commissioner for the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs; Executive Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem; Vice President of Business Affairs for dePasse Entertainment; and, Director of Show Development for Disney Entertainment Productions. She is a licensed attorney in the District of Columbia and Florida, and previously practiced general litigation for the Florida law firm of Holland & Knight.

Ms. Jefferson devotes significant volunteer time supporting the arts, education and community service. She has served as Board Director on the Arts and Business Council of NYC; as resolution committee chair for New York's Citywide Advisory Group Arts Education Task Force; as Board Director and Treasurer for Jacob's Pillow in the Berkshires; and, on the Board of the International Association of Blacks in Dance. She was the co-chair of the Harlem Empowerment Zone Cultural Industry Working Group, and the ex-officio board representative for many of NYC's cultural institutions including the Metropolitan Museum and Natural History Museum. Most recently she served on the Los Angeles Metro Transit USC/ExpoLight Rail Art Selection Committee; on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Los Angeles Cultural Master Plan Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Historic Survey Project, and for four years on the Advisory Board of California's Minerva Award Selection Committee for First Lady Maria Shriver.

Ms. Jefferson’s current volunteer service includes: College Board Trustee for the California Institute for the Arts in Valencia, CA; Board Director for the county-wide advocacy organization Arts for LA; gubernatorial appointee to the California Arts Council; and Guidance Mentor to the inaugural class of Los Angeles City Fellows under Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner’s Office of Economic and Business Policy.

M.A. degree in Dance Education from New York University
B.A. in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles
J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center