California Arts Council

State of California

Patty Milich Announces Her Retirement   

More than 25 Years of Dedicated Service to California's Arts Community

Published: 06-12-2014

Patty Milich will retire from the state after working at the California Arts Council for more than 25 years.

Patty serves on the Executive Staff as the Programs Officer overseeing the administration of all grants programs and some special initiatives.  She worked on the 2014 Strategic Plan and was a member of CREATE CA, a multi-agency arts education initiative. Over the years, Patty wore many hats at the CAC, providing outstanding service to California's arts community in various roles.

"For 25 years, Patty Milich has devoted herself to California's artists and arts community," said Craig Watson, Director of the CAC. "She will be greatly missed, but leaves behind a legacy of achievement at the Council and deep friendships earned statewide."

Michael Alexander, Council Member and Co-Chair of the Council Programs Committee stated, "On behalf of the Council and our colleagues and the field, I express my greatest thanks to Patty for her passion and dedication, and her longtime commitment to the arts in California through many changing times. We wish her good luck for a fun and fulfilling retirement."

"What an incredibly long run Patty has had serving the citizens of California. If only they each knew how much she has given to this work," Charmaine Jefferson, Council Member and Co-Chair of the Council Programs Committee shared. "Patty will leave a legacy within the agency. We thank her for letting the arts, education, and the agency come first. She's gotten us through countless grant cycles, and we can't thank her enough."


Dedicated Service to California's Arts Community

Previously, as Public Awareness Coordinator, Patty developed and implemented ways in which the arts and the Arts Council could obtain a higher profile within the state as part of the CAC's Strategic Plan. She cultivated and fulfilled opportunities for panel presentations, speaking engagements, literature distribution, etc. at a variety of arts and non-arts venues and gatherings throughout the state.

Previously, Patty managed the California Arts Council's Performing Arts Touring and Presenting Program (PATP), administering the largest artist roster program in the US, and the Rural and Inner City Presenting Pilot Program (both programs no longer exist having been eliminated during a major agency budget reduction).  For the PATP program, she also managed an extensive program of technical assistance to presenters, performing artists, and booking managers serving grantees and non-grantees alike.  Her knowledge of the touring and presenting field led her to receive invitations to provide technical assistance, consultations, keynote speeches and grants panel service from the state arts agencies and organizations in Utah, Arizona and Nevada and from WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation.  In addition, she worked on touring projects with the Canadian and Israeli Consulates. 

For approximately eight years, Patty also served as the CAC Resale Royalty Act Coordinator, administering the agency's responsibilities for this one-of-a-kind law and was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as the "art sleuth."

For a time and in conjunction with the Touring and Presenting Program, she also served as the Dance Specialist and Arts Service Organizations/Arts Education/Presenters Specialist for the agency's Organizational Support and Challenge Programs.  She acted as agency staff for interagency agreements, such as that with Dept. of Agriculture's Division of Fairs and Expositions for the California Fairs and Arts Alliance and with the California Department of Parks. She also represented the Arts Council in a major tourism initiative.


Ballet Beginnings

Patty's arts involvement began at an early age.  Her parents recognized that their daughter had an interest in dance and that she would be tall, and so sent her to ballet classes. After spending most of her non-school time in dance classes and performances during elementary, middle and high school, Patty went on to the University of California at Santa Cruz where she was a student assigned to Porter College (then College V), the arts college...which oddly was not her first choice. She declared a psychology major and received her B.A. in that field, but somehow took more dance classes than psychology classes, in addition to off-campus ballet classes with Suzanne Gibson.

With the writing on the wall, Patty went back for her master's degree in Dance from Mills College in Oakland, which from the early 1940s was one of the earliest colleges in the US to offer a master's degree in Dance and to treat it as an art form with its own department...not as a physical education activity. This was one of the most satisfying times in her life.

Patty has been a founder, choreographer, dancer, and administrator for a community-based dance company, and has taught at several colleges in Washington, D.C. and California, including the University of California at Davis. For nearly eight years, she wrote dance and multi-media criticism of local, regional, and San Francisco Bay Area performances for the Davis Enterprise, which had consistently won statewide awards for arts coverage.  She was appointed by the Davis City Council to the Civic Arts Commission and served for almost 6 years.  Directly before coming to the CAC, Patty was the Executive Director of a local arts agency in Escondido that encompassed gallery exhibitions, performances and arts education for children. It served as the precursor to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. 


Changed by the Arts

Patty still remembers the experience of learning how shading works while drawing with colored pencils in 7th grade drawing class, and playing the piano with a great deal of passion during adolescence.  Some of her most transcendent artistic experiences include seeing the Mark Morris Dance Group in the pre-Baroque opera Platée with Morris' dance direction; listening to Chanticleer's performance of the CAC's American Masterpieces program on early California Mission music; hearing vocal Eastern European music, especially that sung by Kitka; listening to Yo Yo Ma play Bach's Suites for Cello as well as almost any opportunity to really listen to Mozart.  Though now an avid genealogist, her gravestone will read: "...she listened to the music."


Friday, June 27, 2014 is Patty's last full-time day in the office. Her engagement and service to the Council may continue for several months, on an occasional, as-needed basis.


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