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California Arts Council Head Resigns

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The director of the California Arts Council resigned Thursday, opening the way for a search by Gov. Pete Wilson for a new head for the state’s key public arts agency.

Robert H. Reid, the council’s director for the last five years, resigned effective at the end of next week. Reed, who had made it known weeks ago that he did not expect to continue in his position under Wilson, said he would take a long vacation before pursuing new opportunities.

The resignation appeared to set the stage for the most important appointment Wilson is likely to make in the arts. The council has a budget of about $16.1 million this year. The director’s job pays $80,000 a year.

Reid’s announcement focused speculation in Sacramento on four people whose names have made the rounds in arts circles across the country as possible successors to Reid. The most prominent possible candidate, sources said, is Daphne Wood Murray, who resigned late last year as head of the federal government’s Institute of Museum Services. Murray relocated to Sacramento from Washington to marry, but friends and associates say she may be interested in the arts council position.

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Murray declined to comment Thursday morning. “I’m always interested in the arts and their future,” she said. She said there had been no contact between her and anyone in the Wilson administration concerning the position.

Other possible candidates for the position are believed to be Robert Garfias, a UC Irvine ethnomusicologist who is also a member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory board to the National Endowment for the Arts; Judith Luther, who served as executive director of the L.A. Festival; and Paul Minicucci, staff director of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Arts.

A spokesman for Wilson said the governor’s appointments office is far from producing a nominee to replace Reid. “There have only been very preliminary discussions about individuals,” said Bill Livingston, Wilson’s press secretary. “We don’t have any timetable for making announcements.”


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