Paul Kravagna

Paul Kravagna

The Paul Kravagna Scholarship, established by family and friends, honors the life of Paul Kravagna, a long-time supporter of and contributor to art education.

Lifetime Accomplishments

Paul Kravagna’s life story is rich with unique events, starting with his birth (29 July 1939) in the infirmary at MGM studios where his father worked. Paul’s life experiences varied from a nighttime job at Boeing to working as a steward on Pan American—flying in and out of San Francisco and Istanbul.

Paul obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from the University of Washington; his first teaching assignment was at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fé, New Mexico. In the next decade, he completed his masters and a dual doctorate in Art Education and Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. While working towards his degrees, he taught at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, working briefly with Margaret Mean in Washington D.C.

In the early 1970s at the University of Arizona, under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Paul researched the application of anthropological enthnography to ethnic group art education. Paul’s primary interest became weaving. He researched Indian belt weaving techniques and worked with Kay Arvisu, a renowned teacher of Navajo weaving. He was honored while teaching Navajo children the fast disappearing of weaving by being given a Navaho name which translates as “the boy who went away and came back.” Such an honor is seldom given a non-Navajo. Along the way, he created masterful and massive woven wall hangings.

After declining teaching jobs in Mississippi and Guam, Paul found his way back to Southern California, the place of his birth. He taught in elementary, middle, and high schools in San Marino, California, and went on to teach at California State University Northridge (CSUN) where he was a professor in the art department for 27 years. Paul was a long-time member of CAEA and received both the Douc Langur and Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator awards.

Paul retired back to Seattle in 1999. After valiantly battling lung cancer for several years, the end came in 2005. A Celebration of Life was held in Derwen, the family’s former Hollywood home which Paul had loved so much. Paul’s family had established CAEA’s Paul Kravagna Scholarship several years before, so family and friends were asked to donate to the scholarship (instead of sending flowers) in his memory.

The scholarship fund has continued to grow—providing professional development for students enrolled in an art credential programs as well as support and encouragement for these pre-service teachers about to embark on lifelong careers as California art teachers.