I began my career with 12 years in educational theater, serving as scenic designer, lighting designer, and/or technical director for nearly 150 shows and events.


For 7 years after that, as Production Manager for the Duluth Playhouse in Duluth, MN, I led the design teams and coordinated all production aspects for another 100+ productions while also creating freelance designs for other local and regional theater companies.

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Although my career began in technical direction and design, I have also developed strengths in project management and planning, both for events and for facilities. I have had the opportunity to open two new theater facilities, and for the Playhouse I also collaborated with building engineers and architects to design an off-site rehearsal and theater education space and to transform a basement area in the train depot into The Underground, a flexible-design meeting and performance venue for the Playhouse and community groups. In my last year at the Duluth Playhouse, I was also very involved with restoration and renovation discussions about the performance spaces of the art deco NorShor Theatre, for use by the Playhouse. 

I broadened my experience beyond theater when I spent a year consulting on, designing, and fabricating the learning environment and exhibits of the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (Mankato, MN; grand opening was May 2015). This opportunity greatly strengthened my knowledge of exhibit design and construction and rejuvenated my creativity and passion for discovery and research – and the thrill of being involved in projects that leave a true legacy!

With this renewed energy, I formed BrownKnows Design in 2015. Along with many additional scenic and lighting design projects since then, my exhibit design and fabrication portfolio has expanded to include projects with Duluth Children's Museum (Duluth, MN), Children's Discovery Museum (Grand Rapids, MN), Minnesota Discovery Center (Chisholm, MN), and Red River Zoo (Fargo, ND).

I look forward to working with more sensational people and passionate organizations on inspired projects.

I’ve worked with BrownKnows Design on many projects including two major build-outs, one indoor and one outdoor.  Both build-outs had limited budgets, tight time lines, and some complex requirements.  Jeff and his crew delivered.  In fact, they knocked it out of the park, and both build-outs have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback.  Jeff knows Greater Minnesota and has the unique skill of weaving local input into all his designs, resulting in exhibits with a real sense of place.  I highly recommend the services of BrownKnows Design.

Peter Olson

former Executive Director
Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota

Jeff Brown of BrownKnows Design has the rare ability to listen closely to museum professionals and community stakeholders. His experience and practical approach offers both concept design and fabrication that address cost effective budgets. Jeff is a problem-solver – open to new ideas and differing viewpoints. His work surpassed all audience expectations at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Grand Rapids, MN.

John Kelsch

Executive Director
Children’s Discovery Museum
Grand Rapids, MN

Jeff Brown is truly a collaborative artist.  His work and energy exudes beyond a simple project — it becomes transformational.

Craig A. Ellingson

Director of Theatre
School of Performing Arts
Minnesota State University Moorhead


The most important thing I did at the end of our last season was to re-engage Jeff Brown to work for us again next year.  Having a highly competent professional working for us was the key to a successful festival.  Jeff knows every facet of production, from lighting to painting scenery.  He is warm, stays ahead of the tasks, has tremendous energy and a good nature.  He managed our crew admirably and handled the demands of our tour to various cities without incident.  I can’t recommend him highly enough.

Veda Zuponcic

Artistic Director
Northern Lights Music Festival

Jeff is creative, talented and exceptionally hard working. He’s great at communicating and I’m always confident that he’ll not only work tirelessly to get the job done, but he’ll produce a dynamite product.

Hallie O’Connor

Exhibit Fabricator
Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota


Hiring Jeff Brown is the easiest decision I make every year. Having him on the team means professionalism, creativity, and efficiency are driving the ship of your production. He thinks, breathes, and lives outside of the box and yet has demonstrated successful experience in every skill set you could ask for of a designer and technician. I want him at every company I work at on every production I direct or choreograph.

Nikki Swoboda Thiesen

Education Director, Stages Theatre Company
Producing Manager and Co-founder, The Catalysts
Director/Choreographer, Maple Grove Senior High, Musical Theatre Program

When the Duluth Children’s Museum was looking to build its first climbable experience, we were inspired by the amazing work Jeff did for the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota and knew he was the right fit for our museum.  Not only is the resulting Ore Boat exhibit a visitor favorite, but we found Jeff to be a delight to work with.

Cameron C. Bloom Kruger

Duluth Children’s Museum

In my three decades of directing, I have yet to encounter a designer as skilled, talented, and visually innovative as Jeff Brown.  His ability to listen to my dream and translate it into spectacular design is simply unparalleled in my experience.
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Scott Durocher

Director of Theatre
Eastview High School

When you work with Jeff Brown you get it all – a Renaissance man with a wealth of theatrical know how and design power. He balances a thoughtful approach and an eye for project scope while realizing the vision of the creative teams with inventive solutions to fit any budget and when you see Jeff’s final product/designs – be it lighting, set, or a museum installation... you will want to work with him on your next project. Once you have worked with Jeff on a project - you will want to collaborate with him for life.

Kate Horvath

FORMER Artistic Director
Children’s Theatre Program
Duluth Playhouse

Jeff’s lighting designs are smart, highly creative and bring a crisp focus to any production. JB is a joy to work with. He is the guy that will go above and beyond and bring the show to life like no other.

Michael Matthew Ferrell

Director / Choreographer
Artistic Director - Alive & Kickin 

Jeff brings professionalism, passion, humor, and a boat-load of good ideas to the table. He’s a pleasure to work with, and his design work is ambitious and distinctive.

Benjamin McGovern

Producing Artistic Director
Artistry Theater

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I’ve worked with Jeff on many productions at The Duluth Playhouse, and if you get the ‘Jeff Brown Guarantee,’ you know you’ll get a finished product, on time, and spectacularly executed. Having Jeff on board is always an instant relief for the team.

Topaz Cooks

Production Stage Manager
Duluth Playhouse

Jeff Brown is an amazing friend of mine who is a wonderful designer, great lighting designer, has a caring and likable personality, and is an extremely competent business owner who will, above all, do whatever it takes to get the job done.  Period.

Rob Rachow

Lighting and Scenic Designer
St. Paul, MN

Jeff Brown is incredible to work with. He is always on budget and on time and most importantly his work is beautiful. He has the perfect mix of artist and businessman. He is a true professional and we feel lucky to have him work on our shows.

Elizabeth Evert Karnes

Managing Director for the Center of the Arts
College of Arts, Media, and Communication
Minnesota State University Moorhead

We have had the pleasure working with Jeff Brown through multiple productions.  Jeff is clear, concise, and communicates clearly what we can expect.  Jeff delivers a first rate final product. Throughout all of our collaborations with Jeff, we have received the service and products on time and at a very professional level.

Terrell Beaudry

SOAR Regional Arts
St. Michael, MN

Jeff Brown approaches every new project as an opportunity to challenge and inspire not only himself, but other creative individuals as well.  When I partner with him, I know I’m in for an adventure that will stretch the bounds of my artistic talents.

Ashley Wereley

Scenic Artist
duluth, mn