Mayor's Arts Awards


2016 Mayor's Arts Awards - Thursday, November 3, 2016 - Museum of Ventura County

Mayor's Arts Awards recipients announced, public invited to reception on November 3 

Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko is proud to announce the recipients for the Mayor’s Arts Awards and invites the public to attend its twelfth annual reception on Thursday, November 3, at 7 pm, at the Museum of Ventura County, 100 East Main Street in Ventura. Seven top leaders, patrons, educators, entrepreneurs and artists dedicated to nurturing our city’s lively arts community and vital cultural life will be honored this year:

• Mark & Janet Goldenson – Arts Patrons

• Dr. KuanFen Liu – Artist in the Community

• Geraldine (Dina) Pielaet – Creative Entrepreneur

• Jodi Farrell – Arts Educator

• Jim Rice – Arts Leader

Kaylie Pendleton – Student Artist

View Program and Recipient Bios

“These annual awards are an important tradition for everyone who loves the arts and Ventura,” said the Mayor. “They cultivate a greater visibility and understanding of the value of the arts to the public at large and are one small way to say ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ to all participants in our creative community – for their contributions, their dedication and their passion to serve our city through the arts.”

Music by Caleb Bigler and Blake Kasting Duo and refreshments from Seasons Catering precede individual presentations for each honoree who will receive “Mark of Excellence,” a special edition work on paper created by artist Lis Schwitters.

The event is presented by the City Manager’s Office and the Parks, Recreation and Community Partnerships Department. Reception sponsors include the Museum of Ventura County, Seasons Catering, and the Ventura High School Regional Occupational Program: Floral Design.

An Awards Selection Committee (listed below) convened earlier this year to review nominations made by the public and to make recommendations that were forwarded to the Mayor and the City’s Cultural Affairs Commission for their approval: Betsy Chess, Cultural Affairs Commissioner & Museum of Ventura County Director of Development; Anna Bermudez, Museum of Ventura County Curator of Exhibits and Collections; and Barbara Brown, Public Art Commissioner & CEO of BBM&D Strategic Branding.

For recipient bios and more awards information contactGeorgeanne Lees at 805/658-4720 or or visit

Established in 2005, the Mayor’s Arts Awards recognize the contributions to the cultural community by city residents, artists, educators, organizations and business leaders. The goal of this program is to help cultivate greater visibility and understanding of the value of the arts, as well as grow new leadership and new patrons of the arts.

For more information about the Mayor's Arts Awards, contact Georgeanne Lees at or 658-4720.

MAA Mark of Excellence award/image by Lis J. Schwitters


Arts Patron, a business or individual whose strong support of the arts has been ongoing through philanthropic and/or volunteer service;

Artist in the Community, an established individual artist (in any discipline) for artistic excellence and singular efforts in contributing to Ventura’s cultural vitality;

Creative Entrepreneur, a locally owned for-profit business which exemplifies the impact and vitality of Ventura’s creative economy

Arts Leader, a nonprofit arts professional who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, organizational stewardship and partnership within the local arts community.

Arts Educator, an individual or organization whose achievements and contributions to arts education have been significant and far reaching;

Emerging Artist, awarded to a working artist (in any discipline) under the age of 40 who has demonstrated outstanding promise and commitment to the Ventura arts community (students are ineligible); and

Student Artist, awarded to an active student artist (in any discipline) under the age of 19 who has demonstrated outstanding promise and commitment to the arts.

A panel of community members, including representatives from the arts and business worlds, will review applications based on: the significance and magnitude of the nominee’s contributions; leadership in the arts community and commitment to service to the arts over a significant period of time; benefit and impact of the nominee’s contribution to the citizens of the City of Ventura; and potential contribution to the arts in the emerging artist category. The panel's selections will be prsented to the Culturral Affairs Commissioners who will make recommendations for the Mayor to approve. The Mayor will announce the honorees in October and present the non-monetary awards at a reception in November.

Each recipient will receive a limited edition artwork created by artist Lis J. Schwitters entitled "Mark of Excellence". This awards are presented as a joint project of the city departments of Community Development and Parks, Recreation and Community Partnerships.

Why the Mayor's Arts Awards are important to Ventura's residents and artists

View the Mayor's Arts Honoree Program for: 2016 2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005