Mayor’s Arts Awards recipients announced, public invited to reception

Dr. KuanFen Liu was selected as the Artist in the Community.

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. Seven top leaders, patrons, educators, entrepreneurs and artists dedicated to nurturing our city’s lively arts community and vital cultural life will be honored.

“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, Beverlee’s, Seasons Catering, and the Ventura High School Regional Occupational Program: Floral Design.

An Awards Selection Committee 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. The committee members were 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.

Committee member Betsy Chess stated  “Part of the fun sitting on the panel to choose the Mayor’s Arts Awards recipients is being reminded of how richly the arts are represented and supported in Ventura. The downside is that we can only honor one in each category when so many are deserving!”

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.

Categories and this year’s winners:

  • Mark and Janet Goldenson: Arts Patron, a business or individual whose strong support of the arts has been ongoing through philanthropic and/or volunteer service;
  • Dr. KuanFen Liu: Artist in the Community, an established individual artist (in any discipline) for artistic excellence and singular efforts in contributing to Ventura’s cultural vitality;
  • Geraldine Pielaet: Creative Entrepreneur, a locally owned for-profit business which exemplifies the impact and vitality of Ventura’s creative economy
  • Jim Rice: Arts Leader, a nonprofit arts professional who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, organizational stewardship and partnership within the local arts community.
  • Jodi Farrell: Arts Educator, an individual or organization whose achievements and contributions to arts education have been significant and far reaching;
  • Kaylie Pendleton: 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.
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