The Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Mendocino County are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 Mendocino County Art Champion Awards: Juvenal Vasquez in the category of Artist; Katie Gibbs in the category of Individual Patron; The Community Foundation of Mendocino County in the category of (nonprofit) business; and Kathleen Kirkpatrick in the category of Education. Each year, nominations for the Art Champion awards are received from members of the community. The winners are selected by the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Mendocino County and recognized by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
The 2010 Mendocino County Art Champion Awards were presented by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors in their meeting chambers on October 26th at 9 am in Ukiah. The Arts Council of Mendocino County hosted a public reception to honor the winners following the proclamation in the Historic Ukiah Depot. This reception included a spontaneous dance performance by Folklorico de Mendocino County.
As a Mendocino College instructor for 12 years, Juvenal Vasquez has dedicated himself to performing Folkloric Mexican dance as an artist and teacher. Keeping the colorful cultural Mexican regional dances alive is his mission. As a role model for youth, he teaches respect for his culture, and he has performed on numerous occasions, like Cinco de Mayo events, Noche de Estrella, and the Spring Dance Festival at Mendocino College Theater Department. He has organized festivals to bring Mexican folkloric dance groups to the county and talent nights to inspire locals to get up and dance. He keeps Ballet Folklorico de Mendocino County performing around the county and beyond. A community member writes: “Juvenal Vasquez has danced for over thirty years in the community. I have known Juvenal for 18 years and in all of this time his commitment, dedication and love of Ballet Folklorico has never wavered. The pride with which he teaches is passed on to his students. We had children in the group that have grown up to continue dancing today. He is a real role model for generations to come.”
Katie Gibbs, winning in the category of Individual Patron but an accomplished metal artist as well, has generously shared her time and skills with arts organizations in the county. She is a founder of both Art Center Ukiah and Corner Gallery Ukiah and has served on the boards of both organizations as well as on the boards of the Ukiah Players Theater, American Association of University Women, South Ukiah Rotary Club, and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County where she is also the President of the committee for the endowment for Art in the Schools. A community member writes: “Katie has been the backbone behind the Corner Gallery and Art Center Ukiah – as treasurer and metal artist and more. She goes above and beyond to create a solid foundation for the organizations she works with particularly in terms of legal status and organizational structure. And now she’s working with the Community Foundation of Mendocino County to create an endowment for arts in the schools with a challenge to collect $100,000 to spend on arts programs countywide.” Katie is acknowledged for significant and substantial support for her fellow artists, arts organizations, and community as a whole.
Since 1993, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County has been supporting activities and programs that enrich the quality of life in Mendocino County through private charitable gifts from people who want to give back to the communities they love. The Community Foundation recognizes areas of need within the county and works with private donors to effectively and efficiently make a difference in ways that are meaningful to them. A community members writes: “Although the Community Foundation sponsors many different areas of giving it is their Arts for Our Future Grant program and their new ‘100 Artists in 100 Classrooms’ endowment that caught my eye. With so much funding being eliminated for arts in the schools, this will be a vital resource to ensure the well-rounded education of our children. In addition to this new endowment, the Community Foundation has provided much needed funding for many organizations throughout the county such as Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino County Museum, Arena Theatre Association, Gloriana Opera Company, and SPACE.” Although it is a non-profit, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County is honored in the category of Business Champion for the Arts for their strategic, long-term vision for fostering arts philanthropy in Mendocino County.
Kathleen Kirkpatrick is a visual arts educator and artist recognized for her contribution to the arts in Mendocino County in the category of Education. Kathleen Kirkpatrick is the Willits High School Chair of the Visual & Performing Arts Emerita. She taught visual arts at the secondary level for 27 years, “graduating” in June of 2007 and has continued to work on various projects to bring standards-based arts education to students in our county. Kathleen has donated many unpaid hours to mentor artists and teachers. She is a master teacher and a perfectionist who continues to grow as an educator and an artist. She is the creator and curator of the annual exhibition Art Under 20 for artists under 20 years of age and of A Hot Winter’s Night – the annual collaborative Willits High School visual & performing arts event. In 2000, Kathleen started the Willits High School Safeway eScrip Art Program earning over $200,000 for the high school visual arts department transforming it into a state-of-the-art studio and curriculum. Kathleen has been teaching visual arts at Mendocino College for nine years. Her courses include multiple components: art history, art criticism, and contemporary art. In 2001, Kathleen was selected to attend the Teachers Institute in Contemporary Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kirkpatrick is a member of the California Alliance for the Arts, the National Art Education Association, the California Art Education Association, the Arts Council of Mendocino County and the Willits Center for the Arts. Most recently, Kathleen has taken on the role of Artistic Director for the Mendocino County Museum’s Collage Project: Why Mendocino? a giant collage project that will tour the county in 2011.