Left to Right: David 'Sus' Susalla (Gualala Arts), Alyssum Wier (ACMC), Dave Bower (Gualala Arts)

Mendocino County Art Champions 2012

The Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Mendocino County is pleased to announce the 2012 Mendocino County Art Champion Award recipients: Laura Fogg in the category of Artist; Van Phillips in the category…

The Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Mendocino County is pleased to announce the 2012 Mendocino County Art Champion Award recipients: Laura Fogg in the category of Artist; Van Phillips in the category of Individual Patron; Gualala Arts Center in the category of Business; and Carolyn Bakewell in the category of Education. Each year, nominations for the Art Champion Awards are received from the community. The winners are selected by the Arts Council of Mendocino County’s Board of Directors, and recognized by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

The 2012 Mendocino County Art Champion Awards were presented by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Monday, October 22nd in Ukiah. An official proclamation was issued in the Supervisors’ Chambers at the Mendocino County Administration Center, 501 Low Gap Road in Ukiah, followed by a public reception to honor the winners, hosted by the Arts Council of Mendocino County.

Here are some photos from the proclamation and reception.


Left to Right: David 'Sus' Susalla (Gualala Arts), Alyssum Wier (ACMC), Dave Bower (Gualala Arts)
Left to Right: David ‘Sus’ Susalla (Gualala Arts), Alyssum Wier (ACMC), Dave Bower (Gualala Arts)


Laura Fogg


Carolyn Bakewell
Carolyn Bakewell


FoggUkiah Valley fabric-collage artist Laura Fogg derives equal inspiration from the American landscape and the material she works with. “Fiber has a visual and tactile quality that invites invention and manipulation,” says Fogg. She made her first fabric-collage landscape about eight years ago, after returning from a two-week rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Since then, Fogg has drawn inspiration from local as well as remote landscapes. Fogg’s work has been juried into and won awards in many national and international shows, and one of her quilts was recently accepted into Quilt National, the largest art-quilt show in the world. Her pieces have also been featured in numerous quilting magazines and in an HBO documentary. Fogg lectures and teaches art-quilting across the western United States. In the words of a community member: “Laura Fogg represents our county and local quilt guild with her amazing and innovative work in shows nationwide. She has frequently donated her time, energy and artwork to help raise funds for local nonprofit organizations and to mark trails along the river in Ukiah. In addition to her fabulous quilt work, Laura is now among the literary artists of our county – she wrote a very educational and entertainingly readable book, Traveling Blind, about her years as a teacher of visually impaired children all over Mendocino County.” Fogg’s work can be found locally at the Corner Gallery and Art Center Ukiah as well as on her website, FogWomanCreations.com.

Inventor, activist, designer, and philanthropist Van Phillips is honored in the category of Individual Champion for the Arts. Currently residing in Mendocino, Phillips revolutionized prosthetics design after losing his lower leg in a boating accident. Phillips finds that new design ideas can come from such diverse sources as the arc of a cheetah’s leg or a Chinese sword found in an attic. His designs and innovations have improved the lives of thousands of people, and he is therefore recognized for illustrating how creativity and innovation can solve problems and change lives. He is also recognized for his generosity in making his building, Odd Fellows Hall in Mendocino, available for the Community Arts Series, hosting over seventy exhibits with work by more than 2000 coastal and countywide adults plus 3000 children and youths. Other events and organizations benefiting from this venue include the Mendocino Film Festival, Rotary’s Annual Art Auction, Wine Song, Otsuchi Recovery/Fort Bragg, Art Explorers, Audubon, the Mendocino Land Trust. According to Janet Self of FlockWorks, “[Phillips’] generosity and support for community arts has had an unparalleled and positive impact on the region. As other art venues have declined and closed, this special space has enabled the local arts scene to grow and flourish in new ways. The special opportunity afforded by this creative space has enriched and enlivened our community.”

VolunteersGualalaArtsGualala Arts Center is honored in the category of Business Champion for the Arts. “Gualala Arts is able to uphold its mission of promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961 due to the commitment of its’ over 300 active volunteers” says David ‘Sus’ Susalla Executive Director of Gualala Arts. The wide range of art exhibits, workshops and classes, classical and popular music performances, live theater, lectures, and cross-cultural discovery offerings available are fashioned and spearheaded by this dedicated group of volunteers some of which are themselves artists in the true sense of the word. It was through their dedicated efforts, along with the support of the local community, the building of the Arts Center itself was completed in 1998 in order to have a home representative of their commitment to the arts. These volunteers’ contributions range from serving as curators for exhibits to building maintenance and upgrades. They are responsible for securing performance artists, delivering workshops, fundraising and the myriad of activities necessary to keep the Arts Center and its’ abundance of resources open and available to our local community. In the words of Arts Council of Mendocino County vice-president and Mendocino Ballet Artistic Director Trudy McCreanor, “I am impressed with what they are able to put together in a small community with their volunteer base. Their volunteers make it truly a community center for the entire area.”

BakewellCarolyn Bakewell, Education Arts Champion, has been teaching art for almost twenty years. Bakewell is Chair of the Visual & Performing Arts Department at Willits High School. She is curator of the annual Art Under 20 exhibition at Willits Center for the Arts for students under twenty years of age, Hot Winter’s Night, the annual visual and performing arts collaborative event at Willits High School, and Pastels for Peace. Bakewell believes the arts are essential for the healthy development of the whole human being. She exemplifies this in her own life by continually creating works of art in a variety of media. She enjoys opening the world to her students through art and has chaperoned trips to Italy, Greece, France and Spain. In the words of Elizabeth Raybee, a community member and fellow arts educator: “Carolyn works constantly at inspiring all of her students to explore, achieve, and excel in a large variety of art projects. Having worked with Carolyn and her students on two mosaic murals, I have witnessed the encouragement, humor, love and patience she pours out daily, and the artistic efforts, respect and affection that the students return.” In turn, Bakewell says, “I love my life! It’s an honor to teach at Willits High School and a blessing to work with all of my amazing students. We inspire each other!”

The Mendocino County Art Champion Awards are annually presented in October to coincide with National Arts and Humanities Month, a coast-to-coast collective celebration of culture in America, dedicated to giving millions of Americans the opportunity to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives and encouraging them to begin a lifelong habit of active participation. To learn more about National Arts and Humanities Month, visit the Americans for the Arts website at www.americansforthearts.org or the California Arts Council website at www.cac.ca.gov.

For more information on the Mendocino County Art Champion Awards and other Arts Council of Mendocino County programs and services call 707 463 2727.