We are looking for accomplished, but relatively unknown, artists whose art discipline benefits the residents of Santa Clara County. Created in honor of our community’s iconic columnist and patron of the arts Leigh Weimers, these cash awards are meant to support and encourage emerging artists.

Artists in all genres may apply for this award. Previous awards have ranged between a $1,000 and $5,000 cash prize, and up to four winners will be invited to show their work and/or speak at a lunch meeting of one of the world’s 10 largest Rotary Clubs.

The Deadlines

Applications open April 3, 2023
The application deadline is June 30, 2023

Note: To apply, you must first create an account with Cafe, then scroll down the list of “Calls for Entry” and find the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artists Awards. Follow that link and upload your artist statement, portfolio items and other information. There is a $10 application fee.

For more information, please email

The Eligible Applicants

Applicant’s art discipline should benefit the residents of Santa Clara County. Artists must be at least 18 years old, working in the art form declared on the application and able to provide work samples.

All applicants must meet the following definitions of “emerging:”

  • Have some evidence of professional achievement, but not a substantial record of accomplishment;
  • Not yet be recognized as established artists by other artists, curators, producers, critics, and arts administrators;
  • Be rigorous in their approach to creation and production;
  • Have a developing voice that reveals significant potential;
  • Take risks and embrace challenges.

Winners will be required to work with the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artists committee in preparation for the presentation. Complete details will be provided to winners.The date for the awards presentation is October 18th at the SJSU Hammer Theatre Center.

The Guidelines

Applicants may apply under the following art forms:

  • Music (instrumental, voice, composition)
  • Written word (poetry, prose, stage or screenplay)
  • Visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, video/film, installation, etc.)
  • Performance (dance, theatre, comedy, performance art)

If your artistic discipline is not expressly included here, please choose the most appropriate category from the four that are listed.

The Application Process

Applications open April 3, 2023
The application deadline is June 30, 2023
Winners will be notified in August

Apply now

The Jurors

Cathy Kimball Independent Curator

Lisa Malette Executive Artistic Director, City Lights Theater Company

Nancy Bavor Director Emerita of San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Jeremy Harris Professional Musician, Musical Director

Charlie McCollum San Jose Arts Commissioner

Colleen B. Wilcox PhD. Superintendent of School, Retired