A program of the Rotary Club of San Jose, the awards honor the legacy of late San Jose Mercury News columnist Leigh Weimers, a lifelong champion of the arts and longtime member of the club.
2015 Award Winners
Shannon Amidon is a mixed media artist from San Jose, California. She primarily focuses on “upcycled” book art and encaustic painting. Inspired by natural history and using environmentally safe and sustainable practices, she incorporates natural and repurposed materials into her artwork. She breathes new life into objects and materials that would otherwise be destined for a landfill.
Shannon's artwork has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions. In 2011 she was awarded the SV Creates Artist Laureate Fellowship Grant. Shannon has been an artist in residence at the Herhusid House Artist Residency in Iceland as well as the David and Julia White Artist Colony in Costa Rica.
Jake Heindel is a documentary filmmaker based in San Jose, California. After graduating from Leland High School in south San Jose, he went on to pursue a film production degree at Loyola Marymount University. Jake has been making short documentaries since high school. Jake spent summer 2015 as an intern for WMS Media, Inc. and has been a valuable contributor to many projects, including the recently produced documentary about local photographer Arnold Del Carlo.
Raymond 'NastyRay' Mora was inspired to dance at the age of 13, when he first saw some local Bboys performing at his middle school dance. In the years that followed, NastyRay developed his craft and ventured from his hometown San Jose, California, to travel the world to compete, judge, teach, and work commercially in all things dance.
He has worked with Justin Bieber, performing in the 2010 MTV Music Video Awards, as well as the ‘Justin Bieber 3D Never Say Never' tour and movie. That same year NastyRay appeared in the ‘Step Up 3D' film. In 2011 he performed on Fox Network's ‘So You Think You Can Dance,' ABC's ‘Dancing With the Stars' and most recently in the 2015 Euro Olympics held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
2014 Award Winners
Hip Hop Emcee, Community Organizer and Social Entrepreneur: these are some of the roles Demone Carter has played within the Silicon Valley Arts
and Education circles for the past 15 years. Performing under the name Dem One he has released several albums. Inspired by his love of Hip Hop culture and passion for working with youth Demone co-founded Unity Care's Hip Hop 360 after-school program. From 2004-2010 Hip Hop 360 provided over 1000 youth the opportunity to express themselves through the four elements of Hip Hop (djing,rapping,breakdance,and urban art). Demone is also Vice Chair for the community access organization CreaTV and is a graduate/Program Coordinator of the Multi Cultural Artists Leadership Institute (MALI). Demone was named ‘Silicon Valley's Best Mentor' for 2013 by Metro Magazine.
Genevieve Hastings is a multimedia installation artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay area. She received her BFA from San Jose State University in Photography and her MFA at San Francisco State University in 2014. In 2013 she had a solo exhibition at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art titled Recollections: A Series of Stratachronistic Rooms. Past exhibitions include, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Zer01 International Biennial, the Center for Photographic Arts in Carmel and her work was included in a SomArts (San Francisco) exhibition after receiving the Murphy Cadogan Award. She has also received a grant, participated in an exhibition at San Jose's City Hall and was included in a documentary short for The Healthy Art Program.
Nick Kumamoto is a theatrical lighting and projections designer based in San Jose. He is the resident lighting designer at City Lights Theatre Company and is a member of the Renegade Theatre Ensemble. He attends Santa Clara University pursuing a degree in mathematics. Recent design credits include lighting for City Lights' production of Amadeus and the Pear Avenue Theatre's production of Pygmalion, both winners of Silicon Valley Small Theatre Awards, and projections for Palo Alto Players' production of Big Fish.
Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director. He is the recipient of the 2012 Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley, the 2012 Theatre Bay Area Director's TITAN Award and "Artist to Watch for Next Season" at the 2012 Silicon Valley Small Theatre Awards. Recent directing credits include Some Girl(s) at Dragon Productions and The Drunken City at Renegade Theatre Experiment. Jeffrey has worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and City Lights Theatre Company. He is the FutureWorks Fellow at TheatreWorks, the founding artistic director of The 06 Ensemble in San Jose and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department.
2013 Award WInners
The three artists selected to receive the first round of awards are Lauren Baines, Jackie Gage and Charlotte Kruk. They were selected from 13 nominations in the fields of visual arts, music, written word and performance. The three artists each received an unrestricted $3,000 grant and presented their art on July 10, 2013, at the lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of San Jose. Funds for the awards were contributed by Rotary Club members, friends of Leigh Weimers and the Knight Foundation Endowment of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Lauren Baines is a dancer and choreographer, who graduated from Santa Clara University and was awarded the Anna Halprin Dance Award her senior year. She has been dancing professionally since 2004 and is currently a member of ahdanco and For Change Dance Collective and has taught dance and creative movement throughout the South Bay. Beyond her dance, she serves as project manager for education and artistic programs at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga and as assistant artistic director for the Cardboard Box Theatre Project.
Jackie Gage is a jazz vocalist and songwriter who has been heard with her band, JurassiC, at venues throughout the South Bay, including Blackbird Tavern, Cafe Stritch, 71 St. Peter, Arya Restaurant, Mosaic Lounge and the San Jose Jazz SummerFest. A graduate of Santa Clara University, Jackie also works as a marketing assistant for San Jose Jazz.
Charlotte Kruk is an innovative teacher and artist from San Jose who creates “wearable sculptures” — dresses, jackets and other clothing made out of colorful wrappers and packaging. A teacher of sculpture art at Lynbrook High School in San Jose since 1998, Charlotte's work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the Bay Area.