SVCREATES is honored to announce the 2016 SVLaureates that have been selected in six categories and are being recognized for artistic excellence and community service.

Kevin R. Hauge, Legacy Laureate Award

The 2016 Legacy Laureate Award for lifetime artistic achievement and community impact will go to Kevin R. Hauge, who has served as Artistic Director at Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose (CMT) for the past 20 years. Kevin’s artistic vision and commitment to the arts community in Silicon Valley has helped create an organization that is inclusive and strives for excellence in all they produce. Kevin’s innovative approach to productions includes incorporating modern techniques and technology, culminating in recognition of artistic excellence from the National Endowment for the Arts for nine consecutive years. Kevin’s passion, vision, and spirit are a dynamic engine that inspires and motivates not only those who work with him but the community he serves. His work creates lasting bonds between people, creates a sense of community, and encourages a strong sense of engagement rooted in the place he lives and works. Over the past two decades, Kevin has worked with more than 10,000 young performers and reached more than 50,000 audience members. Some of Kevin’s most recent and noteworthy productions from CMT include American Idiot, Ragtime, Les Miserables, Rent, Miss Saigon, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, and Disney’s Mary Poppins and The Little Mermaid, among others, many of which CMT was the first amateur theater company to receive rights to produce. This season, he will direct the regional premiere of Billy Elliot. A recipient of the prestigious Lin Wright Special Recognition Award by the American Alliance for Theater and Education, Kevin has been the guest speaker at the International Association of Theater Educators Conference in Washington D.C., and the Education and Technology conference in New York City. He has collaborated on productions in a variety of venues all over the world.

Natalya Burd

Natalya Burd, Artist Laureate Award: Emerging Artist

A visual artist who paints and works in ink on paper, Natalya Burd was born in Bishkek, Kirghizia, then a republic of the USSR. After graduation with distinction from the Kirghiz State College of Art, and later Stroganov Moscow State Academy of Arts and Industry (Monumental Painting and Decorative and Applied Glass), Natalya immigrated to the United States in 1996. She made her way to the Pacific Northwest where she earned a BFA from Oregon State University, followed by an MFA from the University of Washington in 1999. She has had one- and two-person exhibitions at: Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco; Sarah Spergeon Gallery at Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA; Art Object Gallery in San Jose, CA; and Wiseman Gallery in Grants Pass, OR. Burd has participated in numerous group shows in California, Oregon, and Washington. She is represented by Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco.

Ron Gasparinetti

Ron Gasparinetti, Artist Laureate Award: Off Stage

Hailing originally from Newark, New Jersey, Ron Gasparinetti has been a resident of the Bay Area for nineteen years. Ron graduated from Montclair State University in New Jersey with a BFA in scenic design. Currently, he is the production manager, technical director, and resident scenic designer at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose. To address the needs of smaller theatre companies in the Bay Area, Ron and business partner Charles McKeithan created THRUST Scenic Design and Construction, providing services to dozens of productions. He has been nominated for three Theatre Bay Area (TBA) Awards for Outstanding Scenic Design and in 2015 received the TBA Award for his set design of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf produced at Los Altos Stage Company. Also in 2015, he became involved with the College of Adaptive Arts in San Jose, an organization that affords differently abled people the opportunity to audition and perform theatrical pieces.

Demone Carter

Demone Carter, Artist Laureate Award: On Stage

Demone Carter has played many roles within the Silicon Valley arts and education circles for the past fifteen years. Performing under the name DEM ONE, he has released several albums and collaborated with notable hip hop artists like D-Styles, Motion Man, Chali Tuna, and Bambu. In 2014, he was given the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist award from San Jose Rotary Club. Demone co-founded Unity Care’s Hip Hop 360 after-school program. From 2004 to 2010, Hip Hop 360 provided over 1,000 youth the opportunity to express themselves through the four elements of hip hop. Building on his experiences with Hip Hop 360, Demone started FutureArtsNow! The FutureArtsNow! program seeks to fill the void left by vanishing school arts and programming by giving local youth an outlet for expression. FutureArtsNow! has received recognition from San Jose Job Corps (Service to Youth Award) and the City of San Jose (State of The City Honoree). Demone is also Vice Chair for the community access organization CreaTV San Jose and is a graduate and Program Manager of the Multi Cultural Artists Leadership Institute (MALI). Metro Magazine named Demone “Silicon Valley’s Best Mentor” for 2013.

Shannon Wright

Shannon Wright, Artist Laureate Award: Off the Wall

Shannon Wright is a sculptor and installation artist based in San José, CA. She earned her BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MFA in Time Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Wright is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator of the Spatial Art Program at San José State University. She is represented by ADA Gallery in Richmond, VA. Wright’s recent exhibition venues include: the Dallas Art Fair; Untitled Miami Beach; Mulherin + Pollard Projects, New York City; ADA Gallery, Richmond, VA; and Scope Art Fairs in New York, Miami, and London. Wright was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up primarily in Sydney, Australia. Her formative years as an artist were spent among the iron trestle bridges and abandoned turn-of-the-last-century hydroelectric power plants and foundries of Richmond, VA. She considers this environment to be the single biggest influence on all the artwork she has made since college.

Pilar Agüero-Esparza

Pilar Agüero-Esparza, Artist Laureate Award: On the Wall

Born in Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Pilar Agüero-Esparza was exposed to the potential of materials and a love of the hand-made while working with her parents in their shoe repair shop. She received a BA in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA from San Jose State University. Pilar has been an active artist, arts educator, and arts administrator in the Bay Area, exhibiting her work in numerous institutions, including the San Jose Museum of Art, Triton Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Santa Cruz Museum, MACLA, Palo Alto Art Center, Galeria de la Raza, and the De Young Museum. Her public art commissions include a series of murals in the main reading area of the Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library in San Jose.

About the SVLaureates

Nominations and applications for SVLaureates are accepted in five categories and reviewed by an independent grant review panel comprised of distinguished professional artists, presenters, and critics representing a spectrum of disciplines from the Bay Area. An in-house panel selects the Legacy Laureate Award recipient. Beyond their creative talents, award winners demonstrate an investment in our community through: teaching; volunteering; and service on boards, committees, commissions, and panels. Each Laureate receives a cash award to celebrate and encourage the continuing development of their artistic work–one of the rare cash awards for artistic career accomplishment in the Bay Area south of San Francisco. Since 1991, more than 150 artists have received this honor. Awards will be presented at the SVLaureate Celebration on April 11, 2016 at 6:30pm at the School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza. Tickets are provided free of charge thanks to J. Richard Braugh, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, Heritage Bank of Commerce, Hitachi Data Systems, Hopkins & Carley, Rebecca Hickman, Jane Decker, and Hsing Kung.

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