What We Do

We select our region’s finest artists through a competitive process using independent expert panels, and honor these artists with unrestricted cash prizes, promotion, and recognition at the annual SVArts awards celebration.

Who We Serve

We serve Santa Clara County artists across multiple disciplines, as showcased in our SVLaureate Directory. These artists were selected for the quality of their work and their commitment to enriching our community with exhibitions, performances, presentations, and service. Additionally, we serve the broader community by introducing new artists and new artwork to arts lovers, students, and community leaders.

Why It’s Important

Artists contribute socially and culturally to a vibrant and creative community, challenge our hearts and minds, and bring joy, new insights and learning to our lives. We believe they deserve our encouragement, recognition, and financial support.

What’s Been Done

  • Celebrated the achievements of over 140 artists since 1991, across a wide range of artistic disciplines, and invested over $400,000 in their work.
  • Developed SVLaureate Directory to highlight the work of these artists and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Artist Laureate program in 2015.
  • Expanded the annual celebration into SVArts, including a special edition of Content Magazine featuring the Laureate.

Meet our 2019 SVLaureates:


On the Page Laureate: Nils Peterson, Writer, Poet

Nils Peterson is Professor Emeritus in English at San José State University. In 2009, he was chosen as the first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. He has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as varied as golf and Shakespeare. His chapbooks include Here Is No Ordinary Rejoicing, Driving a Herd of Moose to Durango, For This Day, The Revenge of the Socks, and For This Day II. A collection of poems, The Comedy of Desire, edited and introduced by Robert Bly, was published by The Blue Sofa Press. Other books include Water, Fire, Earth, & Air, Meditations and Poems on the Four Elements (San José, 2003), A Walk to the Center of Things (Caesura Editions, 2011), and a memoir Talk in the Reading Room (Wordrunner Press, 2014). In 2016, he published earth, water, fire, air a collection of poems each illustrated by a watercolor by Lorraine Chapparall. A new collection of poetry, All the Marvelous Stuff, was just published by the Poetry Center of San José (PCSJ). Coleman Barks called it, “intelligent, lonely, funny, and real.”

What’s Next

2020 SVLaureate applications will open on on November 1, 2019 and will be DUE by 5pm on Friday, December 20, 2019. Applicants will be notified of award decisions in March 2020.

Click here to learn more and read the SVArts Award Program 2020 Guidelines.