Announcing the 2023 Arts Leadership Award Recipients

& Celebrating National Arts and Humanities Month

The Alameda County Arts Commission is pleased to announce the seven recipients of this year's Arts Leadership Award. The individuals are being recognized for their achievements and contributions impacting the arts community and residents of Alameda County. For this program, community members submitted nominations for individuals representing the five districts of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. This year we have the opportunity to recognize seven individuals because during the Arts Commission's voting process a tie-vote resulted in the selection of two award recipients for District One and a two-person team was selected for District Three.

The award recipients will be honored by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors with commendations presented in conjunction with the County’s celebration of October as National Arts and Humanities Month. The event will take place during the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, October 3 at approximately 11:00am. Members of the public may view the meeting and participate remotely through Zoom teleconferencing or they may attend in-person at the Board Chambers located at 1221 Oak Street in Oakland. For information, please visit the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ website.

2023 Arts Leadership Award Recipients

Chris Carter is one of two award recipients for District One of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Chris is the Executive Director of Livermore Valley Arts, which includes the Bankhead Theater and the Bothwell Arts Center. Livermore Valley Arts presents over 250 arts events and programs annually. Appointed six weeks prior to the pandemic, Chris led the organization through 14 months of closure and found creative ways to deliver the arts to the community through free online art classes, camps, concerts, and an online interview series. Chris also actively advocated for the arts with other regional arts leaders to keep the arts supported through the pandemic. Chris was able to find ways to maintain relevance and support from Alameda County patrons to keep the organization afloat. Chris is also a member of the East Bay Arts and Cultural Alliance, serves on several nonprofit boards including Visit Tri-Valley, Livermore Jazz Society, Three Valleys Community Foundation Advisory Board, Las Positas College Commercial Music Advisory Board, Saint Mary’s College School of Science Advisory Board, and is a founding board member of the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance. Chris is an innovative and dedicated arts leader working to support the arts in Alameda County. Chris Carter is a resident of Pleasanton.

Alvin (Al) Minard is one of two award recipients for District One of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Al is a long-time Board Member of the Fremont Cultural Arts Council (FCAC). Founded in 1978, the Fremont Cultural Arts Council’s mission is to further and support the practice and enjoyment of the cultural and fine arts throughout the Fremont community. Al started FCAC’s annual Arts & Crafts community event which brings artists, musicians, and dancers to the historic Shinn Park and Estate in Fremont. Al also founded the Flash Fiction Writing Contest which encourages community members to participate in a creative writing contest based on a different theme each year. Al loves that the contest helps many first-time writers share their personal stories in a welcoming and unintimidating environment. Al is also a Fremont Historian and serves on the Alameda County Parks, Recreation, and Historic Commission and is a Board Member of the Mission Peak Heritage Foundation, the Alameda County Historical Society, the Washington Township Historical Society, and the Patterson House Advisory Board. He has been a member of the Fremont Historical Architectural Review Board for 12 years. Through his volunteer work, Al connects the arts, music, dance, creative writing and local history. Al Minard is a resident of Fremont. 

Carol Morgan is the award recipient for District Two of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Carol is the Board President of the East Bay Youth Orchestra in Hayward. Established in 1985, the East Bay Youth Orchestra (EBYO) provides instrumental music programs through concert and symphony orchestras for youth ages 8-18 in Hayward and surrounding areas. EBYO also presents the Horizons Ensemble which is student-led community outreach group. Currently, the organization serves over 75 students annually. During the last 38 years, more than 1,000 students have participated in EBYO programs. Carol first became involved with the performing arts when her daughter joined the newly-formed youth orchestra in 1986 under its former name Youth Orchestra of Southern Alameda County. Carol joined the Board in 1990 and served as the Board President from 1992-1999, and 2003 to the present. Under Carol’s leadership, the organization has expanded the area and number of youth served, scholarship offerings, funding support, and board membership. Carol has a background in piano and chorus. She loves orchestra music and sharing her passion with youth and families. She finds inspiration and energy in the dedication of students, staff and board members. Carol Morgan is a resident of Hayward.

Debby Kajiyama and José Ome Mazatl are the award recipients for District Three of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Debby and José are the Founders and Co-Artistic Directors of NAKA Dance Theater. Founded in 2001, NAKA Dance Theater serves the Alameda County and Bay Area contemporary and experimental performance community with a focus on making, presenting, and supporting work by experimental performing artists of color. NAKA creates performance works using dance, storytelling, multimedia installations, and site-specific environments. NAKA intentionally builds partnerships with communities, engages people's histories and folklore, and expresses experiences through accessible performances that challenge the viewer to think critically about social justice issues. Themes of recent performances include: racial profiling and state brutality, genetic modification of native crops, commodification of water, cultural colonization, and the human response to overwhelming disaster. NAKA brings together and creates rapport among diverse populations, encouraging dialogue and civic participation. Debby and José are both practicing artists. Debby’s artistic practice includes an attention to story, objects in relation to the moving body, and the liminal state between the conscious-unconscious. José’s art practice triggers audience imagination, inviting all to engage in a deep inquiry of how systems of power are formed and how they affect us. Debby Kajiyama is a resident of the City of Alameda and José Ome Mazatl is a resident of Oakland. 

Patricia (Pat) Doyne is the award recipient for District Four of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Pat is the President of A.R.T., Inc. Founded in 1984, A.R.T., Inc. is Castro Valley’s leading visual arts organization whose mission is to increase awareness of the importance of art by providing a variety of on-going programs to engage the community. Through Pat’s leadership, A.R.T., Inc. has presented numerous art exhibitions at the Adobe Art Gallery in Castro Valley, the Castro Valley Library, John O’Lague Galleria in Hayward, and other East Bay venues. As a visual artist, Pat creates and exhibits her botanical paintings, landscapes and portraits. She also volunteers at local elementary schools as an art docent, working with elementary school teachers to create art projects. She is a Taiko drummer and has taught drumming classes at many Castro Valley schools. Pat performs with the Taiko group Wadaiko Newark and also creates backdrops for their shows. Pat is also the Vice-President of the Diablo/Alameda Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, Board Secretary for Fremont Area Writers, and a member of the Hayward Arts Council. Through her work, Pat brings art, music, and poetry to many people. Pat Doyne is a resident of Hayward.

Ellen Lake is the award recipient for District Five of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Ellen is the Executive Director and Co-Director of Kala Art Institute in Berkeley where she works in partnership with Kala’s Artistic Director and Co-Director Mayumi Hamanaka. Founded in 1974, Kala is a unique resource, providing high-quality facilities to artists working in printmaking, photography, and media arts. The organization’s mission is to help artists sustain their creative work over time through its artist residencies and to engage the community through exhibitions, public programs and education. Ellen has over 20 years of experience working in nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area. At Kala, she focuses on fundraising and creating a productive and thriving arts organization. Through her leadership, Kala was able to adapt and continue its activities during the pandemic, adding a housing component for the artist residency program and working with Kala's talented team to continue its popular Artists-in-Schools and on-site youth art programs. Ellen received her MFA from Mills College in 2002 and BA from Amherst College in 1991. As an artist, she’s a recipient of many grants, awards, and residencies. Ellen is passionate about supporting artists and building creative communities. Ellen Lake is a resident of Oakland.

October is National Arts and Humanities Month

October is National Arts & Humanities Month. This is a time for recognition of the importance of culture in America. This celebration was launched by Americans for the Arts more than 30 years ago as National Arts Week in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1993, it was reestablished by Americans for the Arts and national arts partners as a month-long celebration, with goals of:

FOCUSING on equitable access to the arts at local, state, and national levels;

ENCOURAGING individuals, organizations, and diverse communities to participate in the arts;

ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and

RAISING public awareness about the positive impact of the arts and humanities in our communities and lives.

The arts are a national asset and should be available everywhere to everyone—and while a majority of the public believes this based on public opinion polling and other research, it’s often not their default way of thinking about the arts. National Arts & Humanities Month is an opportunity for everyone to help change public perception and promote the crucial role of the arts and humanities in promoting individual wellbeing, addressing trauma, connecting cultures, highlighting inequities, and making our communities healthier and stronger.

Get Involved! For more information, visit Americans for the Arts.

Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations

Americans for the Arts

Federal Arts Advocacy

California Arts Council

Grant Opportunities

Californians for the Arts

News, Resources and Events

California Arts Advocates

Arts Advocacy

Create CA

Arts Education Advocacy

Alameda County Arts Commission
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The Office of the Arts Commission is proud to be a division of the County’s Auditor-Controller/Clerk-Recorder Agency led by elected official Melissa Wilk. The support and leadership provided by Melissa Wilk is critical to the work of the Arts Commission. The Auditor-Controller/Clerk-Recorder Agency has an extensive leadership role with the County government and the Arts Commission.

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