Every year, SVCREATES honors artists who have made exceptional contributions to the cultural life of Silicon Valley. Since 1991, more than 150 artists have been named laureates. On Monday, April 24, the 2017 SVLaureates Celebration will recognize the artistic excellence and community service of the newest laureates.
Richard Orlando, Posthumous Laureate Award
Richard Orlando founded the Northside Theatre Company in 1978 as a city-run youth theater and took it to independent, nonprofit status as an arts education resource in the aftermath of Proposition 13 budget cuts. In 2002, Northside Theatre Company became a fully professional theater. Richard directed and designed over 150 plays, including the world premiere of Nathan Sanders’ The Sugar Witch, which was published by Samuel French Inc. He was a mentor to dozens of young artists and impacted hundreds of lives. From 1990 to 1992, he served as a California Artist in Residence for the San Jose Unified School District. He was a leader in the local arts community and an active San Jose resident. He served as a consultant to the San Jose 2020 Task Force for Mayor Tom McEnery, the San Jose Youth Service Committee for Mayor Susan Hammer, and the Arts Council of Santa Clara County for Germaine Cummings. Orlando was awarded the Certificate of Excellence from State Senator John Vasconcellos in 1990.
Yvonne Escalante, SVLaureate Award: Emerging Artist
Yvonne Escalante is an artist based in San Jose. Yvonne received a BFA in metal arts from California State University, Long Beach and her MFA in spatial arts from San José State University. She is a lecturer at San José State University in metalsmithing, jewelry, and small sculpture. Her career has taken her from professional jeweler to exhibiting artist to jewelry and metalsmithing instructor. In addition to metal, her work also incorporates wood, glass, and found objects. Using these media, she employs mostly traditional craft techniques to produce sculptures that evoke items of manufacture while attempting to bring humor and frank attention to issues of global importance and personal meaning. Recent works have been exhibited at Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA), City College of San Francisco, and Oakland Museum of California.
Cathleen Miller, SVLaureate Award: Off Stage
Cathleen Miller is a bestselling author, and since 2004, has been a professor of creative writing at San José State University. Cathleen has taught hundreds of students—many of whom have gone on to become successful writers, editors, and teachers of writing—in what she calls “the daisy chain of learning.” Her biography of UN leader Nafis Sadik, Champion of Choice, was named one of the top ten biographies of 2013 by Booklist. Cathleen is the director of the Center for Literary Arts at San José State University, where she has presented nationally renowned authors; she is also editor-in-chief of the 150-year-old Reed Magazine, the oldest literary journal in the West. In these roles, she has collaborated with several local organizations, including Cinequest, MACLA, the NAACP, South First Fridays, the SubZERO Festival, and the Hammer Theatre. Cathleen received her MFA in English and creative nonfiction writing from Pennsylvania State University.
Jimmy Biala, SVLaureate Award: On Stage
Jimmy Biala is a music educator and performer, with a strong passion for the style of Brazilian music known as escola de samba. Jimmy teaches Brazilian and Afro-Cuban percussion music programs to youth and adult students in the South Bay, is a faculty member of the California Brazil Camp and San Jose Jazz Summer Education Camp, and performs regularly with Lewis Jordan’s Music At Large, the InterTribal Ensemble directed by John-Carlos Perea, and the James Robinson Ensemble. He has performed in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Germany, France, Canada, and the United States. In 1997, Jimmy received an award from DownBeat Magazine for excellence in jazz recording and performance. He was the recipient of a 2002 Artist in Communities Grant from the California Arts Council and a Meet the Composer commission grant in 2004. In 2013, Jimmy was given a Certificate of Recognition by the California State Legislature Assembly for unwavering commitment and outstanding service, exemplified by his work with the students of California. Jimmy travels to Brazil every two years to study with master teachers in Rio de Janeiro and continues his learning and artistic development with master artists in the United States.
Marianne Lettieri, SVLaureate Award: Off the Wall
Marianne Lettieri creates art from commonplace objects that people have used over time and no longer find desirable or necessary. Her mixed media constructions explore the process by which relics of the past illuminate and inform current contexts. Marianne is an artist-in-residence at the Cubberley Artists Studio Program, sponsored by the City of Palo Alto, where she participates in open studios and volunteers her time to produce art events on the Cubberley campus. Marianne is on the leadership team of Doing Good Well, a national initiative to empower next generation female arts and culture leaders. She is also an active member of the Pacific Rim Sculptors Group and founder of Arts of the Covenant, a regional group which seeks to expand spiritual practice through artistic expression and community dialogue. Marianne is on the board of directors for CAPA (Council for the Arts, Palo Alto and Mid-Peninsula Area), an arts funding organization. Marianne received an MFA in spatial arts from San José State University and a BFA in drawing and printmaking from the University of Florida.
Joe Miller, SVLaureate Award: On the Wall
Joe Miller is a visual artist based in San Jose. His art combines found, acquired, and artist-made objects with text and image to comment on the place of the individual in a manufactured environment. In his work, Joe repurposes commercial, institutional, and military objects as art, with their original purposes and messages turned towards social commentary. Recent exhibitions at local venues include: Art Ark Gallery, Anne & Mark’s Art Party, The Citadel, Empire Seven Studios, and Space 47. He has pieces in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum and Triton Museum of Art. Joe is a lecturer in design at San José State University and principal of Joe Miller’s Company, his studio for art and design. His nonprofit leadership is extensive: board president of Works/San José; board member and design and publications director of Poetry Center San José; and board member and programming co-chair of AIGA SF, an association for design professionals. Joe received a Bachelor of Science in graphic design from San José State University.