Contra Costa’s Arts Recognition Awards

Join us at the Arts Recognition Awards

Thank you to all of you who submitted nominations. We received many nominations from the community for deserving artists and art organizations. Contra Costa County demonstrates a wealth of artistic expression in every corner of the county. This year we present five Arts Recognition Awards to honor outstanding achievements in the Arts. This years honorees are:

Richmond RYSE Center. Nominated by Michele Seville, Arts & Culture Manager for Richmond. RYSE Center Inc/RYSE Performing Arts works with youth from distressed parts of the City of Richmond. The youth have written, directed and performed multi-media plays dealing with violence, drugs and crime. Ultimately, these productions create a platform for Richmond youth to share their own stories, pain, joy and dreams; a safe space for them to come together with the community through expressive expression.

Sylvia Amorino and Solo Opera. Nominated by Carlyn Obinger, Planning Commissioner, City of Concord. Sylvia Amorino is the Founder and Artistic Director of a local nonprofit professional company, Solo Opera. Ms Amorino not only runs the day-to-day business of the Solo Opera, but has worked with Cantabella Children's Chorus and Contra Costa Children's chorus to perform operas that include children and teens that help teach audience, adults and children alike about social aspects of living in Contra Costa County.

Michael and Shannon Demers. Nominated by Elizabeth Wood, Arts & Culture Commission, representing District IV and Advisor to Contra Costa Musical Theatre (CCMT). Mike and Shannon are known throughout the Performing Arts Community as the backbone of CCMT. Shannon and Mike are leaders, supporters and mentors who have shared their talents and skills to Productions Teams, casts and crews for a collective 70 years; with many of the Performing Arts organizations throughout the area; including Diablo Theatre Company, Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble, Chevron Family Theatre Festival, and Diablo Regional Arts Association Annual "On Broadway".

Jay Bedecarre. Nominated by Kathie Leavitt, Assistant to Mr. Bedecarre for the Annual Concord KidFest and Bay Area FamilyFest. Jay has been involved in the Contra Costa County Art Scene since 1974. He was the Marketing Director for the Concord Pavilion for the first 12 years; booking regional performing arts groups such as SF and Oakland Symphonies, Oakland and SF Ballets, and world famous acts such as NY Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev, Jose Greco, and Peking Opera. He has produced the Concord KidFest since 2010; a festival that reaches thousands of diverse audience members each year.

Lawrence Kohl. Nominated by Erling Horn, former Lafayette Mayor and council member, and member of Lafayette Art Committee. Lawrence Kohl was president of the Orinda Art Council as well as music director and conductor of the Pacific Chamber Symphony; which performed in the Lamorinda area and in Livermore. Lawrence recently led the expansion of the Orinda Art Council to become the Lamorinda Arts Council and supported the establishment and growth of new programs including the FilmFest, Moraga Pear Festival, High School Visual Arts Competition and the Lamorinda Short Docs Film Festival and the very popular Lamorinda Poet Laureate program.

Arts Recognition Awards

Honorees include individuals from non-profit organizations who have shown exceptional leadership, vision and commitment to the growth and support of arts and culture and individuals that help keep Contra Costa arts and culture alive.

Thank you to the following judges:

  • Peter Maund, former Arts Commissioner
  • Michele Seville, Richmond Arts & Culture Commission
  • Arlene Kikawa-Nielsen, Creekside Arts Community, Clayton
  • Commissioner Cindy McCann

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