The Artist Laureate program was launched more than a quarter of a century ago, when Silicon Valley Creates was known as Arts Council of Santa Clara County. From its inception in 1988, the “then called” Artist Fellowship program was unique in two ways: Awards were unrestricted and applicants were not required to be residents of Santa Clara County.

While categories have changed over the years, review criteria has remained pretty much the same:

1) Quality and originality of work;
2) Professional activity and achievement reflective of Santa Clara County; and
3) Continuity of artistic exploration.

Over the past 25 years, the Individual Artist program has steadily evolved. Renamed categories – On the Wall, Off the Wall, On Stage, Off Stage, and Emerging Artists – acknowledge new art forms and encourage less experienced artists. Artist Laureate awards have increased to $5000 and Emerging Artist Laureate awards to $2,500. Finally, Silicon Valley Creates now selects a Legacy Laureate in honor of a lifetime of achievement in the arts.

Bringing together the first 25 years of Fellowship/Laureate recipients has been a joyous and rewarding undertaking. We honor our former Fellows and Laureates, and look forward to the next 25 years and beyond.

Deborah Mills Thackrey

Photo: Deborah Mills Thackrey, Photographer / Videographer

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