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Celebrating Local Arts in Santa Cruz County: Four Artists Receive Rydell Visual Arts Fellowships

News, Storieson January 17th, 20121 Comment Leave a comment

Four local visual artists were selected by Community Foundation Santa Cruz County to receive Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship awards for 2012 and 2013.

At an exhibition reception Friday (January 13) for the four current Rydell fellows (Andrea Borsuk, Victoria May, Tim Craighead and Andy Ruble) at the Museum of Art & History @ the McPherson Center, the next two years of awardees, who will each receive $20,000, were announced.

They are (for 2012) Isabelle Jenniches and Encyclopedia Pictura, the artist collective of Isaiah Saxon, Daren Rabinovitch and Sean Hellfritsch.

For 2013, the awardees are Ian Everard and Rocky Lewycky.

Isabelle Jenniches creates images captured from live cameras on the Intranet. Having exhibited around the world, she lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains and divides her time between her studio practice and farming.

Encyclopedia Pictura, the artist collective of Isaiah Saxon, Daren Rabinovitch and Sean Hellfritsch, has teamed up to direct film and art projects that explore science, nature, and adventure. Esquire magazine called them “The Directors of the Future”. The trio was born and raised in Santa Cruz County. For the last two years, they have led an effort to build a unique hillside neighborhood in the redwood forests of Aptos.

Ian Everard is a painter whose work is in the collections of the Oakland Museum and Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. He has been written about in ArtScene, Art Week, San Jose Mercury News and New York Magazine among others.

Rocky Lewycky is a ceramic and installation artist. Recognized as a top emerging talent, he currently teaches art at Foothill College and Monterey Peninsula College.

“Roy and Frances Rydell believed in the arts and in Santa Cruz County’s as a place to live and work,” said Lance Linares, executive director of the Community Foundation.

“The support provided by the permanent endowed fund the Rydells created ensures that artists living in our county will receive recognition and support in perpetuity,” Linares said.

Forty-two artists applied for this round of fellowships from a candidate pool nominated by 29 local and regional visual arts organizations.  Nominees were limited to working artists, 25 years or older, who reside in Santa Cruz County and are not enrolled in a degree granting program.

Nominating organizations were asked to consider the broad disciplines the Rydells thought of as part of the visual arts: painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, installation, mixed media, stage set design, photography, costume design, textiles, glass, film and video.

In November 2011, a panel of three nationally-recognized arts professionals met at the Foundation to judge the artists’ works and select the fellowship recipients. The panel members were Elizabeth Armstrong, (Curator of Contemporary Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts), Elyse Gonzales, (Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Art, Design, and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara), and Gilbert Vicario (Senior Curator at the Des Moines Art Center).

Since 1982, the Foundation has worked to help donors and their advisors invest wisely in causes they care about, to provide grants and resources to community organizations and to offer leadership around key local issues. Visit online at or (831) 662-2000 for more information.

Photo images of the artists’ work are available on request and can be viewed online at

Gift of Mobility Van / Community Foundation for San Benito County

General, Grantmaking & Leadership, Storieson December 1st, 2011No Comments Leave a comment

Amy Miller is a very happy 14-year old girl riding in her new mobility van.  The purchase of the van was made possible through the Martin Rajkovich Children’s Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for San Benito County dedicated to improving the quality of life for special needs children living in San Benito County.

This is the first modified vehicle the family has ever owned, and couldn’t have come at a better time for the Miller family, as getting around town for the simplest of errands was becoming a daunting task in their current SUV.  Amy’s mother had to physically lift her in and out of the vehicle, creating physical strain on both mother and daughter. They needed an easy access vehicle that allowed Amy to remain safely in her wheelchair, and the van was the perfect solution.

The Foundation thanks Tiffany Ford Motor Company for spearheading the efforts in locating the specially designed vehicle, for their full safety inspection, and their help in making the family’s dream a reality.

For information regarding the Martin Rajkovich Children’s Fund please contact the Community Foundation at 831.630.1924 or visit the website at

Youth Give Away $20,000 / The Community Foundation Serving Riverside & San Bernardino Counties

General, Grantmaking & Leadership, Storieson November 14th, 2011No Comments Leave a comment

Isaac Morales believes youth today are more involved in their communities than ever before. “They don’t just voice themselves anymore, they take action.”  Isaac  is one of 29  high school students who participate in The Community Foundation Serving Riverside & San Bernardino’s Youth Grantmakers Committee.

The program, launched in 2008, involves them in funding grants for local nonprofit organizations.  Earlier this year, twenty seven nonprofits submitted grant applications with detailed project proposals. They were reviewed by the youth grantmakers, who wanted to help teens dealing with important issues facing young people today.  Nine nonprofits were chosen to receive a total of $20,000. “The goal is to teach young people about the tradition of philanthropy,” said Celia Cudiamat, the foundation’s Vice President of Grant Programs. “We want to increase their awareness about people outside the confines of their own neighborhood, improve their skills in conflict resolution and communications, increase their knowledge about grantmaking, nonprofits and foundations, and teach them leadership and civic skills.  We hope the end result is to increase their interest and involvement in their community.”

Isaac, who will be serving on the committee again next year, summed it up like this: “Youth grantmakers committee is an outlet for us to not only have a voice, but to also have a direct impact with the resources provided to us.  While serving as youth grantmakers, we become leaders, we become liaisons, we become philanthropists, but most importantly, we take action.”

Supporting Trade Tech High / The San Diego Foundation (TSDF)

General, Grantmaking & Leadership, Storieson September 29th, 2011No Comments Leave a comment

The H.G. Fenton Fund was established with The San Diego Foundation in 2001 in part to support the education and technical training of young people entering the building and construction industries.

In late 2010, a check for $60,000 was presented to North County Trade Tech High to sponsor employment of a Trade Instructor. The school provides students with a combination of academic curriculum and hands-on training required to succeed in the building and construction industry. By giving an opportunity to acquire work experience and real-life skills, the school also hopes to keep children from dropping out of school and engaging in crime and other non-productive behavior.

Payday Lending / Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF)

General, Grantmaking & Leadership, Storieson August 29th, 2011No Comments Leave a comment

In SVCF’s region, the economic recovery has not reached many individuals and families who are still trying to rebuild their finances or struggling to regain employment. Too many of those without access to legitimate financial services are turning to payday lenders who charge annualized interest rates that average more than 400 percent on small, short-term loans. Many of these lenders are concentrated in communities of color and neighborhoods where low and very low-income families live.

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The Power of Art / Shasta Regional Community Foundation (SRCF)

General, Grantmaking & Leadership, Storieson August 26th, 2011No Comments Leave a comment

“Art Washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

In 2005, the Shasta Regional Community Foundation was presented with an opportunity. The James Irvine Foundation offered them the chance to re-grant $150,000 to the arts in their region. The Board and staff of the foundation decided this was an opportunity to bring a focused approach to grants for the arts and to provide funding at a time when arts funding from the state was being reduced dramatically. read more

Supporting Seniors / Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF)

General, Grantmaking & Leadership, Storieson August 25th, 2011No Comments Leave a comment

Seniors in rural areas face unique challenges.  In Tahoe Truckee, long months of snow and cold pose significant challenges ranging from the risk of slipping on ice to the difficulties of affording adequate heat.  Many low-income seniors are homebound and during the long, long winter they may not see anyone except the volunteer who delivers Meals on Wheels.

When TTCF heard about proposed cuts to the Meals on Wheels program (less delivery days, fewer clients, packaged meals,) staff quickly convened a group of community “power players,” including elected officials, donors, service club presidents etc. After walking the 35 people present through cuts that the program was proposing, the meeting quickly transitioned to problem solving.

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