Six South Bay Artists Receive Prestigious Artist Fellowship Awards

By Josh Russell, Spring 2008

Arts Council Silicon Valley announced the recipients of its Artist Fellowship program, awarding a total of $20,000 to six Bay Area artists. This year, the Arts Council awarded one fellowship in each of five different categories, with two recipients in a fifth category.

After reviewing a total of 56 applications, a notable panel of 15 experienced judges selected the six artist fellows based upon artistic quality, community impact within Santa Clara County , and professional development demonstrated by continued exploration of the respective art form. Over 100 artists have been recognized throughout this program’s history.

Arts Council Silicon Valley is the only funding agency south of San Francisco that awards unrestricted grants to artists specifically for career accomplishments. On Thursday, May 29, the Arts Council will honor these six recipients at an evening reception from 6:00-8:00PM at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara .


Kathy Aoki’s Battle of Kawaii, (landing detail) 2005-2007, with 44 pieces, introduces adult subject matter into a child’s world.

Artist Fellows by Category, Name, City:

Visual Arts – 2 Dimensional: Printing, Drawing & Printmaking
Katherine Aoki

Santa Clara
Visual Arts – 3 Dimensional:
Textile & Installation
Therese May
San Jose
Visual Arts – 3 Dimensional:
Textile & Installation

Flo Oy Wong
Literary Arts: Novel/Memoir
Peter Malae
Santa Clara
Performing Arts/Music: Composition
Henry Mollicone

Performing Arts/Dance: Performance
Rasika Kumar
Monte Sereno


Subtle Profiles, 2007, a fabric and mixed-media quilt by Therese May

“The quality of artists that applied this year was as high as I have ever seen it,” said Diem Jones, Arts Council Silicon Valley’s Director of Programs. “This program reaffirms the quality of artistic talent here in Silicon Valley . I am honored to be a part of it.”

More about the 2008 Artist Fellowship Recipients

Visual Arts/2-Dimensional
Katherine Aoki works out of her studio in San Jose and also serves as Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Santa Clara University . Recent honors include an Artist Residency at Cité International des Arts, Paris and a Djerassi Artist Residency. Her work can be found in major collections across the U.S. such as SFMOMA, the Harvard University Art Museums , and the New York Public Library. “I am a sneaky feminist. In my narrative prints and works on paper, I use familiar visual formats such as cartoon styling to seduce the viewer and impart my message about gender roles.”

Visual Arts/3-Dimensional (tied)
Therese May is an artist who creates painted and embellished quilts for homes, corporations and exhibitions. Her works are currently or have recently been exhibited at Gregory Kate Gallery and Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose . Two of her quilts were public art commissions installed at the San Jose Convention Center . “I believe that cloth is a wonderful universal medium that everyone can relate to … I believe in bringing a new awareness to the value and deeply personal meaning of textile art.”

Flo Oy Wong is a Sunnyvale-based mixed media installation artist who began her career at the age of forty. She has exhibited widely on a regional, national, and international basis and has received numerous awards for her work, most recently a 2008 NEA grant for 70/30 exhibition presented by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center in San Francisco. “I honor the underrepresented and under-recognized by making work that expresses narratives of ordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives.”


Flo Oy Wong’s Dinner Table II, 2005

Literary Arts
Peter Malae is a fulltime writer whose fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in magazines and journals across the nation. His work has been selected for distinguished recognition in Best American Essays and Best American Mysteries series. A San José State University Steinbeck Fellow, he was most recently awarded the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award. “I have made very real sacrifices in fiscal and even social terms to write. I believe ardently in Frost’s maxim that a writer will ‘write on the sole of his shoe’ if he must.”

Performing Arts/Music Composition
Henry Mollicone is currently a professor at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont and at West Valley College in Saratoga . His operas, choral works, and songs have been performed throughout the country. He has written works for orchestra, voice, chorus, ballet, and solo voice, as well as music for film, television, and theater. “A musical gift should, I feel, be shared, and there is no greater joy for a composer than knowing that someone is moved by the creation.”

Performing Arts/Dance Performance
Rasika Kumar, who earned her computer science degree at MIT, is also an established artist who is principal dancer, choreographer, soloist and teacher for Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose . She has performed for years with Abhinaya locally, as well as in India . She performs Bharatanatyam and Odissi (classical Indian dances) and is a choreographer of Bharatanatyam. “I seek to maintain the integrity of my art form and to utilize its grammar and extensive vocabulary to speak to a greater audience.”

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