October 19, 2021
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Winners of “Discovered: Emerging artists of Sonoma County”

September 6, 2019

Ten Sonoma County artists are being recognized through the fifth “Discovered Awards for Emerging Visual and Literary Artists of Sonoma County” program, produced by Creative Sonoma and funded by Community Foundation Sonoma County. Five visual and five literary artists were  selected from a pool of applicants from all corners of the County. Winners’ work will be recognized and exhibited at the Museum of Sonoma County, opening on November 22, 2019. Winners will also receive a $2500 stipend and a professionally produced catalogue including excerpts of the written work and visual images. Additional funding for the program comes from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 “The Discovered program is a great vehicle to shine a spotlight on some of the individual artists in our county whose work hasn’t yet reached a broad audience,” said Supervisor David Rabbitt, Chair of the Board of Supervisors.“Receiving this award will be an important credential for all of these artists as they move their careers forward in Sonoma County and beyond.” 

The winners were selected through a highly competitive process. Aspiring artists submitted written  applications and samples of their portfolio, from which 10 finalists were selected for each genre.

Visual Arts jurors then made studio visits to the 10 visual arts finalists; literary jurors reviewed excerpts of the writer’s work. Through that process, the five winners in each category were selected. A list of finalists and winners is attached.


Literary arts winners are Leilani Clark (Santa Rosa), non-fiction; Ernesto Garay (Sebastopol),

poetry; Chelsea Rose Kurnick (Windsor), poetry; Joy Lanzendorfer (Petaluma), fiction; and

Nicole Irene Zimmerman (Penngrove), non-fiction.

Visual arts winners are Nicole Anderson (Windsor), painting; Annette Goodfriend

(Sonoma), sculpture; Ash Hay (Santa Rosa), sculpture; C.K. Itamura (Santa Rosa),interdisciplinary installation; and Nestor Torres Lupercio (Santa Rosa), photography.

 Lead jurors for the program are New York Times bestselling author Ellen Sussman and Museum of Sonoma County Executive Director Jeff Nathanson.

Creative Sonoma named ten finalists in each category, recognizing the abundance of artistic talent in the County. In addition to the winners in each category named above, the runners-up, who were also compelling applicants, include:

Literary Runners-up: Sean Marks (Petaluma), non-fiction; Shawna Swetech (Forestville), poetry; Elizabeth Nordlinger (Sonoma), fiction; Cass Pursell (Santa Rosa) fiction; and Loretta Carpio Carr (Sonoma), non-fiction.

Visual Runners-up: Cullen Houser (Rohnert Park), printmaking; Nicole Markoff (Cazadero),interdisciplinary; Jessica Rasmussen (Roseland), mixed media; Judson Smith (Santa Rosa), sculpture; and Andrea Thornton (Santa Rosa), photography.

The Museum of Sonoma County is located at 425 Seventh Street in Santa Rosa. The show will be open from November 22, 2019 through February 2, 2020.

The Artist Awards Endowment Fund at Community Foundation Sonoma County was created by more than 50 donors from 2007-2011 with support from the James Irvine Foundation.

 For more information, please contact Kristen Madsen at Kristen.madsen@sonoma-

Creative Sonoma, a division of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board is dedicated tosupporting and advancing the creative community of Sonoma County.


Nicole Irene Anderson

You Surpass Them All, 2017, oil, casein and graphite on panel

Annette Goodfriend

Hug, 2018 – Gypsum, Encaustic & Pigment

Nestor Torres Lupercio

Amor Eterno – photograph