Alameda County officials recently announced the winners of the 2023 Arts Leadership Awards, with Livermore Valley Arts Executive Director Chris Carter among the honorees.
Each year, the Alameda County Arts Commission reviews nominations for the Arts Leadership Awards based on achievements and contributions that impact the arts community within the county. This year, seven people have been honored out of the five supervisorial districts (with districts 1 and 3 recognizing two leaders each).
As executive director of the nonprofit Livermore Valley Arts, Carter oversees the operations of Livermore's Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Arts Center. Altogether, LVA presents over 250 artistic events and programs each year.
“It is such an honor to be recognized in this way by the Board of Supervisors," Carter said in a statement ahead of the ceremony at next week's board meeting. "To be acknowledged in such a profound way for sharing and serving our community through the arts, it is such a tremendously joyful moment in both my professional and personal career, for both myself and for Livermore Valley Arts.”
Carter, who represents Supervisorial District 1, was appointed executive director just six weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 and changed the way live entertainment was presented for several years. He successfully led the organization through 14 months of subsequent closure.
"Chris found creative ways to deliver the arts to the community through free online art classes, camps, concerts, and an online interview series," county officials said. "He also actively advocated for the arts with other regional arts leaders to keep the arts supported through the pandemic. Chris was able to find ways to maintain relevance and support from Alameda County patrons to keep the organization afloat."
"Chris is an innovative and dedicated arts leader working to support the arts in Alameda County," they added.
Carter, a Pleasanton resident, serves on a number of local nonprofit boards including Visit Tri-Valley, the Livermore Jazz Society, and the Las Positas College Commercial Music Advisory Board. He is also a member of the East Bay Arts and Cultural Alliance.
This is the second consecutive year LVA staff has been recognized by the county for contributions to the arts. Last year, visual arts and education manager Anne Giancola received the same award for District 4.
The other recipients of this year's Arts Leadership Awards are Alvin Minard, Carol Morgan, Debby Kajiyama, José Ome Mazatl, Patricia Doyne and Ellen Lake.
Minard, a fellow award recipient from District 1 following a tie in the voting, is a longtime board member of the Fremont Cultural Arts Council, which hosts events related to arts, crafts and education.
Morgan, the District 2 honoree, is board president of the East Bay Youth Orchestra in Hayward.
The duo of Kajiyama and Mazatl were selected to represent District 3. The two are founders and co-artistic directors of the NAKA Dance Theater, a venue that highlights work from artists of color.
Honored for District 4, Doyne is president of A.R.T., Inc. a Castro Valley gallery and artist workshop venue.
Lake, of District 5, is the executive director of Kala Art Institute in Berkeley.
The Board of Supervisors plans to host the recipients during its meeting next Tuesday (Oct. 3) in Oakland to present the awards. The awards coincide with National Arts and Humanities Month that runs throughout October.