Arts Supporter of the Year Award

The Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council established the Arts Supporter of the Year Award in 1995 to recognize the outstanding contributions to the Arts by special people in the Tri-Valley area. The award consists of a book selected by the recipient, and PCAC donates another copy of the book to the Pleasanton Library.

The 2015 Arts Supporter of the Year Award:

Jill Vellinger


Recently, the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council selected Jill Vellinger as the Art Supporter of the Year for 2015.  Jill Vellinger has always had a passion for all the arts.  Although she did not grow up in a home that promoted the Arts, she was fortunate to grow up in an era when musical, vocal, and artistic instruction were an everyday part of the school curriculum. In her younger days, she was involved with musical theater, various choral groups, and the fine arts– and she believes these all helped develop her as both a business person and individual.

Jill helped bring PCAC into the world of social media and has for the last few years been an avid supporter of the Arts in the Schools Program.  Jill played an integral part in bringing The Big Draw: A City-Wide Chalk & Arts Celebration to Pleasanton from 2013-2015. The Big Draw celebrates all the arts and cultures that exist in Pleasanton and provides a venue for people to perform, exhibit and participate in the arts, as well as bringing professional chalks artists to create large scale works of art on the street.

In addition, the Big Draw raises money for PCAC’s Arts in the Schools program, so that arts education can be made available at the elementary school level. Jill was so inspired by the chalk art, that she has taken up pastel painting and can be found at her easel when she is not working as an interior designer. Some people .

Previous PCAC Arts Supporter of the Year Awards

2013: Carol Boster

Among us are those who give joyously over to our communities — purely for the love of what they do. Carol Boster is one such person.

As the winner of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council’s Art Supporter of the Year Award for 2013, Carol Boster deserves accolades for her 18-year focused commitment to the Arts in the Schools Program. For most of those years as a PCAC Board Member, she oversaw and managed the Arts in the Schools Program, encouraging teachers to apply for  grants to support specialized arts offerings in the Pleasanton elementary, middle and high schools.

The program delivers small and larger grants — most ranging from $50 to $500 for enhanced musical, dance, visual arts, dramatic and literary arts programs. Arts in the Schools supports a variety of student experiences — for example, classroom instruction by a professional visual artist for fourth graders, musical performances staged for an entire middle school and field trips for high school students to attend a theatrical performance.

When asked about a few of the school grant projects which she considered her favorites over the years, Carol replied, “My favorite — in 1999 I think it was — when PCAC provided about $12,000 to help re-establish a strings program in the schools, after about 30 years without such. PCAC purchased needed instruments, such as a cello and bass fiddle. Also, I represented PCAC on the committee to move the project forward in the 4th and 5th grades. The Superintendent of Schools agreed to hire one music teacher to instruct the orchestra class in all the elementary schools in order to get the program underway. It grew — and finally the middle schools developed enough students who advanced into the high schools so that Amador and Foothill high schools had full orchestras. That accomplishment came about due to the development of a partnership between PCAC and the Pleasanton Unified School District. That was quite exciting!”

Another program Carol specially enjoyed in recent years was the Annual Drawing Extravaganza, led by Amador Valley High School visual art instructor, Michael Doyle. On that day, 125 Amador and Foothill advanced art students gathered to draw clothed models provided by the Bay Area Models Guild. “It was wonderfully successful,” said Boster. “Students loved having this opportunity and learned much about careful observation, proportions and technique.

For the 18 years that Carol Boster served on PCAC’s Arts in the Schools Committee, she often shared the responsibilities of the committee with Co-Chairmen. The work involved publicizing the program, writing grants, tracking and evaluating applications and managing grant funds and PCAC dollars to support programs in poetry, dance, music, drama, pottery, visual arts — helping to provide everything from field trips to assemblies or art experts invited into particular classrooms to teach. Because the weight of details was heavy, Carol worked closely with other board members serving as Co-Chairs, such as Diane Wardin as well as Charlotte Severin, who started the program. Today, the program continues to serve 1,500-3,500 kids each year, with the money provided by the Pleasanton Community Grant Program, PCAC fundraising events and Alameda County ArtsFund Grants.

A long-term Pleasanton resident, now a retired teacher, Carol spent 14 years raising her family, and 34 years teaching classroom music as well as 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. She has been “sold on art” her whole life, loves the kids, her colleagues, the process, the groups and learning. “I can’t stop doing what I love just because Iʼve retired,” says Carol, “so I still keep busy.” Indeed, she does: she presently tutors school kids up through the 6th grade, substitute teaches — and can do so almost every day if she wishes — and coordinates volunteer tutors in the Quick Reads Program at Fairlands School so that kids with limited proficiency can achieve solid reading skills.


2011: Robin Sigmann  robin_sigmann

It is with great pleasure that PCAC awarded Robin Sigmann with the Arts Supporter of the Year Award. Robin was chosen because of all that she embodies, in the spirit of volunteering and supporting the Arts in Pleasanton. Robin is the owner of the graphic design firm, Pink Bird Design, and has consistently donated her outstanding creative talent to the arts. She has designed for Fortune 500 companies and has won various awards for her work over the years. She has been instrumental in putting a new face to PCAC through her hard work, and donation of time and talent for many years. PCAC’s public image has come alive, through her colorful, creative vision which is reflected in our web site and our many printed materials. Robin spends countless hours working to provide PCAC with superior work of which we are extremely proud. Robin is passionate about her work, the arts and PCAC. We are very grateful for her contributions. Even though Robin has moved from our community, she has consistently and seamlessly continued to carry on her work with PCAC, demonstrating her commitment to the arts. When Robin is not creating wonderful designs, she is performing with various bands as a singer, and keyboard and accordion player. Thank you Robin! You rock!

2011: John Loll

John Loll has been involved with the arts in Pleasanton for almost 30 years, starting as a young adult volunteer at the local children’s theater company founded by Andy Jorgensen (PCAC’s Arts Supporter honoree for 2001). He made contributions there over an eight-year period as an artist, educator and administrator, and served briefly as the company’s executive director. Although John now works in the financial services industry, he has kept his hand in the arts by offering leadership to a number of local arts endeavors (and also making an occasional appearance on stage). John played an important role in the fundraising efforts behind the Firehouse Arts Center, and he is a big supporter of Free Shakespeare in the Park and the Civic Arts Stage Company, both being collaborations between the City of Pleasanton and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. He has been a board member of PCAC, and he is currently serving a term on the Civic Arts Commission for the City of Pleasanton. John has regularly advocated for the entire cultural arts community of Pleasanton – artists and patrons alike – to work together, share resources, invite greater participation and donate generously. We here at PCAC wholeheartedly agree!

2010: Margene Gerton Rivara margene_rivara

Margene Gerton Rivara, who has been our PCAC president for the last two years, has been presented the Art Supporter of the Year Award. This Award is given to an adult who has shown outstanding support for the arts in the community. The award was presented to Margene by Rob Woodworth, the new president for PCAC, on June 3, 2010, at the PCAC Awards Banquet.

Margene came to Pleasanton as a teenager in 1960, danced and taught ballet, played the violin; later she designed rugs in China (and holds 47 U.S. Copyrights for rug designs) has designed children’s clothing for Storybook Heirloom (a $20 million a year company, 60% of whose product lines come from Margene’s designs.) Margene is also a stained glass artist, and is now a successful realtor in Pleasanton. However, Margene was not being recognized for any of those accomplishments. The award goes to her because of her support of the arts in our community during the last ten years or so.

In addition to leading PCAC as President for the last two years, Margene has been a member of the PCAC board for 10 years, acted as chair to organize the grand opening of the Firehouse Arts Center(upcoming this September), served on the Pleasanton Civic Arts Commission for ten years, served on the Firehouse Task Force to insure that the facility was designed and built properly, and she served as a founding board member of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Foundation to raise money for the Firehouse Arts Center.

One stained glass guitar which she designed, fabricated, and donated for auction raised $28,500. A few of her stained glass pieces are over the front door of the Museum on Main and in a local church. Margene painted the mural at the back of the Pleasanton City Hall Council Chamber, a venture of the Tulancingo Sister-City Project. She recently designed costumes for the upcoming Children’s Opera for the Cantabella Children’s Chorus and acts as a member of the Cantabella Advisory Board. Margene designed the logo for PCAC and has donated her artistic talents and vision to many worthwhile projects in Pleasanton related to the arts. So there is good reason to honor her as Art Supporter of the Year.

2009: Diane Wardin

Diane Wardin, long-time Pleasanton resident and Amador Valley High School graduate, has served PCAC for more than twenty years, serving as Secretary, Treasurer, and President.

Diane has given broad support to PCAC and the arts over the years — by writing grants, selling tickets to events, supporting concerts, supervising PCAC finances and insurance needs, guiding the organization through the computer revolution and then promoting our quality website.

In recent years, Diane has been Chair or Co-Chair of PCAC’s Arts in the Schools Grant Program. She wrote grants — securing funds in addition to what PCAC could provide — and she coordinated the allocations of grant funds, often delivering checks personally to schools. Diane was unswerving in her devotion to provide arts enrichment opportunities for students of all Pleasanton schools.

2008: Linda Ebright

Linda Ebright was recognized for her many years of effort in behalf of the arts, both for her work for Pleasanton’s Civic Arts Program and for her support of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council.

Linda’s work for the Civic Arts School Concert Series brought music and drama to thousands of school children. She has been a stalwart for years, producing the Civic Arts Coffee House Events and coordinating ticket sales for the Amador Theater.

For the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, Linda had responsibility for several programs, including the Arts in the Schools Grant Program, the Mark Anderson and Tamriko Siprashvili Concerts, the PCAC Awards Banquet and grant writing. She has also served as PCAC Treasurer, Vice President and President.

2007: Kirk Ridgeway

Though he never wrote poetry until age 42, Kirk Ridgeway is admired in Pleasanton as the inspired poet who performs from the heart and memory, not from a hand-held script. Impassioned in his commitment to the written and spoken word and to his community, he has served as third Poet Laureate of Pleasanton, championing the Century House readings, 2 years of workshops for youths at the Pleasanton Library, many adult workshops — in and out of town — and thrilling audiences with his performances at public ceremonies. Of his accomplishments as Poet Laureate, what he cherished most was working personally with poets and “the fire in the poetic dialogue.”

For five years, as co-chair of the annual Poetry, Prose and Arts Festival, Kirk helped shape this jointly sponsored City of Pleasanton/PCAC event into a high quality literary and arts celebration which has put Pleasanton on the literary map in Northern California.

Kirk served on the Poet Laureate Selection Committee for the city, continues to perform publicly, advises the city on literary matters and supports the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writers Club. His leadership, dedication and networking skills in the poetic arts are unmatched in the Pleasanton community. His forte: detailed planning, collaborative leadership, hard work — and quality as the prize! Kirk Ridgeway, indeed, deserves the title “Arts Supporter of the Year.”

2006: Dave Wright

Dave Wright has supported the arts vigorously for many years. For 20 years Dave created and managed the Las Positas College prose and poetry contests and Spring Arts Festival Awards Ceremony open to the Tri-Valley communities. Dave served for 5 years as chair of the Humanities and Arts at Las Positas College. He also served for 10 years as President of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society of the U.S. and Canada, sponsoring two Haiku North America Conferences at Las Positas College and ten conferences for haiku writers at Asilomar.

In addition, Dave helped found the Pleasanton Civic Arts Commission where, as a founding commissioner, he promoted the City Arts Grants to be overseen by the Civic Arts Commission, helped with the City Cultural Plan, worked to create the successful City Poet Laureate Program and advocated for the arts and arts facilities on the Bernal Property and downtown.

For the last 6 years Dave has served on the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council Board, serving as president for three years. He was co-founder of the Pleasanton Poetry, Prose and Arts Festival, helped the PCAC Board increase PCAC membership and its support of arts organizations in the community, and created the PCAC Youth Excellence in Arts (YEA) Scholarships. Dave has supported quality concerts, the Arts in the Schools Grant Program, the Firehouse Arts Center, the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Foundation. He has written many arts grants and is editor of Arts in Season, the PCAC newsletter.

2005: Rebecca Bruner

Rebecca has worked behind the scenes for numerous PCAC events, including hosting receptions to support local arts groups and organizing PCAC awards banquets. She serves on the board of the Museum on Main, a Pleasanton cultural icon which supports the arts as well as preserving local history. Rebecca is chair of the Museum Fundraising Committee and Chair of the Friends of Pleasanton Heritage Realty Group, a small enclave of dedicated business people who have raised $30,000 for the Museum through Historic Home Strolls.

2004: Charlene Villella

Charlene was recognized in 2004 for her work on behalf of the literary arts in Pleasanton. She was Pleasanton’s first Poet Laureate, and she has been the generating force behind Pleasanton’s annual Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival. She was also a major pillar of support for Across the River Writer’s Roundtable.

2003: Mark Anderson and Tamriko Siprashvili

The pianists Mark and Tamriko were awarded the 2003 PCAC Arts Supporter Award in appreciation for their participation in the annual benefit concert for support of the PCAC Arts in the Schools Grant Program. Mark gave that concert from 1992 through 2008, joined by his wife, Tamriko, since 1994.

2002: Charlotte Severin

Charlotte was founding president of PCAC and was chairperson of the 10-year renovation of the Amador Theater, and she never gave up in spite of the difficulties. She started the Bicentennial Community Band in 1975 (now the Pleasanton Community Concert Band). She co-founded Community Television “CTV” and served as Board Chair for 20 years. She started the PCAC Arts in the Schools program, and she has co-chaired the fundraising committee for the Old Firehouse Theater and Galley project. She also teaches watercolor at the Senior Center and in the schools, coaching teachers in the teaching of watercolor.

2001: Andy Jorgensen

Andy is Civic Arts Manager for the City of Pleasanton. His visionary support helped create a Civic Arts Commission. His Civic Arts Presents program brings quality entertainment to the City. Because of his efforts, the city co-sponsored the Mark Anderson and Tamriko Siprashvili Benefit Concerts from 1992 through 2008 in support of funding for the PCAC Arts in the Schools Grant Program. Andy also served as founder, director, executive director, playwright, and producer for the Children’s Theater Workshop, which gave years of outstanding children’s theater productions.

2001: Bev Hamlin

A special additional “Arts Angel Award” was given to Bev for her tireless support to the Livermore Amador Symphony, the children’s downtown window decorating, chairing the “Taste of the Valley” benefit for the Pleasanton Volunteer Center, and for creating the “Bed Race” to benefit Kaleidoscope for developmentally disabled young people.

2000: Darla Stevens

Darla is the Executive Director of Community Television “CTV.” She founded and continued to direct this public-service television station until her retirement in 2003. After beginning with a little red wagon and one camera, the station has gone far under her direction. It now has the sophisticated nightly news “580/680 News” and it supports the arts with superb coverage of all events.

1999: Pleasanton Community Concert Band

The award was given to its director, Bob Williams. The band was started in 1975 as the Bicentennial Community Band, and Bob was a charter member. The band performs free at all important civic events and is a great enhancement to the community.

1998: Renee and Bob Lewis

Renee and Bob received the 1998 honor for founding the Pleasanton Playhouse and for producing years of outstanding musicals. They performed in the Amador Theater while it was undergoing renovation, and they assisted with theatrical advice and with the donation of theater lighting.

1997: Phyllis Wentworth

Phyllis was given the honor for her years of dedication to the arts. She co-sponsored the “Holiday Reflections” fund-raising ball at Stoneridge Mall to raise funds for a renovation of the Amador Theater. She also encouraged the Taubman donation of two of Pleasanton’s first public art pieces: “Yak” and “Sing a Song of Sixpence.” She also co-chaired the Amador Theater renovation.

1996: Janet Armentrout

Janet is editor of the Independent newspaper, which gives outstanding coverage to the arts, with photographs and feature articles.

1995: Roberta Seabird

Roberta was the first recipient of the Arts Supporter of the Year Award in recognition of her articles in the Valley Times covering arts events in the Tri-Valley area.

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