City of Sonoma Cultural and Fine Arts Commission Selects Noa Malone as Recipient of the 2024 Student Creative Artist Award (Press Release)

Posted on April 30, 2024

Color photo of stone, two story building with trees and blue sky in the background with text and an official city seal.

View/Download this Press Release as a PDF

Sonoma, CA – April 30, 2024 – The City of Sonoma Cultural and Fine Arts Commission (CFAC) is proud to announce the recipient of the 2024 Student Creative Artist Award. Noa Malone has been selected for this honor by the CFAC at their special meeting on April 25, 2024.

Noa Malone, a skilled musician and violist, emerged as the standout candidate among nine exceptional applicants. The decision to select Noa was challenging but unanimous, reflecting his outstanding dedication to the arts and remarkable ability.

Connie Schlelein, Chair of the Cultural and Fine Arts Commission, expressed the commission’s enthusiasm for Noa’s selection, stating, “Noa’s exemplary performance of Telemann’s Viola Concerto stunned the commissioners; he glowed as he explained his passion and commitment to music in his interview.  Noa has a thirst to learn more and finds ways to constantly improve his musical skills. He pursues opportunities beyond our valley, currently performing with the Santa Rosa Junior College Symphony and taking classes there.  He has continued to learn his craft through the Valley Vibes Youth Orchestra (ViVO) program but shares it with younger musicians by teaching music for ViVO.  We are thrilled to recognize his exceptional work and artistic potential.”

Noa, a student who learned to play the Viola through the ViVO program, shared his aspirations for the future, saying, “I would love to learn more about music history and, of course, continue playing viola. I may become a music minor in college, as it is a good way to learn music theory and history, but my main goal with music is to give it to others, which requires that I continue practicing.” Noa intends to use the award to further his musical education and to acquire his own Viola upon graduation, given that the Viola he presently uses belongs to ViVO.

Mayor John Gurney extended his congratulations to Noa, highlighting the significance of the Student Creative Artist Award in nurturing young artists within the Sonoma Valley community. “Noa’s dedication to his artistry exemplifies the creative spirit that thrives in our City. We are proud to support and celebrate the next generation of artists like Noa who enrich our cultural landscape.”

As part of his recognition, Noa will receive a $2,000 award, be invited to participate in the 4th of July parade and be recognized by Sonoma City Council at an upcoming meeting, where he has agreed to perform a piece in the Council Chambers. All applicants will have the opportunity to display their work in City Council Chambers in the fall as part of the Council Chambers Rotating Art Program. Noa’s submitted performance recording of the second movement of Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G major can be accessed on YouTube at

For more information about the Student Creative Artist Award and to see a list of past recipients please visit


About the City of Sonoma Student Creative Artist Award

The City of Sonoma Cultural and Fine Arts Commission’s Student Creative Artist Award Program has a rich history dating back to 1988 when it was established as the Honorarium Program. Over the years, it evolved into the Steve Silver High School Honorarium in 1992 and eventually transformed into the Student Creative Arts Award Program in 2002. This annual award is open to residents of Sonoma Valley within the Sonoma Valley School District boundary who are either in their junior or senior year and demonstrate exceptional promise in the visual, literary, or performing arts.

Each year, the Cultural and Fine Arts Commission reviews submissions and selects finalists for an in-person interview conducted during a public meeting. Following this process, the CFAC identifies a winner who receives a cash award of up to $2,000 to support the advancement of their artistic abilities, education, or career.

To be considered for this award, applicants must submit an “Artist Statement” of 200-500 words outlining the role of art in their life and detailing their plans for furthering their artistic training. Additionally, applicants are required to provide samples of their best work. Finalists participate in an interview process with the commission members during a public meeting.

The online application period typically opens in late winter to early spring, providing aspiring artists with the chance to showcase their talent and vie for this recognition.


Sarah Tracy, PIO

Close window