Student Creative Artist Award

About the Award

The City of Sonoma Cultural and Fine Arts Commission's Student Creative Artist Award Program began in 1988 as the Honorarium Program. It changed to the Steve Silver High School Honorarium in 1992, and became the Student Creative Arts Award Program in 2002.  It is open to Sonoma Valley residents who reside within the Sonoma Valley School District boundary and are either in their junior or senior year, who demonstrate unusual promise in the visual, literary or performing arts.

The City's Cultural and Fine Arts Commission reviews the entries and selects finalists for an in-person interview at a public meeting. The CFAC then selects a winner who is awarded up to $2,000 cash award to be used for the furtherance of their artistic abilities, education or career.

How to Enter for Consideration

When the application period opens, each applicant must submit an "Artist Statement" of 200-500 words explaining the role that art has played in their life and their plans for continuing their artistic training, along with samples of the best work.  Finalists are asked to participate in an interview process during a public meeting with the commission members.

The online application period is typically open in late winter - early spring. Subscribe to receive the City's e-newsletter and stay informed about this award and other important City news and updates.

Award Recipients

2023 Grace Atkinson Visual Arts SVHS $2,000
Sydney Chapin Visual Arts SVHS $1,000 (Merit Award)
2022 Rue Gobbee Visual Arts SVHS $2,000
2020 & 2021 Hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019 Adrienne "Adie" Valavanis Animation College for Creative Studies $2,000
George Stewart Film Production SVHS $975 (Merit Award)
Eden Llodra Music - Cellist San Domenico  High School $975 (Merit Award)
2018 Alexandra Garber Cinematography SVHS $2,000
Lauren Smith Photography SVHS $500 (Merit Award)
2017 Natalie Palmgren Ballet Rincon Valley Christian School $2,000
Aaron Marcus-Willers Music SVHS $500 (Merit Award)
Owen Summers Animation, Music, Design SVHS $500 (Merit Award)
2016 Kaylin Riebli Visual SVHS $2,000
Lucy Houghton Visual SVHS $500 (Merit Award)
Anika Ljung Performing SVHS $500 (Merit Award)
2015 Jeffrey Peterson Music Composition SV High, UOP $2,000
2014 Maya Harris Studio Art / Music SVHS $2,000
Siena Guerrazzi Creative Writing Justin-Siena $500 (Merit Award)
2013 Maya Smoot Theater Arts SVHS $2,000
2012 Esmeralda Chavez-Mata Visual Arts SVHS $2,000
Barret Wilber Musician (Piano) SVHS $500 (Merit Award)*
2011 Sarah Summers Singer/Guitarist SVHS $2,000
2010 Michael Starr Singer Justin-Siena $2,000
2009 Transition from May to December, no program
2008 Yvette Rico Visual Arts $2,000
2007 Christina Wright Creative Writing $1,000
Max Simonet Performing Arts $1,000
2006 Rebecca Evans Creative Writing $1,000
Andres Rico Performing Arts $1,000
Ashley Aguilar Visual Arts $1,000
2005 Travis Lyons Creative Writing $1,000
Corinne Stubbs Performing Arts $1,000
Julian Geoghegan Visual Arts $1,000
2004 Ariel Fintushel Creative Writing $500
Morgan Harrington Performing Arts $500
Ryan Jensen Visual Arts $500
2003 Michael Sullivan $500
Kim Jones $500
Sarah Shimizu $500
2002 Emily Reading Creative Writing $500
Tara Zombres Performing Arts $500
Yesenia Salas Chavira Visual Arts $500
In 2002 funds from the Steve Silver Foundation ran out and the program became the Student Creative Arts Award and was funded by the City of Sonoma
2001 Antony Benedetti Creative Writing $500
Danielle Kardum Performing Arts $500
Drew Pickering Visual Arts $500
2000 Holly Chadwin $500
Nika Erikson $500
Jacob Steuter $500
1999 Joe Chretien Performing Arts $500
Elizabeth Rawls Performing Arts $500
Christopher Lee Visual Arts $500
1998 Giovanni Benedetti Creative Writing $250
Mollie Martin Performing Arts $250
Nathaniel Aslasken Visual Arts $250
1997 No information available
1996 No information available
1995 Josh Gooch Literary Arts $250
Nick Donnelly Performing Arts $250
Maggie McKnight Visual Arts $250
1994 Leah Bonstead Literary Arts $250
Elizabeth Dilley Literary Arts $250
Ben Rawls Performing Arts $250
William Garcia Performing Arts $250
Aaron Drake Performing Arts $250
Caroline Hipkiss Visual Arts $250
JoAnn Wilcox Visual Arts $250
1993 Kathryn Ogaz Literary Arts $250
Rosalicia Barragan Literary Arts $250
Sam Riesberg Performing Arts $250
Rachael Lyerla Performing Arts $250
Gian Sadoti Visual Arts $250
Kelly Jordon Visual Arts $250
1992 Jeremy Russell Literary Arts $200
Coleen McGrane Literary Arts $200
Jenny Casciani Visual Arts $200
Ramon Robles Visual Arts $200
1991 Ion Meyn Literary Arts $200
Hosanna Broderick Literary Arts $200
Seth Kinmont Visual Arts $200
1990 Andy Mannie Literary Arts $200
Jackie Hipkiss Visual Arts $200
1989 Sabina Piersol Literary Arts $200
Fawn Scullion-Smith Visual Arts $200


The program began in 1988 and was called the “Honorarium Program”, the minutes do not reflect the names of the award recipients.  There were two $100 awards to graduating seniors, one for visual arts and one for literary arts

* Funds Raised by Sarah Summers

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