Alameda County Arts Leadership Award

September 24, 2013 – The Board of Supervisors commended the following five recipients of the 2013 Alameda County Arts Leadership Awards for their achievements and contributions impacting the arts community and residents of Alameda County:
A. Jim Schmidt (Representing District 1)
B. Kevin Cato (Representing District 2)
C. Jill McLennan (Representing District 3)
D. Jean Bidwell (Representing District 4)
K. Karen Cusolito (Representing District 5)


Awardees were selected based on their major achievements contributing to the arts in the community and for the residents of Alameda County, the impact and results of these achievements, and the distinguishing characteristics of the nominees as it related to his/her peers or colleagues

Mr. Jim Schmidt (Representing District 1) – Mr. Schmidt is the president of the board of directors for the Livermore Valley Opera in Livermore. He has been a supporter of the Livermore Valley Opera since 2005. Mr. Schmidt also serves on the Livermore Commission for the Arts, is a member of the Livennore Rotary Club, and is the immediate past president of the Livermore Cultural Arts Council.

Mr. Kevin Cato (Representing District 2) – Mr. Cato is the director of Instrumental Music Programs at Mt. Eden High School and Martin Luther King Middle School, both part of the Hayward Unified School District. Mr. Cato started teaching music in the public schools in 1999. He is the former director for the Chabot College Youth Wind Symphony and served as the director oflnstrumental and Vocal Music at the Hayward Project School.

Ms. Jill McLennan (Representing District 3) – Ms. McLennan is an active exhibiting and teaching artist working with MOCHA (Museum of Children’s Art) in Oakland, the Stepping Stones Artful Steps project in San Leandro, and the Randall Museum and Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco. She is an active member of Oakland’s Jingletown Arts and Business Community, Mercury 20 Gallery and ProArts in Oakland.

Ms. Jean Bidwell (Representing District 4) – Ms. Bidwell is an arts advocate, mentor and an accomplished artist who specializes in public art murals. Her murals can be viewed in public areas throughout Castro Valley, Newark and Hayward. Ms. Bidwell is also a member of the Hayward Arts Council and Artists 7 of the Easy Bay.

Ms. Karen Cusolito (Representing District 5) – Ms. Cusolito is the founder and manager of American Steel Studios housed in the American Steel building on Mandela Parkway in Oakland. American Steel Studios is an important arts center that provides studio and gallery space to over 100 artists and small businesses. Ms. Cusolito is also an accomplished exhibiting and public art artist.

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