Where Are They Now?

Ten Years of Discovered: Emerging Visual Artists of Sonoma County Awards



Todd Barricklow
My work has been featured at the Headlands Center “Close Calls”, in the Sonoma County Museum mural project, and created “Rigor the Robot” for 826 LA.

The grant provided some local attention which was good. The money helped out with some equipment in the studio. And it’s a nice line on my resume.

My work can be found sometimes in local shops, occasionally at the Flying Goat in Healdsburg, periodic group shows in Sacramento, Art from the Heart at SSU, and on my website: tod3d.com.


Seth Minor
After receiving The Emerging Artists of Sonoma County Award I was invited to show at the Richmond Art Center, became the Maker Faire’s first Artist in Residence, received gallery representation, accepted to Mills College for graduate studies in Art, and had the opportunity to hang a 20 foot sculpture at the corner of 7th and Mendocino where it hung for seven years before being stolen this last summer.

The award not only legitimized the option of being an Artist but allowed me opportunities to build a career in the visual arts. I have since sold work locally and abroad to the point that it’s been my sole source of income for the last six years. Prior to the award the notion of making a living as an artist seemed unlikely, but the acknowledgement and encouragement that the award gives someone creates the confidence to believe that it’s possible.

My sculptural works can be seen at Studio Barndiva in Healdsburg and my complete works online at sethminor.com.


Catherine Richardson
Here are some significant shows that followed my award:

2007 – Quicksilver Gallery Forestville, solo show
2010 – GTU Berkeley campus residency (“Mining The Collection”) followed by a solo show in the Badé Museum Gallery
2012 – Institute of Noetic Sciences, Novato CA, solo show
2014 – Lucid Art Foundation residency, Inverness Pt Reyes
2015 – SFMOMA Artist Gallery Ft Mason, San Francisco – 3 person show
2016 – Sarah Lawrence Publication, Vol XV – Front Cover and 3 other works illustrating prose
2016 – Marin Review of books, Art with poetry
2017 (May) – Bulkistan Art Center, Iceland, residency

This award made a pivotal impact in shoring up my confidence and belief in myself as a practicing artist. It helped me set a life commitment and professional approach to my art. I took the step of investing in a studio space where I could work and solicit the attention of curators and art lovers.
It was a complete surprise to receive the award. It was rather akin to an explorer navigating uncharted terrain, persevering no matter the challenges and suddenly discovering a cave of hidden treasure. Because my work was taken seriously by respected professionals in the art world, I considered more seriously approaching a wider audience to show my work and interact with the viewer.

This award supported the necessity of routines, projects and balancing acts of studio practice with the business side of promoting my work. Applying to art residencies, museums and galleries is part of the general organization that follows the rich messy unknowns and explorations of creativity.

My work can be seen currently at Spinster Sisters restaurant on South A St, Santa Rosa, CA; at my studio #102, 33Arts, 3840, Finley Ave, Santa Rosa CA by appointment (707-696-4486); at SFMOMA Artist gallery San Francisco CA; and on my web site: www.CatherineRichardsonArt.com.




Sarah Frieberg
In 2010 I received my Masters in Teaching and Learning from Rhode Island School of Design. I worked on both my art and my teaching. Ultimately this award prepared me to begin teaching art from PK to college, where I have been teaching for the last 6 years. From 2012 – 2014, I designed and installed a sustainable residential landscape in Santa Rosa, CA of which I am very proud. After spending 2 summers on the project, I landscaped their entire property. In 2013, I had a solo show at the Sonoma Academy Art Gallery in Santa Rosa, CA. It was following my stroke and was inspired by the healing from my stroke.

The notification of the award came on the perfect night. I had just received my denial letter to the Cal Berkeley MFA program and after reading it I got the biggest smile and it was a wonderful validation of all my hard work and dedication. Receiving this award and having the opportunity to meet the community and share my work proved to be inspirational. The expression of my creativity has been my continual driving force behind my life’s endeavors. Developing my artistic vision, teaching the cultivation of creativity and designing with the land has served as a canvas. These experiences have coalesced a deeper awareness of my purpose and guided me through internal struggles while allowing me the ability to connect to my community. Having the opportunity and experience that this program awarded me was invaluable on all levels of my career. For the last 6 years outside of earning my Master of Teaching and Learning from RISD, I have been an art educator. I have worked both inside and outside the classroom on many different levels from private, independent, charter to public school systems. I have spent several years crafting arts curriculum from a wide range of ages PK to college courses as well as a variety of media from drawing, painting, sculpture, digital media to film that strives to engage, inspire and build confidence in all students. I have had extensive professional development and training in backwards design curriculum building, Expeditionary Learning teaching practices and Mindfulness teaching practices. Within the schools, I have also taken on roles as a college counselor, graphic designer and yearbook advisor. I am now getting ready to go back for my MFA and continue to evolve and grow in my art.

My work can be found at: https://www.sarahfrieberg.com.




Tramaine De Senna
2017 — Kingdom of Belgium, hospital art commission in progress — two art projects, a six figure project

2017 — AZ Alma Hospital, Eeklo Belgium – commission for two sets of artwork Commission: two sets of artworks (https://youtu.be/EY1bJ5eIxks, https://youtu.be/pfSRgSgHojc)

2015 — Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten Vlaanderen/Higher Institute for Fine Art, Ghent, Belgium – Honor Laureate at the leading postgraduate research institute in the Kingdom of Belgium for the visual and audiovisual arts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpmFpLzDKc)

2013 — Hammerfriar Gallery, Healdsburg, CA, solo show and artist talk “The Construction of Appearances” (https://youtu.be/MfR7timfRw)

2013 – Sint Joost/Akademie voor Kunst en Vormgeving/Saint Joost Academy for Art and Design, Master of Autonomous Fine Art

Although art was always the fire feeding my soul, I believed that I did not deserve to be an artist within this lifetime, and that I would have to wait and pursue it in my next life. The “Discovered” award was a turning point — a public form of recognition of my lifelong commitment. Since then, I have stoked the fires and amassed the courage to pursue my dream and all the accompanying unknowns: navigating in foreign waters as an artist; surviving, creating, and pursuing an international career, education, and training all the while reflecting and refining on my purpose as an American citizen.

My work can be seen at www.tramainedesenna.com.


Laine Justice
Since the award, I have participated in various solo and group exhibitions, most recently at Sonoma Valley Museum, SFAC, Gallery Lulo, Fouladi Projects, and Jules Maeght Gallery.

With the award, I was able to purchase my own raw pigment library, allowing me the tools necessary to make substantial bodies of work for many years.

My work can be seen at: Gallery Lulo, Healdsburg, CA, Fouladi Projects, San Francisco, CA and at www.LaineJustice.com.


Andrew Sofie
Subsequent to receiving the Emerging artist award in 2010 I relocated my studio to San Francisco where I began working on new software art while working on product development for mobile technology innovation groups including Verizon’s Innovation Program and Samsung’s Product Innovation Team. In 2010, I was included in the Mad Science exhibition at the Sonoma County Museum and in 2012 my generative projected work “About Everything” was acquired for the lobby of the Santa Clara Hyatt hotel. I currently work at an AI Lab as a Product Manager for AI enabled products which also serves as the primary inspiration for upcoming works.

The “Discovered” award was instrumental in my career as both a product developer and an artist helping me both financially, to dedicate myself full time to highly technical art works I had been imagining for a long time yet hadn’t had the resources to pursue. Also to have an exhibition outlet for installation work that didn’t fit into the typical restrictions of a gallery was helpful. Being able to focus exclusively on mobile and software art helped me notice my interest in the changes to life mobile technology was creating and helped spur my engagement in broader product development for technology companies.

My work can be seen at www.andrewsofie.com.




Cathy Ellis
2016 — Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO, Fellowship Recipient — Advanced Painting Workshop with Enrique Martinez Celaya

2015 — Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara – Out of the Great Wide Open exhibition, curated by Brooke Kellaway

2014 — College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, Teaching Fellowship,

2013 — University of California at Santa Barbara, Howard Fenton Award for Painting

2012 – Vermont Studio Center, Funded Residency

Living in a rural area after getting an art degree can give you the sense that you don’t have easy access to an art world, or don’t exactly know where to begin. Applying for and being selected for the “Discovered” program in 2012 was a really important opportunity for me as an emerging artist.
Through the program I had my first studio visit with a professional curator, my first exhibition with a museum, even my first crack at public speaking. My paintings gained a wider audience and context.

Kate Eilertsen was amazingly warm and supportive of all the artists who participated. It gave me a lot of courage to stay dogged and apply to other programs on a national level. This led to several residencies, exhibitions, graduate school for painting and my current professional life where I divide my time between my studio and teaching.

My work can be seen at www.cathyellisprojects.com, @cathyellisprojects, or in my studio 90 miles north of Los Angeles on the campus of UCSB, by appointment.


Peter Hassen
The “Discovered” Award raised my profile enough to for me to successfully complete the Sacramento Values Project (SVP). After I showed the Napa Values Project at the SVMA show, I was able to treble the reach and impact in Sacramento, getting media coverage and working with three times the number of community groups for installations. It also enabled me to win a grant from the Kennedy Centers “Any Given Child” program to bring the SVP to several low-income schools, augmenting their arts education. I was later asked to join Kate Eilertsen and Pat Lenz (Slaughterhouse Gallery) to juror the subsequent “Discovered” show at the SVMA, which gave me the opportunity to be part of that process: criss-crossing the county making studio visits, being part of a selection committee, and working with the artists to define the show. I gave a “TedX” talk in Napa on my art as part of their ongoing program. And the award ultimately led to inclusion in several other shows including (Wild)erness curated by Michael Schwager at Sonoma State University.

Inclusion in the “Discovered” show signaled a recognition among my peers that was at once gratifying, and challenging; it was a confidence builder, but also forced me to take the presentation of my work to a new level. It gave me the perspective to see my work as a cohesive body and to find the thread the unifies it all. In this economy, in which there is a vanishing number of opportunities for an emerging or mid-career artist to show work, having had a museum show keeps me on point and is a reminder that there is a willing audience out there.

My work is can be seen and is available at my studio and online at peterhassen.com. In January 2017, I will also be showing work from the Sacramento Values Project at the Ice House Gallery in Petaluma.


Ryan Lely
I participated in the Woodland Star Charter School Art Auction in February of 2015 hosted at Bump Cellars, in which I submitted a mixed media piece different from what was featured in the “Discovered” show. My work with the Coppola family had me producing unique installs on a monthly basis. But the Woodland Star show was the only show I’ve participated in since “Discovered.”

It was such an honor to be part of this show. My involvement has continually spurred my artistic expression as I continue to create new pieces. I’m currently building a body of work that I hope to show in the near future.

My website is currently under construction at rlely.com. I hope to have it live by February 2017.


William Smith
Since the “Discovered” Exhibition I’ve participated in a handful of shows including two solo exhibitions. In the spring of 2015, I started a printmaking, t-shirt party called “Will Smith’s Fresh Prints.” Guests brought their own shirts as well as shirts purchased from me. Throughout the day I printed linoleum blocks with an etching press onto the shirts. Since then I’ve hosted two more events with guest artists providing the imagery. Combined, roughly 500 shirts have been printed. Lastly, due out sometime this year is my third wine label for Imagery Estate Winery’s Code Blue.

The “Discovered” Exhibition had little to no impact on my work and career. Although it was an honor to be recognized, the experience came and went and I picked up where I left off before the event. Which was a change in direction conceptually. On a positive note, the lack of opportunities in Sonoma County contributed to my interest in starting the “Fresh Prints” parties.

I am still working and teaching in Santa Rosa. Locally, my work is available direct from me. Cumberland Gallery, in Nashville, TN, which has represented me for the last 10 plus years, also has work on consignment. My work may be seen online at www.williamsmithart.com and on Instagram @williamsmithart as well as at the Cumberland Gallery website.


Esther Traugot
After the 2012 “Discovered” show, I’ve continued to make work, exhibiting locally, nationally, and internationally. Some of my favorites are completing a residency at Cal State Fullerton, L.A., which culminated in the exhibit, “ego/eco: Environmental Art for Collective Consciousness” in 2013. I exhibited in Nurtured Nature at the Muriel Guepin Gallery, LES, NY, who then brought my work to the Paris Art International Art Fair in 2014. I had a solo show, titled Arboretum, at the Samek Art Museum in Lewisburg, PA, and completed a commission for Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills, CA at the end of 2015.

The award, recognition, and positive response gave me confidence, as well as acknowledgement as a local artist and how the area and my background influence my work. It helped me get more succinct in the direction of my work. Since then, I’ve put more emphasis on the relationship of place in my projects and the fragility and tenacity of nature. Where I gather my materials and how continues to get more specific. In addition, the presentation at SVMA by influential Bay Area Galleries and residency programs illustrated some of the complex relationship between them and artists, which made me feel grateful for my unique position, gallery representation and my continued opportunities.

My work can be found on my website, at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary Gallery in Oakland, or with a scheduled studio visit. Currently, my work can be viewed in “Balance” at OC3/the Great Park, in L.A. from December 3, 2015 through February 19, 2017.




Erik Castro
I am most proud of my HARVESTER project and the exhibition that opened in August of 2016 at Christie Marks Fine Art Gallery in Santa Rosa.  The exhibition was deeply influence by what I learned during my preparations for “Discovered.” Much like “Discovered,” the HARVESTER show offered a view of individuals in Sonoma County that are often on the margins of our society.  The project also was given some national press in the NY Times.

Speaking as a local artist for the Sonoma Creative forum in June of 2015 created a wave of recognition locally. That specific talk inspired me to engage more on a personal level in the community and in high school classroom talks that have been lively and enjoyable experiences.

This past August I was awarded 1st place by the National Press Photographers Association for a spot news photograph from my coverage of the recent Clayton fire in Lake County. The organization published the winning image in their quarterly magazine. I was thrilled to have this recognition from peers in the national photojournalism community especially in the area of spot news which is a highly competitive category.

I never felt that the “Discovered” award would be about financial gain or even broad exposure in my field of work. In retrospect the impact was all about personal growth. Having a museum like Sonoma Valley Museum of Art recognize my work seemed to validate my belief that I was working in the right direction as a photographer figuring out the balance between art and photojournalism. “Discovered” help me look within and see what was important and what was not. “Discovered” was all about the process of producing an experience for the public and I was lucky to have Director Kate Eilertsen’s guidance; it was like having a one-on-one lesson on how to articulate a vision. Eilertsen pushed me and she set a high bar for all my future projects and I believe I am a more focused photojournalist now. I walked away from “Discovered” with deep gratitude for the museum’s support and for the remarkable learning experience.

My work can be seen at www.erikcastrophoto.com and on Instagram at instagram.com/erikcastro67/. Physical work is often in The Press Democrat, Sonoma Magazine and in the book, The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste at Amazon.com at this link: https://www.amazon.com/New-California-Wine-Producers-Revolution/dp/1607743000.


Stan Abercrombie
One result of the “Discovered” program was that, after the exhibition closed at SVMA, several people asked to buy my work. Also, a number of friends and even strangers said they admired what I was doing. Also, I will be having a new exhibition in March at the Bump Winery, which Kate Eilertsen will curate.

But the biggest impact was that, before the “Discovered” program, I had the strong feeling that what I was doing was a dead end, that what I produced was never seen by anyone else. Now I can feel that I have some audience for what I do, which has given me much more energy for producing things. I’m very grateful to this program fort that.


Miles Votek
Since the “Discovered” exhibition I have been focusing on making a feature length experimental documentary film which I am hoping to complete this year. Thanks to the generosity and support of the Sonoma Community Center and the “Discovered” program at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art I was able to immerse myself deeply in this project which is now finally approaching completion after nearly four years of work. My partner and collaborator Caitlin Denny and I unfortunately couldn’t afford to remain in Northern California and like so many of our artist friends made the move to Southern California. I have been working in the stop motion animation industry in Los Angeles as a puppet and set fabricator and mold maker, honing my sculptural and special effects skills. My film, “Atlantis Risen,” is an experimental documentary using archival footage, original footage, and animated sequences – hoping to bring it to the public by the end of 2017!

The “Discovered” exhibition had a profound impact on the direction of my work. After showing in the “Discovered” exhibition, I found my video installation to be the most gratifying and continued to pursue film on the edge of abstract and narrative while incorporating my sculptural skills through animated sequences. I was very proud to receive the “Discovered” award and am proud to say that it helped me focus on the field that I find myself working in now.

My sculptural work can be seen at the Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma where I installed a large ceramic piece outside on the grounds. I also have a smaller piece at the Sonoma Community Center on display with other artists’ works who were part of their residency program. To view the Westerbeke sculpture garden contact http://www.thewesterbekeranch.com. Online my work can be viewed on my webpage at www.milesvotek.com, which is viewable on mobile devices but works better on desktop computers.