We are looking for accomplished, but relatively unknown, artists living and working in Santa Clara County.  Created in honor of our community’s iconic columnist and patron of the arts Leigh Weimers, these cash awards are meant to support and encourage emerging artists.

Artists in all genres may apply for this award. Previous awards have ranged between a $1,000 and $5,000 cash prize, and up to four winners will be invited to show their work and/or speak at a lunch meeting of one of the world’s 10 largest Rotary Clubs.

The Deadlines

Thanks to everyone who applied.

For more information, please email

The Eligible Applicants

All applicants must be residents of Santa Clara County. Artists must be at least 18 years old, working in the art form declared on the application and able to provide work samples.
All applicants must meet the following definitions of “emerging:”

  • Have some evidence of professional achievement, but not a substantial record of accomplishment;
  • Not yet be recognized as established artists by other artists, curators, producers, critics, and arts administrators;
  • Be rigorous in their approach to creation and production;
  • Have a developing voice that reveals significant potential;
  • Take risks and embrace challenges.

Due to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions for large gatherings this year’s awards presentation may be “virtual.” Winners will be required to work with the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artists committee in preparation for the presentation. Complete details will be provided to winners.The tentative date for the awards presentation is October 13.



Applicants may apply under the following art forms:

  • Music (instrumental, voice, composition)
  • Written word (poetry, prose, stage or screenplay)
  • Visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, video/film, installation, etc.)
  • Performance (dance, theatre, comedy, performance art)

If your artistic discipline is not expressly included here, please choose the most appropriate category from the 4 that are listed.


Thanks to everyone who applied.

Winners will be notified in August

The Jurors

Cathy Kimball Independent Curator
Lisa Malette Executive Artistic Director, City Lights Theater Company
Nancy Bavor Executive Director, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
Jeremy Harris Professional Musician, Musical Director
Charlie McCollum San Jose Arts Commissioner
Colleen B. Wilcox PhD. Superintendent of School, Retired