June 8, 2016 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced $100,000 in grant awards for 5 local artist fellows to build San Diego’s creative economy, advance artist careers and encourage civic engagement by increasing opportunities for San Diegans region wide to experience arts and culture.

“San Diego has a rich history of arts and culture throughout the region, and The San Diego Foundation is honored to play an active role in strengthening our creative economy and overall quality of life,” stressed Emily Young, Vice President of Community Impact at The San Diego Foundation. “Thanks in part to philanthropy’s ongoing investment in the arts, San Diego remains at the forefront of cultural innovation and creativity, which sustains our economy and quality of life.”

Through the Creative Catalyst Program, each artist will receive a 12-month, $20,000 grant to produce and showcase a work of art. Fellows are matched with a community-based arts and culture organization to provide mentorship, build new partnerships and engage community members through the arts.

“The Creative Catalyst program provides a springboard for local artists to create new works, collaborate with others and share their ingenuity with the community,” emphasized Jill Hall, local philanthropist and Co-chair of the Creative Catalyst program. “Through these artists and their arts organization partners, we are expanding San Diego’s creative economy and exposing even more local citizens to unique, innovative and impactful projects.”

In addition to the 5 fellowship awards, the Creative Catalyst program has benefited more than 170,000 San Diegans from the work of 35 artist fellows and 50 community partners since 2011. The program aligns with the findings from Our Greater San Diego Vision, and leverages the support of many donors who give together to maximize their philanthropic impact in the region, recognizing that support for local artists has a positive and measurable impact on the vitality and vibrancy of our neighborhoods and our lives.

2016 Artists and Nonprofit Sponsors

The 2016 artists selected and their nonprofit sponsors include:

Artist: David Reynoso
Reynoso is an award-winning scenic and costume designer living in San Diego most widely recognized for his designs on the Off-Broadway hit SLEEP NO MORE (2011 – OBIE Award) and for Liz Lerman’s HEALING WARS (2014 – Helen Hayes Award nomination)
Sponsor: The Old Globe
Project: Waking La Llorona – a visually lush, immersive theatrical experience inspired by Mexican myths and folklore and their correlations to San Diego and other cultures throughout the globe.

Artist: Janet Tiger
Tiger is an award-winning playwright whose plays and monologues have been produced internationally and published in anthologies in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
Sponsor: Playwrights Project
Project: Caregivers Anonymous – a theatrical experience illuminating caregiving as a valuable element of our society and designed to entertain as well as to be a catalyst for change.

Artist: Michelle Montjoy
As a practicing artist and teacher in San Diego County for over twenty years, Michelle Montjoy has had solo shows at the Oceanside Museum of Art, The Athenaeum Arts and Music Library and Art Produce Gallery in North Park.
Sponsor: Oceanside Museum of Art
Project: River – the reimagining of traditional techniques and attitudes of knitting into a contemporary role that connects communities through comfort, inspiration and empowerment.

Artist: Steve Gunderson
Gunderson is an actor, composer, arranger, orchestrator, musical director, director and playwright.
Sponsor: The San Diego Ballet
Project: The Artificial Woman – a collaborative music, theatre and dance piece exploring artistic, romantic and power relationships between artists Oskar Kokoschka and Alma Mahler and its reflection in today’s society.

Artist: Tim West
West is an active veteran stage performer, award-winning director and produced playwright; he is also a teacher and teaching artist.
Sponsor: San Diego Writers, Ink
Project: Upstart Crow – a serial collaborative theatrical event based on the Lost Years of William Shakespeare, a narrative across six episodes in a year-long mini-season of original drama.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation promotes and increases effective and responsible charitable giving to grow a more vibrant region. The Foundation manages more than $663 million in assets, more than half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since 1975, The Foundation has granted more than $980 million to the nonprofit community. For more information, visit our website and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego now and forever.


Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com
Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300, justin@sdfoundation.org