Dr. Jerry Hiura Next Gen Visual Artist Award

  • Hand in Hand by Sissie Zhou
    2023 Top Winner

  • Framed in Time by Erinn Huang
    2023 Second Place Winner

  • United Efforts by Hannah Liaw
    2023 Second Place Winner 

    The Dr. Jerry Hiura Next Gen Visual Artist Award honors Dr. Jerry’s passions through a scholarship that celebrates young visionary artists and supports their artistic practice and goals as they pursue higher education.

    2023 Application

    The Dr. Jerry Hiura Next Gen Visual Artist Award is open to high school students in Santa Clara County.

    Application Deadline: February 29, 2024
    Winners Announced: May 3, 2024 at our First Friday Event
    Award Amount: 1st prize: $3,000, 2nd / 3rd prizes: $1,000 each.

    Scholarship Abstract

    Theme: "Embracing Identity"
    Prompt: Unleash your artistic voice and celebrate the power of "Embracing Identity!" Through visuals, express the beauty and complexities of your true self. Dive into the depths of your passions, culture, and experiences. Create an artwork that captures the essence of who you are and inspires others to embrace their own unique identities.


    Vanessa Hatakeyama

    A young Asian woman smiles wearing red lipstick, directly facing the camera. Her long curled hair surrounds her face and falls down her back and shoulders.

    Bay Area born and raised, Vanessa Hatakeyama is the Acting Museum Director of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) and serves on the Board of Directors for the Japantown Community Congress of San Jose (JCCsj). A San Jose Japantown resident for over a decade, Vanessa is deeply rooted in the local community and has fostered collaborations with artists and arts organizations to showcase and celebrate the vibrant creativity, abundant diversity, and rich cultures that thrive in the historic Japantown neighborhood.

    As committed to her work and community endeavors as she is, they all come second to her beautiful blended and extended family and her passion for the Hawaiian art of Hula. When she has free time she is an avid listener of podcasts, reader of books, writer of poetry and prose, and enjoys throwing inconsistently shaped mugs, bowls and plates on the pottery wheel.

    About JAMsj

    Located in the heart of San Jose Japantown, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj), has served the public since 1987, advancing our mission to collect, preserve and share Japanese American history, art and culture through our permanent gallery, rotating exhibits, programs and educational tours. Learn more at jamsj.org.

    Lotte Van de Walle


    Lotte Van De Walle is a Belgian painter and illustrator who moved to California in 2017. Her experience as an art teacher and illustrator of children’s books taught her the importance of curiosity, and she is intrigued by our visual memory and the different narratives it evokes. She has been a Let’s Look at Art docent from the San Jose Museum of Art since 2019. You can view her art at lottevandewalle.com

    About LLAA

    Lets Look at Art is an award-winning volunteer outreach organization provides free classroom art presentations to over 30,000 students yearly at culturally diverse schools throughout Santa Clara County. Let’s Look at Art has served more than 1 million students since 1972, and the docents of this program continue to inspire students to love art by actively engaging them and helping them articulate their ideas and use their critical thinking skills.

    Cynthia Cao

    A young Asian woman smiles, with lips closed. She does not directly face the camera, and her body is slightly facing the left side. Her long dark hair falls down both her shoulders.

    Cynthia Cao is a visual artist working primarily with printmaking and photography. She has a decade of experience working as an exhibition designer and arts educator in the Bay Area. She has worked as the Exhibition Designer for Chopsticks Alley Art since 2018, and collaborated on projects ART-ventures in Contemporary Art and Taste of Home, two projects to engage local communities in the arts. As the Art Program Coordinator for the San José Office of Cultural Affairs, she manages mural projects for the public art program. Cao earned an BFA in Pictorial Arts and a Minor in Art History from San Jose State University.

    About Chopsticks Alley

    Chopsticks Alley Art promotes Southeast Asian cultural heritage through the arts. We celebrate the cultural diversity of Southeast Asian contemporary art to foster greater understanding and connect communities. They offer arts-based programs and classes, exhibits, and community events to create an engaging environment of celebration, understanding, and support between our diverse, multi-generational communities.

    About Dr. Jerry Hiura

    The San José Museum of Art Dr. Jerry Hiura Next Gen Visual Artist Award was created in honor of former Trustee Dr. Jerry Hiura, known affectionately as “Dr. Jerry,” a gifted individual dedicated to service, community, and the arts. A passionate advocate for multi-cultural arts, he served as chair of San José's Arts Commission and as president of the Arts Council of Silicon Valley. Dr. Jerry’s commitment towards advancing the local arts community in San José also included co-founding the Contemporary Asian Theater Scene (CATS), the Japantown Community Congress of San José (JCCsj) and establishing the Three Japantown Landmarks Public Arts projects andIkoinoba, quiet resting places, throughout Japantown. As a board member for Chopsticks Alley Art, he furthered the creative dialogue between Japanese and Vietnamese American art and history. Dr. Jerry’s countless contributions were recognized Statewide when he was appointed in 2002 by Governor Gray Davis to the California State Arts Council, where he served as vice-chair.

    Dr. Jerry and his wife, fellow Trustee Lucia Cha, joined the Board of Trustees of the San José Museum of Art (SJMA) in 2017. He served on the Executive Committee and was a key partner in SJMA’s engagement initiatives with San José’s Vietnamese community.

    As a dedicated artist himself, Dr. Jerry explored his creative endeavors inexpressive forms. His paintings and drawings utilized a variety of media, including oils, watercolor, and acrylics – and ranged from whimsical topics to portraiture. As an author, poet, and editor, he published The Hawk's Well in 1986, a unique collection of Japanese American art and literature.

    Please enjoy the below submissions from the 2024 application period

    Students in need of materials to enter the Dr. Jerry Hiura Next Gen Visual Artists Award are invited to contact us at education@sjmusart.org.