In the Loop
Alumni News : Apr 11, 2017

SA+AH alumna Marianne Lettieri wins Silicon Valley Laureate

By Marie Callahan

Silicon Valley Creates (SVCreates) has selected Marianne [Gowan] Lettieri (BFA '71) to receive the 2017 SVLaureates Award for exceptional achievement in the arts and contribution to the cultural life of Silicon Valley. Marianne’s award is in the Off the Wall category for sculpture and spatial arts.

Each Laureate receives an unrestricted cash award to celebrate and encourage the continuing development of their artistic work – one of the rare cash awards for artistic career accomplishment in the Bay Area south of San Francisco. Since 1991, more than 150 artists have received an Artist Laureate Award.

Lettieri creates art with everyday objects that have outlasted the people who used them.

“Relics of the past are especially attractive to me – tools of domestic and manual labor, architectural and furniture fragments, vintage toys,” Lettieri said. “Objects tell the stories of who we are and how we have lived.”

Although her majors were drawing and printmaking, she said the dance department at UF offered choreography opportunities that provided her with 3D experience regarding forms in motion, spatial compositions and light and sound.

She graduated from San Jose State University in 2013 with an MFA in Spatial Arts, significantly improving her fabrication skills and the conceptual underpinning of her work.

“Physicality is increasingly irrelevant to human activities in the digital age. So artifacts once central to daily rituals and work routines are imbued with a sense of humanity that forms bridges to my imagination. I present these castoff materials in new configurations, reinforcing the interconnectedness of people and communities through time and the shared human desire to remember.”

Lettieri is thrilled with the award and is excited to explore more with her art.

“I am grateful for this validation of my work and the recognition of my ongoing commitment to help other artists succeed,” she said. “It makes me appreciate the distance I have traveled on my art journey and energizes me to keep going. The unrestricted cash prize will give me time and resources to explore new creative ideas and increase the scope of my work.”

Nominations and applications for SVLaureates are accepted in five categories, and reviewed by an independent grant review panel comprised of professional artists, presenters, and critics representing a spectrum of disciplines. An in-house panel selects a sixth recipient for the Legacy award. Beyond their creative talents, award winners demonstrate an investment in Santa Clara County through teaching; volunteering; and service on boards, committees, commissions and panels.

Lettieri’s solo art exhibitions include San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, Monterey Peninsula College, Peninsula Museum of Art, Badé Archeological Museum/Doug Adams Gallery, and Azusa Pacific University. Her art is in the collections of San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and Oracle Corporation. She is an artist-in-residence at the Cubberley Artists Studio Program, sponsored by the City of Palo Alto. Marianne is on the leadership team of Doing Good Well, a national initiative to empower next generation female arts and culture leaders. She is on the board of directors of Council for the Arts, Palo Alto and Mid-Peninsula Area (CAPA).

Learn more about Lettieri and her work at