Well, snap! 2018 Horizon Awards are announced

Children's Musical Theaterworks

Mallory Parker stars as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.”

The Fresno Arts Council on Wednesday announced the winners of the 33rd annual Horizon Annual Horizon Awards, which will be held 4 p.m. Oct. 14 at The Tower Theatre. (These are obviously not the kind of awards that you have to wait until the ceremony to find out the winners.) This is a great honor for people in the arts community, and the award ceremony can be inspiring.

Here’s a rundown and bios from the arts council:

Artist: Janice Leppke

She was raised in rural Fresno and Tulare County. Currently, she teaches art education classes at Fresno Pacific University and painting classes at the Door Art Gallery. She has a master’s degree and her work has been visible in the valley for the past twenty years. Janice’s work has been featured in the Central California Blood Center Calendar and four editions of the Fresno Pacific University Magazine. She has participated in many local competitions and exhibits where she has received a number of prizes.

Artist: Cory Ballis

Born into a family of accomplished artists, he was lucky to be raised in an environment surrounded by art. In 2005, he was lucky enough to find his true passion when taking a blown-glass class. He went to Fresno State and earned a degree in business marketing. Since the first time holding a blowpipe and gathering a small bit of glass, Cory knew he had found what he needed to do in life. Ballis is a talented glass artist who has developed a successful business model of engaging the public in classes that allow them to experience glass blowing and making their own art.

Business: Children’s Musical Theaterworks

CMT is the Valley’s only non-profit theater company dedicated to the training of young performers in the area of musical theater and the arts. In 2001, the Fresno Memorial Auditorium became CMT’s theatrical home, and the company is now in its 18th season. As of 2018, Children’s Musical Theaterworks has produced more than 71 productions in the auditorium. More than 100,000 Valley audience members and 68,000 students at school performances have seen CMT’s productions, and more than 3,100 youth performers have performed with the company.


Educator: Carolyn De Anda

She works diligently to remain current in the field of media, both in photography and design. De Anda brings a wealth of enthusiasm and new ideas to the classroom in both departments. As an Adobe Certified Expert and Associate, she made the connection to provide 65 students a convenient and affordable solution to obtain Adobe while attending college. She is not only an advocate for students in the classroom but also works with a community group to bring technology awareness and opportunities to women in Fresno.

Educator: Catherine Aujero

Aujero is manager for visual performing arts for the Fresno Unified School District and is in her 20th year as a Fresno educator. The arts have always been a critical element in her work with Fresno students. She integrated arts skills when she was a classroom teacher and showed dramatic test score gains for her most struggling students, showing how critical the arts are for supporting the whole child. She is a program evaluator for Any Given Child Community Arts Team. As an arts administrator for 74,000 students, Aujero has provided access to a variety of art opportunities through music, dance, theater and visual art courses.

Citizen: David Bonetto

With more than 30 years of multi-dance experience and training in tap, jazz, ballet, and numerous other facets of the arts, Bonetto designed the performing arts program at Danceworks Unlimited to build self-expression, mental and physical discipline, and personal motivation through the art of dance. As the director of “Kids Unlimited,” a performing arts group, he has been instrumental in providing young people with motivation, performance training and social responsibility. Currently, Bonetto is on faculty at Fresno City College in the dance department and is the director/choreographer of “New Wrinkles.” He also serves as a consultant to the Fresno Unified School District conducting workshops and choreography to various schools, and is a member of “Dance Masters of America.”

Special: Aileen Imperatrice

Born and raised in Fresno, she has been interested in art since childhood. Throughout her life, she has experimented with many different art forms, studying formally within school walls or in independent practice and study. Imperatrice earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in commercial arts/ advertising design with a minor in psychology from Fresno State. These chosen fields of study give Imperatrice the unique outlook she expresses in her work. She continues her art education in many forms today, studying and experimenting on her own as well as learning from formal workshops and other artist resources.

Youth: Emilie Haskell

Emilie is a 16-year-old artist who currently attends Edison High School. Her passion for the arts started from a very young age, and she engaged in a variety of performing and visual arts programs growing up. This passion for the arts peaked when she got old enough to start volunteering with the same organizations she attended as a child. She is an active member of the Fresno art community, frequently attending and showing work at ArtHop, as well as creating a piece that raised $650 for arts scholarships. Emilie hopes to continue to support the Fresno art community throughout high school, and plans on attending an art university to study animation.

Congratulations to all these stellar individuals.

The awards are given to individuals, organizations and business that have offered significant contributions toward the enrichment of life in the Fresno Community through excellence in the arts. Tickets for the event are for $20 and available through or by calling FAC at (559) 237-9734.


Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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