SOUTH COUNTY — Sol Treasures in King City and Ellen Martin of the Greenfield Cultural Arts Center will be honored for their contribution to the arts this Saturday at the 13th Annual Champions of the Arts Gala, presented by the Arts Council for Monterey County.

The Feb. 3 gala will celebrate the local arts community while raising funds to support art programs throughout the region. Each year the Arts Council recognizes a nonprofit organization as well as individuals for Lifetime Achievement, Luminary, Volunteer Leader, Professional, Educator and Philanthropist awards.

Sol Treasures has been selected as the 2018 nonprofit organization champion.

“This is particularly meaningful as Sol Treasures celebrates its 10th anniversary of its founding,” said Executive Director Betsy Oltmann in a news release.

“The award will be celebrated at the Champions Gala on Saturday, Feb. 3. We encourage everyone in the community to celebrate with us,” Oltmann added.

Founded in 2008 by three community members — Sonia Chapa, Barbara Pekema and Bruce Graham — Sol Treasures was formed to fill the community’s need to connect through art. According to the Arts Council, the nonprofit is “an authentic and genuine response to strengthening the community through art and culture, created and supported by its local citizenship and valued funding partners.”

Now, a decade into its existence, Sol Treasures continues to offer programs for people of all ages in the community. The nonprofit presents 14 annual programs, including after-school arts classes for children ages 6 to 18; two children’s theater productions; private or small group instruction in strings, piano and band instruments; community choruses for students and adults; and a SOLO Youth Strings Orchestra.

The Sol Treasures Gallery and Gift Shop, located at 519 Broadway St. in King City, also hosts at least seven different exhibits each year.

Ellen Martin has been selected as the 2018 Luminary champion.

Martin has served as executive director of First Night Monterey since 2005 and helped establish the Greenfield Cultural Arts Center in 2014 through the nonprofit’s outreach program ArtWorks. The Arts Center, located at 215 El Camino Real in Greenfield, provides services to more than 8,500 Spanish-speaking, multigenerational families each year with free public performances and tailored outreach classes and workshops that include music, dance and the visual arts.

“This is a big honor for me as it acknowledges, by my peers and funders, the work that I have been able to do throughout Monterey County, but especially in South County,” Martin said.

Martin also directs the annual Greenfield Harvest Festival and is co-director of the Mi Vida/Mi Pueblo and Arts is the Next Peace projects in Monterey County. She has a bachelor’s degree in creative arts and communication from the University of Illinois.

“Integrating the arts more fully into our lives enriches each of us, and because engaging in the arts brings individuals together, it fosters community,” Martin said. “Every one of us has the ability to create and to imagine a way to make our neighborhood healthier or stronger. And, I believe it is through the arts that this can happen. Just look at the mural on the Greenfield Cultural Arts Center building, for it tells the story of Greenfield with a little of folklore.”

In an announcement about this year’s Champions of the Arts Gala, the Arts Council called Martin “an accomplished arts administrator, creative director and event producer committed to making the arts more accessible to everyone in Monterey County.”

Martin added, “It is hopefully through the programs that I develop, coordinate and produce that inspires others to live a creative life, a life that is open to learning about all of our cultures that make up Monterey County and celebrate the cultures. I hope that I am helping shine the light on all of the cultures of our community to bring the community together in all of our diversity. The arts are the answer!”

Other 2018 award winners include producer and director Walt deFaria for Lifetime Achievement, Ramon Silva Ruelas for Volunteer Leader, Andrew Jackson for Professional, Angelica Muro for Educator and Reg Huston for Philanthropist.

The 13th Annual Champions of the Arts Gala opens with a reception Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa and includes a silent auction of fine art, wine and gifts followed by a gourmet dinner, live auction and awards presentation.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for everyone in Monterey County through the arts,” said Paulette Lynch, executive director of the Arts Council. “Champions of the Arts has become a great way to showcase extraordinary examples. The vision, talent, passion and dedication of our champions inspire us all to get even more involved in our communities through the arts.”

All proceeds from the gala benefit local youth arts education, with support going toward teaching artist residencies in schools and community centers throughout Monterey County.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Previous articleKathleen Gore Thayer
Next articleNew telephone scam aimed at PG&E customers in King City
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here