In 2000 painter Squeak Carnwath, sculptor Viola Frey, and community advocate Gary Knecht, incorporated the Artists’ Legacy Foundation (ALF). Carnwath and Frey planned to leave their artwork to ALF and all three arranged to leave their estates to the Foundation. With nominal resources, ALF developed purposefully and thoughtfully during its early years. The founders established a vision centered on painters and sculptors coming together to support and encourage fellow artists through awards and grants, promoting and protecting the legacy of deceased “Legacy Artists,” and generally supporting the visual arts, especially where the hand of the artist is a significant factor in making art.

After the death of Viola Frey in 2004, the Foundation received its first bequest. Frey’s estate included her artwork and funds which provided ALF’s initial endowment. This enabled the Foundation to hire an executive director in 2005 and launch the Artist Award program in 2007. The Artist Award program, currently one $25,000 annual award, is designed to encourage professional enrichment, while allowing recipients to spend more creative time in their studios. There are no restrictions on the use of the funds by the recipient.

Through publications, research, and exhibitions, the Foundation serves as a resource for scholars, curators and the general public by deepening their understanding of the work of Legacy Artists. Educational programs help inform artists about estate planning and the choices they need to make about their work throughout their careers.


Julia Schwartz, Director of Administration and Development
Julia Schwartz facilitates the Foundation’s awards and outreach programs. She works with nominators, jurors, and the Foundation’s board to administer the Artist Award. She also manages educational programs including the Legacy Discussion Group, in which specialists give free lectures on organizing artwork, maintaining collections, and making long-term plans for creative legacies. The Foundation acts as a resource for artists interested in learning more about estate planning and archiving. Schwartz received a Bachelor of Science in design at UC Davis, and has worked as a consultant to artists and arts nonprofits since 2005.

Cynthia de Bos, Director of Collections and Archives
Cynthia de Bos manages the artwork and archives of Legacy Artists, including coordination for curators and scholars. De Bos has been managing the archives of Legacy Artist Viola Frey since 2013, and has overseen the cataloging and digitization of Frey’s extensive image assets and paper archives. In her role as Director, she collaborates with galleries and curators to ensure Frey’s work and legacy are shared with a wider audience. De Bos received a Master of Arts in museum studies at San Francisco State University. She has consulted with museums, private collections, and foundations since 2008.


Squeak Carnwath, President
Squeak Carnwath is a painter and an educator who maintains a studio in Oakland, California. From 1998 to 2010 she served as professor in residence in the Department of Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now a professor emeritus there. Carnwath’s accomplishments have been recognized with numerous grants and awards, including a Flintridge Foundation award, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA award. Her work has been the subject of articles in major periodicals, including ARTnews, Artforum, Art in America, and the New York Times. In 2009 Carnwath had a solo exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California. In 2000 Carnwath cofounded the Artists’ Legacy Foundation with her husband, Gary Knecht, and her friend and colleague Viola Frey.

Sandra Shannonhouse, Vice President
Sandra Shannonhouse is a sculptor. She lives and works in Benicia, California. Since the death of her husband, Robert Arneson, in 1992, she has been the administrator of his estate, overseeing the initial inventory and coordinating all aspects of closing the estate. Now Trustee of the Robert Arneson Trust and Director of the Arneson Archive, she continues to promote the preservation of his legacy, conservation of his work, and scheduling of exhibitions. She is active in Benicia politics, particularly in historic preservation. She has served on various boards and was a founding director of the Benicia Education Fund. She joined the Artists’ Legacy Foundation board in 2006.

Gary Knecht, Secretary and Treasurer
Gary Knecht is a retired historic preservation planner and designer. From 1982 to 1999 he worked in the City of Oakland’s historic preservation program. For 15 of those years Knecht coordinated the Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey, an ongoing study of architecturally and historically important buildings and districts. From 1981 to 2005 he owned his own historic preservation consulting firm, Knecht & Knecht. He helped found and served as a director of the Jack London District Association, Oakland Fund for the Arts, South of the Nimitz Improvement Council, Friends of Terra Cotta, and Oakland Heritage Alliance. His public service includes terms on the Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission and the Alameda Historical Advisory Commission. Knecht was a founding member of the Artists’ Legacy Foundation in 2000.

Leah Levy
Leah Levy has been trustee and executive director of The Jay DeFeo Foundation since its inception in 1991. From 1974 to 1983 she owned and directed the Leah Levy Gallery in San Francisco. She served as founding curator of Capp Street Project, an artist-in-residency program begun in 1983 in San Francisco to facilitate site-specific installations. Levy has worked internationally as an advisor on public art projects, has organized exhibitions as an independent art curator, and is the author of several books and numerous catalogue essays. She joined the Artists’ Legacy Foundation board in 2007.

Caroline Black
Caroline Black is the Program Director at the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York. She began her tenure in 1997, and for more than two decades has overseen the Foundation’s robust grant program, which awards grants to visual artists and organizations nationally and internationally. Since its inception in 1985, the Foundation has awarded $78 million to over 4,600 artists in 78 countries and has worked to increase recognition and appreciation of the legacy of Lee Krasner. Prior to joining the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Black managed the David Beitzel Gallery in Soho for three years, championing emerging and mid-career artists. She has also worked within the museum field, serving in the curatorial department at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT, conducting research for future exhibitions. Black graduated with a B.A. and honors in Art History from Connecticut College in New London, CT and completed her M.A. in Art History from Columbia University in New York, NY. She is Board President and co-founder of Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship, a non-profit in Bedford, NY, which provides high quality, innovative, equine-assisted activities and therapies for children and adults with special needs. She joined the Artists’ Legacy Foundation board in 2020.

Daniel Nevers
Daniel Nevers is an artist and educator with more than 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, primarily in the areas of communications, fundraising, and strategic planning. He has held senior administrative positions at educational institutions, social justice nonprofits, and community-based arts organizations, as well as consulting on independent projects for museums and other visual arts groups. Nevers has taught studio art and professional practices for artists at the University of California, Berkeley; California College of the Arts; and Mills College. His work has been exhibited at Headlands Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, Root Division, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Nevers holds an MFA from Mills College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in Catskill, NY with his husband Josh.

images, left to right: Gary Knecht, Charles Fiske, and Viola Frey in Frey’s Oakland home, c. 1981. Photo: © Squeak Carnwath. Portrait of Squeak Carnwath. Photo: Peg Skorpinski. Portrait of Gary Knecht. Portrait of Viola Frey. Photo: Christopher Felver. 2021 © Artists’ Legacy Foundation, Oakland / ARS, New York.