The Foundation Board of Directors

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Julia H. Leon

Julia is co-founder and director of the JHVCF.  She is also the proud daughter of the late Joe Hanks Van Cleave.

After spending over 30 years in the medical industry and with seven years of volunteer work at Rady's Children's Hospital, Julia now focuses her time pursuing her passions of family, traveling with her husband, Steven, and her own artwork.

She is the mother of three wonderful daughters and six amazing grandchildren and resides in Austin, Texas.

“As a little girl, I have many wonderful memories of my mother painting in her studio in our home on Elden Avenue in Whittier. She had a very large stack of record albums of her favorite artists that she would play on the record player. Mother would paint to Andy Williams’ “Moon River”, Harry Belafonte’s “Matilda” and even Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”.  Her toes would be tapping to the beat and she would lightly sway to the rhythm of the music and she placed the stokes on the canvas”

“Mother was bigger than life to me with all her many talents.  She could paint decoupage, design jewelry, sew anything and everything, needle point pillows, was a fantastic cook and tap dancer. My mother was a very warm, caring and loving woman. Not only was she beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well.  She could do it all and did!”

The JHVCF will carry on her legacy and the joy she felt while painting and helping other artists to pursue their artistic dreams.

Steven E. Leon

Steven is co-founder and director of the JHVCF.  He is also the proud son-in-law of the late Joe Hanks Van Cleave.

After spending nearly 30 years in the building materials industry, Steven now focuses his time on the family’s business interests, and enjoys family, golf and travel with his wife Julia.

He is the father of three amazing daughters and six wonderful grandchildren and resides in Austin, Texas.

“It is an honor to be a part of keeping Joe’s memory alive through her works of art, helping others through her foundation and sharing this journey with the rest of the family.”

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Jonathan Van Cleave

Jon is the son of Joe Hanks Van Cleave and a businessman in Midland, Texas. He is married to Rima Van Cleave and he has two sons, Gedas and Mark. Jon and Rima live in Midland, Texas, and travel to California often for business. Born in Washington, DC, in 1945, he spent time as a young boy on the family ranches in west Texas, then in southern California after about 10 years of age. Jon is the vice-president, secretary and general counsel to the JHVCF.

Professional Background:    Graduated in English from UCLA, 1969. Jon graduated from Western State University of Law in 1979 with honors, Executive Editor of the Law Review. Partner, Dimitruk and Van Cleave, Lawyers, located in Irvine CA since 1985, specializing in corporate law counseling and litigation, estate planning, and non-profit corporation formation and counseling.

Sports:   1980 US Olympic Team – Sprint Kayak. Three-time World Champion Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Race from Molokai to Oahu. Current sport – Rodeo event of Team Roping.

“Many of my most enjoyable times as a young boy and teenager were going with my mother to art galleries and art shows to help her hang her paintings and talk with the other artists. During that time I always thought her work was marvelous in comparison to her contemporaries, then later in life I assumed that was mostly because she was my mom. Now with the formation of the JHVCF we have revisited and archived all her work that the Foundation has located, and I am pleased to discover her work was, and has always been, much better than I remembered or understood. Her greatest quality was an appreciation for all forms of art, and wanted to know the artists and know where their inspiration originated.”

The Foundation Staff

Kirsten Hermstad

Kirsten is the Foundation collection manager and registrar. She is developing a complete catalogue raisonné of works by Joe Hanks Van Cleave.

She is the founder of CURATE Fine Art Management. CURATE specializes in collection management for private and corporate collectors, appraisal services, collection inventory and document management, catalogue raissoné, and artist legacy projects.