2019 San Diego Art Prize

Celebrating its 13th year, the San Diego Art Prize is presented by the San Diego Visual Arts Network and dedicated to the idea that the visual arts are a necessary and rewarding ingredient of any world-class city and a building block of the lifestyle of its residents. Conceived to promote and encourage dialogue, reflection and social interaction about San Diego’s artistic and cultural life, this annual award honors artistic expression.

The Art Prize Committee, an independent panel of judges selected from the arts community of museum directors, journalists, curators, educators, and more, submitted nominations for artists who have exhibited outstanding creativity in the last three years. Four finalists were chosen from the nomination list for an exhibit at Art San Diego in October 2019 and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in May of 2020. In May, the winner will be announced.

The Art Prize finalists this year include Alanna Airitam, Griselda Rosas, Kaori Fukuyama, and Melissa Walter. Their exhibition will debut at Art San Diego 2019 before moving on to San Diego’s Athenaeum in May 2020. Keep reading to learn more about each of these talented artists!


Alanna Airitam

Alanna Airitam

Alanna Airitam was born in Queens, New York and now resides in San Diego, California. As a portrait photographer, her work focuses on identity and representation, and proposes an investigation into the concept of wholeness. Her use of chiaroscuro lighting creates a painterly effect that, coupled with her use of symbolism, allows her to explore the duality of light and dark both metaphorically and literally. Her subjects are illuminated in a way that calls for them to be viewed as counter to contemporary stereotypes.

Airitam’s images have been published in a variety of national and international media outlets such as Chicago Tribune, BBC News, VICE!, The Huck, Lenscratch, Range Finder, Feature Shoot, and the San Diego Tribune, among many others. Airitam has exhibited at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, San Diego Art Institute, Art Miami, and Bread & Salt in San Diego, California. An award winning short film From Haarlem to Harlem about Alanna Airitam’s body of work, The Golden Age, has been screened at various film festivals around the United States. https://www.alannaairitam.com


Queen Mary - Airitam

Queen Mary by Alanna Airitam


Griselda Rosas is an artist and educator from the border region who was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, and now lives and works in San Diego. Her artwork falls under the umbrella of Post-Colonial art in the way it addresses issues of identity, ethnicity and gender practices, with installations, sculpture, site-specific curatorial projects, and stitching-paintings decolonizing imagery.

Rosas’ work has been exhibited in national and international venues, including the Florence Biennale, Italy; the Barrett Art Centre, New York; an art residency at the Camac Art Centre-UNESCO program in Marnay, France; Bread & Salt Gallery, San Diego, CA; and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. She was granted a fellowship through the minister of Mexican Culture-FONCA, 2016-2019, where she developed research on the aesthetics of Mexican female traditional clothing, and presented and published her research at the 56th International Congress of Americanists (ICA) Salamanca, Spain 2018.

Griselda Rosas’ work has a strong relationship with poetry and mind wandering, speaks about the ecosystem’s fragility through an implicit construction of historical-imagery-memorabilia. https://www.griseldarosas.com/

Drawings Stitch Collection by Griselda Rosas

Drawings Stitch Collection by Griselda Rosas


Kaori Fukuyama is a multi-disciplinary artist from Japan, who lives and works in San Diego.  She creates paintings, drawings, sculptures, and site-specific installations that explore the interactions of color, light and shadow. Her subtle and delicately balanced work plays with our visual perception, often inviting us to slow down and be present in the moment.

Kaori Fukuyama was an artist in residence at Bread & Salt, San Diego, in 2018, and recently completed a large-scale public art installation in North Park, San Diego. Her work is a part of private collections internationally and has been exhibited at multiple institutions, including Oceanside Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Diego Art Institute, The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, and William D. Cannon Art Gallery.  Kaori Fukuyama enjoys teaching at The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library and continues to expand her artistic boundaries. https://www.kaorifukuyama.com

Fukuyama North Park Installation

Fukuyama North Park Installation


Melissa Walter

Melissa Walter is best known for her optically stimulating sculptures of twisting paper and drawings of detailed geometric patterns. She visually explores concepts concerning astronomy and astrophysical theories. Walter has worked as a graphic designer and science illustrator for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and as a team member of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her experience has inspired her to visually articulate wonders of the universe, such as black holes, supernovas, neutron stars, dark matter and, more recently, dark energy.

Walter has completed artist in residence programs at 1805 Gallery and Bread & Salt in San Diego, and participated in exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center, Quint Gallery, the San Diego Art Institute, Torrance Art Museum, and Helmuth Projects. She also had an exhibition at the San Diego International Airport  titled Intergalactic Dreaming in 2017. Melissa Walter received her BFA, cum laude from the University of Rhode Island in 1998. http://www.melissawalterart.com/

Star Custer 003 - Melissa Walter

Star Custer 003 – Melissa Walter

Congratulations to these incredible artists for being finalists!

Recent Posts
Contact Us

Have specific questions about Art San Diego? We're here to help! Send us an email and we'll get back to you. (Please do not send solicitations through this form. All solicitation email addresses will be added to our spam list. Thank you for your understanding.)

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt