San Diego Art Prize

San Diego Art Prize

Now in 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.

Until now, the San Diego Art Prize has been awarded to a matching of an established artist with an emerging artists. Beginning in 2019, taking its inspiration from UK’s Turner Prize, the Art Prize will mature into a prize with an emphasis on local artists of excellence, with a cash and exhibition award for each finalist, culminating in a larger award for the winner.

The Art Prize Committee and 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.

2019 San Diego Art Prize Finalists

Alanna Airitam

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.

Alanna Airitam - Queen Mary
Queen Mary | Alanna Airitam

Griselda Rosas

Griselda Rosas
Griselda Rosas

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.

Griselda Rosas - Drawings & Stitch Collection
Griselda Rosas | Drawings & Stitch Collection

Kaori Fukuyama

Kaori Fukuyama
Kaori Fukuyama

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.

Kaori Fukuyama | North Park Installation
Kaori Fukuyama | North Park Installation

Melissa Walter

Melissa Walter
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.

Melissa Walter | Star Cluster - Detail A
Melissa Walter | Star Cluster - Detail A

2018 San Diego Art Prize Recipients

Anne Mudge

Anne Mudge
Anne Mudge

Anne Mudge creates ethereal environments of complicated wire works that looked amazingly fragile but turned out to be as resilient as its creator. Tension wire and physics keep these very organic works afloat. Mudge says there are challenges and, “…magic moments of discovery.”

Anne Mudge | Sphere 2
Sphere 2, Anne Mudge | Photography by Tim Hardy

Erin Dace Behling

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Erin Dace Behling
Erin Dace Behling

Erin Dace Behling shares geometry and repetition of form as elements in her furniture design. Both women in this partnership are creating landscapes because they are arranging biological components into a sort of scenery, but Behling is using a wider variety of materials and her works are functional. She uses very familiar components—but in unfamiliar ways.

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Robert Matheny

Robert Matheny
Robert Matheny

Robert Matheny has played with every medium and combines strong conceptual art ideas with a tangible product which is almost never functional. He is a master trickster with a sense of humor of the cynical variety and the constant surprise of never knowing what he will do next.

Robert Matheny | Untitled Sculpture
Robert Matheny | Untitled Sculpture

Max Robert Daily

Max Robert Daily | Untitled
Max Robert Daily | Untitled

His choice of Max Robert Daily makes so much sense once you know that San Diego based Daily works in visual art and performance, incorporating media ranging from drawing and sculpting, to puppetry and mime. Previously, a student of set design and a resident puppeteer, Daily knows his way around creating with intention.

Max Robert Daily
Max Robert Daily

The 2017 New Contemporaries

The San Diego Art Prize is a cash prize that spotlights established San Diego artists and emerging artists whom they choose to exhibit with and mentor. It’s awarded each season to artists whose outstanding achievements in the field of visual arts merit the recognition.

Now in its 11th year, the San Diego Art Prize, presented by the San Diego Visual Arts Network, awards a cash prize and exhibition opportunities to established and emerging San Diego visual artists. The winners of the 2017 prize are Rizzhel Javier and Alexander Kohnke. In addition to the two winners, four artists who were nominated for the San Diego Art Prize will be featured as the 2017 New Contemporaries at Art San Diego. They include Michelle Montjoy, Cathy Breslaw, Miriam Gabriela Garcia Aguirre, and Rebecca Webb. The exhibition is curated by Patric Stillman, director of the Studio Door in San Diego.

Art San Diego Art Prize Archives

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