Individual Artist Awards

The Santo Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of our Individual Artist Awards 2017. We send our sincere gratitude and respect to each artist who took the time and energy to apply for our 9th Anniversary Call for Entry. After diligent review of every portfolio submission by Distinguished Juror, Elyse A. Gonzales, the following exceptional artists have been selected; Three to receive the top honors and $5,000 each, and five artists selected to each receive $1,000. All awards are to be used at the artist’s discretion.

$5,000 Award Winners:  Paul Santoleri, Yuge Zhou, Eileen Murphy

$1,000 Award Winners: Sarah Christianson, Naoko Morisawa, Neil Feather, Erin O'Keefe, Matt Wedel

   Energy III Naoko Morisawa   Handcrafted, Oilstained Wood Mosaics, Acrylic, washi paper 21" x 29" x 0"

Energy III
Naoko Morisawa

Handcrafted, Oilstained Wood Mosaics, Acrylic, washi paper
21" x 29" x 0"

What are the Individual Artist Awards?

Our original mission set out to assist the careers of emerging artists. It was clear that most granting agencies that gave money to artists went first to organizations and designated funds, who then trickled financial awards down to artists. The concept of streamlining grants/stipends directly to artist was unprecedented.

The process began in 2009 by selecting a Distinguished Juror connected to a contemporary museum. This allowed our candidates the rare opportunity to have their work seen first-hand by significant curators and museum directors.

Our Distinguished Jurors select top award winners based solely on the quality of their work. Beyond the opportunity to have their work reviewed by our jurors, the award winners receive substantial monetary stipends. Many of our Distinguished Jurors have further included our candidates in permanent museum collections, solo and group exhibitions.

From 2009-2016, we awarded nearly $200,000 directly to working artists, while also providing additional in kind support and underwritten individual art exhibitions.

Our past Distinguished Jurors include:

  • Paul Ha Executive Director of the List Visual Arts Center at M.I.T.
  • Peter Doreshenko, Director of the Dallas Contemporary
  • Barbara O’Brien, Executive Director of the Kemper Museum, Kansas City
  • Miki Garcia, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum
  • Marilu Knode, Former Director of Laumeier International Sculpture Park
  • Pablo Helguera, Director of Adult Education at Museum of Modern Art NYC, also published author and critically acclaimed visual artist
  • Xandra Eden, Executive Director & Chief Curator of DiverseWorks, Houston, Texas
  • Lisa Melandri Executive Director, The Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis
  • Elyse A. Gonzales, Assistant Director/Curator of Exhibitions, The Art, Design & Architecture Museum at The University of California, Santa Barbara
   A Ray Array",  2012 Sarah Rara

 A Ray Array", 2012
Sarah Rara


Distinguished Juror: Lisa Melandri

Top Award Winners:
Jill Downen
Sarah Rara
Leonard Suryajaya


Archived Past Individual Artist Award Jurors and Winners

  Wishing Tree,  2014 Ma Li

Wishing Tree, 2014
Ma Li


Distinguished Juror: Xandra Eden

Top Award Winners:
Ma Li
Olaniyi Akindiya
Noelle Mason

  Association for Creative Zoology Kiosks , 2010 Beauvais Lyons

Association for Creative Zoology Kiosks, 2010
Beauvais Lyons


Distinguished Juror:
Pablo Helguera

Top Award Winners:
Shimon Attie
Paco Cao
Beauvais Lyons