SVCREATES recognizes the region’s finest artists who have demonstrated a commitment to developing their art forms and to enriching our community with exhibitions, performances, presentations, and service. The SVArts Award Program, including the SVLaureates, awards unrestricted cash prizes to support artists while they pursue their creative work.

The purpose of the SVArts Award Program is to:

  • Recognize artistic excellence and impact of our local artists
  • Provide monetary support to encourage continuing development of the artist’s work
  • Spotlight the important role individual artists play in contributing to a vibrant and creative community

Awards and Categories

One $5,000 prize is awarded in each of seven categories. Artist may apply to one category only.

SVLaureate (five awards)

Laureates are typically mid-late career artists who have made significant advances in their work and demonstrate leadership in their fields. Award categories are as follows:

    1. On The Wall Laureate

    Art that is affixed to, hung on, or projected on a wall or flat panel/screen (e.g. drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, 2-dimensional mixed media, photography, film/video/animation, etc).

    2. Off The Wall Laureate

    Freestanding or suspended art that can be viewed from all angles (e.g. sculpture of all media, installation, etc).

    3. On Stage Laureate

    Art that is performed by the artist for an audience, on a formal or informal stage (e.g. dance, acting, spoken word, instrumental/vocal performance, conducting, etc).

    4. Back Stage Laureate

    Art that is created or developed by the artist offstage, backstage, or pre-performance (i.e. choreography, stage direction, stage/set/costume design).

    5. On the Page Laureate

    All written literary art forms and music composition. NOTE: We are not accepting applications in this category this year. The 2019 inaugural On the Page Laureate will be selected by a community panel.

Content Emerging Artist Award

Art that is created or developed by early career artists in all genres.

Emerging Artists are defined as:
  • Having some evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment
  • Not yet recognized as established artists by other artists, curators, producers, critics, and arts administrators
  • Rigorous in their approach to creation and production
  • Having a developing voice that reveals significant potential
  • Taking risks and embracing challenges
Emerging Artist applicants only: submit one letter of recommendation from an arts professional who knows your work well. It is the applicant’s responsibility to upload the letter.

Letters should be no more than one-page, signed by the recommender and address the following questions:
  • What is your relationship to the artist? How do you know his/her work?
  • In what way is the artist an asset to the arts community in Santa Clara County?
  • Why should this artist be recognized as the 2019 Emerging Artist Awardee

SVNexus Award

Recognizes artists that work at the intersection of art and technology. Artistic practice that may be conceptual or interdisciplinary, and crosses boundaries between art, science and technology. Not media specific.

Note: This program does not include architecture, landscaping, industrial/graphic/computer systems design, journalism/photojournalism, or other commercial activities.

Awards will be presented at a public SVArts celebration in June 2019. In addition, all awardees will be featured in the June/July issue of Content Magazine.


Applicant MUST:
  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time of the application deadline.
  • Spend at least ten hours a week on, and derive income from, the practice/creation of art.
  • Have exhibited, performed, presented, and/or published artistic work in a public context within the last three years.
  • Be the principal creator/performer or the sole author of work(s) submitted.
  • Be a resident of Santa Clara County or one of several bordering counties (Alameda, San Mateo, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties) for at least one year prior to the application deadline, AND can demonstrate through professional history that artistic activity has had significant impact on residents of Santa Clara County.
Applicant MUST NOT:
  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate student in a degree program of any kind.
  • Be enrolled as a graduate student in a program related to the specific discipline of this application.Exception: Emerging Artist applicants.
  • Be a prior recipient of an Artist Fellowship or Laureate from SVCREATES or Arts Council Silicon Valley.
  • Be a current or former employee or board member of SVCREATES, Arts Council Silicon Valley, or 1stACT Silicon Valley.

Review Criteria

SVArts Award applications are reviewed by independent review panels, comprised of distinguished professional artists, presenters, and critics representing a spectrum of disciplines. Awardees will be selected on a competitive basis.

Each application is evaluated according to the following set of criteria:
  • Artistic Quality – artistic quality and originality of work (based on work samples and discussion of artistic practice).
  • Community Impact – artist’s impact in Santa Clara County. Impact may be demonstrated through regional engagement such as, presentation of works, teaching, public readings and/or performances, volunteering, mentoring, advocacy (based on professional resume and discussion of artistic practice).
  • Professional Development – record of artist’s professional activities and achievements. Continuity and exploration of the art form by the applicant (based on professional resume and discussion of artistic practice).

How to Apply

Applications for the 2019 SVArts Award Program are now closed. Applications for the 2020 SVArts Award Program will open in fall 2019.

Join us!

Please join us to celebrate our 2019 SVArts Awardees on Thursday, June 27 at Forager in downtown San Jose. Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.