What is the San Diego Art Prize?

By now you’ve probably heard that the Sparks Gallery is partnering with the San Diego Visual Arts Network (SDVAN) for a special show in June: New Contemporaries VI.

Our show is centered around the San Diego Art Prize, which is an annual award given to two or three “established” artists each year by SDVAN. These established artists pair themselves with “emerging” artists who also receive a prize in their category, and go on to be shown in several venues in San Diego with the established artists (such as ART SD Contemporary Art Fair, and the Athenaeum), and a cash award is given to each. The established artists have already been chosen this year.

The definition for “established” artist is loosely defined by the nominating committee as an artist who has been shown at the museum level and is a prominent contributor to art in San Diego, whereas the definition for “emerging” is less about how long the artist has been creating work, but more about emerging “into the light” and being honored for their craft.

This year the “established” artist winners of the New Contemporaries VI SD Art Prize are:


James Hubbell, whose architecture has been embodied in homes, schools, gardens, pavilions, nature centers, monasteries, museums, and peace parks around the world. His is the founder of the Ilan-Lael Foundation.


Debby and Larry Kline, a husband & wife collaborative team, whose works have been featured in many solo exhibitions, including Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (San Francisco), California Center for the Arts Museum, La Casa del Tunel Art Center (Tijuana), Southwestern College Art Gallery, Mesa College Art Gallery and Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.

The Sparks Gallery will be hosting the artist nominees for the emerging category of New Contemporaries VI this year. Each of these artists were nominated by a prominent art community member in San Diego and we are honored to show their work as a representation of their talent and craftsmanship in San Diego. They are:

  • Jennifer Anderson, nominated by Arline Fisch, Artist
  • Irene de Watteville, nominated by Jeffrey Laudenslager, Artist
  • James Enos, nominated by Ann Berchtold, Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair
  • Brennan Hubbell, nominated by James Hubbell, Artist
  • Michelle Kurtis Cole, nominated by Patricia Frischer, SDVAN
  • Sonia López-Chávez, nominated by Sonya Sparks, Sparks Gallery
  • Franco Mendez Calvillo, nominated by Debra Poteet, Collector, SD Art Prize Committee
  • Marie Najera, nominated by Deanne Sabeck, Artist
  • Timothy Earl Neill, nominated by Catherine Gleason, Associate Director, SDSU Downtown Gallery
  • Griselda Rosas, nominated by Vincent Robles , Artist
  • Ilanit Shalev, nominated by Betsy Lane, Betsy Lane Art
  • Anna Stump, nominated by Erika Torri, Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

James Hubbell and the Klines will each be selecting one of the above (or may even select another artist in the community) to receive the award for the emerging category. We look forward to being a part of this prestigious event this year.

For questions regarding the SD Art Prize, please contact Patricia Frischer at info@SDVisualArts.net.