When Patricia Frischer arrived in San Diego from the United Kingdom, she noticed a hole in the local arts scene: There wasn’t a recognition of artists similar to England’s Turner Prize, a highly esteemed award given to British artists to celebrate developments in contemporary art.
So Frischer, the coordinator of the San Diego Visual Arts Network, teamed up with another local art leader, Ann Berchtold, and launched the Art Prize in 2006.
Each year, the prize goes to two established artists, who then select an emerging or less-known artist to work with for a series of shows over the next year. The established artists receive $2,000 each, and the emerging artists get $500.
This year’s established artists — sculptor Jay S. Johnson and Ruben Ortiz-Torres, who also teaches art at UCSD — were announced last month. The emerging artists will be named next month.
There’s usually quite a buzz about the prize, but I wanted to find out whether that buzz turned into anything for past years’ chosen artists. For the ones I talked to, the benefit seems to be in getting their name out there, and getting to work closely with other artists.
And there’s a bit of a motivating factor, too.