Credit: Minnesota Street Project
Credit: Minnesota Street Project
Credit: Minnesota Street Project
Credit: Minnesota Street Project
Credit: Minnesota Street Project

Past Awardees

Indira Allegra - 2018-2019

Indira Allegra is a performance artist, sculptor and writer. She uses text/ile production to shuttle between social intervention, memorial and an obsession with unseen forces like memory, haunting and emotions born from trauma. Allegra conceives of weaving as the crossing of any two forces held under tension and is curious to explore how this ancient technology can offer contemporary insights into human patterns. She works with tension as creative material in physical, social, and emotional forms.

Allegra has been honored with the Mike Kelley Artist Project Grant, Jackson Literary Award, Lambda Literary Fellowship, and Windgate Craft Fellowship. Her work has been featured on BBC Radio 4 and Surface Design Magazine. Her commissions include works for SFMOMA, de Young Museum, The Wattis Institute, City of Oakland, and SFJAZZ Poetry Festival. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at The Arts Incubator in Chicago, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Center for Craft Creativity and Design, Catharine Clark Gallery, Weinberg/Newton and The Alice Gallery among others. She has screened works at the Seattle Art Museum, MIX NYC, Bologna Lesbian Film Festival and Outfest Fusion.

Indira’s writing has been widely anthologized, and she has contributed works to Foglifter Magazine, Cream City Review, HYSTERIA Magazine, make/shift Magazineand Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought, among others. She has been a visiting artist at Southern Denmark University and is a former Shelly Osborne visiting artist at UC Berkeley and Art + Process + Ideas Visiting Artist at Mills College.

2018-2019 Finalists

Leonie Guyer
Amy Ho
Sophie Ramos
May Wilson


Kevin Chen (Artist, Curator, Administrator, Educator)
Apsara DiQuinzio (Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Phyllis C. Wattis |MATRIX Curator, BAMPFA)
Katrina Traywick (Director/Owner Traywick Contemporary)

Marcela Pardo Ariza - 2017-2018

Marcela Pardo Ariza explores the relationship of wry humor, queerness and representation through color sets and prop-like objects. Her photographs incorporate quotidian objects in seemingly absurd ways, creating tableaux that mix recognizable elements with magical realism. Pardo Ariza is interested in the action of looking within the theatricality of “the set,” and her visually provoking portraits seek to explore metaphors regarding race and gender.

Pardo Ariza received her MFA in Photography from San Francisco Art Institute in 2016, following undergraduate studies at Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. She is from Bogotá, Colombia and has worked as a Curatorial Assistant at the Clocktower Gallery (Manhattan, NY), a co-Director at the Swell Gallery (San Francisco, CA) and Co-Founder/Director of NoRoof Gallery (San Francisco, CA. Pardo has curated shows at Cranium Corporation (San Francisco, CA); Residence/SF (San Francisco, CA); and CTRL+SHFT collective (Oakland, CA). Her photographic work has been shown at Glasshouse (Brooklyn, NY); SOMArts (San Francisco, CA), Embark Gallery (San Francisco, CA), Zoo Labs, guest curated by Et al. (San Francisco, CA); and Root Division (San Francisco, CA).

2017-2018 Finalists

Indira Allegra
Sofía Córdova
Whitney Lynn
Minoosh Zomorodinia


Hesse McGraw (San Francisco Art Institute)
Lava Thomas (Artist)
Tanya Zimbardo (SFMOMA)

Sandra Ono - 2016-2017

Sandra Ono’s sculptural work is informed by biology and physiology. Her choice of materials and forms arise from interests in the consequences of what we consume, and inversely, what consumes us.  She frequently employs synthetic and ubiquitous, utilitarian products such as plastic bags, re-contextualizing these materials to create non-functioning, organic and corporeal forms which examine experiences of the human body, granting dimension to internal states.

Sandra Ono received her MFA from Mills College, following undergraduate studies at UC Davis and Imperial College, London.   She has shown her work in exhibitions locally and nationally at venues such as Southern Exposure, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, Incline Gallery, Electric Works, Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Transmitter gallery in Brooklyn and in solo shows at Conduit Gallery in Dallas, Texas.   Ono currently serves as visiting faculty lecturer at Mills College and has been awarded artist residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts, University of Texas at Dallas CentralTrak, Kala Art Institute, Southern Exposure and the Vermont Studio Center.

2016-2017 Finalists

Erica Deeman
Sarah Lee
Leah Rosenberg
Kate Short


Catharine Clark (Catharine Clark Gallery)
Hung Liu (Professor Emerita, Mills College)
Stephen Beal (President, California College of the Arts)


This Year's Award

This Year’s Awardee: Ajit Chauhan

Ajit Chauhan lives in the sanctuary city of San Francisco, California. His work has been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London, White Columns NY, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, the Berkeley Art Museum, UC Davis Museum, the Grimm Museum in Berlin, the SONS Museum in Kruishoutem, Belgium, Jack Hanley Gallery, Annarumma Gallery Naples, SVIT Praha and others, recently at the KMAC Museum in Louisville, Kentucky and the Fused Space exhibition Seven Places of the Mind curated by Margaret Tedesco.


Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
Nicki Green
Maria Paz Gajardo Olmedo
Dionne Lee


Kim Anno (Artist and Educator)
Ed Gilbert (Owner/Director Anglim Gilbert Gallery)
Larry Rinder (Director and Chief Curator, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive)