With funding for artists already rarer than a Nicolas Poussin painting, students will now only have one more chance to receive money from the Abrams Art Prize.
The prize, which will be discontinued after this year, offers $500 to one UCSB undergraduate student and $1,200 to a graduate student. The Women’s Center is hosting a free grant-writing workshop today at 4 p.m. to help students apply for the grant.
Rita Ferri, assistant director of the Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara, will lead today’s workshop. Sharon Hoshida, Women’s Center program director, said students must submit a letter of recommendation from a professor, five slides of existing work and a project presentation to a three-judge panel in January in order to be eligible for the grant.
“The goal is to be able to successfully articulate in words what they want to do with the money they receive,” Hoshida said.
Hoshida said Los Angeles resident Paul Abrams established the art prize in 1986 in remembrance of his late wife and artist Melba Abrams. The Abrams family, who took charge of the grants after Paul Abrams passed away in 2002, decided to discontinue the annual prize after this year.
Paul Abrams originally intended for the prize to go to women because his wife believed female artists should be better supported in a male-dominated art world, Hoshida said. However, men became eligible for the prize in 1996 when Californian voters passed Proposition 209, banning government institutions from discriminating or giving preferential treatment to students and employees on the basis of race, gender or nationality.
Hoshida said the prize is open to artists of any medium.
“The art has been all over the map, and it is not limited to just painters,” Hoshida said. “You can be a photographer, dancer, videographer, book artist, sculpture, environmental artist or any other type of creative person.”
Assistant Art professor Laurel Beckman said grants are critical in the art world, and today’s workshop should be an invaluable experience.
“Grants are how we are able to do our work,” Beckman said. “Artists have to concern themselves with costs more than other disciplines, so it is an invaluable tool for students to learn how to put on a proposal.”
Art Studio lecturer Phillip Argent said the workshop and prize offer a great opportunity to students because funding in the art world is so scarce.
“There is very little funding so any experience students can have in writing grants should be taken advantage of,” Argent said.
Approximately 10 graduate students and a dozen undergraduate students apply for the prize each year, Hoshida said. She said established artist Agnes Denes bestowed last year’s grants to the winners. Denes received critical acclaim for her 1982 Manhattan art project, in which she planted two acres of wheat in the urban locale to make bread for the homeless, Hoshida said.