The Arts Fund of Santa Barbara is accepting applications for its 22nd annual Individual Artist Awards competition to highlight the community’s artistic talent.

Contestants will compete for a prize of $2,000 in each of the competition’s three categories: printmaking, 2D figurative works and solo vocalist. Applications are due June 11 and participants must be over 18 years of age and have lived in Santa Barbara County since August 1, 2010. Participants also must have never won the award before.

According to contest judge Pamela Kendall Schiffer, a Santa Barbara landscape painter and previous IAA participant, the competition recognizes candidates’ endeavors and encourages further artistic contributions.

“The award serves to give an artist a positive ‘thumbs-up’ for their body of work,” Schiffer said. “In 1993, I received an honorable mention from IAA in the ‘works on paper’ category. The award reaffirmed what I was doing with my work and gave me an extra boost to keep at it with my art.”

A jury of artists selects the winners in each category and awards honorable mentions to other distinguished candidates. This year’s jurors include Schiffer, John Nava, Ruth Price, Melanie Lancon, Nicholas Price and Molly Concannon. The Arts Fund will host an award ceremony on Sept. 10 for all IAA winners and honorable mention recipients.

Arts Fund Executive Director Nina L. Dunbar said the award is given based on an applicant’s comprehensive repertoire in his or her field.

“It is not for specific artwork but an award for an artist who is doing significant and important work in any level in his or her career,” Dunbar said. “It is both for emerging and mid-career artists.”

The IAA is financed through private donations and has awarded a total of over $160,000 to 129 category winners over the length of the program. In addition to cash prizes, winners in the visual arts categories will have their pieces exhibited at the Arts Funds Gallery and the winner in the solo vocal category will give a public performance in Santa Barbara.

According to Arts Fund Program Director Catherine Gee, the application process exposes artists to distinguished members of the artistic community.

“Just the act of applying is good for you in your career,” Gee said. “We try to select jurors who are from outside this area … or people from inside the county who can help you.”

The Arts Fund hosted “The Poet and Artist in a Cabinet of Curiosities” exhibition this past Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The free event featured previous IAA recipient Dug Uyesaka and former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate David Starkey.

Applications for the Individual Artist Award are available at Additional information about the event and sponsorship opportunities is available at (805) 965-7321.