Philosophy

“I am absolutely blown away by the work that John Sheridan does with the Sheridan Prize for Art. It is just these kinds of initiatives, focused on local artists; and absolutely inclusive of all, including those presently incarcerated and others. The Sheridan Prize for Art inspires us all to think about the difference we can each make in the world.”

— James G. Leventhal, Executive Director, ICA San Jose

“When I heard about The Sheridan Prize for Art I had no idea what it was about.  But when I looked at this wonderful new online space for art that was not only aiming to be an annual event, that it invited all Bay Area artists at low or no cost, that it also especially encouraged marginalized artists and offered an unprecedented number of prizes as well as original essays for winning works of art, I was impressed and felt I had to participate and support this progressive, historic and grassroots initiative.”

— Tony Natsoulas, Artist/Teacher/Curator and Art Consultant

Much of the best art of the Bay Area goes unacknowledged, unknown, and is virtually a secret except for the few.

The first ever regional art prize in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Sheridan Prize for Art has been created to be an annual online opportunity for ALL visual artists living, working, studying art or who created their art in the Bay Area to showcase their work and possibly win a prize or honorable mention in the area of art they work within.

The Sheridan Prize for Art also wishes to promote and celebrate groups of artists who have traditionally been left out of many competitions and venues in order to give you, the artist, choices among which kind of art or among which group of artists you wish to show your art.

First held in 2021, this historic series of art prizes for 2023 is the very first prize to invite ALL artists together to begin to raise the profile of living artists in the Bay Area and to create an ongoing platform to show some of the best and experimental art the region has to offer – regardless of an artist’s reputation, history, sales or resume.

The art shown in this series of art prizes will be chosen from 12 categories or groups for Awards and Honorable Mentions. There will be 10 completely separate categories of art, each judged by an independent juror who is themself a working artist. Plus 2 of the 12 awards will be voted on by your fellow artists or by the public after the Prize for Art closes after November 1. Come to this website often and view the many excellent works of art that Bay Area artists have entered. Each day will be different as more artists upload their work.

An important and progressive innovation is that while most competitions offer 3 to 5 cash prizes, the Sheridan Prize for Art will offer a total of 73 Winning Awards and Honorable Mentions which will be awarded and announced after November 21, 2022, totaling $12,000 or more. The 12 winning Awards will each also have an excellent short essay written about their work by the former art critic of the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper, the critic Harry Roche, of Berkeley, CA, by John Rapko or by John Sheridan. The essays are a way to address the shameful and almost total lack of art press in the Bay Area.

For too long cultural neglect and the high cost of living in the Bay Area has forced artists to stop working or to leave. It has forced the closure of many art galleries, art colleges and alternative spaces. Corporate media no longer cover the arts except sporadically.

I hope by creating this Prize for Art with its focus on the larger Bay Area, by its many categories of art and artist, by its written essays and its almost unprecedented number of awards to begin to treat living artists as the great human resource that we in fact are and by acknowledging, honoring and celebrating the art of the Bay Area to allow us to take our rightful place in the culture of our time and our place.

If you read this page and you have any love for art, support this Prize for Art by donating any amount you may be able. Your tax deductible donation will be gratefully acknowledged, your name will be placed on the Wall of Fame and you will be helping to pioneer and establish a new structure, a stage that has never been created before, an annual cultural edifice and opportunities that will support and grow arts culture now and in the future. Be a integral part of it. Show that the Bay Area can be a great place for the arts. Be an art pioneer!