SVCREATES recognizes the region’s finest artists who have demonstrated a commitment to developing their art forms and to enriching the greater Santa Clara County region with exhibitions, performances, presentations, and service. The SVArts Award Program, including the SVLaureates and the Content Emerging Artist Award, awards unrestricted cash prizes to support artists while they pursue their creative work.

The purpose of the SVArts Award Program is to:

  • Recognize the artistic vibrancy and impact of our local artists
  • Provide monetary support to encourage continuing development of the artist’s work
  • Spotlight the important role individual artists play in contributing to a vital and creative community

Awards and Categories

The 2023 SVArts Program will award up to three Content Emerging Artist Awards of $5,000 each. Awards will be presented at a public celebration in May 2023. All awardees will be featured in the May 2023 issue of Content Magazine.

Content Emerging Artist Award recognizes early career artists in all genres for artistic achievement and commitment to a path toward becoming a professional artist.

Genres include:

Visual Arts: including two and three-dimensional work that is created in the studio or in community spaces; including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture in all media, photography, video, mixed/multiple media, installation, new or alternative media and social practice art.

Performing Arts: including art that is presented for an audience on a formal or informal stage. Eligible applicants include artists creating work that is developed offstage, backstage, or pre-performance (choreographers, composers, stage directors, stage/set/costume designers). Or performers themselves (dancers, actors, spoken word artists, instrumental/vocal musicians).

Literary Arts: all written literary art forms, including poetry, prose, stage or screenplay.

Note: This program does not include architecture, landscaping, industrial/graphic/computer systems design, journalism/photojournalism, or other commercial activities.

An Emerging Artist is defined as:

  • An artist in the early stages of their career (not defined by age)
  • Demonstrating a commitment to their practice, working intentionally over the last 3-5 years to develop and promote a career as a professional artist
  • Having some evidence of professional achievement through exhibitions or performances in public settings
  • Being rigorous in their approach to creation and production
  • Having developed an original body of work with a clear identity
  • Taking risks and embracing challenges


Applicant must:

  • Be an artist in their 2nd-10th year of creative practice, post-student status (if applicable), with some track record of creating and presenting full work (not beginning artists), and artists who are NOT at a point in their careers where they receive consistent development and production opportunities and significant recognition, awards, and acclaim (not mid-career or established artists).
  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time of the application deadline.
  • Spend at least five-ten hours a week on and may derive income from the practice/creation of art.
  • Have exhibited, performed, presented and/or published artistic work in a public context within the last three years.
  • Be the principal creator/performer or the sole author of work(s) submitted.
  • Be a resident of Santa Clara County or one of several bordering counties (Alameda, San Mateo, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties) for at least one year prior to the application deadline, AND can demonstrate through professional history that artistic activity has had an impact on residents of Santa Clara County.

Applicant must not:

  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate student.
  • Be a prior recipient of an Artist Fellowship or Laureate from SVCREATES or Arts Council Silicon Valley.
  • Be a current employee or board member of SVCREATES or have been employed by or served on the board of SVCREATES/Arts Council Silicon Valley/1stACT Silicon Valley within the past 10 years.

Review Criteria

SVArts Award applications are reviewed by independent review panels, composed of distinguished professional artists and community arts leaders, representing a spectrum of disciplines. Awardees will be selected on a competitive basis, based on artistic merit, artistic development and audience/community impact.

How to Apply

All application materials will be submitted through SVCREATES online application portalIf submitting your application online creates an obstacle for you, please contact Alyssa Erickson to make other arrangements (see contact info below).

To preview the application in advance, you may review a downloadable copy of the application in the sidebar to the right.

Application requirements include: narrative questions, links to work samples hosted online, resume, and a letter of recommendation.

Letter of Recommendation: submit one letter of recommendation from someone who works in the arts and knows your work well. It is the applicant’s responsibility to upload the letter. Letters should be no more than one page, signed by the recommender and address the following questions:

  • What is your relationship to the artist? How do you know their work?
  • In what way is the artist an asset to the arts community in Santa Clara County?
  • Why should this artist be recognized as a 2023 Emerging Artist Awardee?


Email your questions to staff or contact us to schedule a phone call. Please contact: Alyssa Erickson, Program Manager | 408-998-2787 ext. 204

Applications are currently closed for the 2023 Emerging Artist Award

Attend the Applicant Information Session on November 2, 2022 from 6:00-7:00 pm

Preview the Application

View these resources from a 2020 applicant workshop:
- Presentation 1: Jarvis Subia, Narrative Questions – Tips and Strategies for Writing for Grant Applications
- Presentation 2: Pilar Agüero-Esparza, Artist Work Samples – Tips for Selecting and Presenting Work Samples

Key Dates:
Application Opens: October 21, 2022
Applicant Information Session: November 2, 2022
Application Deadline: December 9, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Award Notifications: February 2023

Learn More: 
For more information about the SVArts Award Program and past Awardees click here.

You may email your question to staff or contact us to schedule a phone call.


Alyssa Erickson, Program Manager
408-998-2787 ext. 204