Austin’s Big Medium Announces $15,000 Tito’s Prize Open Call

by Christopher Blay February 22, 2021
Tito's Prize 2021

Tito’s Prize 2021.

Artists who live within a 17-mile radius of Austin and work in any artistic media are eligible to apply for the Tito’s Prize. The application period begins Monday, February 22 and continues through March 22. The $15,000 artist award, facilitated by Austin’s non-profit Big Medium, is funded by a gift from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and the selected artist will also receive a solo exhibition during the fall, 2021 in Big Medium’s gallery at the Canopy complex in Austin.

The work submitted to the Tito’s Prize Open Call is open-ended and need not relate to Big Medium or the Tito’s Handmade Vodka brand, nor is it required to adhere to thematic, aesthetic, or conceptual constraints. Additionally, Big Medium states that the winning work will not be used on the label or any other Tito’s Handmade Vodka packaging.

The curators for the prize will review applicants on the strength of work, the artist’s background, and with an exhibition at Big Medium in mind. They will also strongly consider artists for whom this award would help grow their artistic career and support their life in Austin.

Coka Trevino, Tito's Prize 2021 Curatorial Panelist

Coka Trevino, Tito’s Prize 2021 Curatorial Panelist.

First announced in 2016 and implemented the following year, the Tito’s Prize has previously been awarded to Zack Ingram (2017) Steve Parker (2018) and Betelhem Makonnen (2019-2020).

“Big Medium is thrilled to have the Tito’s Prize this year in support of an Austin Artist that would get $15,000 and an exhibition at our gallery,” says Coka Treviño, Curator and Director of Programming at Big Medium. “We’re also happy that for this edition the submission fee is optional, [as] we want to encourage artists to apply and show us what they’ve created during these strange and challenging times while taking advantage of amazing curators reviewing their work, regardless of finances.”

Treviño continues, “Betelhem Makonnen did such an fantastic job with an incredibly timely exhibition last year, [and] we can’t wait to see what the 2021 artist has in store for the arts community in Austin!”

Lise Ragbir, Tito's Prize 2021 Curatorial Panelist

Lise Ragbir, Tito’s Prize 2021 Curatorial Panelist.


Christopher Blay, Tito's Prize 2021 Curatorial Panelist

Christopher Blay, Tito’s Prize 2021 Curatorial Panelist.

The 2021 Curatorial Panel who will select the prize winner by unanimous consent includes yours truly, as weak as Lise Ragbir, independent curator and writer, and the above-mentioned Treviño of Big Medium. Last year’s curatorial panelists were Florencia Bazzano, Assistant Curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin); Annette Lawrence, artist and Professor of Studio Art at the University of North Texas (Denton); and Rigoberto Luna, Director and Curator at Presa House Gallery (San Antonio).

To apply to the Tito’s Prize, please go here.

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