San Antonio Ethnic Art Society Grant Open to African American Women Artists

by Christopher Blay June 7, 2021
SAEAS Abaraka Award

SAEAS Abaraka Award.

San Antonio Ethnic Art Society (SAEAS), a non-profit organization that supports students and artists in San Antonio since its founding in 1983, has announced an open call for its 2021 Abaraka Award. The biannual prize is open nationally to African-American women visual artists, curators, conservators, and art historians. The goal of the award is positively impact women’s professional careers. Deadline to apply is June 30, 2021.

Dallas Texas Artist Lauren Woods

Lauren woods, winner of the 2017 Abaraka Award. Photo by Monica Nouwens. Courtesy the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach.

Since 2017, the Abaraka Award, in collaboration with SAEAS partners and art collectors Aissatou Sidime-Blanton and Stewart Blanton, awards up to $3,000 to early-to-mid-career applicants. “Past recipients of the the Award includes inaugural awardee lauren woods for (Kind of ) Bluebonnets (2017), and  Sharbreon Plummer’s doctoral research into fiber arts as both a fine art and a community-building practice among African American women (2019). Past finalists have included Tammie Rubin in Austin; Sanah Brown of New York City and currently in the Fort Worth area; Chesley Antoinette Williams in Dallas, and Irene Reece of Houston and currently in Paris.”

Dr. Sharbreon Plummer, 2019 winner of the SAEAS Abaraka Award

Dr. Sharbreon Plummer, 2019 winner of the SAEAS Abaraka Award

Looking to art professionals and artist Vicki Meek, and Houston curator and art historian Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, among others, the Blantons have expanded their collection to include works by Deborah Roberts, Yvette Watson, Marjorie Williams-Smith and others.

Applicants to the SAEAS Abaraka Award must be African American women who are U.S. citizens.

Guidelines include:

For artists: At least five years of experience (with thee projects completed), and who has not had artwork shown in a solo museum exhibit. For arts professionals: Applicants must work in arts education, curation, history or conservation.

To apply, please do so here no later than June 30, 2021.


In the summer of 1983, Johnnye Yates and John Coleman discussed the possibility of forming an art organization. This discussion lead to famed collectors Aaronetta and Dr. Joseph Pierce, Dr. Gary Houston, F.L. “Doc” Spellman, Johnnye Yates and John Coleman incorporating the Southwest Ethnic Arts Society. The primary goal of the society was to increase the awareness and understanding of visual art of African-American ancestry. In the early 1990s, the society began allowing high school students to display their art at the Society’s annual exhibits. The Society held its first Art Banquet and Awards Presentation on October 15, 1994. In February 2001, SAEAS was recognized at the San Antonio Museum of Art when former Mayor Lila Cockrell and Aaronetta Pierce exhibited art from their private collections. In the fall of that same year, members began teaching art after school to elementary school students in the San Antonio Independent School system, in conjunction with the Carver Cultural Center’s 21st Century Program.

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