Austin Artists: Apply Now to 2023 Tito’s Prize Open Call & Win $15,000

by Jessica Fuentes February 20, 2023

Big Medium, a nonprofit art organization in Austin, has announced the 2023 Tito’s Prize open call. A prize of $15,000, funded by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and a solo exhibition will be awarded to one Austin-based artist.

The Tito’s Prize is open to all artists living and working in Austin, which is defined by Big Medium as “the area within a 17-mile radius from the capitol building, which includes all ten city council districts and other areas surrounding the Austin City limits.” Artists working in any medium and who are at any stage in their career are encouraged to apply.

The selected artist will be chosen by a curatorial panel including Erika Mei Chua Holum, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Assistant Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum; Phillip Townsend, the Curator of Art at Art Galleries at Black Studies (AGBS) at The University of Texas at Austin; and Coka Treviño, Curator and Director of Programming at Big Medium. Learn more about the curators below, via descriptions provided by Big Medium.

Last year’s Tito’s Prize winner was sculptural artist Tammie Rubin. Ms. Rubin’s solo exhibition will debut next month.

A headshot of Tammie Rubin. The artist looks to the side with her head slightly tilted up. She maintains a serious glance and wears a blue and green patterned top and red earrings.

Tammie Rubin. Photo by Whitney Devin, courtesy of the artist.

Submitted work does not need to relate to any specific theme or concept, but should not conflict with the mission of Big Medium. The deadline to apply is April 18, 2023. All artists will be notified in May 2023. Read the full guidelines here, and apply via Big Medium’s Submittable page

2023 Curators

A headshot of Erika Mei Chua Holum.

Erika Mei Chua Holum. Photo courtesy of Big Medium

Erika Mei Chua Holum (she/they) is the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Assistant Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. Her curatorial work and research focus on intimacies and interconnected (hi)stories revealed through artistic practices, south-south relationships, ways of gathering, and archival methods following forms of historical displacements. She has contributed to projects and exhibitions worldwide, such as makibaka! Fifty Years of Filipino-American Youth Activism at Alief Art House (2021), Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020), the Second Edition of the Lagos Biennial in Nigeria (2019), and Obscura Festival of Photography in Malaysia (2018). She has previously held positions at the Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago Public Libraries, Fulbright Malaysia, European Cultural Academy, and 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust. Ms. Holum holds an MA in Museum and Exhibition Studies from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and is completing a Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 2023.

A black and white headshot of Phillip Townsend.

Phillip Townsend. Photo courtesy of Big Medium.

Phillip Townsend is the Curator of Art at Art Galleries at Black Studies (AGBS) at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art + Art History specializing in modern and contemporary art of the African Diaspora, focusing on the politics of identity and representational strategies of BIPOC artists. He received his M.A. in Art History from UT-Austin (2016) and his B.A. in Art History from The University of South Florida (2014).

As a founding member of the Austin-based curatorial collective, Neon Queen Collective, Mr. Townsend co-curated Notes on Sugar: The Work of María Magdalena Campos–Pons (2018) at the Christian Green Gallery and Like the Lonely Traveler: Video Works by María Magdalena Campos–Pons (2018) at the Visual Arts Center. Mr. Townsend also co-curated Charles White: Celebrating the Gordon Gift (2019), an exhibition presented by the Blanton Museum in partnership with African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) and the Art Galleries at Black Studies (AGBS) at The University of Texas at Austin. He contributed several essays for the exhibition catalog, Charles White: Celebrating the Gordon Gift. At AGBS, he recently curated Wura-Natasha Ogunji: earth, body, spirit and Melvin Edwards: WIRE(D) + CHAIN(ED), a major exhibition of work by Melvin Edwards, a Houston native and pioneer in the history of African American art and sculpture.

A headshot of Coka Treviño.

Coka Treviño. Photo courtesy of Big Medium.

Coka Treviño was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, and currently resides in Austin, Texas. She started working at the Museum of Contemporary Arts of Monterrey supporting the Exhibitions department, in 2004; since then, Ms. Treviño has worked for art galleries, museums, and universities and has held every position imaginable in the industry, both in Monterrey and Austin, curating being her main focus. In 2009, she founded The Projecto looking to facilitate cultural exchange with different cities and artistic expressions, hosting international artists and collaborating with different local institutions to enable dialogue and community enrichment. Currently, she’s working as an independent curator for The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s annual Momentum exhibition and as the Curator and Director of Programming at Big Medium.

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