Headlands Center for the Arts

Tournesol Award

The Tournesol Award recognizes one local painter each year, supporting them in taking the first major steps toward establishing a career in the Bay Area. The award gives artists financial and professional support to assist their artistic development in the critical first years after receiving an MFA.

The Tournesol Award is designed to support a full year of artistic work and development. The award provides the chosen artist a $10,000 cash stipend, a private studio, and access to Headlands’ creative community. The award year culminates in a funded final project of the artist’s choice, typically in the form of an exhibition or a publication.

Award Period

  • Application period for 2017–18 program is March 23 to May 5, 2017. Program period for 2016–17 is July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018.

Program Goals

  • To support promising Bay Area based painters in establishing a professional career in the Bay Area
  • To help ensure that the Bay Area is a vibrant center for emerging artists by providing local opportunities for their growth and success
  • To create a thriving cultural center for Bay Area artists to participate in a national and international artist community

Program Details

  • Fully sponsored, year-long residency with a $10,000 stipend
  • Final project, typically in the form of an exhibition or a publication, at the conclusion of the 12-month period
  • 850-sq.-foot studio
  • Five chef-prepared meals per week
  • Facilities access:
    – Basic woodshop
    – Audio/video equipment
    – Artists’ library with computers, scanner, and printer
  • Wi-Fi in studio and designated spaces
  • Engagement with Headlands Artist community
  • Participation in monthly “Show & Tell” nights
  • Participation in three seasonal Open Houses
  • Access to Headlands Public Events
  • Field trips to Bay Area museums, galleries, and cultural venues
  • Become part of Headlands Alumni Network 


  • Artists who work primarily with painting
  • Currently resides in the Bay Area
  • Has graduated from an accredited MFA program within the past five years; graduation years 2012–2017 are eligible (note: MFA need not be from a San Francisco Bay Area institution)
  • Candidates may not be enrolled in school during the term of the award
  • Alumni of Headlands’ Artists Programs are eligible to apply for Award, with the exception of past recipients of Alumni New Works, Chamberlain, Chiaro, or Tournesol Awards. Former Artists in Residence (AIR) may apply two years after their previous Residency

Selection Criteria

  • Merit of past work
  • Demonstrated commitment to pursuing excellence and innovation in the discipline of painting
  • Readiness to engage with and benefit from the experience at Headlands (see program goals)
  • Economic need will also be considered, secondary to an emphasis on talent and commitment to painting

Selection Process

  • Headlands’ staff reviews to ensure application completion and eligibility
  • Submissions reviewed by a jury of knowledgeable and esteemed artists and arts professionals (particularly those with strong understanding of painting)
  • The jury evaluates each artist’s materials and selects finalists
  • Finalists are invited to present their work in a 20-minute, in-person interview to determine the final award selection

What You Need To Apply

A full application includes the following:

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Letter of interest, outlining your specific interest in working at Headlands and how program participation will affect your practice
  • List of three references and email addresses; please note, we do not want letters of reference
  • Documentation of recent work (see specifications below for guidelines according to discipline)

Submit up to 15 images, or up to 30 minutes of video and/or DVD.
Images must be accompanied by an image list with title, date, size, media, and, where applicable, conceptual intent.