Headlands Center for the Arts

Larry Sultan Photography Award

Presented in partnership with McEvoy Foundation for the Arts and Pier 24 Photography, the Larry Sultan Photography Award honors the unique vision of American photographer Larry Sultan and his unparalleled impact as an artist, educator, and community member by recognizing one exceptional artist in the medium each year. The Awardee will be in residence at Headlands alongside a multi-disciplinary cohort of Artists in Residence, receive a $10,000 cash award, and engage meaningfully in the Bay Area’s photography community. Headlands’ residencies of six to ten weeks include dedicated use of a private studio, chef-prepared meals, and comfortable housing. The Larry Sultan Photography Awardee will become part of the vibrant and critical community of artists and thinkers who have long sustained Sultan’s visionary legacy at Headlands.

This Award represents an expansion of the Larry Sultan Visiting Artists Program, which brings six international artists, writers, and curators to San Francisco each year to offer free public lectures and to work directly with students at CCA. Both offerings are made possible through the generous support of  the Black Dog Private Foundation, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Pier 24 Photography, and Jane & Larry Reed.

Award Period

  • Application process is by nomination only.

Program Goals

  • To support and invest in creative individuals at the cutting edge of their fields, and whose work is of exceptional merit
  • To provide artists with the support and opportunity to take their work to the next level, and to explore and experiment
  • To bring artists and thinkers into a dynamic community of local, national, and international artists: a professional network of creative practitioners and thinkers
  • To encourage artists to explore their ideas and work within the context of the Marin Headlands, a part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • To bring an international community of artists to the Bay Area and create opportunities for engagement and cross-cultural exchange with local artists and audiences

Program Details

  • Fully sponsored 6- to 10-week residency with a cash award of $10,000
  • 750 square foot studio
  • Private bedroom in shared house Learn more
  • A maximum two week stay for families in the Family House (by request only and subject to availability)
  • Five chef-prepared meals per week
  • Use of Headlands’ vehicles on and off-site
  • Facilities access:
    – Basic woodshop
    – Audio/video equipment
    – Artists’ library with computers, scanner, and printer
  • Wi-Fi in designated spaces
  • Up to 15 Artists in Residence living on-site
  • Up to 25 other Headlands’ artists working on-site
  • Participation in monthly “Show & Tell” nights
  • Participation in seasonal Open House
  • Access to Headlands Public Events
  • Field trips to Bay Area museums, galleries, and cultural venues
  • Become part of Headlands Alumni Network


  • Applicants are eligible by nomination only
  • Nominees may not be currently enrolled in an academic program

Selection Criteria

  • Merit of past work that exemplifies innovation in the discipline of photography
  • Readiness to engage with and benefit from the residency experience at Headlands and the CCA community (see program goals)
  • Potential to develop creative practice and impact the community at Headlands and beyond

Selection Process

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