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 financial and professional support to assist a dedicated painter in the critical early years of their artistic development.

Designed to support the artist over a full year, the Tournesol 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.

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
  • Chef-prepared meals
  • 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 “Show & Tell” nights
  • Participation in seasonal Open Houses
  • Access to Headlands Public Events
  • Become part of Headlands Alumni Network 


  • Artist works primarily with paint on a two-dimensional surface
  • Artist’s primary residence must be in the Bay Area and for a minimum of 18 months prior to award application. Residence must have begun by November, 2019 for 2021–221 applicants. “Bay Area” is defined as Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma counties.
  • Artist is in early stages of their career and can show dedication to their practice. Indications of early career stage AND dedication include:
    • Graduation from an accredited MFA program within the past five years (2016–2021) or equivalent recent non-academic experience and dedication
    • Participation in significant group and/or solo exhibitions
    • Has NOT had a retrospective showing with a significant institution or gallery
  • Alumni of Headlands’ Artists Programs are eligible to apply, with the exception of past recipients of Alumni New Works, Chamberlain, Chiaro, or Tournesol Awards. Former Artists in Residence (AIR) may apply three years after their previous residency.
  • Candidates may not be enrolled in a degree granting program during the term of the award.

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 Zoom 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.
Submission of an image list with title, date, size, media, and, where applicable, conceptual intent, is optional.