The Arts Fund invites Santa Barbara County artists to submit entries for its 20th annual Individual Artist Awards.

Award categories are graphic communications (print media), music composition (traditional instruments), painting (oil, acrylic) and sculpture (clay, metal, stone).

The competition is open to Santa Barbara County residents age 18 or older who have not previously been awarded an IAA. Quality and originality will be the chief criteria in judging by a panel of experts in each discipline. The 2008 jury is made up of distinguished artists, curators, composers and educators in Southern California.

The deadline for submissions is Nov. 4. To receive an application, click here or call The Arts Fund at 805.965.7321.

Winners in each category will receive a $2,000 cash award. All IAA winners and honorable mention recipients will be invited to participate in a group exhibition at The Arts Fund Gallery in 2009. In addition, IAA winners in the visual arts will be featured in solo exhibitions at The Arts Fund Gallery. The community will be invited to a public performance of the IAA winner in music composition.

The Individual Artist Award identifies and rewards artistic excellence in Santa Barbara County. Now in its 20th year, this celebrated program has awarded more than $156,000 in cash prizes and showcased the work of 128 artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. Funded entirely through private donations, the IAA is unique for its focus on supporting artists in the county.

“There are fewer and fewer opportunities for artists to receive funding and exhibition opportunities in their own communities,” Arts Fund Executive Director Nina Dunbar said. “This award helps keep our artists local.”