Biennial Prilla Smith Brackett Award

Davis Museum at Wellesley College

By: - Apr 02, 2024

WELLESLEY, Mass. – The Davis Museum at Wellesley College is proud to announce the third iteration of the biennial Prilla Smith Brackett Award. This biennial award honors an outstanding female-identifying visual artist based in the Greater Boston area. Funded by Prilla Smith Brackett (Wellesley Class of 1964) and administered by the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, the Brackett Award will be given to the artist whose work demonstrates extraordinary artistic vision, talent, and skill. The award winner will be announced in Fall 2024.

 “We are very honored that Prilla has selected the Davis Museum to steward this very special award,” says Lisa Fischman, the Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum. “There are so many extremely gifted female-identifying artists in the Boston area, and this award will help to recognize their work, amplify their visibility, and support their future endeavors in the art world.”

 Recipients receive a $15,000 cash award to be used at the artist’s discretion, including to assist in career advancement through support for travel, research, early project development, project completion, studio costs, childcare costs, catalogue production, etc.

 “From my own personal experience, I know that opportunities and representation for women artists are hard to come by,” said Prilla Smith Brackett, the benefactor of the award. “My hope is that this award will help local women artists of all racial, ethnic, national, religious identities, and sexual orientations get the boost they need to move to the next level in their careers.”

Applications will be reviewed biennially by a jury composed of at least one curator from the Davis Museum, an outside representative from the arts community, and the most recent awardee. The Davis will strive to assemble a jury that is diverse in all regards to racial, ethnic, national, and religious identities, and sexual orientations. The review process will identify three finalists for an in-person studio visit by the jury members, a crucial step in determining the ultimate award recipient.

Eligibility and Award Application

To be eligible, applicants must: live in the Greater Boston area (all towns within Interstate 495); identify as female; work in the mediums of painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, photography, film, video, and/or new media arts. Artists at any career stage beyond the first five years of professional practice and of all ages, sexual orientations, and racial, ethnic, national, and religious identities are warmly encouraged to apply.


The 2024 application portal will open on Wednesday, May 1 and close at 11:59pm on Sunday, June 2, 2024. Application guidelines for the Prilla Smith Brackett Award are available here and via the Davis Museum website at The Award will be announced in September 2024, and its recipient will be honored on the Davis Museum website and required to present her work at a public event and reception in October 2024. Any interested parties can email for additional information.

Prilla Smith Brackett

Prilla Smith Brackett is an artist known for working with landscape conceptually, depicting more than a description of a place. She has exhibited throughout the eastern US including a solo show traveling to eight venues in New England and the mid-Atlantic States. Other venues include the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, MA; National Academy of Sciences, DC; The Art Complex Museum, MA; and Hanoi Contemporary Art Center, Vietnam.

Her work is in the collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, New Britain Museum of American Art, Danforth Art Museum, Worcester Art Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her honors include a finalist award in painting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation, an award and residency at the Ucross Foundation, an Earthwatch Artist award in Madagascar, and a fellowship in painting at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College.

 Born in New Orleans, Brackett has social science degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the University of California Berkeley. She earned her MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She added printmaking to her practice in 2003. Brackett lives and works in Boston, MA.