The Leonardo Awards Program

Leonardo/ISAST, established in 1982, serves the international art community by providing channels of communication for artists, scholars, technologists, scientists, educators, students and others interested in the arts, with an emphasis on documenting the voices of artists all over the world who use science and developing technologies in their work. As part of our mission of encouraging the innovative presentation of technology-based arts, Leonardo/ISAST recognizes artists and organizations interested in the use of new media in contemporary artistic expression through cash awards given via the Leonardo Awards Program.

The Leonardo Award for Excellence

The Leonardo Award for Excellence recognizes excellence in an article published in the journal Leonardo. Excellence is defined as originality, rigor of thought, clarity of expression and effective presentation. The Leonardo Award for Excellence was originally established by chemist and inventor Myron Coler and publisher Robert Maxwell. Leonardo/ISAST has continued the tradition. Recipients include Rudolf Arnheim, Otto Piene, Charles Ames, Frieda Stahl, Donna Cox, George Gessert, Janet Saad-Cook, Alvin Curran, Karen O'Rourke, Eduardo Kac, Hubert Duprat and Christian Besson, José Carlos Casado and Harkaitz Cano, Bill Seaman, Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha, Steve Mann and Conor McGarrigle.

Leonardo New Horizons Award for Innovation

Leonardo/ISAST recognizes the challenges that artists face as they strive for exposure and recognition. These challenges are amplified for artists working with new media and new techniques---especially for those artists who are pushing the boundaries of the integration of art and technology. The LEONARDO New Horizons Award for Innovation was begun to recognize new and emerging artists for innovation in new media. Evelyn Edelson-Rosenberg, Jean-Marc Philippe, Jaroslav Belik, Peter Callas, Patrick Boyd, Christian Schiess, I Wayan Sadra, Kitsou Dubois, Gregory Barsamian, Graham Harwood, Ewen Chardronett and Critical Art Ensemble have received this award.

Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award for Lifetime Achievement

When kinetic artist and astronautical pioneer Frank J. Malina founded the journal Leonardo in 1968, he saw the need for an international channel of communication between artists who use science and developing technologies in their work. Following his vision, the Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award for Lifetime Achievement recognizes eminent artists who, through a lifetime of work, have achieved a synthesis of contemporary art, science and technology. Winners include Abraham Palatnik, Gyorgy Kepes, Nicolas Schöffer, Max Bill and Takis.

The Leonardo Fellowship

The Leonardo Fellowship program recognizes accomplished graduate students and junior faculty from Leonardo Senior Affiliate organizations. Selected Leonardo Fellows will have an opportunity to advance their selected research or project area through such activities as publishing in the internationally renowned Leonardo journal or creating a unique art-science project under the auspices of Leonardo, as well as to receive mentorship from senior Leonardo editors. The first Leonardo Fellowship was awarded to Richard Wirth in 2014.  

The Leonardo Global Crossings Award

The Leonardo Global Crossings Award recognizes the contribution of artists and scholars from culturally diverse communities worldwide. The focus of this award is global pluralism within the emerging art-science-technology field. The award is part of the Leonardo Global Crossings Special Project, funded in part by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. The First Leonardo Global Crossings Award was awarded in 2005 to Abdel Ghany Kenawy and Amal Kenawy, of Cairo, Egypt, a brother-sister team who have been collaborating on large-scale installations since 1997.

Leonardo-EMS Award for Excellence

Leonardo/OLATS has established a collaboration with the EMS network through which annual Leonardo-EMS Awards for Excellence are made for the best contribution to the EMS symposium by a young researcher as decided by a joint jury. Recipients of the award include criticalartware (Jon Cates, Ben Syverson and Jon Satrom) and Michael Bullock.

The Makepeace Tsao Leonardo Award

This Leonardo award is designed to recognize organizations and artists' groups that have increased public awareness of art forms involving science and technology, particularly through the sponsoring or curating of exhibitions. The award's namesake is Makepeace Tsao, biochemist, professor, gallery owner and artist who was a member of the Leonardo Editorial Board and an adviser to and benefactor of Leonardo/ISAST for 15 years. The first Makepeace Tsao Leonardo Award was awarded in 1998 to La Cité des arts et des nouvelles technologies de Montréal.

Leonardo Art Science Student Contest

The winners of the first Art/Science Student Contest: Hiroki Nishino, Michiko Tsuda, Jaewook Shin, Byeong Sam Jeon, Margarita Benitez and Markus Vogl. The projects were chosen by a jury consisting of Piero Scaruffi, Tami Spector, Nina Czegledy and Pamela Winfrey from projects received through an open submission process. Three of the winning projects were displayed at the closing reception of "Remix: From Science to Art and Back in the Digital Age," day 2 of the Berkeley Big Bang 08 symposium co-hosted by Leonardo/ISAST at the UC Berkeley Art Museum (June 3, 2008). Read more about their projects.

More information about all of the past Leonardo Awards recipients.

Details about the Leonardo Awards program

All awards in the Leonardo Awards Program are done by the nomination process. Candidates for each award are nominated by members of Leonardo/ISAST. Recipients are then decided by juries assembled by the Leonardo Prizes and Awards Chair. For more information on membership to Leonardo/ISAST please see our members page.

Updated 29 September 2014