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The Genie Shenk Excellence in Book Arts Award

The Award

The Genie Shenk Excellence in Book Arts Award is granted once a year to recognize an outstanding mid-career artist whose work has influenced the San Diego area and demonstrates artistic achievement of excellence in the medium of book arts. The recipient will receive $1000 award sponsored by the Genie Shenk Family. In addition, SDBA will also support this recipient with a solo book arts show.


The award is open to San Diego Book Arts members who are mid-career artists and are part of the San Diego arts community.  An artist may only receive the Genie Shenk Excellence in Book Arts Award once.  Mid-career artist is defined as one that has committed the last 5 – 15 years to their artistic growth and achievements toward national exposure, publications, or exhibitions.

SDBA is excited about our many upgrades and re-establishing our many activities that have been on hold with in-person meeting restrictions of the last few years.  

Honoring the legacy of Genie Shenk is a privilege as she set a standard that we can inspire us all as an artist community dedicated to the book. 

Photo: An exhibition of Genie Shenk’s work. Courtesy of Carol Shenk.

How to Apply

Applications must include:

  • Artist Bio  

  • Artist Statement

  • Artist Curriculum Vitae

  • Photos

In Honor of Genie Shenk

A founding member of San Diego Book Arts, Genie Shenk lived in Solana Beach, California, with her husband Al, for over 50 years.  After earning an MFA from UCLA in 1990, Shenk’s interest in paper, form, and text coalesced into a focus on book structure. She worked in collage, assemblage, and installation, and she became most known for artists’ books that document her life and dreams, as well for her large, meditative constructions that explore symbolic form, light, and space. Shenk was the initiator of the Book Arts program at Mesa College in San Diego, where she taught book arts for 17 years at Mesa College and at the Athenaeum School of the Arts in La Jolla.  Genie was beloved by her students and colleagues for her kindness, positivity, and humor, and she was admired for her artistic and technical skill. As an instructor, Shenk combined exacting standards with a generous capacity to see and encourage talent in her students and to guide them to express themselves effectively through the book art form. Her work has been shown widely and is included in numerous collections, including those of the Long Beach Museum of Art, the National Museum for Women and the Arts in Washington, D.C., the University of Washington, Stanford University, University of Southern California, the Tate in London, the University of California, San Diego, and the Athenaeum in La Jolla. Genie Shenk passed away in 2018 at the age of 81.