The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) and the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City (MASB) announce Erin Fostel and Erick Antonio Benitez as recipients of the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Artist Travel Prize. The MASB board of directors awarded a $6,000 prize to two Baltimore-based visual artists for 2018. Fostel and Benitez were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants. The prize is intended to function as funding for travel essential to an artist’s studio practice that an artist may not otherwise be able to afford. The third edition of the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Artist Travel Prize is managed by Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, and sponsored by the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City.
Fostel will use the award for a three-week trip to Japan, where she will research and draw. The artist plans to focus on the cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima and surrounding areas. Her concentration will be on urban architecture as well as the architecture, rites and rituals of Shinto, a main religion in Japan.
Benitez will use the award to conduct research on the Amazon city of Iquitos, exposing him to a vast biodiversity landscape and the native culture. The project will be a lasting source of material for his practice, including sound field recordings, video footage, photographs, drawing studies and found objects.
About the Artists:
Erin Fostel’s interest in drawing and storytelling led her to the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she graduated in 2014. Thereafter, she continued to explore visual storytelling through drawing. In her drawings, she pushes the tonal boundaries of charcoal, which is her primary medium. Her work has been included in local and international publications about drawing. Her studio is located in Baltimore.
Erick Antonio Benitez received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. The multidisciplinary artist has exhibited internationally, including CONNERSMITH, Washington, D.C., Baltimore Museum of Art, Greenpoint Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, and Metàfora Studio Arts, Barcelona, Spain, in addition to private collections. His works of art have also been reviewed by regional and national publications. Benitez has been a recipient of a Ruby Artist Project grant; The Contemporary: Grit Fund 2; Y.L. Hoi Memorial Award, Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize, and a residency at the Studios at MASS MoCA.
About Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City:
The Municipal Art Society of Baltimore was founded in 1899 as part of the City Beautiful movement. It is one of only two remaining societies to be operating under its original charter “to provide sculptural and pictorial decoration and ornaments for the public buildings, streets and open spaces in the City of Baltimore, and to help generally beautify the City.” Artistic contributions to the City span more than one hundred years. In 2016 the MASOB embarked on a path to provide new opportunities to Baltimore artists and art places within the City, including this Artist Travel Prize and an annual Public Art Prize.