2018 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Finalists Announced!
Erick Benitez (Baltimore, MD)
Nakeya Brown (Laurel, MD)
Sutton Demlong (Baltimore, MD)
Nate Larson (Baltimore, MD)
Eunice Park (Parkville, MD)
Stephen Towns (Baltimore, MD)
Erick Antonio Benitez (Baltimore, MD) is a multidisciplinary artist, musician, organizer and curator. Benitez’s work primarily consists of installation, video, performance, sound, and painting to explore concepts of identity, culture, mysticism, and the natural world. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting with a video concentration from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2014. His work has been exhibited in several gallery exhibitions and publically in Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; Brookyln, NY; Denver, CO; Barcelona, Spain and Timisoara, Romania. His work has also been featured in the Washington Post, Baltimore City Paper, BmoreArt, What Weekly, BmoreArt Journal + Ideas, Let’s Talk Live (WJLA), and Hyrsteria Zine Vol. 2. Benitez is a recent recipient of The Contemporary: Grit Fund 2 and the Ruby Artist Project Grant, and has been nominated as a finalist for the 2018 Baker Artist Award.
Nakeya Brown (Laurel, MD), a 2017 Snider Prize award winner, has generated a vast body of work that uses photography to explore the complexities of race, beauty politics, and gender. She received her Bachelor of Art from Rutgers University and her Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University. Her work has been featured nationally in recent solo exhibitions at the Catherine Eldman Gallery (Chicago, IL, 2017), the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (Grand Rapids, MI, 2017), the Hamiltonian Gallery (Washington, DC, 2017) and The McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA, 2012); and in group exhibitions at the Eubie Blake Culture Center (Baltimore, MD, 2018) the Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center (North Brentwood, MD, 2017), and the Woman Made Gallery (Chicago, IL 2016 & 2013), among several others . She has presented her work internationally at the Museum der bildenden Künste (Leipzig, Germany, 2018) and NOW Gallery (London, U.K., 2017). Brown’s work has been featured in New York magazine, Dazed & Confused, The Fader, TIME, and Vice. Her work has been included in photography books Babe and Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze. She lives and works in Maryland with her 5-year-old daughter, Mia.
Sutton Demlong (Baltimore, MD) is a sculptor who utilizes traditional woodworking techniques to explore the possibilities of imbuing personality and presence in abstract sculpture. Demlong received his Master of Fine Art from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2016. In 2013 he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from Arizona State University with a dual concentration in Art Education and Sculpture. His work was featured in exhibitions at Little Berlin (Philadelphia, PA, 2018), Platform Gallery (Baltimore, MD, 2017), Current Space (Baltimore, MD, 2017), New City Studio (Phoenix, AZ, 2017), CONNERSMITH. (Washington, DC, 2016) and Franconia Sculpture Park (Shafer, MN, 2014). In 2017, Demlong was a Trawick Prize semifinalist and in 2015 he was the recipient of the Markell Brooks Scholarship to attend Anderson Ranch Arts Center artist residency.
Nate Larson (Baltimore, MD) is a contemporary artist and a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. His projects have been widely shown across the U.S. and internationally, including an upcoming commissioned solo exhibition for the George Eastman Museum (Rochester, NY, opening January 2019) and past solo exhibitions at Filter Space Chicago (Chicago, IL, 2016), the Orlando Museum of Art (Orlando, FL, 2013), Blue Sky Center for Photographic Arts (Portland, OR, 2014, 2012), and the Contemporary Arts Center, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV, 2011). His work is included in the touring exhibition “State of the Art,” originating at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR, 2014) and touring to the Telfair Museums (Savannah, GA, 2016), Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis, MN, 2016), Dixon Gallery & Gardens (Memphis, TN, 2017), Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville, TN, 2017), and The Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC, 2017). Other recent group exhibitions include the Denver Art Museum (Denver, CO, 2018), the Zuckerman Museum of Art (Kennesaw, GA, 2017), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR, 2016), Center for Photography at Woodstock (Woodstock, NY, 2016), and Silver Eye Center for Photography (Pittsburgh, PA, 2015), among others. He was recently an artist-in-residence at Paul Artspace in Missouri (2017), CEC Artslink in Russia (2016), and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Florida (2013). His artwork is included in the collections of the High Museum Atlanta, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Orlando Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. His first monograph, Geolocation, was published by Flash Powder Projects in 2016. Larson was the recipient of the 2017 Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Artist Travel Prize, and was a Sondheim Finalist in 2010 and 2013.
Eunice Park (Parkville, MD) studied Fine Arts at Montgomery College (Rockville, MD) and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where she was granted a full scholarship for Independent Studio Painting. Eunice took a hiatus from painting for a number of years and returned to the Baltimore area to raise her three children as a single mom, working as a seamstress during most of that time to support her family. A few years ago, Eunice’s passion for painting was rekindled when her daughter bought her art supplies for a Mother’s Day gift. She has been creating new works ever since. Much of her inspiration comes from the great teachers she has had in her life, or from music. She draws strength from her children and her faith and creates images from memories, which when infused with emotion, become fantasies paralleled with reality.
Stephen Towns (Baltimore, MD) is a painter and fiber artist whose work explores how American history influences contemporary society. Towns received a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting from the University of South Carolina. His work has been exhibited locally and nationally, including solo exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD, 2018), Goucher College (Baltimore, MD, 2017), Galerie Myrtis (Baltimore, MD, 2017), Gallery CA (Baltimore, MD, 2014) City Gallery at the Dock Street Theatre (Charleston, SC, 2005) as well as group exhibitions at Arlington Art Center (Arlington, VA, 2017), The Art Barn (Gaithersburg, MD, 2018), Montpelier Arts Center (Laurel, MD, 2016), Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and Museum (Baltimore, MD, 2014). His work has also been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Style, Northern Virginia Magazine, BmoreArt magazine, Urbanite magazine and Baltimore City Paper. Towns was honored as the inaugural recipient of the 2016 Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Artist Travel Prize and received the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Rubys Artist Grant in 2015. In 2018, he was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award in craft.