Application deadline – Monday, January 13, 2020

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Inc. (BOPA) is proud to announce the 15th edition of the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.  The prize will award $25,000 to a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Baltimore region. Approximately six finalists will be selected for the final review for the prizes; their work will be exhibited in the Walters Art Museum. Finalists not selected for the Sondheim Prize will be awarded an M&T Bank Finalist Award of $2,500 each.

New for this year, we will also be awarding a Sondheim Creative Residency, a six-week long fully funded residency at La Civatella Ranieri, in the Umbria region of Italy, to one of the remaining five finalists not selected for the Sondheim Prize.

Additionally, an exhibition of the semifinalists’ work will be featured in a large exhibition during Artscape (July 17-19, 2020). 

The prize winner will be selected from the Walters Art Museum exhibition after review of the installed art and an interview with each finalist by the jurors.  Artist collaborators, if chosen as the winner, will receive a single $25,000 prize that will be equally divided among the members of the group.

The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is named in honor of Janet and Walter Sondheim who were instrumental in creating the Baltimore City that exists today.  Walter Sondheim, Jr. had been one of Baltimore’s most important civic leaders for over 50 years.  His accomplishments included oversight of the desegregation of the Baltimore City Public Schools in 1954 when he was president of the Board of School Commissioners of Baltimore City.  Later, he was deeply involved in the development of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor.  He continued to be active in civic and educational activities in the city and state and served as the senior advisor to the Greater Baltimore Committee until his death in February 2007.

Janet Sondheim danced with the pioneering Denishawn Dancers, a legendary dance troupe founded by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn.  Later, she turned to teaching where she spent 15 years at the Children’s Guild working with severely emotionally disturbed children.  After retirement, she was a volunteer tutor at Highlandtown Elementary School.  She married Walter in 1934, and they were together until her death in 1992.


Gary Carrion-Murayari

Gary Carrion-Murayari is the Kraus Family Curator at the New Museum in New York.  Over the past nine years, he has curated solo exhibitions by artists including John Akomfrah, Phyllida Barlow, Ellen Gallagher, Haroon Mirza, Camille Henrot, Nari Ward, and Hans Haacke.  He has co-curated several New Museum group exhibitions including, “Ghosts in the Machine,” “NYC 1993,” and the 2018 New Museum Triennial. He previously worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art from 2003-1010 where he curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions including the 2010 Whitney Biennial.

Nona Faustine

Nona Faustine is a visual artist whose photographs focus on history, identity, and representation. Faustine images are in the collection of Studio Museum of Harlem, David C. Driskell Center at Maryland State University, Brooklyn Museum, and the Carnegie Museum. In 2019 Faustine was a Finalist in the Outwin Boochever Competition, NYFA/NYSCA Fellow in Photography, Colene Brown Award and Anonymous Was A Woman Grantee.

Diya Vij

Diya Vij is the Associate Curator of Public Programs at the High Line in New York where she organizes and oversees dozens of annual dynamic programs, performances, festivals, and series that use the High Line as a platform for artistic experimentation, critical dialogue, and civic connection. Prior to the High Line. Diya was the special projects manager for the Commissioner’s Unit in the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). In that role, she created the department’s Public Artists in Residence program, which brings artists into the city’s civic sector as a way of applying their artistic practices to some of today’s most pressing concerns in New York. In addition, she was a project lead for the Agency’s citywide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative; public monument efforts; CreateNYC, New York City’s first cultural plan, and various arts-based projects for the Mayor and First Lady of New York City. In addition, she organized several large-scale programs including “What Can We Do? Immigration Summit for Cultural Organizations” in October 2018. She was previously a curatorial fellow and communications manager at the Queens Museum. Diya received her MA in Art History from Hunter College in 2015 and her BA from Bard College in 2008. 

Review Process

The selection process will occur in three phases:

1st Review –Jurors will review applicants’ submissions independent of each other.  They will complete score sheets that will be tabulated to select approximately 25 to 35 semifinalists.  Submissions will consist of five (5) digital images of work or up to ten (10) minutes of time based work and a resume.

All of the submitted work for the first round of review will also be provided to area galleries and their curators who will be participating in the Artscape Gallery Network exhibitions.  If these galleries choose an artist for their exhibitions occurring concurrently with Artscape 2020, artists will be contacted directly by those galleries.

2nd Review – Semifinalists will be asked to submit an expanded submission including up to 30 images or time based works and a description of how they will use the fellowship if they are selected.  The jurors will convene to choose approximately five or six finalists for the exhibition and final review.  Each finalist will meet with the Walters Art Museum curators to determine installation requirements.  Finalists will work collaboratively with the WAM curators to determine which artwork is to be included in the finalist exhibition; however, please keep in mind that the final decision on what is exhibited and the decision regarding the feasibility of installation requirements is the responsibility of the WAM curators. 

Works by the remaining semifinalists will be selected by BOPA curator Lou Joseph for a separate exhibition during the Artscape weekend.

Final Review – The finalists will have their work exhibited in the Walters Art Museum.  The exhibit design and artwork placement within these galleries is at the sole discretion of the Walters Art Museum curatorial and exhibition staff.  On Saturday, July 11, 2020, the jurors will meet with each artist for up to 30 minutes in their exhibition space for a final interview.  After all of the interviews, the jurors will meet and decide the fellowship award winner.  The award will be announced later that evening at the award reception.

Application Process

The Sondheim Prize will be accepting online applications at the following link:

Image Submission Guidelines

  • Artists may submit five (5) images of artwork for the first round of jury review. 
  • Images should be in jpeg format, and be not larger than approximately 3MB.

Video Submission

  • Artists submitting time based works may submit up to ten (10) minutes of work.  The 10 minutes may include excerpts from up to five (5) works as long as the combined time totals no more than 10 minutes. 
  • Artists wishing to submit still and time based works, for every still image subtract two (2) minutes from the allowed 10 minute time based total.
  • Videos should be in .mov or .mp4 format.

Please contact Lou Joseph at 443-263-4339 or with questions regarding the submission of sound based works.


  1. Artists living and working in Maryland; Washington, DC; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties and the city of Alexandria in Virginia; Delaware and Adams, Chester, Franklin, Lancaster and York counties in Pennsylvania are eligible to submit for this award.
  2. Artists may not be full-time students at the time of the exhibition and during the granting period. Students who will have graduated by the time of the exhibition and granting period may apply.
  3. Artists must live and work in one of the geographic areas listed above during time of application and during the entire granting period.
  4. Artists who work in collaboration may apply as a group. Each artist’s name and contact information should be listed on the application form. A one-page resume for the collaborative group and a single set of support materials should be submitted.  Each individual member of the collaborative group must meet all other guidelines.
  5. Artists who apply as individuals must submit original artwork that is principally created by them. It is understood that sometimes individual artists may employ the work of another artist to complete a larger scale project. For example, an artist who works in video may choose to include sound in the video that is composed by another artist. In such cases, the individual artist applying to the Sondheim Prize must be the primary creator of the work, they must disclose any assistance received on artwork submitted for consideration and they must obtain permission from the contributor to submit the work for consideration. Failure to disclose this support will disqualify application, and the artist will be required to return any prize monies awarded. 
  6. Upon’s receipt of application materials, artists will be sent an automatic email confirmation.  If an artist does not receive this confirmation within 48 hours, please contact Lou Joseph at
  7. The award will be paid in monthly installments. $5,200 will be paid for the first month and $1,800 will be paid for each of the following 11 months.  If artist collaborators are selected the above payments will be equally divided between the collaborating artists.
  8. Winners of the Sondheim Prize will be responsible for paying all applicable federal, state and local taxes.
  9. Artists’ work included in the Semifinalist Exhibition will be insured during the exhibition duration by BOPA; artists’ work included in the Finalists exhibition at the Walters Art Museum will be insured by that organization while the artwork is on the premises of the Walters Art Museum.
  10. Winners of the Sondheim Prize will be required to file a final report by June 30, 2021, before the final payment.  This report should include an explanation of how winning this prize has enabled the artist or artist collaborative group to further develop their work, as well as an explanation of any additional opportunities that may have arisen as a result of winning this prize.
  11. Work submitted for this prize will also be made available to curators of the Artscape Gallery Network exhibitions.  This program has more than a dozen galleries throughout the Baltimore Region. Please visit in the spring for a listing of galleries participating in these exhibitions.
  12. All Sondheim applications will be shared with the curator of the Artscape Visual Arts Exhibitions.
  13. Artscape and BOPA reserve the right to reproduce images of applicants’ work for printed or internet publicity, catalogue or marketing purposes.  The Walters Art Museum also will have the right to reproduce work relating to the 2020 Sondheim Prize.
  14. The decisions of the jurors are final. Jurors may change without notification.
  15. Finalists will be required to meet with Walters Art Museum curators to finalize their installation needs; these needs must meet the exhibition guidelines set forth by the Walters Art Museum. If required by the installation of the artwork or its intended interaction with the public, the Walters Art Museum may choose to issue waivers of liability to be signed by the artist.  Otherwise, the Walters Art Museum will insure the artwork while in its possession.
  16. Artists chosen as finalists will be required to take primary responsibility for installing and deinstalling their work at the Walters Art Museum.  Artists must be present on the Walters Art Museum premises for the installation and deinstallation of their work, which will occur Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9am and 4pm. If artists cannot personally be present for installation, their work will not be exhibited. While artists may bring assistants to help them with installation, they cannot serve as substitutes for the artists.
  17. Artists chosen as finalists must provide a complete list of materials used in artworks at the time of the initial site visit by Walters Art Museum curators and staff. Artists’ materials will be reviewed by the Walters Art Museum’s Conservation Department. Artists will additionally accommodate requests by Conservation team members to inspect work in person. Any material (including but not limited to salvaged lumber, food stuffs, other unstable organic materials, objects that off-gas fumes, and objects stored outdoors) that may introduce insects or present a risk to the Museum’s environment and collection will not be permitted inside of the Museum. It is the responsibility of each artist to suggest alternative works suitable for exhibition to the Walters Art Museum curators. If no acceptable alternatives are identified, the artist’s work will not be included in the exhibition, but may be represented by photographic or video documentation to be provided by the artist.
  • Finalists are strongly encouraged to attend the press preview for the Finalist exhibition, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
  • Finalists may be required to make presentations at the Walters Art Museum at some time during the duration of the exhibition, including during the awards ceremony.
  • Photography by the general public will be allowed in the Finalist Exhibition at the Walters Art Museum and in the Semifinalist Exhibition.
  • Previous winners of the Sondheim Prize are not eligible to apply.  Previous finalists and semifinalists may apply.
  • BOPA and BFAI Board members, employees and/or relatives (defined as children, spouse, domestic partner or parents) are not eligible to apply for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.

Estimated Timeline

Application deadline: Monday, January 13, 2020

Announcement of semifinalists: Mid-February 2020

Announcement of finalists: Mid-March 2020

Finalist studio visits with exhibition curators: late March, 2020

Finalist exhibition installation: May 18-22, 2020 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm)

Finalist exhibition Press Preview: May 26, 2020, 10am

Opening reception for Finalist Exhibition: May 28, 2020 (6pm)

Finalist exhibition duration: May 28 to July 19, 2020

Finalist exhibition deinstallation: July 20-24, 2020

Finalist interviews: Saturday, July 11, 2020

Award announcement: Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 7pm; Galleries open at 6pm

Artscape: July 17-19, 2020

For more information, contact: Lou Joseph at 443-263-4339


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