The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is proud to announce that Erick Antonio Benitez is the winner of the 2018 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at The Baltimore Museum of Art on Saturday, July 14. The five other finalists—Nakeya Brown, Sutton Demlong, Nate Larson, Eunice Park, and Stephen Towns—will receive a $2,500 honorarium established by M&T Bank in partnership with BOPA. Works of art by the winner and finalists are on view at the BMA through Sunday, August 5.
After an extensive national search, Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts’ (BOPA) Board of Directors has selected Donna Drew Sawyer as Chief Executive Officer. Sawyer will succeed William “Bill” Gilmore who stepped down as CEO at the end of December 2017 after 37 years of leadership. BOPA, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3), is the city’s arts council, events center and film office.
Sawyer was unanimously recommended for Board confirmation by the BOPA search committee comprised of: BOPA Board members Anana Kambon (committee chair), Paula Rome and Sandy Hillman; and representatives of the broader Baltimore Arts community: Dr. Leslie King Hammond, Jeffrey Kent, Jed Dietz and Clair Zamoiski Segal. Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven clients, was retained and managed the national search.
“We are thrilled to have a new CEO who can continue and enhance BOPA’s contributions to the Baltimore City community and region,” said Anana Kambon, chair of BOPA’s Board of Directors. “Donna has a strong diverse history in arts leadership, solid marketing and business acumen and a fierce commitment to equity and collaboration. Her talents combined with our impressive BOPA team will provide greater opportunities for joint programs, projects and partnerships with local artists, the City of Baltimore, funders, affinity groups and arts service organizations. We’re extremely excited about BOPA’s future.”
Hired as the Chief of External Affairs at the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in 2017, Donna Drew Sawyer previously held senior positions in the arts and non-profits sector including the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Arts and Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Chrysler Museum of Art and Sesame Workshop. Sawyer served on the Norfolk Virginia’s Arts Commission and helped launch the Virginia Waterfront Arts Festival as founding director of the Wilder Performing Arts Center. Also, she was managing director of the Marketing Services Organization, a collaborative arts marketing agency funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Sawyer has served on art panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and on the YWCA Board of Directors. In addition, Sawyer is a writer; her debut novel, Provenance, won the 2017 Maryland Writers’ Association Award for Historical Fiction and was a finalist for the same award at New York’s Harlem Book Festival.
“BOPA is a unique organization with a remarkable history. I am excited and so fortunate to be working with an incredible team of professionals in this new capacity,” Sawyer said. “BOPA’s mission is to make Baltimore a more vibrant city by promoting and supporting arts and culture. As a proud resident of Baltimore City, a writer who understands the exhilaration of the creative process and now, as CEO of BOPA, I can contribute to the vibrancy and the future of our city by helping to make Baltimore a unique and wonderful place to live, create, work and plan. I can’t think of anything better than getting to do that every single day.”
In addition to her work in the arts and non-profit sector, Sawyer held senior advertising, marketing and promotion positions with Young & Rubicam Advertising and AT&T International.
She was an assistant professor of Communications and Journalism at Norfolk State University and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the New York Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Texas Southern University.
She and her husband, Bowie State University professor and author Dr. Granville M. Sawyer, Jr., live in Baltimore City. They have two grown daughters.
The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which serves as Baltimore City’s arts council, film office, and events agency. By producing large-scale events such as Light City, Artscape and the Baltimore Book Festival, and providing funding and support to artists, arts programs and organizations across the city, BOPA’s goal is to make Baltimore a more vibrant and creative city.
- What do you do as BOPA’s Social Media & Website Coordinator? My role as BOPA’s Social Media & Website Coordinator involves managing the multitude of BOPA’s social media accounts and websites. I create the content for our social media posts, including choosing the images and videos, responding to messages and comments and tracking our social media analytics to determine what’s working for our posts and what needs improvement. For our festivals, I am responsible for gathering social media volunteers to help our Communications Team with live updates. Additionally, I edit the content on all of our websites and coordinate any website changes with our developers.
- Where were you before BOPA and had you heard of BOPA before working here? Previously, I worked as a Human Resources Assistant at Notre Dame of Maryland University for a short stint, and prior to that, I worked in a couple of admin/communications-related positions. Through an internship at the Maryland Institute College of Art, I had the pleasure of meeting Dionne McConkey who told me about her experience at BOPA. I was immediately interested after hearing about BOPA as the producer of Artscape which is one of my favorite events. I became a social media volunteer for the inaugural Light City and now I’m incredibly fortunate to work here.
- Why is BOPA’s mission important to you?Baltimore is my home and I think BOPA’s mission is extremely valuable to the people who live here. We need to have events that cater to the arts and highlight the creative industry that exists in the city. To have access to so many free programming throughout the year is vital for us.
- What is the most challenging thing about your job?Sometimes, it can be a struggle explaining to others that my job is much more than just “sitting down and posting on Facebook all day.” It may seem like anyone can do it, but a huge part of my job is planning ahead and staying on top of so many deadlines. My position isn’t the typical 9-5. Social media is constant and I have to respond to comments or messages even during my time away from the office or weekends. Luckily, I have an extremely supportive team who works hard to assist whenever possible.
- What is something most people don’t know about BOPA or Baltimore’s arts community? I underestimated how much planning it takes to put on our special events and festivals. My initial impression, similar to others, is that events sort of just pop-up and happen. After spending time with the hardworking staff at BOPA, I know this is far from the case. It takes a ton of planning on our end to make all of our programming happen. I also didn’t realize how much BOPA produces and manages. We’re responsible for some great traditions in Baltimore and that deserves more recognition.
- Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I hope to continue working in the communications industry, transitioning over to public relations. While social media has been an amazing opportunity to experiment and flex my creativity, I am interested in more PR work, specifically crisis communications. I also hope I am traveling internationally to see more countries.
- When you’re not working, where are some of your favorite things to do in Baltimore? I love exploring Baltimore’s neighborhoods! It’s always nice to venture off and see a new location that you may have heard about but never visited. It wasn’t until after college that I went beyond the Inner Harbor to go to Federal Hill. As a lifelong resident, I stuck pretty close to my own neighborhood; so, I make an effort to see new areas in the city.
Tell me a little bit about your background? When did you begin working for BOPA?
I began in 1985 as an event coordinator for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Tourism. I oversaw the Baltimore Farmers’ Market, Kid’s Stuff Program, July 4th & New Year’s Eve fireworks, and worked on the Preakness and Thanksgiving Parades. I left briefly to go to the Baltimore Convention Center where I worked as an account executive, then I returned to BOP (Baltimore Office of Promotion) in 1989 as the Assistant Promotions Director. We didn’t become BOPA until 2001 when we merged with the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Art and Culture (MACAC). My role progressed to Director of Promotions, to Deputy Director, then Chief Operating Officer, and now interim CEO.
What does a typical day look like for you? Actually, my days vary and are multi-faceted. They are most often a mixture of pressing matters that need immediate attention and action, combined with items that require long range planning. I usually have a full schedule of meetings in and out of the office. So in many ways, my typical day is not typical. I also get a lot of calls from people outside the office who want to do an event and need help finding a contact or seeking information on logistics.
How has your role changed since assuming the position of Interim CEO?
My role has changed significantly. In addition to serving as Interim CEO, I am overseeing finance during this interim period. Also, as Interim CEO, I interface more with City Hall by attending cabinet meetings and regular touch-base meetings with the Mayor’s Office.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve dealt with since becoming Interim CEO?
I think the biggest and most exciting challenge right now is keeping the momentum going at an effective, productive and creative level. BOPA never has a slow time of year, so solid organization is key. During this period, Festivals Director Kathy Hornig, who has now become interim COO, has been doing an excellent job tracking and organizing all the current issues that need to be addressed. Kathy, Chief of External Affairs Donna Drew Sawyer and I meet on a weekly basis to go over any pressing issues. I find this helpful to keep everyone in the loop, get answers quickly, and maintain steady lines of communication. This is vital because, as you know, we move at a very fast pace here. In addition, we have stepped up our meetings with the department directors, which used to be monthly, to occur bi-weekly. Most importantly, we are very fortunate to have such strong, committed and creative staff here at BOPA to help meet our goals.
What is the most rewarding thing to you about your job?
I find it very rewarding to see the tremendous positive impact our events and programs have on the Baltimore community, both on the arts community and the community at large. Sometimes, we ourselves take it for granted, because when it’s your job, you don’t always stand back and look at the positives, but when you see the media coverage and the economic impact, you realize what a big deal it is. Our reach now, especially with Light City, is becoming more national. We’re getting even more international artists and I hear that in the international light artist world, people are talking about Baltimore. Through our grants, arts programs and festivals, and facilities, we are able to enhance the Baltimore experience and produce good news for our city. It’s good to work at a place where you’re always planning positive and meaningful programs that affect the community and in fact, make people want to come to Baltimore and live here. You can’t do that everywhere.
What are your hopes for BOPA’s future in the next five years? My hope for BOPA in the next five years is that we can continue to do the good work that we do, that we build on our successes and reinforce the BOPA brand. For so many years we’ve done these large events and didn’t say that they were produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. Not everyone knows about BOPA and we haven’t always been good about putting ourselves out there. Now, we realize how important that is that people understand the BOPA brand. It’s also important that sponsors understand we are a nonprofit when we’re going out to raise money, so we can keep our events free and open to the public. I would like to grow our events and programs to include an even larger audience on a national scale, to expand our reach to more national sponsors, and to provide more employment opportunities for Baltimoreans. We employ a lot of Baltimore artists, as you know, and a lot of people through our events, so I would like to expand that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
My answer, if someone asked me why I wanted to work here, would be that you just can’t do this kind of thing anywhere else. It’s very rare that you can work somewhere where you’re doing arts programming, annual events, running facilities, helping to plan a Super Bowl parade or a Fan Fest for the World Series. It’s very unique, and always changing.
Each year, School 33 Art Center seeks to highlight the arts in Baltimore’s unique neighborhoods through the Open Studio Tour Community Spotlight Award, which supports neighborhood kickoff events in selected communities. This year’s Community Spotlight is Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood. On Friday, October 6 at 6pm, the Youth Resiliency Institute will host an artist reception featuring a number of Cherry Hill-based artists. A panel discussion focused on the intersection of community self-determination and the arts as well as equitable access to the arts in Baltimore City will follow. This free event will take place at the Cherry Hill Community Center on 2700 Spelman Road. We interviewed two artists participating in Friday’s Community Spotlight event, Mighty Mark and Dallas the Dollmaker, about their work and the arts in Cherry Hill.
CLICK HERE to view the Cherry Hill Kickoff event page.
And learn more about School 33’s 2017 Baltimore Open Studio Tour on our website: www.school33.org
Photo courtesy of Mighty Mark.
Born and bred in Baltimore City, Cherry Hill-native Producer and DJ Marquis Gasque AKA Mighty Mark, is the new torchbearer of the urban dance music genre known as Baltimore Club Music. Successfully bridging the gap between the intensity of old school club music and the futuristic style of the new school, his crisp production serves up unexpected but delicious combinations of urban vocals and chants, 80’s synths, 90’s drum samples and heavy booming 80s. These elements melt into thumping bass lines, making your pulse race and your body move. Each carefully crafted track is an individual work of art.
Mighty Mark’s original releases and remixes receive frequent airplay via Rinse FM, BBC Radio and Radio One FM Stations and with each release his fanbase increases as people catch on to the wave. With recognition and features via respected publications such as Complex, Vice/Noisey and Earmilk, the future is looking bright as Mark continues to DJ in Baltimore’s most popular venues, create club anthems and curates music on his label Zoo On Mars Entertainment.
Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do and how you got into producing music?
I’m Mighty Mark, mostly known for Baltimore Club Music but also hip-hop, R&B, all kinds of styles of music. I’m from the Cherry Hill area, right down the street from this recreation center where we are now. I’ve been producing since about 2006, when I was in high school. When I was living in Cherry Hill I used to volunteer here at this recreation center with Ms. Shirley [Foulks] of the Youth Resiliency Institute, so I used to go in the computer lab and make music and beats with the kids and make club music with them. I used to help run the after school program Monday -Friday and then during the summer I helped with the summer camp for 5-6 years. I’ve seen a lot of the kids grow up and get jobs and some go off to school.
What does being an artist mean to you?
Being an artist has changed a lot even since I first began. In my music, I try to be true to myself and not follow trends. I try to give back to the community whenever I can, and also have culture surrounding my music. It’s not a gimmick, there’s always something more behind it. Even in the tracks that you see people dancing to, there’s really something deeper behind them as well. If I go to work, I work at Comcast, so if I’m really mad about something at work I go home and make a track. It might end up sounding angry or something, but it’s really a way to relieve the stress as well. Being an artist just means really expressing yourself on a musical level.
Do you think that working with the Youth Resiliency Institute has influenced your art?
It definitely has, because I’m more of a sponge—I like to have people around me when I’m creating. I’m not the type of person to say “Hey I came up with that, it’s all my idea.” And the youth always know what’s fresh and hot. I’m 28, so I’m getting old, but they’re something like 14 or 15 years old. When I started producing I wasn’t even making club music until I got to the recreation center—started seeing the kids dancing to it and playing it at parties and that sort of thing. That actually got me into Baltimore Club Music—this neighborhood right here.
How would you describe the arts community in Cherry Hill?
There’s not necessarily a place for artists here to gather, but there is a lot of talent here. And people find out how to make things out of nothing. There are a lot of skilled dancers and people that go into modelling and more, so the arts help to bring the community together. But we definitely lack in resources for people to gather, as well as basic tools—computers, microphones—things that people would need to record. But the arts may keep some people off the streets for a few hours and prevent them from doing things that they don’t want to do.
Would you describe this community center as a place where people come together?
Yeah! So the community center has always been a place to gather—it’s probably one of the longest open community centers in Chery Hill. Especially with Ms. Shirley [Foulks], she’s always had her doors open for anyone to come in—even just after school when you’re hungry she’d provide you snacks and anything of that sort–probably coming out of her own pockets.
Is there anything you want people to think about coming into the panel discussion that will take place at Friday’s kickoff event?
I really want parents or even leaders of the community to understand how important artistic outlets and artistic recreation can be for a child, as well as just how important music can be and how it can tie in to brain development and brain stimulation as well. Not even just music, any type of art. I feel like the arts have kind of taken a back burner. So even if you have the ability to put your child in a piano class or take them to a dance class—something of that sort. Even if you know how to dance and want to come here to volunteer, really if you have any artistic skill and you’re not just using it for yourself, you can share it with the world and share it with the kids as well.
Cherry Hill just had their inaugural Cherry Hill Festival recently, and now you’re having this neighborhood spotlight event. Do you see these as a way to kick start some of these conversations?
I definitely do. That was the first annual Cherry Hill Festival. I had the opportunity to DJ and my artist, TT the Artist, had the opportunity to perform. And during my set I brought two artists, who were born and raised in Cherry Hill—during my set they performed songs that I produced. I definitely think that it’s a step in the right direction and I think it’s going to be something big going on for years to come in Cherry Hill.
DALLAS THE DOLLMAKER
Dallas the Dollmaker with his Demon Series at the Cherry Hill Community Center.
When Dallas the Dollmaker met me at the Cherry Hill Community Center to do this interview, he was kind enough to bring along a suitcase full of his creations to show me in person. There had to have been at least thirty dolls in that suitcase, each designed and created with great attention to craft and detail and each with its own intricate back story. The collection of dolls that Dallas brought with him was his Demon Series, and he tells me that his next series will focus on Angels. It is hard to describe the feeling of picking up each of Dallas’s dolls, one by one, and marveling at its features while hearing from the artist about how he designed and crafted it, which found materials he used, and how its character fits into the fantasy-based world that he has created.
Attendees to Friday’s Community Spotlight Event will have the opportunity to meet Dallas, view his artworks up close, and learn more about the Demon Series. In addition to creating these works, Dallas is also a skilled photographer and writer. The artist also works with young students through summer programs and workshops, teaching them the art of doll making and inspiring their creative practices.
How did you first become involved with the Youth Resiliency Institute?
I first got involved this summer. I was introduced to them by Ms. Stewart (one of the many case workers at Cherry Hill Homes–she is so awesome, I love her so much) and I honestly didn’t know I would even be a part of anything that they were doing. I was just told that they needed help with the Cherry Hill Art & Music Festival. So I thought that meant helping them with set up and if they might need anything made, but I had no idea that I would actually be in the festival. I had the chance to put my art work on display as well as show children the creative process that goes into my art work. That is how I became involved with YRI and I hope to continue to be involved with them and work on more projects as well as events.
Can you tell us how you began creating your dolls?
I got started creating dolls in middle school when my art teacher, Mr. Walter, was showing us how different cultures make toys and gave the class a project to make our own dolls. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I was determined to make one that was presentable. We had a week to turn in our finished project, so I worked really hard and it payed off because when it was my turn to present what I made my teacher was blown away. It was just something that I ended up loving and thought it was great way to bring my creations to life.
What is something that you think is special about Cherry Hill?
Cherry Hill has it’s good times and bad, but what I think what make is special is how close the community is and how some of the older kids and adults look after the younger kids to make sure nothing happens to them. I find that to be very cool.
Is there any advice that you would give to a young artist?
Always stay true to who you are and love what you do.
What are you most looking forward to during the kickoff on Friday?
I just hope everyone is super pumped because I want people to feel the energy in the room and to have a great experience.
1. Where are you from originally?
Baltimore, Maryland. I’m a local Northeast Baltimorean. I went to college in High Point, North Carolina to follow my passion for Interior Design, but realized it was a little difficult to find employment with local Interior Design firms in my hometown. I then transferred up here to Baltimore, graduating from Sojourner-Douglass College with a BA in Business Administration and then received my Master’s in Public Administration specializing in nonprofit management from the University of Baltimore. I’ve been in the nonprofit sector for about 18 + years and have experience in fundraising/revenue development, strategic planning, training/development, budget administration and marketing and relationship management.
- What are some of the things you’re responsible for as Assistant Development Director?
My role was a newly created position to provide support to the Director of Development as she is out in the field raising funds. I’m responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Development department. We have a team of seven people, and I’m responsible for making sure the team strategizes in regards to raising funds through foundation, government, and city partners, corporate sponsors and individual donors. In addition, my role requires me to work closely with our finance department to reconcile cash receipts, pledges and provide accurate reports to close out the month.
- Where were you before BOPA?
Before BOPA I served as the Associate Director of Development at House of Ruth Maryland for about two years. Prior to the House of Ruth Maryland, I worked for the United Way of Central Maryland. Throughout my nonprofit experience I fundraised for human services, but now I’m fundraising for the arts, which is so much more relaxing and fun!
- How is that different?
Human services can focus on prevention as well as remediation of problems or specific needs. During my time at the House of Ruth Maryland I fundraised for women and children who were involved in intimate partner violence. As a survivor I wanted to work closely with an organization that I am very passionate about which allowed me to educate individuals on domestic violence. Prior to that I worked for United Way of Central Maryland and our goal was to fight poverty in central Maryland with programs encouraging self-sufficiency. I guided various state and city agencies in their fundraising efforts for the workplace giving campaigns. We were really trying to engage individuals to give back to the community. That was a good and challenging experience for me because it is hard to get people to give through back especially if they felt underpaid. Employees had specific nonprofit organizations that they supported, but the good thing about the United Way campaign it allowed an individual to pick up to five charities to give to at the end of the year and have it deducted from their paycheck. Coming to BOPA, because I’m a Baltimore City resident, I really wanted to help beautify the city, through the murals, the art and the cultural programs that we have in the city. I’ve always been a very strong advocate and participant in all of the festivals and events, but I didn’t have a clue as to what took place behind the scenes here at BOPA. Now I have such huge respect and admiration because I didn’t realize all the small, intricate details that took place.
- Is this the career path you pictured for yourself?
No, I actually studied interior decorating, but when I transferred back I had to find a job to put me through school so I started working in the undergraduate admissions department at Johns Hopkins University. I worked there for a total of 8 years at Hopkins, which in my last 4 years I worked in the graduate admissions department enrolling students. During my time on the campus I decided to help the Black Student Union with one of their events. They needed someone to help them raise money and I found my niche in fundraising. I had the relationships with local businesses and I knew wealthy individuals. Eventually I just stepped out on faith and left Johns Hopkins University. I found a job at the American Red Cross fundraising for Anne Arundel County. I traveled around the United States for national disasters and on occasions I was gone for a month on more depending on the disaster. I actually left the organization right before Katrina, but I was working for the American Red Cross when 9/11 hit. It was really easy to fundraise for the American Red Cross because whenever you have a natural disaster like that, everyone is opening up their wallets.
- What are some of the most challenging parts of raising money for BOPA’s programs? What goals does BOPA have for fundraising annually?
The challenging part is trying to get donors and sponsors to understand our mission and our goal in raising funds, simply because people think of us as a city agency when we are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. We are currently fundraising a little differently now that we have a new team. We are packaging BOPA as a whole and sharing with our partners everything that we do in regards to events, festivals and cultural programs. We want to make sure each partner understands our need and they are matched up with proper events and programs that aligned with their mission. The development department is responsible for raising 10 million dollars annually.
- What are some of your favorite parts of your job?
I just love the BOPA team. We are very family oriented and very close knit. I love the fact that everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets the work done; we are all hands on deck. You don’t find that in too many organizations. Also, fundraising for BOPA has been so rewarding because I’m actually going out and telling sponsors and donors what it is that BOPA does as a whole because people really don’t have a clue. They think of us as a city agency and we’re trying to change that mentality.
- What do you hope to see BOPA accomplish in the next 5 years?
Creating a strategic plan for our department, because when I came on board the development department did not have a strategic plan. So my goal ultimately is within the next 3 years to have a strategic plan for development department.
- Do you think BOPA will continue to grow?
Oh yeah, definitely. We really have set the bar with Light City Baltimore. Light City showed Baltimore City and BOPA’s potential to generate revenue and increase partnerships nationally and internationally. I think with the new administration under Mayor Catherine Pugh’s leadership she will keep BOPA in the forefront since she is such a strong advocate for the arts and culture.
Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) are proud to announce that Cindy Cheng is the winner of the 2017 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at an award ceremony at the Walters Art Museum on July 15, 2017. The six remaining finalists—Mequitta Ahuja, Mary Anne Arntzen, Sara Dittrich, Benjamin Kelley, Kyle Tata, and Amy Yee—each received a $2,500 honorarium provided by M&T Bank Charitable Foundation for a total donation of $15,000. Works of art by the winner and finalists are on view at the Walters through Sunday, August 13, 2017.
Cindy Cheng (Baltimore, MD) creates complex constructions and installations that investigate the relationship between drawings and objects and are incubators for history, memory and reflections on the physical and abstract self. Her work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions at St. Charles Projects (Baltimore, MD, 2016), ‘sindikit (in collaboration with Cheeny Celebrado-Royer) (Baltimore, MD, 2016), Present Junction (Toronto, Canada, 2015), Thomas H. and Mary K. Williams Gallery at Mount Saint Mary’s University (Emmitsburg, MD, 2016), Flashpoint (Washington, DC, 2014), E-merge Art Fair (Washington, DC, 2013) and has an upcoming solo show at Ditch Projects (Portland, OR, 2017). Cheng received her BA from Mount Holyoke College. Cheng received a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2008 and then earned her Masters of Fine Art from MICA’s Mount Royal School of Art in 2011. She is currently teaching at MICA in the Drawing Department, and has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT) and at the Anderson Ranch Artist Residency (Snowmass Village, CO). In 2016, Cheng and was a finalist for the Trawick Prize and in 2013 a semifinalist for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.
The Sondheim Artscape Prize: 2017 Finalists exhibition is held in conjunction with Artscape and is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. The $25,000 fellowship is awarded each year to an artist working in the Greater Baltimore region, and is designed to support the artist in the development of new work. The winner is selected by an independent panel of jurors, who review the exhibition and interview each artist. This year’s jurors are: Ruba Katrib, curator at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, New York, where she organizes exhibitions, educational and public programs, publications, and coordinates program presentation; Clifford Owens, a New York-based contemporary artist who works in performance, photography, text, and video; and Nat Trotman, associate curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Additionally, an exhibition of the semifinalists’ work is shown in the Decker and Meyerhoff galleries at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Friday, July 21, through Sunday, August 6.
America’s largest free arts festival, attracting more than 350,000 attendees, offers concerts on multiple outdoor stages, art exhibitions, an artists’ market, a full schedule of dance, theater and opera, jazz, classical, folk and experimental music, children’s activities, exhibitors, and an extensive variety of local food and beverage vendors on Mount Royal Avenue and North Charles Street. Artscape runs from July 21 through July 23. The festival’s total economic impact on Baltimore City is $25.97 million, according to a 2012 study by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.
The 2017 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is made possible through the generous support of the Abell Foundation, Alex Brown & Sons Charitable Foundation, Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Sondheim Dankert, France-Merrick Foundation, Hecht-Levi Foundation, Legg Mason, M&T Charitable Foundation, Amy & Chuck Newhall, Henry & Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, M. Sigmund & Barbara Shapiro Philanthropic Fund, John Sondheim and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
Janet & Walter Sondheim
The 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. was 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, and championing the development of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor. He was active in civic and educational activities in the city and state, and served as 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 and she spent 15 years at the Children’s Guild. 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.
THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM
The Walters Art Museum, located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre Streets, is free and open to the public. At the time of his death in 1931, museum founder Henry Walters left his entire collection of art to the city of Baltimore. The collections include ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art, and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. The Museum Store offers distinctive gifts, jewelry and books based on the museum’s collections.
Free admission to the Walters Art Museum is made possible by the combined generosity of individual members, friends and benefactors, foundations, corporations, and grants from the City of Baltimore, Maryland State Arts Council, Citizens of Baltimore County, and Howard County Government and Howard County Arts Council.