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The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announces the finalists for the 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize presented by M&T Bank. The three individual artists selected as this year’s finalists are Maren Henson, Megan Koeppel, and James Williams II. This year, the prestigious competition will award a $30,000 fellowship to assist in furthering the career of a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Greater Baltimore region. BOPA will also be awarding two residencies to finalists not selected for the Sondheim Art Prize: a six-week, fully funded residency at Civitella Ranieri in the Umbria region of Italy, and a six-month residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.
The selected finalists will show their work at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles Street. The finalists' exhibition will be on view from Thursday, July 21–Sunday, September 18, 2022. Admission to the exhibition is free. After the panel of jurors — Catherine Morris, Jean Shin, and Kambui Olujimi — conducts a final interview with each artist in their exhibition space, they will meet and decide the prize winner and the recipient of each residency. The winner of 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony held at the Walters.
In the case of COVID-19 restrictions not allowing for in-person exhibitions, BOPA will utilize the online platform Kunstmatrix, with assistance from the Walters' curatorial staff. Juror interviews will take place online, and BOPA will coordinate a virtual award ceremony.
About the Finalists
As the concealed artifacts behind historical conspiracies become public information, Maren Henson reexamines the role of conspiracy and how it has shaped American culture. These videos, drawings, and sound installations examine how cultural narratives are manipulated and controlled. She received her Master of Fine Art degree in the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently lives. She has exhibited work in New York, Boston, LA, Puerto Rico, Maryland, and Texas.
Born in 1996 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Megan Koeppel is a fiber artist currently living in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2018, where she studied fine art and curatorial practices. Her work has recently been exhibited in the DMV area and her home state, in spaces such as Var Gallery (Milwaukee), The Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts (Cedarburg Wisconsin), Material Gallery + Studio (Milwaukee), VisArts (Rockville, Maryland), Monochrome Art Fair (Washington, DC), and at Creative Alliance (Baltimore). She currently works as the Exhibition Programming Coordinator at VisArts in Rockville.
JAMES WILLIAMS ll
James Williams II is a curator and interdisciplinary artist whose work encompasses painting, sculpture, and photography. His works center on topics of social and cultural identity in the United States tied together by self-portraiture and narration. His most recent project was curating the show, Future Planets, at Longwood Center for the Visual Arts — an exhibition featuring the creativity of young artists ranging from ages 3–15 years old alongside their creative and established parents. Williams is the recipient of the MFA Joan Mitchell Foundation award, the Bromo Seltzer Fellowship, and served as artist-in-residence at School 33 in Baltimore, Maryland. Williams, originally from Upstate New York, received his master’s degree from the Mount Royal School of Art program at Maryland Institute College Art (MICA). He currently teaches at MICA.
The 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in partnership with the Walters Art Museum. Learn more about the Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize at www.promotionandarts.org. To see artwork samples of this year’s semifinalists, follow BOPA on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @promoandarts
Since 2009, Catherine Morris has curated a number of exhibitions for the Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, including the award-winning Materializing “Six Years”: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art (co-curated with Vincent Bonin); Twice Militant: Lorraine Hansberry’s Letters to “The Ladder”; Between the Door and the Street: A performance initiated by Suzanne Lacy; “Workt by Hand”: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts;
Kathë Kollwitz: Prints from the “War” and “Death” Portfolios; Rachel Kneebone: Regarding Rodin; Newspaper Fiction: The New York Journalism of Djuna Barnes, 1913–1919; Matthew Buckingham: “The Spirit and the Letter”; Lorna Simpson: Gathered; Sam Taylor-Wood: “Ghosts”; Kiki Smith: Sojourn; and Healing the Wounds of War: The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair of 1864. She was also the in-house curator of Eva Hesse Spectres 1960 and Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968.
Before her tenure at the Sackler Center, Catherine was an independent curator. Among some of the projects she organized are Decoys, Complexes, and Triggers: Women and Land Art in the 1970s at SculptureCenter, Long Island City, 9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering, 1966 for the M.I.T. List Visual Arts Center, and Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art of the 1970s at White Columns, New York. From 2004 until 2009, she was Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Art for the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she curated shows of Josiah McElheny, Lucy Gunning, and Cameron Martin. In 2004, she received a Penny McCall Foundation Award for Independent Curating and Writing.
Recognized for her monumental installations, artist Jean Shin transforms large accumulations of everyday objects into expressions of identity and community engagement. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos, and site-specific installations that interrogate our connection with consumption, environmental impact, and the life cycle of objects. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.
Shin’s innovative work has been widely exhibited in over 150 major museums and cultural institutions, including solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona, Crow Collection in Dallas and Storm King Art Center. Her works have been on view at the New Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum of Fine Art Boston, Asia Society Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, Museum of Art and Design, Barnes Foundation, among other prestigious museums. This year Shin has a solo project at Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, NY.
As an accomplished artist practicing in the public realm, she also realizes large-scale, permanent installations commissioned by major public agencies. She recently completed a landmark commission for the MTA’s Second Ave Subway at the 63rd Street Station in New York City.
In recognition of excellence, she has received numerous awards, including two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Architecture/Environmental Structures (2008) and Sculpture (2003), Korea Arts Foundation of America, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Asian Cultural Council, and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Art Award. Her works and interviews have been featured in many publications, including The New York Times, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Artnews, Frieze Art, Hyperallergic, and Brooklyn Rail.
Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in the United States, Shin attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999 and received a BFA and MS from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She also received an honorary doctorate from New York Academy of Art. Shin is a tenured Adjunct Professor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute and a recipient of Pratt’s 2017 Alumni Achievement Award. Shin is President of Joan Mitchell Foundation and serves on the Board of YoungArts The National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists.
She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, and in Hudson Valley.
Kambui Olujimi was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn and received his MFA from Columbia University in New York City. Olujimi’s work challenges established modes of thinking that commonly function as "inevitabilities." This pursuit takes shape through interdisciplinary bodies of work spanning sculpture, installation, photography, writing, video and performance. His solo exhibitions include; Zulu Time, at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, A Life in Pictures, at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Solastalgia, at Cue Arts Foundation, and Wayward North at Art in General.
His works have premiered nationally at The Sundance Film Festival, Studio Museum in Harlem, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Mass MoCA. Internationally his work has been featured at Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid; Kunsthal Rotterdam in Netherlands; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Finland and Para Site in Hong Kong among others. Olujimi has been awarded residencies from Black Rock Senegal, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and MacDowell.
He has received grants and commissions from numerous institutions including The Jerome Foundation, NFYA/ NYSCA Fellowship and MTA Arts & Design. Media coverage of Olujimi’s work includes; The New Yorker, Art Forum, Art in America, Brooklyn Rail, The Guardian, CNN, and The New York Times. Monographs on his past project include Walk With Me, (2020), Zulu Time (2017), Wayward North (2012), The Lost Rivers Dream Index (2007/ 2018), Walk the Plank (2006), and Winter in America (in collaboration with Hank Willis Thomas, 2006).
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 13 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 the Sondheim Prize finalist exhibition, 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 three finalists for the exhibition and final review.
Final Review – The finalists will have their work exhibited in the Walters Art Museum. 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. The exhibit design and artwork placement within these galleries is at the sole discretion of the Walters Art Museum curatorial and exhibition staff. When the exhibition opens, 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.
In the case of COVID-19 restrictions not allowing for in-person exhibitions, we will utilize the online platform Kunstmatrix, with curatorial assistance from the Walters staff. Interviews with each finalist will take place with the jurors online, and BOPA will coordinate an online award ceremony.
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.
● 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with questions regarding the submission of sound based works.
Announcement of Finalists: Mid-April 2022
Finalist Studio Visits with Exhibition Curators: April–May 2022
Finalist Exhibition Press Preview: Mid-July 2022 (Tuesday)
Finalist Exhibition: Mid-July–September 18, 2022
Finalist Interviews & Awards Announcement: Mid-July (Saturday)
The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is proud to announce that Hae Won Sohn is the winner of the 2021 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at a virtual award ceremony, streamed on BOPA’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
“I was definitely surprised,” said Sohn in an interview with BOPA Arts Council Director Jackie Downs. “I would say that everyone would be surprised to know that they’re selected for any kind of competition or prize. Even though I do have confidence in my work, I think the artists that were showing with me, their work, it’s amazing.”
Hae Won Sohn (Baltimore, MD) is a visual artist and craftswoman from Seoul, South Korea. In her practice, the artist utilizes studio artifacts such as broken molds or material remnants; further incorporating the action of de-/reconstruction in her (re)development of form and object history. While her process metaphorically references the archeological procedures and geographical phenomena, her studio practice incorporates conscious improvisation and the autonomy of material as a structural and conceptual foundation; further proposing a system built upon failure as a parallel model to success. Being selected as a finalist for the inaugural Galerie Emerging Artist Award (2019) by Galerie Magazine, Sohn’s most recent body of work was exhibited at Emmanuel Barbault Gallery (New York, NY) as part of Monologue aside (2020), her gallery solo. Her work also has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as Emmanuel Barbault Gallery, New York, NY; Gray Contemporary, Houston, TX; MONO Practice, Baltimore, MD; Next Step Studio & Gallery, Ferndale, MI; Zahoorul Akhlaq Gallery of National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan; and Kyung-In Museum of Fine Art, Seoul, South Korea. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Sohn earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the College of Design at Kookmin University located in Seoul, South Korea, and her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Cranbrook Academy of Art located in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is proud to announce that LaToya M. Hobbs is the winner of the 2020 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at a virtual award ceremony on Saturday, July 25, streamed on BOPA’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
“I am so excited, so happy and just filled with so much gratitude,” said Hobbs during the award ceremony. “It is an honor to continue in the tradition of the Sondheim Award and an absolute pleasure to share my work with you.”
LaToya M. Hobbs (Baltimore, MD) is an artist, wife, and mother of two currently living and working in Baltimore, MD. She received her BA in Painting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and MFA in Printmaking from Purdue University. Hobbs’ work deals with figurative imagery that addresses the ideas of beauty, cultural identity, and womanhood as they relate to women of the African Diaspora. She creates a fluid and symbiotic relationship between her printmaking and painting practice producing works that are marked by texture, color and bold patterns. Her exhibition record includes several national and international exhibits. Hobbs’ work has also been featured in Transition: An International Review, a publication of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Other accomplishments include a 2019 Individual Artist Award in the Works on Paper category from the Maryland State Arts Council, a 2019 Artist Travel Grant awarded by the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore and she is the recipient of a 2020 Artist in Residence award at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, LA. Additionally, Hobbs devotes her time to teaching and inspiring young artists as a Professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Hobbs’ winning Sondheim Artscape Prize gallery is available for viewing here.
The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is proud to announce that Akea Brionne Brown is the winner of the 2019 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at The Walters Art Museum on Saturday, July 13, 2019. The six other finalists received a $2,500 honorarium established by M&T Bank in partnership with BOPA.
Akea Brionne Brown (Baltimore, MD) is an emerging photographer that investigates the implications of historical racial and social structures in relation to the development of contemporary black life and identity within America. With a particular focus on the ways in which history influences the contemporary cultural milieu of the American black middle class, Brown explores today's African-American community as it relates to historical forms of oppression, discrimination and segregation in American history. She received a Visual Task Force scholarship from the National Association of Black Journalists. Her work is featured in the Smithsonian’s Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, and was recently acquired by Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. She was the 2018 winner of Duke University’s Archive of Documentary Arts Collection’s Documentarian of Color award. Her series, Black Picket Fences, was acquired for their permanent collection at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. She was also chosen to attend the 7th annual New York Portfolio Review in 2018.
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, 2018. The five other finalists—Nakeya Brown, Sutton Demlong, Nate Larson, Eunice Park, and Stephen Towns—received a $2,500 honorarium established by M&T Bank in partnership with BOPA. Works of art by the winner and finalists were on view at the BMA through Sunday, August 5, 2018.
Esta Tierra Es Tu Tierra (This Land Is Your Land) is an immersive installation focusing on the U.S.-Mexico border and its effects on human lives. In winter 2015 and summer 2016, Erick Antonio Benitez (American, b. 1988) traveled the entirety of the border that stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, visiting numerous sites including migrant shelters (in both the U.S. and Mexico), a Tent City jail recently closed for its horrific human rights violations, and various border landscapes. His poetic and sonic video documentary captures onsite interviews with border agents, migrants, and members of the volunteer Minuteman Project, as well as interactions at Friendship Park, where residents of the U.S. and Mexico are permitted to meet face-to-face across a 100-foot, semitransparent span of fencing. Benitez also made audio recordings and photographs and collected sand, dirt, rocks, seashells, yucca flowers, and discarded personal belongings. He preserves and enshrines these objects within the installation as ritual offerings to those who have lost their lives on their journey to the United States.
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 degree 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 publicly in Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; Brooklyn, 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, a Journal of Art + 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.
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 the Walters Award Museum on Saturday, 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 supported by M&T Bank Charitable Foundation in partnership with BOPA. Works of art by the winner and finalists were 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.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) are proud to announce that FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is the winner of the 2016 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at this evening’s awards ceremony at The Baltimore Museum of Art. The six other finalists—Theo Anthony, Stephanie Barber, Darcie Book, Larry Cook, Eric Kruszewski, Christos Palios—received a $2,500 honorarium established this year by M&T Bank in partnership with BOPA. Works of art by the winner and finalists are on view at the BMA through Sunday, July 31, 2016.
FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture describes itself as a “creative activist effort to upset the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent.” The organization was founded in 2010 by Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle, community organizers and artists living in Baltimore. The group deploys its messages against sexual violence through public art projects and events, as well as through the Internet and media campaigns.
On view is a small portion of FORCE’s The Monument Quilt, a growing compilation of the stories of survivors of sexual violence presented on 8-foot by 8-foot squares of red fabric. In 2017, FORCE seeks to bring 6,000 of these quilt squares (produced in workshops across the country) to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where they will spell out the equally cautionary and consoling phrase “Not Alone.” Accompanying the quilt squares at the BMA is video footage documenting earlier presentations of the quilt. FORCE will also conduct a public awareness program as part of its Sondheim exhibition contribution.
The Sondheim Artscape Prize: 2016 Finalists exhibition is held in conjunction with Artscape and is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. It is one of the summer’s most highly anticipated exhibitions. It is designed to assist visual artists in the Greater Baltimore region in furthering their careers by allowing them to pursue tracks in their work that may not otherwise be possible. The artists were selected by an independent panel of jurors, who reviewed the exhibition and interviewed each artist to decide the winner. This year’s jurors are: Tim Griffin, Executive Director and Chief Curator at The Kitchen; Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum; and Mia Locks, Co-Curator of The Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2017 Whitney Biennial.