Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize

The Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize


The 2024 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize

Started in 2006, the Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize, which is is supported in part by the generosity of the Maryland State Arts Council, awards $30,000 to a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Baltimore region. Approximately three finalists will be selected for the final review for the prizes and their work will be exhibited in the Walters Art Museum. 

The purpose of the Sondheim Art Prize, and the finalists’ exhibition, is to assist in furthering the careers of visual artists or visual artist collaborators living and working in the greater Baltimore region. The prize is named in honor of Janet & Walter Sondheim, both of whom were instrumental in furthering arts & culture in Baltimore City. Janet Sondheim danced with the pioneering Denishawn Dancers, a legendary dance troupe founded by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Walter Sondheim, Jr. was one of Baltimore’s most important civic leaders for over 50 years. He was deeply involved in the development of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor and continued to be civically active until his death in 2007, serving as the senior advisor to the Greater Baltimore Committee.


The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announces the three finalists for the 2024 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize, which is awarded by BOPA in partnership with the Walters Art Museum (WAM) and supported by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). The distinguished jurors — artist, scholar, and poet Noel W. Anderson; curator, educator, and historian Connie H. Choi; and curator, historian, and lecturer Aaron Levi Garvey — have selected weaver Hellen Ascoli, mixed-media artist Amy Boone-McCreesh, and ceramicist Sam Mack for the final review for the $30,000 prize. These three Baltimore-based artists will exhibit their work at WAM in the Sondheim Finalists’ Exhibition, July17–September 8, 2024.


Over the next few months, finalists will work with WAM curators to select and install pieces for the Finalists’ Exhibition. The experience of collaborating with the curatorial staff at a world class museum like the Walters is an invaluable part of being a Sondheim finalist. Each finalist will also receive a $2,500 M&T Bank Finalist Award, which is designed, in part, to assist them in preparing for the exhibition.


On July 27, 2024, the jurors will meet with each artist for up to 45 minutes in their exhibition space for a final interview. After the interviews, the jurors will meet and decide the recipients for the Sondheim Art Prize and the studio residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. The winners will be announced on August 22, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. at the award ceremony and reception hosted by the Walters.

Hellen Ascoli

Hellen Ascoli is a Guatemalan weaver based in Baltimore who collaborates with the back-strap loom. Connecting her body to a site through this material-being, Ascoli co-creates works that embody the open language of weaving through sensation, memory, oral traditions, and poetry. In 2021, she had her first institutional solo exhibition titled “CIEN TIERRAS” at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati which traveled in 2023 to La Nueva Fábrica in Antigua, Guatemala. Currently Ascoli teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore while also developing a practice in Language Justice.

Sam Mack

Sam Mack currently lives and works in Baltimore. They received their MFA in Studio Art in 2019 from the School of Art at the University of Arkansas. Their work uses contemporary and historic ceramic vessels as a primary material in site-responsive sculpture. Mack has been an artist in residence at Ox Bow School of Art and Artist Residency and SUNY-New Paltz, and has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the JEAE International Arts Center in Jingdezhen, China; Aichi Ceramics Museum in Seto City, Japan; the Clay Studio in Philadelphia; YNG SPC (online); Vernon Filley Art Museum in Pratt, Kansas; and is presently represented by Galleri Urbane in Dallas, Texas.

Amy Boone-McCreesh

Amy Boone-McCreesh was born on Loring Air Force Base in Maine, received her BFA from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, and her MFA from Towson University. She has been awarded a two-year Hamiltonian Artist Fellowship in Washington, D.C., two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), and a 2023 Joan Mitchell Fellowship Nominee. Boone-McCreesh’s work has been included in exhibitions across the country, as well as supported by many institutional exhibitions. Amy’s large-scale works have been acquired by the Department of State in the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico (Art in Embassies, 2013), Facebook (2019), and Capital One (2018). Her work is featured in New “American Paintings” (issues 106 and 118) and “Handmade Life,” published by Thames and Hudson (2016). Based in Baltimore for the last 15 years, she is currently visiting faculty at Dickinson College.

The 2024 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize Semifinalists:

Helen Ascoli

Amy Boone-McCreesh

Thea Canlas

Alyssa Dennis

Sara Dittrich

Stephanie Garmey

Andrew Gray

Kei Ito

The 2024 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize Semifinalists:

Giulia Livi

Sam Mack

Charles Mason III

Eleisha Faith & Tonisha Hope McCorkle

Noah McWilliams

Mandy Morrison

Clarissa Pezone

Katie Pumphrey

Edgar Reyes

Julie Wills

2023 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize Winner: Abigail Lucien

BOPA proudly announces the winner of the 18th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize. Please join us in congratulating Abigail Lucien as the recipient of the $30,000 prize.

Abigail Lucien (they/she) is an interdisciplinary artist raised in Cap-Haitian, Haiti and Florida. Working in sculpture, poetry, video, and sound, their practice looks at ways cultural identities and inherited colonial structures transmit to the body and psyche by playfully challenging systems of assimilation through material.

Lucien was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, is a recipient of a 2020-21 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship, and was the 2020 Harpo Emerging Artist Fellow. They hold a BFA from Florida State University and an MFA in Printmaking from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Their work has exhibited at museums and institutions such as SculptureCenter (NY), MoMA PS1 (NY), Atlanta Contemporary (Atlanta, GA), The Luminary (St. Louis, MO), UICA (Grand Rapids, MI), Museum of Fine Arts(Tallahassee, FL), Woman Made Gallery (Chicago, IL), as well as Vox Populi Gallery, Hide Tide Gallery, and The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, PA.



If you have questions about the Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize contact Lou Joseph at 443-263-4339 or ljoseph@promotionandarts.org.

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