Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is proud to announce the six finalists for the 15th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. Five individual artists and one artist group have been selected by 2020 jurors Gary Carrion-Murayari, Nona Faustine, and Diya Vij. The competition will award a $25,000 fellowship over twelve months to the winner, with each of the remaining finalists receiving an M&T Bank Finalist Award of $2,500. Semifinalists will be awarded a $500 honorarium, also partially financed by a gift from M&T Bank this year.

Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Finalists
Miguel Braceli
Hoesy Corona
Phylicia Ghee
Muriel Hasbun
LaToya M. Hobbs
strikeWare (Mollye Bendell, Jeffrey Gangwisch, and Christopher Kojzar)

Virtual Exhibition & Award Ceremony

The Virtual Finalists’ Exhibition for the 15th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize featuring the six 2020 finalists is open. Click on the names below to view each exhibition. The exhibition is presented on Kunstmatrix, an online platform that allows for publicly viewable digital galleries that simulate the setup of three-dimensional galleries.

The award ceremony will now occur virtually on BOPA's YouTube page. This special evening, full of excitement, is always a highlight for the arts community in Baltimore every summer. Join BOPA, the jurors, and the six finalists for the big reveal of the $25,000 prize winner on Saturday, July 25, 2020 at 7:00 PM.

The previously announced Creative Artist Residency at Civitella Ranieri in Italy has been postponed.

Finalist Bios
Miguel Braceli (Baltimore, MD) is a multidisciplinary artist working at the intersection between art, architecture and education. His practice is focused on participatory projects in public space. Most of these projects have been large scale works, developed in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, México, Spain, Sweden, United States, and Venezuela. These works explore notions of borders, migrations, homelessness, national identities and social-political conflicts, working from the geopolitical geography to a human scale. He has exhibited in galleries, biennials, and important group shows in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. His most recent recognitions include Leslie King Hammond Fellowship Award MICA (USA, 2017), Young Artist Award of the Principality of Asturias (Spain, 2018), Supertrama Public Art Competition Award (Spain, 2017), AICA International Artist Award (2017) and the AICA Emerging Artist Award (Venezuela, 2014). He is currently a Fulbright Scholar at Maryland Institute College of Arts.

Hoesy Corona (Baltimore, MD) is a multidisciplinary artist working in both visual and performance art. He creates uncategorized works that draw from his personal experiences as a queer Mexican immigrant in the United States. His works oftentimes confront and delight viewers with some of the most pressing issues of our time. Recurring themes of race/class/gender, otherness, celebration, nature, isolation, and the climate crisis are all present throughout his work. His colorful sculptural works fitted to the human body have been presented at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Walters Art Museum, Gilcrease Museum, and The Reach at The Kennedy Center. Recent honors include a Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a Merriweather District Artist in Residence, a Halcyon Arts Lab Fellowship, a Ruby’s Artist Grant, a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and an Andy Warhol Foundation Grit Fund Grant. He lives and works in Baltimore, MD and Tulsa, OK. www.hoesycorona.com

Phylicia Ghee (Baltimore, MD) is an interdisciplinary visual artist and photographer. Ghee received her BFA in Photography with a Concentration in Curatorial Studies from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2010. Taught by her Grandfather at a very early age, she works in photography, performance, video, fibers, mixed media, installation & painting. Ghee’s artwork documents transition, explores healing, ritual, ceremony & personal rites of passage. Ghee has curated numerous exhibitions, events and public programs centered around issues of identity, healing and community. Ghee’s work extends beyond her personal practice and engages collaboratively with community. She brings art-based ritual to various communities in the forms of intergenerational storytelling, performance, ceremonial rites of passage, installation, sensory therapy and deep meditative rest experiences. In 2017, Ghee received recognition from First Lady Yumi Hogan & the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration for her art and activism in raising awareness on issues surrounding mental health and substance use disorder. Ghee was named ‘2019 Best of Baltimore' in the category of Artist and 2020 Baker Artist Award Finalist.

Muriel Hasbun’s (Silver Spring, MD) expertise as an artist and as an educator focuses on issues of cultural identity, migration and memory. Through an intergenerational, transnational and transcultural lens, Hasbun constructs contemporary narratives and establishes a space for dialogue where individual and collective memory spark new questions about identity and place. Her work activates the space across borders, generations and cultural divides, and has become increasingly interdisciplinary and socially engaged. Her commitment to enacting more culturally responsive and equitable sites of dialogue, healing, learning and creativity has grown through her founding and directing Laberinto Projects, a transnational, art, culture and education nonprofit that fosters contemporary art practices, social inclusion and dialogue in El Salvador and its U.S. diaspora. Hasbun is professor emerita at the GWU Corcoran School of Arts & Design, and visiting artist/distinguished practitioner with the Hartford Art School’s Nomad MFA program. Hasbun will be the Estelle Lebowitz Endowed Visiting Artist at Rutgers University in the fall and her work will be included in “Art for the Future” at Tufts University. Hasbun’s work is represented by RoFa Projects.

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.

strikeWare (Baltimore, MD) lives on the line between human and user experience. strikeWare works and plays with VR/AR, time-based media, customized hardware, digital fabrication, interactive media. Mollye Bendell makes digital and analog sculptures to connect with digital and analog worlds. Her work uses the intangible nature of electronic media as a metaphor for exploring vulnerability, visibility, and longing in a world that can feel isolating. Christopher Kojzar creates interactive art in response to encounters he has with other people when he enters active public spaces and openly engages in artistic practices such as drawing or recording with wearable technology. Jeffrey L. Gangwisch works with the interaction of digital and physical media with a focus on the human figure. His work blends photography, cinematography, animation and new media technologies to create time-based installations and interactive experiences.

The 2020 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is made possible through the generous annual support of presenting sponsor M&T Bank. Additional funds come from an endowment established with the support of the Abell Foundation, Baltimore Community Foundation, Amy and Chuck Newhall, Brown Advisory, Caplan Family Foundation, Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Sondheim Dankert, France-Merrick Foundation, Greater Baltimore Committee, Hecht-Levi Foundation, Legg Mason, Rollins-Luetkemeyer Foundation, Henry & Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, Rosemore, Inc., Rouse Company Foundation, Sigmund & Barbara Shapiro Philanthropic Fund, John Sondheim, William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, and Patricia and Mark Joseph/The Shelter Foundation. BOPA would additionally like to thank the more than 40 individuals who contributed to the Sondheim Prize Endowment Fund in 2017 in honor of former BOPA CEO Bill Gilmore.

Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Semifinalists

  • Lauren Francis Adams, Baltimore, MD
  • Sobia Ahmad, Silver Spring, MD
  • Stephanie Barber, Baltimore, MD
  • Miguel Braceli, Baltimore, MD
  • Mina Cheon, Baltimore, MD
  • Hasani Claxton, Towson, MD
  • Shannon Collis & Liz Donadio, Lutherville, MD & Baltimore, MD
  • Hoesy Corona, Baltimore, MD
  • Sue Crawford, Baltimore, MD
  • Leigh Davis, Washington, DC
  • Nicoletta de la Brown, Baltimore, MD
  • Tim Doud, Washington, DC
  • Elliot Doughtie, Baltimore, MD
  • Liz Ensz, Baltimore, MD
  • Arit Etukudo, Severn, MD
  • Phylicia Ghee, Randallstown, MD
  • Muriel Hasbun, Silver Spring, MD
  • Marnie Ellen Hetzler, Baltimore, MD
  • Taha Haydari, Baltimore, MD
  • Latoya Hobbs, Baltimore, MD
  • Phaan Howng, Baltimore, MD
  • Kei Ito, Baltimore, MD
  • Gabrielle Lajoie-Bergeron, Baltimore, MD
  • Amani Lewis, Baltimore, MD
  • Katherine Mann, Washington, DC
  • Danni O’Brien, Baltimore, MD
  • Liora Ostroff, Baltimore, MD
  • Zemer Peled, Baltimore, MD
  • Judith Pratt, Alexandria, VA
  • Mojdeh Rezaeipour, Washington, DC
  • John Ruppert, Towson, MD
  • Ginevra Shay, Baltimore, MD
  • strikeWare (Mollye Bendell, Jeffrey L. Gangwisch, Christopher Kojzar), Baltimore, MD
  • Savannah Wood, Baltimore, MD

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.

Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize
The Artscape prize is named in honor of Janet and Walter Sondheim who have been 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 has 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 teach 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.

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.

For more information on the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize, call 410-752-8632.

2019 Winner

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.

2018 Winner

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.

2017 Winner

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.

2016 Winner

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.


More Information

For more information on the Sondheim Artscape Prize, visit artscape.org.

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