The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape prize announces semifinalists

Mayor Sheila Dixon and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts announce the semifinalists for the fourth annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The prize will award a $25,000 fellowship to a visual artist or visual artist collaborators working in the Baltimore region. The winner of the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize will be announced on July 11 at 7 p.m. at The Baltimore Museum of Art.

Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Semi-finalists
Seth Adelsberger, Baltimore, MD
Alzaruba, Baltimore, MD
BDC (Baltimore Development Cooperative), Baltimore, MD
Lisa Blas, Washington, DC
Rachel Bone, Baltimore, MD
Jessica Braiterman, Beltsville, MD
Travis Childers, Fairfax, VA
Mary Coble, Washington, DC
R.L. Croft, Manassas, VA
Alyssa Dennis, Baltimore, MD
Liz Ensz, Baltimore, MD
Leslie Furlong, Baltimore, MD
Ryan Hackett, Kensington, MD
Christian Herr, Lancaster, PA
Jason Horowitz, Arlington, VA
Jessie Lehson, Baltimore, MD
Kim Manfredi, Baltimore, MD
Katherine Mann, Baltimore, MD
Baby Martinez, Washington, DC
Sebastian Martorana, Baltimore, MD
Lisa Moren, Baltimore, MD
Ellen Nielsen, Baltimore, MD
Louie Palu, Washington, DC
Molly Springfield, Washington, DC
TwoCan Collective, Baltimore, MD
Karen Yasinsky, Baltimore, MD

Approximately six finalists will be selected for the final review for the prize. Artists’ work will be shown in the Thalheimer Gallery of The Baltimore Museum of Art. An exhibition of the semifinalists’ work will be shown in the Decker and Meyerhoff galleries of the Maryland Institute College of Art during the Artscape weekend, July 17-19. The prize is in conjunction with the annual Artscape juried exhibition and is produced with The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

This year’s jurors are Ellen Harvey, Valerie Cassel Oliver and Elisabeth Sussman. Ellen Harvey is a New York-based artist with an extensive exhibition history that includes solo shows at the LUXE Gallery(2007); New York, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2005), Philadelphia; the Whitney Museum at Philip Morris (2003), New York; and De Chiara Gallery (2000 & 2001), New York. She has been included in many significant group exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial 2008; Generation 1.5 at the Queens Museum of Art (2007), New York; Block Party at the Bellwether gallery (2002), New York; and Superduper New York at Pierogi 2000 (2000). In 1999, Ms. Harvey participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study program, after which she spent the following two years working on her now famous New York Beautification Project, a brilliantly straight-forward public art project where she “tagged” already graffiti covered spots with small 5” x 7” intricately detailed oval landscapes. She has other works in the public art collections of both New York and Chicago. She has also won several awards and her artwork has been reviewed often in publications such as The New York Times, Art in America and New York Magazine. She is currently represented by LUXE Gallery, New York; Magnus Müller, Berlin; Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden, Germany; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.

Valerie Cassel Oliver is Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), where she has been assembling acclaimed exhibitions since 2001. Included among them are Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary Art (2003), Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970 (2005), Black Light White Noise: Sound and Light in Contemporary Art; as well as Cinema Remixed and Reloaded. Black Women and the Moving Image since 1970, which is currently on view at the museum in Houston. She was also a member of the curatorial team for the 2000 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Prior to her tenure at CAMH, she was the director of the Visiting Artists Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and curated several lecture series and symposia including Witness: Art/Activism (1998), Lesbian Identity and the Landscape of Homophobia (1998), Jurassic Technology (1998), The Performative Object (1998), Culture of Empire/Culture of Resistance (1998), Reality/Virtual Reality (1997), and Sound Mining: Unearthing Extended Voice (1996). She has authored books that accompany a variety of her curatorial projects, and has served as a program specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts (1988 to 1995).

Elisabeth Sussman is Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; where her most recent curatorial effort William Eggleston: Democratic Camera – Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 has recently closed. Ms. Sussman’s remarkable career spans more than three decades and includes curating or co-curating such seminal exhibitions as Mike Kelley: Catholic Tastes (1993), the 1993 Biennial Exhibition, Nan Goldin: I’ll Be Your Mirror (1996), Keith Haring (1997) and Gordon Matta-Clark (2007) all at the Whitney Museum of American art; as well as the landmark retrospectives of the works of Eva Hess (2001), which won the International Art Critics Association First Prize for the best monographic exhibition retrospective outside of New York, and Diane Arbus (2003) for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In addition to authoring several publications that accompany her curatorial projects, she has contributed essays to countless other volumes. In 1999 she was a Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, and a Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in 2003. She has taught at M.I.T., Tufts and Harvard Universities.

Announcement of finalists April 14
Finalist interviews July 11
Award announcement July 11, 7 p.m.
BMA exhibition duration June 20-August 16
MICA exhibition duration July 17-August 2
Artscape July 17-19

The 2009 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is made possible through the support of The Abell Foundation, Alex. Brown Charitable Foundation, anonymous, The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, the Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Dankert, the France-Merrick Foundation, Under Armour Baltimore Marathon, Willard Hackerman c/o Whiting-Turner Contracting, and Legg Mason.

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