The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape prize semifinalists announced

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts announce the semifinalists for the fifth annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. 

The prestigious competition is designed to assist visual artists or visual artist collaborators in furthering their careers by awarding a $25,000 fellowship. The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is held in conjunction with the annual Artscape juried exhibition and is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. The finalists and semifinalists exhibitions are presented in partnership with The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). An award announcement and reception takes place July 10 at 7 p.m. at the BMA, located 10 Art Museum Drive. Artscape, America’s largest free celebration of the arts takes place July 16, 17 and 18, 2010 on Mount Royal Avenue and North Charles.


Alzaruba, Baltimore, MD
Lawrence Lee, Baltimore, MD
Christine Bailey, Baltimore, MD
Kim Manfredi, Baltimore, MD
Kathryn Bell, Baltimore, MD
Ben Marcin, Baltimore, MD
Amita Bhatt, Baltimore, MD
Christina Martinelli, Baltimore, MD
Travis Childers, Fairfax, VA
Sebastian Martorana, Baltimore, MD
Leah Cooper, Baltimore, MD
Alexa Meade, Chevy Chase, MD
Brent Crothers, Bel Air, MD
Maggie Michael, Washington, DC
Oletha DeVane, Ellicott City, MD
Ledelle Moe, Baltimore, MD
Annie Farrar, Baltimore, MD
Cory Oberndorfer, Washington, DC
Shaun Flynn, Baltimore, MD
Matthew Porterfield, Baltimore, MD
Dawn Gavin, Baltimore, MD
Siobhan Rigg, Washington, DC
Breon Gilleran, Baltimore, MD
Michael Sylvan Robinson, Baltimore, MD
Amy Glengary Yang, Washington, DC
Rachel Rotenberg, Baltimore, MD
Ryan Hackett, Kensington, MD
Adam T. Rush, Baltimore, MD
Michelle Hagewood, Baltimore, MD
Christopher Saah, Washington, DC
Matthew Janson, Baltimore, MD
Hadieh Shafie, Baltimore, MD
Evan La Londe, Baltimore, MD
Dan Steinhilber, Washington, DC
Nate Larson, Baltimore, MD
Melissa Webb, Baltimore, MD
Christopher LaVoie, Baltimore, MD
Karen Yasinsky, Baltimore, MD

Approximately six of the artists will be selected as the finalists for the prize. Their work will be shown in the Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Galleries of the BMA. In addition, an exhibition of the remaining semifinalists’ work will be shown during the Artscape weekend in the Decker and Meyerhoff galleries of MICA, located at 1303 West Mount Royal Avenue. 

This year’s jurors are Robert Nickas, Magdalena Sawon and Hamza Walker. Nickas is an independent New York-based curator, writer and art critic who, over the past 25 years, has organized more than 80 exhibitions that have been shown in museums and galleries throughout the world. Responsible for Aperto at the Venice Biennale in 1993 and the 2003 Biennale de Lyon, his most recent exhibition Cave Paintings premiered in July in Berlin at PSM Gallery, and was produced in October and November in New York by Grisham’s Ghost at 511 West 25th Street in Manhattan. 

This exhibition is an accompaniment to his latest book, Painting Abstraction: New Elements in Abstract Painting (October 2009); a remarkable volume that highlights the current work of 80 contemporary artists. A regular contributor to Artforum and a founding editor of Index magazine, he has also authored countless essays in exhibition catalogues and artists’ monographs. His other books include two collections of his writings, Live Free or Die (2000) and Theft is Vision (2007). From 2003-06, he served as curatorial advisor at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York.

Sawon is the owner and director of Postmasters Gallery in New York. Begun in December 1984 in the East Village, Postmasters Gallery relocated to Soho in 1989 and moved to its current 4,000 sq. ft. ground floor space in Chelsea in September 1998. Postmasters Gallery is one of the few commercial galleries that actively seeks both young and established artists working with new technologies to create their work. This emphasis began with their, at the time, unique and now seminal exhibition in 1996, Can you digit?; which was comprised of approximately 30 monitors arranged in a boat-like shape, each showing a singular digital work. Along with artists working in video and new media, Postmasters Gallery’s current roster of artists includes those working in painting, sculpture and installation. Sawon has also served on Rhizome’s Board of Directors from 2002 until 2005, a New York-based organization whose mission is to support the creation, presentation, preservation and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage new technologies.

Walker, who grew up in Baltimore, has been the director of education and associate curator of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, a non-collecting museum devoted to contemporary art, since 1994. Prior to his current position, he held the post of public art coordinator in Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs. His curatorial projects include the exhibitions Several Silences; Black Is, Black Ain’t; Meanwhile in Bagdad; All the Pretty Corpses; A Perfect Union…More or Less and New Video, New Europe, among several others. He has written for the journals Trans, New Art Examiner, Parkett and Artforum; as well as contributed catalogue essays for several artists including Rebecca Morris, Thomas Hirschhorn and Katharina Grosse. He was the recipient of the 1999 Norton Curatorial Grant, the Menil Collection’s 2005 Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement, and is one of two winners of the New Museum’s 2010 Ordway Prize. He is among the graduate faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently on the board of The Chicago Public Art Group.

Announcement of finalists: April 13
BMA exhibition duration: June 19-Aug. 1
MICA exhibition duration: July 16-Aug. 1
Finalist interviews: July 10
Award announcement: July 10 at 7 p.m.
Artscape July 16-18

The 2010 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize is supported by The Abell Foundation, Alex Brown Charitable Foundation, The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Dankert, France-Merrick Foundation, Willard Hackerman, Legg Mason, Under Armour Baltimore Marathon/Corrigan Sports and anonymous.

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