Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Baltimore: Arts leader!

Julia Kim Smith, “Anonymous Rage”

Baltimore has been gaining—and, in all likeliness, will continue to gain—a reputation of having one of the most vibrant, diverse and unique arts communities on the East Coast. Between having the “best music scene,” according to Rolling Stone, and great museums like the Walters and the Visionary Arts Museum, Baltimore has a lot going for it.

If you haven’t plugged into Baltimore’s local arts scene yet, MPT will give you a jump start tonight as the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance announces this year’s Baker Artist Awards winners live on ArtWorks.
There will be seven Baltimore’s Choice Prize winners (each prize is $1,000; these were voted online by the public) and three winners of a Mary Sawyers Baker prize, selected through a privately juried process, each totaling at least $25,000. It will be really exciting to watch these artists as they receive news of a lifetime.

The awards honor individual artists who live and work in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. Public participation in this year’s Baker Awards skyrocketed: More than 650 local artists nominated themselves by posting portfolios online, and more than 8,500 people registered to vote for their favorite artists on the awards’ website, which has been visited by art enthusiasts from all 50 states and more than 115 countries and territories throughout the world.
Among media represented by nominated artists are musical performance and performance art, painting and drawing, sculpture, video and film production and direction, animation, photography, spoken and written word, design, and handcraft.

The variety of artists in this competition is astounding, with artists working in every medium and method imaginable. All their works can be found at There are more traditional arts, such as the oil paintings of Karen Warshal and the sculptures of Peggy Fowler, as well as more experimental and avant-garde pieces, such as the abstract paintings of Tara Russell or cutting-edge films like Sean Honey’s “Street Dream." Each artist has their own unique motivation and goals they hope to achieve through their artwork. In reading the different artist statements, we are able to dive into the mind of the artist and understand how they view art. Be sure to tune into tonight at 7:30 p.m. to get in on the action!

Jordan Weinberg
Institutional Advancement intern

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