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Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announces that the application for the 14th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is now available. The prestigious competition awards a $25,000 fellowship to assist in furthering the career of a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Greater Baltimore region. The Sondheim Artscape Prize also provides regional artists the opportunity to exhibit their works at the Walters Art Museum. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, January 15, 2019. The application is available at and

The finalists’ exhibition is on view Saturday, June 15–Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the Walters Art Museum, located at 600 N. Charles St. An award ceremony and reception takes place Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 7pm at the Walters. Galleries open at 10am. Admission to the exhibition and opening reception are free. Each finalist not selected for the prize is presented with an M&T Bank Finalist Award of $2,500. The 2019 jurors are Laylah Ali, Regine Basha and William Powhida.

Sondheim Artscape Prize applicants will also be reviewed for potential inclusion by the curators for Artscape Gallery Network and Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival. Artscape Gallery Network provides residents and cultural tourists with an extended opportunity to view the works of Baltimore’s talented artists before, during, and after the festival weekend. Gallery Network exhibitions highlight 2019 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize applicants, along with artists working throughout the region.

Past distinguished recipients of the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize are Laure Drogoul (Baltimore, MD) in 2006; Tony Shore (Baltimore, MD) in 2007; Geoff Grace (Baltimore, MD) in 2008; Baltimore Development Cooperative (Baltimore, MD) in 2009; Ryan Hackett (Kennsington, MD) in 2010; Matthew Porterfield (Baltimore, MD) in 2011; Renee Stout (Washington, DC) in 2012; Gabriela Bulisova (Washington, DC ) in 2013; Neil Feather (Baltimore, MD) in 2014; Wickerham & Lomax (Baltimore, MD) in 2015; FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture (Baltimore, MD) in 2016; Cindy Cheng (Baltimore, MD) in 2017; and Erick Antonio Benitez (Baltimore, MD) in 2018.

Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Timeline

Application Deadline: Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Announcement of Semifinalists: Late February/early March 2019

Announcement of Finalists: Mid-April 2019

Finalist Exhibition: Saturday, June 15–Sunday, August 11, 2019

Award Announcement: Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 7pm; Galleries open at 10am

Semifinalist Exhibition and Opening Reception: Late July

Artscape: Friday, July 19–Saturday, July 21, 2019

2019 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Jurors

Laylah Ali was born in Buffalo, NY, in 1968, and lives and works in Williamstown, MA. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, among others. Her work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale (2003) and the Whitney Biennial (2004). Ali’s works are included in the permanent collections of numerous public institutions including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, among many others.

Regine Basha has been curating innovative exhibitions for public institutions, civic spaces, magazines and private galleries nationally and internationally since 1993. With an exploratory approach to exhibition design, production and reception, Basha works closely with artists to create specific contexts in which to encounter the work. Basha was born in Israel to Iraqi parents, grew up in Montreal and Los Angeles, attended New York University and Concordia University in Montreal, and graduated in the inaugural class of 1996 of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY. Her exhibitions have received grant awards from The Andy Warhol Foundation, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as critical press in The New York Times, Artforum, Modern Painters, Art Papers, Wire, Bidoun, Art Lies, Artforum and NPR Radio. She currently sits on the board of Art Matters and is the Residency Advisor to Pioneer Works Residency. More information on

William Powhida is an artist and critic based in New York City. He studied painting at Syracuse University where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors, and received a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in New York City. He has exhibited internationally in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, London, Madrid, Miami, Chicago, Copenhagen, Austria, Dublin and even the Canary Islands. His recent shows includeUnretrospective at Platform Gallery, Overculture at Postmasters Gallery, and Bill by Bill at Charlie James Gallery. Powhida’s work has been discussed in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Art News, Artinfo,Artnet, Hyperallergic, and Art F City, among others. He has had residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, the Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin County, CA, and Casa Maauad in Mexico City. Currently, Powhida is represented in New York City by Postmasters Gallery, in Seattle by Platform Gallery, in Los Angeles by Charlie James Gallery, and in Copenhagen by Gallery Poulsen. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, and the Orange County Museum of Art, in Santa Ana, CA.

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 was 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 teaching 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.

The 14th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is held in conjunction with the 38th annual Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, and produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in partnership with the Walters Art Museum. The 2019 competition 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, and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. 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.

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


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