Skip to main content

GBCA Announces 2022 Baker Artist Awardees

June 21, 2022

Press Contact: David London
[email protected]
c) 301-787-4250

Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) Announces 2022 Baker Artist Awardees
Painter Ernest Shaw received the $40,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize

Click here for PDF

BALTIMORE, MD—The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) and the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund are thrilled to announce the 2022 Baker Artist Awardees. Baltimore painter Ernest Shaw was selected to receive the $40,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize—the largest art prize in the region. Awardees were selected by an anonymous jury from over 600 Baltimore-region artists who created a free, online Baker Artist Portfolio on The selected artists exemplify excellence in three areas: mastery of craft, depth of artistic exploration, and a unique vision.

Five additional artists were selected to each receive a $10,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize: Pamela Woolford (Interdisciplinary Arts), Meng Su (Music), Allen Chunhui Xing (Performance), Lynn Tomlinson (Film/ Video), Timmy Reed (Literary Arts).

“The Baker Awards come with no strings attached, so can act as a transformational catalyst to forward area artists’ careers and practices“ said Jeannie Howe, Executive Director of the GBCA. “The awards are an affirmation of excellence and encouragement. GBCA is grateful to have a long-term partnership with the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, proud of all we have accomplished together over the past fourteen years, and honored to be a part of the lives of so many exceptional artists.”

“Ernest Shaw’s dynamic paintings represent the incredible innovation and embodiment of excellence that Baltimore has to offer, and it’s an honor for Baker to recognize and support his incredible work,” said Connie Imboden, President of the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund.

The 2022 Awardees will be announced on Tuesday, June 21st. The Awardees will be celebrated on a special episode of Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) Artworks program, Baker Artist Awards: An Artworks Special, scheduled to air in October 2022. The MPT Artworks broadcast, hosted by past Baker awardee Wendel Patrick, will include profiles of the six awardees, and will offer insight into their creative evolution and process.

This year’s awardees in Visual and Interdisciplinary Arts will also present their work at the Baltimore Museum of Art, from November 2022 - March 2022, along with the 2019 and 2020 Awardees in the same categories.

Since 2009, the Baker Artist Awards have recognized over 150 artists, and awarded over $1.1 million in prize money to artists in the Baltimore region.

Congratulations to the 2022 Awardees!


$40,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize

Ernest Shaw, Visual Arts

“An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian. His role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are.” - James Baldwin

The journey to self-discovery lasts a lifetime. That journey is the cornerstone of Ernest Shaw’s artistic and educational practice. Ernest was born in 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland during the Black Arts and Black Power movements. These movements have had and continue to have a lasting impact on his life and work.

As a Baltimore based artist, Ernest’s work reflects the lived experiences of Black/Africana people past, present, and future. Many of his subjects are his students or historical figures that share lived experiences that tie the present to the past and further serve to add context to the day-to-day lives of the community, which in turn highlights the humanity of his subjects.

Shaw illustrates lived experiences with two-dimensional, mixed media portraits. These illustrations explode with color and composition giving the viewer/receiver an opportunity to engage the subject from an authentic and intimate perspective. Many of his works incorporate symbols, motifs and artifacts drawn from traditional aesthetics of Africa and the Americas.

Ernest is a product of Baltimore City Schools, Morgan State University and Howard University. His education also includes two decades of studying traditional West African music and culture. He is currently a teacher of Baltimore City Schools, Maryland Institute College of Art and Towson State University. His studio is located in the Station North Arts District in Baltimore, Maryland.

$10,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Awardees:

Pamela Woolford, Interdisciplinary Arts
Pamela Woolford is an interdisciplinary artist and keynote speaker, intertwining her work as a writer, filmmaker, performer, and immersive-media director to create new forms of narrative work about Black women and girls and others whose joy, imagination, and inner life are under-explored in American media and popular art. She is the recipient of six Maryland State Arts Council Awards, five film-festival awards internationally, a Changemaker Challenge Award from United Way of Central Maryland and Horizon Foundation, an aSHE Fund Micro-Grant, and two Baker Artist Awards in interdisciplinary

arts. Her latest film, Interrupted: Prologue to a Mem-noir, had a limited online release with a premiere event attended by 1.5 thousand people.

She is the author of more than 100 memoir, fiction, profile, human-interest, and think pieces published in The Baltimore Sun, Poets & Writers Magazine, NAACP's

Crisis Magazine, Harvard University’s Transition, and other publications. Her writings have been selected for anthologies, translated into German, and widely cited.

She has been awarded a Storyknife Writers Residency, a NES Artist Residency, and an Official Citation from the Maryland House of Delegates and has been a Bisson Lecturer in the Humanities at Marymount University. Her upcoming virtual-reality show Up/Rooted: Pamela Woolford’s Cabin Windows premieres in 2022 at a four-month solo show of her work at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in Washington, DC.

Woolford is a member of Sundance Co//ab, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, CRAFT Institute, Women of Color Unite, The Gotham, and Women Writers of Color.

Meng Su, Music
Multifaceted guitarist Meng Su is captivating audiences around the world with her stunning virtuosity and refined artistry. In addition to her busy solo career, Meng Su is an avid chamber musician who tours regularly in the Beijing Guitar Duo and as a soloist with orchestras. Ms. Su has performed in over 30 different countries around the world in halls such as the Concertgebouw, Palau de Musica, Tchaikovsky Hall and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. This past summer, Ms. Su collaborated with ballerina YuanYuan Tan in a dance musical and toured China together to critical acclaim.

​Born in Qingdao, China, Meng Su began studying the guitar at the age of 5 and showed her talents from an early age under the guidance of Prof. Chen Zhi at the Central Conservatory in Beijing. Meng Su has won first-prize in numerous international competitions around the world, the last one being in the prestigious Parkening International Guitar competition in 2015. She graduated with an Artist Diploma, a Master’s Degree and Graduate Diploma in Chamber Music with Maestro Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.

Meng Su teaches at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and she is the Artist-in-residence for the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society.

Allen Chunhui Xing, Performance
Allen Chunhui Xing is a dancer, teaching artist, and award-winning choreographer. He is the founding artistic director of Xing Dance Theater, XDT Education, and City Dance Festival. He holds a BFA in Dance from Shanxi Academy of Arts, an M.Ed. from Salisbury University, and an MFA in Dance from the University of Maryland.

As a performer, he has been performing with Xing Dance Theater since 2015. He is a former member of Huajin Dance Drama Ensemble (China) and performed in the production Forbidden Fruit Under the Great Wall by Jizhang Gang, (who is the co-director and choreographer for 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony), which internationally toured from 2007 to 2011 venues including China Grand National Theatre Shanghai Greater Theatre and the Kennedy Center. He also danced as a soloist in an evening production A Man's Requiem with Busan Metropolitan Dance Company (South Korea), 2018 and will be dancing with Cheonan City Dance Company as a soloist in the 2022 summer season tour.

Recently, Xing has been recognized for his contributions to dance receiving the: 2020 Baltimore Regional Independent Artist Award (2020), Maryland State Independent Artist First Place Award, Baker Artist Award Nominee (2020), Baltimore Relief Grant First Place Award (2021), and Singapore International Dance Festival Choreography Gold Award (2021).

As a choreographer, Xing’s work has been seen in China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Mexico, and across the United States, including the Jacob's Pillow Festival, Battery Dance Festival, Gallery Dance Festival NYC, Beijing Dance Festival, Seoul Choreography International Dance Festival, Japan SAI International Dance Festival, Mexico City International Contemporary Dance Festival, Contemporary Ballet of Asia Festival, and the NBA Washington Wizards Game Halftime guest performance.

As an educator, Xing has developed dance technique, production, and educational curriculums. In addition to his international teaching, he is founded XDT Education which provides dance education for all ages in the DMV.

Lynn Tomlinson, Film/ Video
Lynn Tomlinson is an artist and award-winning director of animated short films. She uses a unique clay on glass animation process that involves manipulating thin layers of oil-based modeling clay frame by frame to create painterly images. This handcrafted approach allows her work to come to life, shifting perspectives and transforming on the screen. Her films explore environmental themes, often imagining how non-human beings might view humanity's impact. Lynn’s films have screened around the world at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Art in DC, The Pompidou Center, and international animation film festivals including Annecy, Hiroshima, and Ottawa. Her most recent project, a music video for Robert Macfarlane and Johnny Flynn’s Ten Degrees of Strange (2021), won Best Commissioned Film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival and Best Commercial Film at the ASIFA East Festival.

For her body of work, she received the 2021 Edison Innovation Award from the Thomas Edison Film Festival. Throughout her career she has received Independent Artist Awards from the state arts councils of Maryland, Florida, and Pennsylvania. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University, where she recently received a grant to develop an interdisciplinary fulldome planetarium production lab.

Timmy Reed, Literary Arts
Timmy Reed is a writer, teacher, and native of Baltimore, Maryland. He received his BA from College of Charleston, where he worked for the Crazyhorse literary journal, and his MFA from University of Baltimore.

Timmy is the author of the books Kill Me Now, Tell God I Don’t Exist, The Ghosts That Surrounded Them, Miraculous Fauna, Star Backwards, IRL, Stray/Pest, Poem: A Chapbook, and Zeb And Bunny Build Russian Dolls. His short fiction has appeared in many places including Necessary Fiction, Atticus Review, Curbside Splendor, as well as featured in the Wigleaf Top 50 on multiple occasions.

In 2015, he won the Baker Artist Awards Semmes G. Walsh Award. He currently teaches at Community College of Baltimore County and University of Baltimore.

Baker Artist Portfolios
The Baker Artist Portfolios were created to support artists and promote Greater Baltimore as a strong creative community. The online portfolios are open to artists working in all disciplines who live and work in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. The portfolios expose area artists' work to regional, national and international audiences. The site has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of art lovers, critics, gallery owners, academics, and leaders in creative business in nearly every country around the globe. The program serves artists of all disciplines.

The portfolio website and awards are a program of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and are managed in partnership with, and funded by The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.

Baker Artist Awards
Artists who create a Baker Artist Portfolio are automatically eligible for one of six Baker Artist Awards, which include significant monetary prizes, exhibition and showcase opportunities, as well as a feature on Maryland Public Television's Artworks program. Each year, selected artists share a total of $90,000 in prize money. These prizes are awarded to artists who demonstrate excellence. Portfolios are reviewed by an anonymous jury in three areas: mastery of craft, depth of artistic exploration, and unique vision.

Mary Sawyers Baker Prize
Mary Sawyers Baker was one of Baltimore's early philanthropists, studied voice as a young girl in Paris and embraced the arts throughout her life. She established the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund in 1964 to honor her husband, a well-known Baltimore civic leader.

Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize
Designed to be transformational to the life and career of one exemplary artist, the Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize was launched in 2016, when it was awarded to Joyce J. Scott. Mary Sawyers Imboden was the beloved niece of Mary Sawyers Baker and throughout her childhood traveled extensively with her aunt throughout Europe. Mary Sawyers Baker established The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund in 1964 and upon her death in 1976, was succeeded by Mary S. Imboden on its Board of Governors on which she served until 1999. During her tenure on the board, she was instrumental in forming the Fund’s guidelines and procedures to better reflect her aunt’s wishes. In addition to making sure each dollar was granted wisely, Mary Imboden wanted to make sure the fund was innovative and specifically met the needs of the city of Baltimore.

Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA)
Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) is a leading nonprofit provider of services to artists and cultural organizations in the region. Whether they are emerging or established, mainstream or underground, grassroots or institutional, GBCA believes in unifying and strengthening all members of the creative community. We do this through marketing, education, financial support, and developing innovative programs that increase equity in the cultural community and beyond.

GBCA is an independent 501(c)(3) membership and service organization that was founded in 2001 by a small but dedicated base of artists and cultural organizations to leverage resources, and to enable the sector to speak with a unified voice. Membership includes more than 150 arts, culture, and humanities organizations as well as individual artists. GBCA occupies a unique place in the regional arts ecosystem as a service organization that is able to advocate in forums where others cannot, make connections between groups and individuals within the arts community, provide resources for equity and inclusion in the workplace, and serve as a hub for information and resources for organizations and artists alike.

William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund
The William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund commits its resources to enhance the region's economy and quality of life by making investments in arts and culture. Its grants support artistic and cultural organizations and their partners through initiatives that enhance an individual's sense of self and pleasure and make Baltimore a more attractive place to live and work.

View PDF (1.77 MB)
View Member Profile

Become a Member

As a member of GBCA, you will not only gain access to wonderful benefits, but you will also become an active participant in a broader cultural community. Your organization and employees will directly benefit from opportunities to collaborate, connect, learn, network and share with your colleagues in the cultural community. Join our growing constituency of over 300 individual artists and organizations representing the region's extraordinary range of arts, culture, history, heritage, humanities, and attractions.

Join Today