The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Baker Artist Awards. This year, three $25,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prizes and three $5,000 b-grant prizes have been awarded. Along with the prize money, each of these artists will be featured in an exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2015.

The 2014 Baker Artist Award Mary Sawyers Baker Prize Winners are:

Chris Bathgate, a self-taught machinist sculptor who builds finely tuned metal sculptures with an array of computer controlled (CNC) equipment of his own design. Bathgate’s work shows that it is not creativity alone that drives human imagination, but also the need to solve and overcome problems that lead to inspiration. He achieves this by combining the math and logistics used in performing the complex tasks of modern machine work with a more emotive and aesthetic problem-solving ethic. Bathgate has been featured in various magazines and was twice awarded grants from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation. He has also been recognized locally having received a Creative Baltimore grant in 2008 and a Baker b-grant in 2012. His works have been exhibited in a variety of Museum and galleries and are held in numerous private collections throughout the U.S. And abroad.

* Check out Precision, A Film about Chris Bathgate by Nick Kennedy



Todd Marcus, a bass clarinetist and composer, who is one of the few jazz artists worldwide to focus exclusively on use of the bass clarinet as a primary soloing instrument. He actively leads small ensembles such as the Todd Marcus Quartet, Trio and Duo as well and his nonet, The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra. Self-taught in jazz theory and composition, Marcus’ compositions draw largely on straight-ahead jazz and classical influences but over recent years have also increasingly explored the Middle-Eastern sounds from his Egyptian-American heritage. His work includes international performances, clinics and radio play. Marcus was also a featured guest at the First World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, Holland where his work was recognized for both his compositions and unique solo voice.


Brent Crothers, a sculptor who uses recycled materials to craft original pieces of art. His work, influenced by a sustainable world, has been shown in 10 states, in the District of Columbia, and in China. His work can also be found in numerous private and public collections including the collection of Anthropologie based in Philadelphia; The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, DE; The Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. and The Hechinger Collection in Largo, MD. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1988 and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from MICA in 1989. Crothers taught sculpture courses at MICA before he decided to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree from MICA’s Rinehart School of Sculpture. Crothers has been recognized with several awards and honors over the course of his career including being named a b-grant winner in 2012.


The 2014 Baker Artist Awards b-grant Winners are:

Jowita Wyszomirska, a visual artist whose work is inspired by landscapes, architecture and maps. Wyszomirska received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting in 2003 from Illinois State University. She has exhibited in solo exhibitions at SM&KK Studios in Chicago, The Temporary at MICA and the Member Gallery at School 33 in Baltimore in addition to a recent group show at Goucher College in Towson, MD. She has been the recipient of residencies at the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska and the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy. Since March of 2011, she has been a participating artist at School 33’s artists-in-residence program. Recipient of the Board of Governors Award.


Ed Gross, an artist who found his passion for art following a 50-year career as a meteorologist. His early works were whimsical assemblages using the vast array of found objects he had been collecting through the years. In his latest phase, Gross is creating more functional art as well as a large series of what he calls 3D metal collages, utilizing patinated and painted copper and other items found in his studio. Being self-taught with no formal training, his work has been exhibited at numerous shows and exhibits in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area over the last 20 years. Recipient of the Semmes G. Walsh Award.

David Paul Bacharach, a self-taught artist best known for his research in and experimentation with applying textile and basketry techniques to metal as well as the way he manipulates and patinates his metal work. He works principally with sheet copper and steel wire creating forms that are fabricated in ways similar to woven, knitted or plaited fabric. Bacharach cites utilitarian weavings and baskets of ancient cultures as being a continued reference and inspiration for his work. At an early age he was taught watercolor painting and sewing by his grandfather, how to work metal and wood from his father and picked up a passion for weaving from his mother. He studied at Case Western Reserve University, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry in 1971 and advanced training in physiology in 1974 from the University of Maryland. After teaching for 10 years at University of Maryland, and part-time at MICA, he became a full-time studio artist. Bacharach is the recipient of three Maryland State Arts Council Grants, has been featured on the television program “Modern Masters” and has been awarded a Smithsonian Award of Excellence. He has taught and exhibited extensively in group shows and solo exhibitions and his work is in the collections of the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, three American Embassy’s and The White House as well as numerous public and private collections. Recipient of the Nancy Haragan Award.


GBCA will be hosting a public celebration of this year’s winners on May 12 from 5:00-8:00p.m. at Towson University’s WTMD studios. Each of the winners will be showcasing their work, and there will be two performances by the Todd Marcus Quartet. WTMD is located at 1 Olympic Place, Towson, MD 21204. The event is sponsored by Relay Foods and the Ivy Bookshop. The first 50 people to arrive will receive a FREE copy of the Baker Artist Awards 5 Year Retrospective Catalog, generously provided by the Ivy Bookshop.

The Baker Artist Awards were created to support artists and promote Greater Baltimore as a strong creative community. Through a sophisticated online portfolio and significant monetary prizes for the winners, the Baker Artist Awards serve artists of all disciplines who live and work in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. The website and awards were established by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund and are a program of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

The online self-nomination process exposes 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. Each year, awards are made in two categories: the Mary Sawyers Baker Prizes and the b-grants.

Mary Sawyers Baker Prizes are awarded annually to up to three artists for up to $25,000 each. These awards recognize established artists who demonstrate a dedication to their art, a mastery of craft and a commitment to excellence. Mary Sawyers Baker, 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.

The b-grants were established in 2010 to promote the quality, diversity and depth of the region’s arts scene. These prizes recognize both emerging artists and established artists exploring new directions. In previous years, up to 10 b-grants of $1,000 each have been awarded. Beginning in 2014, up to three b-grants were awarded for up to $5,000 each.

In 2014, b-grant winners were eligible for three additional honors:

The Semmes G. Walsh Award honors Walsh’s more than 40 years of service to Baltimore and the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund. The Fund is grateful for Walsh’s legacy of integrity, common sense and a commitment to artistic excellence. The Nancy Haragan Award was named for the founding director of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance who gave years of creative service to Baltimore’s arts sector. The Board of Governors Award honors the dedicated service to Baltimore provided by the Board of the 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.

The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) was founded in 2002 as an independent voice for the cultural sector in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. GBCA’s 300 members include arts, cultural, history and heritage organizations as well as attractions, universities and individual artists. GBCA provides funding, professional development, promotion, convening, advocacy and thought leadership to strengthen and draw attention to the many contributions region’s vibrant cultural community.