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Winner of the $25,000 prize to be announced on Saturday, July 12 at 7pm

Mayor Sheila Dixon and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts announce the finalists of the third annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The six finalists are artists Becky Alprin, Melissa Dickenson, Dawn Gavin, Geoff Grace, Maren Hassinger and Molly Springfield. Awarded by an outside panel of three jurors, the winner of the $25,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony on Saturday, July 12 at 7 p.m. at The Baltimore Museum of Art located at 10 Art Museum Drive. In addition, The Baltimore Museum of Art hosts an exhibition of the finalists’ works June 21 through August 2 curated by Senior Curator of Contemporary Art Darsie Alexander. The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is designed specifically to assist area visual artists further their careers by allowing them to pursue tracks in their work that may not otherwise be possible.


Becky Alprin creates intricately detailed and delicately layered sculptural works. Also, she is an accomplished printmaker. Her exhibition history includes shows at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA; San Francisco MoMa Artist Gallery; the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, DE; and various Baltimore galleries. Her work has graced the covers of Chronogram Arts Magazine, Watchword Literary Magazine, and the spring 2008 issue of Juxtapositions.

Alprin has held residencies at the Kala Art Institute and the Vermont Studio Center, and is a New Insight Finalist for the 2008 Art Chicago International Art Fair. A native of Washington, D.C., she is currently living in Baltimore and will receive her MFA in May 2008 from the Mt. Royal School of Art graduate program of the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Melissa Dickenson has shown her work extensively in Baltimore, nationally and internationally since her graduation from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2002. Her graceful drawings on handmade paper have been featured in spaces such as Baltimore’s Current Gallery, Maryland Art Place, the Creative Alliance, Gallery Imperato, Load of Fun Studios and Blue Sky Factory; Washington D.C.’s Transformer Gallery; as well as Think Space in Los Angeles and Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo.

Dickenson has held residencies in Awagami Papermaking Factory and Youkobob Arts Space in Japan, and in June 2008 at the Vermont Studio Center. Also, she is also a two-time winner of Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artists Awards.

Dawn Gavin, a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, employs maps as both the medium and topic of her work. Her elegantly assembled works that include wall relief and video have been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Atelier International in New York and West Gallery in Denton, TX, as well as group exhibitions at Maryland Art Place, Artscape, Area 405, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Goucher College’s Rosenberg Gallery and the Compass Gallery in Glasgow Scotland.

Gavin was a semi-finalist for the both the 2006 and 2007 Sondheim Prizes, and has received many other honors and residencies including: The Dalgety Dunn Award, Southern Illinois University Travel Award, the Women’s Studio Workshop residency, and finalist for the Alistair Salveson Painting Prize. She has been an assistant professor of art at the University of Maryland, College Park, since 2001.

Geoff Grace, a highly active member of the Baltimore art and music scene, has exhibited widely in the area and performs regularly with his band The Tall Grass. His exhibition history includes shows at Baltimore spaces Gallery Four, Maryland Art Place, the 5th Story, School 33 Art Center, the Rosenberg Gallery, the Contemporary Museum, Artscape, The Baltimore Museum of Art and Area 405, as well as public art pieces in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District and at Lexington and Howard Streets. He was also a semi-finalist for the 2006 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize and a finalist for the 2007 award.

Grace received this Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He currently teaches art and photography at Overlea High School in Baltimore County.

Maren Hassinger, who is currently the graduate director of the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, has an extensive exhibition history that includes solo shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Soho 20 Gallery, New York; the David Allen Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and School 33 Art Center in Baltimore. She was featured in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s recent seminal exhibition; Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970, and many other group shows including those at the Center for Architecture, New York; Chelsea Studio Gallery, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Cleveland Institute of Art; The Sculpture Center, New York; the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris, New York; and The Bronx Museum, New York.

Hassinger has created many public artworks that are included in the permanent collections of cities such as Pittsburgh, Seattle and New York. In addition to her sculptural works, she has been active in performance art and film. She was a semi-finalist for the 2006 and 2007 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize, and includes among her many other awards and honors the following: a Pollock-Krasner Artist’s Grant, an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation grant, Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and an Artist’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Molly Springfield currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. Her crafted highly detailed drawings of texts and of photocopies of texts, as well as installations that are based on historical texts, have been widely shown throughout the United States: including shows at the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Washington Project for the Arts/Corcoran; the Creative Alliance, Baltimore; School 33 Art Center, Baltimore; Brooklyn Fire Proof, Brooklyn, NY; Mireille Mosler, Ltd., New York; Transformer, Washington, D.C.; Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA; and Thomas Robertello Gallery, Chicago, IL.

Springfield is a 2004 MFA Graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2006. She was a 2007 semi-finalist for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize, and is represented by Mireille Mosler, Ltd. in New York, Thomas Robertello Gallery in Chicago, and Steven Wolf Fine Arts in San Francisco.

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