First of all: Congrats to the three inaugural Baker Artist Winners: Carl Grubbs, Hadieh Shafie, and John Ruppert. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of these awards and that all three artists are well-deserved. I had no idea the three would have an exhibit at the BMA and am looking forward to seeing how that works.
The Baker Artist Awards: April 29 – June 28, 2009
The BMA celebrates the Baker Artist Awards with an exhibition of the inaugural winners in the West Wing for Contemporary Art. Tune into Maryland Public Television’s ArtWorks program at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, to find out who will receive the three $25,000 Mary Sawyer Baker Awards and seven $1,000 Baltimore’s Choice Awards. You can also check back here on March 26 for a complete list of the winners.
Organized by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance in partnership with the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, and presented by The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Baker Artist Awards were conceived to honor individual artists who live and work in Baltimore City and the five surrounding counties.
I generally liked the winners more than I thought I would; I was expecting all previous Sondheim winners to win again and a few large-fan-based people to win the voter’s awards but for the most part I was glad to see who won. I always think it’s a little weird when the head of a major university arts program puts himself up against his own students for an award, but whatever. I was also struck by the absolute lack of painting and drawing (other than a small portion of Sarah House’s work). Out of 10 winners no painters at all? I kind of expected to see Seth Adelsberger in there somewhere.
It felt good to see Carl Grubbs get the recognition, especially given his connection to the embattled New Haven Lounge.
I definitely think that the process should be more transparent. For nominees to not know how many votes they got is a raw deal. It would be nice to know how effective your promotional process was.
Also, the whole “the jury has been instructed to choose the three winners from the top vote-getters” thing is garbage. If, as a jury member, you aren’t prepared to sift through hundreds of nominees without the knowledge of the voting process then you probably don’t need to be on the jury. I mean, 7 audience choice winners plus 3 Baker award winners? Sounds to me like the jury was told to pick from the top 10. Glad the other 640 of us never stood a chance.
Anyway, overall a pretty good program. Looking forward to next year’s awards and maybe an improvement of the process after the learning curve ramps up.