Neil Feather Wins 2014 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize !!!

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Scene Seen: 2014 Janet & Walter Sondheim Pri [...]

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announce Neil Feather is the winner of the 2014 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The $25,000 award was presented Saturday, July 12 at the Walters Art Museum. The six other finalists Lauren Adams, Kyle Bauer, Shannon Collis, Marley Dawson, Kyle Tata, and Stewart Watson received $2,500 honorariums supported by M&T Bank in partnership with BOPA. Works of art by the winner and finalists are on view at the Walters Art Museum through August 17.

Neil Feather is internationally known as an experimental musical instrument inventor and performer. Feather’s music generating sculptures are listed in the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments and he has a long history of exhibits and performances. He has performed in more than 200 concerts of his original music using these sculptures, including venues such as the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore, MD, 2008), the Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh, PA, 2008), Area 405 (Baltimore, MD 2007), the Knitting Factory (New York, NY, 2005), and the Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD, 2004).


In 2007, Feather was both a recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award and a Sondheim Semi-Finalist. Feather is a founding member of the Red Room Collective and the High Zero Foundation, the organizations that support and provoke Baltimore’s world-renowned experimental music scene. He has presented his instruments recently at TEDX Baltimore and this July his works Anaplumb and his Magnapooter will be featured in a ballet produced by BalletX at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. He received his Masters of Fine Art from the University of Montana and his Bachelors of Fine Art from Pennsylvania State University.


* Photos  and video by Jack Livingston


Lauren Adams (Baltimore, MD), Kyle Bauer (Baltimore, MD), Shannon Collis (Baltimore, MD), Marley Dawson (Washington, D.C.), Neil Feather (Baltimore, MD), Kyle Tata (Baltimore, MD) and Stewart Watson (Baltimore, MD) were selected by an independent panel of jurors.

Jurors are Claire Gilman, currently the curator at The Drawing Center in New York, Sarah Oppenheimer, a New York based artist whose art installations commonly pierce the architecture of the institutions hosting her work, and Olivia Shao, an artist and independent curator based in New York.

In its ninth year, the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is held in conjunction with the annual Artscape juried exhibition and is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

The finalists and semifinalists exhibitions are presented in partnership with the Walters Art Museum and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). An exhibition of the semifinalists’ work will be shown in MICA’s Decker and Meyerhoff galleries at 1303 West Mount Royal Avenue during Artscape weekend, Friday, July 18 through Sunday, July 20 and continues until Sunday, August 3, 2014.

The 2014 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is made possible through the generous support of the Abell Foundation, Alex Brown & Sons Charitable Foundation, Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Sondheim Dankert, France-Merrick Foundation, Hecht-Levi Foundation, Legg Mason, M&T Charitable Foundation, Henry & Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, John Sondheim and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

The exhibition and opening event at the Walters Art Museum have been generously supported by the Talkin Fund of the Columbia Foundation, Time Group Investments, Rachel and Joseph Rabinowitz, The Zamoiski, Barber, Segal Family Foundation, and the Greif Family Fund.

The Artscape prize is named in honor of Janet and Walter Sondheim, who were instrumental in creating the Baltimore City that exists today. Walter Sondheim, Jr. was 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, and championing the development of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor. He was active in civic and educational activities in the city and state, and served as 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 and 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.


Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, features more than 150 fine artists and craftspeople; visual art exhibitions, art cars, and live concerts on outdoor stages; a full schedule of performing arts including dance, opera, theater, film, and experimental music; family events such as hands-on projects, children’s entertainers, and street theater; and an international menu of food and beverages.

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