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 serves 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.
Up to three Mary Sawyers Baker Prizes are awarded annually 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 ten b-grants of $1,000 each have been awarded. Beginning in 2014, up to three b-grants will be awarded for up to $5,000 each.
The b-grants are each assigned an additional honor: The Semmes G. Walsh, Nancy Haragan and Board of Governors Awards. Semmes G. Walsh gave more than forty years of service to Baltimore and the William G Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund who were grateful for his integrity, common sense, and a commitment to artistic excellence. Nancy Haragan, founding director of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, gave years of creative service to Baltimore’s arts sector. The Board of Governors Award recognizes the amazing contribution that the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund’s Board of Governors has made to Baltimore.