Installation view of Front Room: Guerrilla Girls, August 2016. Photo by Mitro Hood.
Installation view of Front Room: Guerrilla Girls, August 2016. Photo by Mitro Hood.

Multidisciplinary Exhibition Showcases Works by the Winning Artists, Authors, Filmmakers, and Performers

BALTIMORE, MD (July 21, 2016)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Baker Artist Awards 2016, a multi-disciplinary exhibition of works by the five recipients of this year’s awards. On view July 31–September 11, 2016, the exhibition includes sculptural beadworks by artist Joyce J. Scott, print and audio versions of stories by author Jen Grow, documentary video and photographs of performances by Naoko Maeshiba, a multi-screen presentation of Take What You Can Carry by filmmaker Matthew Porterfield, and gouache and ink paintings by artist Bill Schmidt.

The 2016 awardees were announced this past May with artist Joyce J. Scott receiving the inaugural $50,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize, the largest art prize ever awarded in the region, and author Jen Grow receiving the $20,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize for her literary work, My Life As A Mermaid. Bill Schmidt, Naoko Maeshiba, and Matthew Porterfield each received $5,000 awards. A reception will be held at the museum on Thursday, September 7, from 6–9 p.m., with performances, readings, and a film screening in the BMA’s Meyerhoff Auditorium.

These artists exemplify a mastery of craft, artistic excellence, and a unique and compelling vision. They were selected from 700 portfolios on the Baker Artist Portfolios website by an anonymous jury. The online portfolios are open to artists working in all disciplines who live and work in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. Now in its eighth year, the Baker Artist Portfolios and associated awards have awarded a total of $715,000 in prizes to 80 artists from the Greater Baltimore region.

The portfolios and awards were established by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund and are managed by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

2016 Baker Artist Awardees

Joyce J. Scott ($50,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize)
Joyce J. Scott (American, born 1948) is a sculptor, printmaker, installation artist, performer, quilt-maker, storyteller, and educator. Her work is represented in numerous museums and private collections, including The Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, National Museum of American Art, and Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions—including a major retrospective Joyce J. Scott: Kickin’ It with the Old Masters at the BMA in 2000—and many important group shows. Scott has been the recipient of countless commissions, grants, awards, residencies, and honors from institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, American Craft Council, and the College Arts Association. She has also received a National Living Treasure Award. Scott holds a BFA degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from the Institute Allende in San Miguel Allende, Mexico. She recently completed residences with Berengo Studio in Venice, Italy, and MonkeyBiz in South Africa.

Jen Grow ($20,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize)
Jen Grow’s (American, born 1967) short story collection, My Life as a Mermaid, was the winner of the 2012 Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Competition. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, Other Voices, The Sun Magazine, The GSU Review, Hunger Mountain, Indiana Review, Faultline and many others including the anthology City Sages: Baltimore (City Lit Press, 2010). She’s received a Ruby Artist Project Grant for the project My Father’s House” from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council. Her stories have earned nominations for Best New American Voices and a Pushcart Prize.

Naoko Maeshiba ($5,000 Board of Governors Awards)
Naoko Maeshiba has been creating solo, duo, and ensemble performances since 1998. Her approach is inter-disciplinary in terms of the source, the process, and the form. Her works have been presented in both traditional and non-traditional venues such as the John. F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts and Hirshhorn Museum at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC; Dialog of Four Cultures Festival in Lodz, Poland; International New Media Festival in Warsaw, Poland; International House of Tokyo and Dance Hakushu in Japan; and Theatre Jo in Tabor, Czech Republic.

Matthew Porterfield ($5,000 Nancy Haragan Award)
Matthew Porterfield (American, born 1977) has written and directed three feature films: Hamilton (2006), Putty Hill (2011), and I Used To Be Darker (2013), as well as a narrative short, Take What You Can Carry (2016). His films are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard Film Archive and have been screened at the Whitney Museum, Walker Arts Center, Centre Pompidou, Cinémathèque Française, and film festivals such as the Berlinale, Sundance, and SXSW.

Bill Schmidt ($5,000 Semmes G. Walsh Award)
Bill Schmidt (American, born 1947) holds a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. After moving to Baltimore, he received an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Hoffberger School of Painting in 1971. He has received numerous grants and awards and has exhibited his paintings, drawings, and sculpture extensively in the Mid-Atlantic.


The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) is an inclusive and independent organization that believes that arts and culture are key to a vibrant community, the future of our children, and a thriving economy. GBCA promotes, convenes, and leverages resources for the Baltimore region’s extraordinary arts, culture, history, heritage, and
humanities organizations, as well as attractions and individual artists who are all strengthened by working together. Conceived in 1997 and incorporated in 2001, GBCA is a membership and service organization for artists and organizations in Baltimore City and, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard counties in Maryland.

The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund believes that arts and culture play a central role in the development and growth of healthy individuals and thriving communities and commits its resources to promote and sustain a vibrant arts and culture sector in metropolitan Baltimore. Its grants support organizational effectiveness and provide cultural experiences that welcome people of all backgrounds, enrich residents’ lives, strengthen the region’s sense of cohesion and identity, promote local artists and their work, and make the metropolitan area a desirable place to live.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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