Eight local artists will share $80,000 in prize money to be announced this evening, the latest recipients of the Mary Sawyers Baker Awards from the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund.
The awards, to be announced this evening on MPT's "Artworks This Week" program, include three $25,000 prizes decided on via a privately juried process. In addition, five "Baltimore's Choice" awards of $1,000 each will be handed out. Those awards were voted on by visitors to the Baker Web site.
"These awards are an opportunity for individual artists in the region to be recognized for their incredible works," said J. Buck Jabaily, executive director of the nonprofit Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, which administers the awards for the Baker fund.
A total of 495 artists were nominated for this year's awards. All are from Baltimore or the surrounding counties of Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford and Howard. Nominated artists can work in any discipline or combination of disciplines, including music, theater, filmmaking, writing, painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, jewelry, animation and architecture.
An exhibition of work by the winning artists is scheduled to run at the Baltimore Museum of Art from April 7 to June 27.
The awards program was established in 2008. Last year's inaugural winners of the $25,000 prizes included jazz musician Carl Grubbs, multimedia artist Hadieh Shafie and sculptor John Ruppert.
Mary Sawyers Baker established the memorial fund in 1964 in honor of her husband, a prominent civic leader and founding partner in Baltimore's Baker Watts investment banking firm.
Since 2007, the philanthropic fund has been focusing on arts and culture.