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Matthew Porterfield Wins 2011 Sondheim Artscape Prize

BALTIMORE, MD – Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts are proud to announce that Matthew Porterfield is the winner of the 2011 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at this evening’s awards ceremony at The Baltimore Museum of Art. Works of art by the prizewinner and four other finalists are on view at the BMA through Sunday, August 7.
“What an incredible honor this is for artists living and working in Baltimore,” said Porterfield. “Grants like the Sondheim Artscape Prize and the Baker Artist Awards make living this a must.”
Porterfield studied film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently teaches screenwriting, film theory, and production at The Johns Hopkins University. His first feature, HAMILTON, which he wrote, directed and edited on 16mm film, was released in 2006. METAL GODS, his second feature script, won the Panasonic Digital Filmmaking Grand Prize at IFP’s 30th Annual Independent Film Week in 2008. His latest film, PUTTY HILL, premiered at the Berlinale’s International Forum of New Cinema in 2010 and was released by Cinema Guild in 2011. His films and videos have been screened in several venues and film festivals including AFI, The Wexner Center, Centre Pompidou, the Swedish Film Institute, the George Eastman House, Viennale, Edinburgh, and SXSW. Locally, Porterfield’s photographs have been shown at The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore’s Current Gallery, and Gallery 229.  He has been awarded a media grant from the Maryland State Arts Council and was a Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize finalist in 2010.
The Sondheim prize is part of Artscape, America’s largest free celebration of the arts, taking place July 15-17 along Mount Royal Avenue and North Charles Street. It is designed to assist area visual artists in furthering their careers by allowing them to pursue tracks in their work that may not otherwise be possible. The winner was determined by an outside panel of three jurors: Polly Apfelbaum, a New York-based artist; Isolde Brielmaier, an independent curator and writer; Lucy Gallun, a curatorial assistant in the Photography department of The Museum of Modern Art; and Tina Kukielski, a member of the team curating the 56th Carnegie International, a leading global survey of contemporary art.
The finalists exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art includes works of art by all five finalists for this year’s prize—Stephanie Barber, Louie Palu, Mark Parascandola, Matthew Porterfield, and Rachel Rotenberg. The BMA’s exhibition is organized by Kristen Hileman, Curator of Contemporary Art.  Another exhibition of semifinalists will take place at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Decker and Meyerhoff Galleries from July 15-17. The exhibition is presented by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in partnership with The Baltimore Museum of Art. It is generously supported by Stiles Tuttle Colwill. Additional support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Rabinowitz.
The 2011 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize is made possible by a generous grant from The Abell Foundation. Additional support is provided by Alex. Brown Charitable Foundation, The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Dankert, France-Merrick Foundation, Willard Hackerman, The Hecht-Levi Foundation, Legg Mason, John Sondheim, and an anonymous donor.       
Janet & Walter Sondheim
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 returns July 15-17 with more than 150 artists, craftspeople, and fashion designers from across the country; visual art exhibits both on and off site; live concerts on four outdoor stages; performing arts including dance, opera, theater, fashion, film, and classical music, hands-on projects, and children’s entertainers; three street theater locations; and a delicious international menu of food and beverages. Artscape is presented by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.
The Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 90,000 works of art—including the largest holding of works by Matisse in the world. The Museum is also distinguished by a grand historic building designed by the great American architect John Russell Pope and a scenic three-acre sculpture garden that is an oasis in the City. As a major cultural destination for the greater Baltimore region, the BMA welcomes more than 250,000 visitors annually with an exciting program of dynamic, critically acclaimed exhibitions; lively concerts, lectures, and performances; and imaginative activities for families. Thanks to extraordinary government and private support, general admission to the BMA is free for everyone, every day, so that great art is accessible to all. 
Visitor Information
General admission to the BMA is free; special exhibitions may be ticketed. The BMA is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. The Museum is closed Monday, Tuesday, New Year’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The BMA is located on Art Museum Drive at North Charles and 31st Streets, three miles north of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

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