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Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) Baker Artist Awards Exhibition Opens Sept 7

BALTIMORE, MD – The talent and diversity of Baltimore’s arts community is on display at the BMA with Baker Artist Awards 2011, a multi-disciplinary exhibition showcasing the winners of the prestigious $25,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize. On view September 7 through October 2, the exhibition also features examples of works by the 18 b-grant winners and culminates with a free celebratory Late Night event on October 1 at 7 p.m.

The three Mary Sawyers Baker Prize winners this year are performance artist Audrey Chen, visual artist Gary Kachadourian, and beatboxer/vocal percussionist Shodekeh. Visitors to the BMA can see a room-size installation of Kachadourian’s intricately detailed drawings photocopied and enlarged so that every wall in the gallery—as well as parts of the floor and ceiling—are covered with life-sized bricks, trees, lamp posts, and other everyday objects. Another gallery features new video footage of Chen and Shodekeh. Chen uses her cello, voice, and electronics to create unique sound compositions. Shodekeh emulates various instruments and soundscapes, such as drum sets, turntables, ocean waves, and sleigh bells. Both he and Chen perform solo and collaboratively with musicians, dancers, and visual artists.

The 18 b-grant winners who received $1,000 are: ellen cherry, Copycat Theatre, Jim Dugan, Shaun Flynn, Andrew Liang, Naoko Maeshiba, Bruce Nelson, Mara Neimanis, Nelly’s Echo, Michelle Antoinette Nelson, Hermonie Only, Lynne Parks, Fernando Quijano III, Bashi Rose, Caleb Stine, Justin Sirois, Lily Susskind, and Nolen Strals/Bruce Willen. Works by the visual artists are on display in the exhibition. Visitors can experience examples of the non-visual artists’ works by using a smartphone to scan a Quick Response (QR) code linking you to the artist’s nomination page on or by visiting the website on their personal computer.

Among the b-grant winners, musician ellen cherry was awarded an additional prize of $500 in honor of Semmes G. Walsh, whose 40-plus years of service to the Baker Fund were characterized by integrity, common sense and a commitment to artistic excellence and his love of music. Actor and playwright Bruce Nelson was awarded an additional prize of $500 honoring Nancy Haragan for her decade of creative service to Baltimore’s arts sector.

The exhibition is curated by Ann Shafer, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs.

The Baker Artist Awards are directed by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund with the assistance of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. The exhibition is supported by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.

Saturday, October 1, 7–11 p.m.
Don’t miss an electrifying evening of performances and art by the 2011 Baker Artist Award winners at this event celebrating the exhibition closing on October 2. The free Late Night will feature solo performances and a duet by Chen and Shodekeh, as well as dramatic displays of artistic expression by several of the b-grant prize winners: Copycat Theatre, Mara Neimanis, Fernando Quijano III, Nelly’s Echo, Justin Sirois, ellen cherry, Lily Susskind, and Michelle Antionette Nelson. Access to the exhibition during extended evening hours, cash bar, DJ, and light fare cap off an evening you won’t forget. Visit for videos and previews of the artists’ works.

The Baker Artist Awards was established by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund to recognize individual artists of all disciplines who live and work in Baltimore City and the five surrounding counties. Mary Sawyers Baker established the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund in 1964 to honor her husband, a founding partner in Baker Watts, a Baltimore investment banking firm. In 2007, the fund narrowed its philanthropic mission to focus on arts and culture. In 2008, the fund’s Board of Governors honored its founder, Ms. Baker, by establishing the Baker Artist Awards. The annual awards provide unconditional financial support for emerging and well established artists, signifying to regional, national, and international communities that Baltimore values its artists and rewards their work. Artists submitted their work to the competition at, where thousands of visitors from all over the world voted online for their favorite artists. Each year up to three artists are chosen by a private jury to receive the $25,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize. The submissions of the prize winners and all of the nominees may be viewed at

The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914, the BMA’s outstanding collection encompasses 90,000 works of art, including the largest and most significant holding of works by Henri Matisse in the world, as well as masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh. An expanding collection of contemporary art features iconic post-1960 works by Andy Warhol and Sol LeWitt, as well as exciting acquisitions by artists such as Kara Walker and Olafur Eliasson. The BMA is also recognized for an internationally acclaimed collection of prints, drawings, and photographs from the 15th-century to the present; grand European painting and sculpture from Old Masters to the 19th-century; distinguished American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts and Maryland period rooms; one of the most important African collections in the country, and notable examples of Asian, ancient American, and Pacific Islands art.

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. (except major holidays). 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.

For general Museum information, call 443-573-1700 or visit

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