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Winner of the $30,000 prize will be announced at the awards ceremony on July 28 at the Walters Art Museum

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA), in partnership with the Walters Art Museum, announces the finalists’ exhibition for the 17th-annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize, presented by M&T Bank with the generous support of the Maryland State Arts Council. The work of Maren Henson, Megan Koeppel, and James Williams II will be on view at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles Street, from July 21–September 18, 2022. Admission to the museum and exhibition is free.

The panel of jurors—Catherine Morris, Kambui Olujimi, and Jean Shin—will conduct a final interview with each artist in their exhibition space before determining the $30,000 prize winner. The winner of the 2022 Sondheim Art Prize will be announced at the awards ceremony and reception on Thursday, July 28, 2022, from 6:00–8:00 p.m. at the Walters. You can RSVP for the reception online.

This year, the prestigious competition will award a $30,000 fellowship to assist in furthering the career of a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Greater Baltimore region. BOPA will also be awarding two residencies to finalists not selected for the Sondheim Art Prize: a six-week, fully funded residency at Civitella Ranieri in the Umbria region of Italy, and a six-month residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.

About the Finalists

As the concealed artifacts behind historical conspiracies become public information, Maren Henson reexamines the role of conspiracy and how it has shaped American culture. These videos, drawings, and sound installations examine how cultural narratives are manipulated and controlled. She received her MFA in the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently lives. She has exhibited work in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Maryland, and Texas.

Born in 1996 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Megan Koeppel is a fiber artist currently living in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2018, where she studied fine art and curatorial practices. Her work has recently been exhibited in the DMV area and her home state, in spaces such as Var Gallery (Milwaukee), The Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts (Cedarburg Wisconsin), Material Gallery + Studio (Milwaukee), VisArts (Rockville, Maryland), Monochrome Art Fair (Washington, DC), and at Creative Alliance (Baltimore). She currently works as the Exhibition Programming Coordinator at VisArts in Rockville.

James Williams II is a curator and interdisciplinary artist whose work encompasses painting, sculpture, and photography. His works center on topics of social and cultural identity in the United States tied together by self-portraiture and narration. His most recent project was curating the show, Future Planets, at Longwood Center for the Visual Arts — an exhibition featuring the creativity of young artists ranging from ages 3–15 years old alongside their creative and established parents. Williams is the recipient of the MFA Joan Mitchell Foundation award, the Bromo Seltzer Fellowship, and served as artist-in-residence at School 33 in Baltimore, Maryland. Williams, originally from Upstate New York, received his master’s degree from the Mount Royal School of Art program at Maryland Institute College Art (MICA). He currently teaches at MICA.

About Janet & Walter Sondheim

The Sondheim Art Prize is named in honor of Janet & Walter Sondheim, both of whom were instrumental in furthering arts and culture in Baltimore City. 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 where she spent 15 years at the Children’s Guild working with children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. 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.

Walter Sondheim, Jr. was one of Baltimore’s most important civic leaders for over 50 years. He oversaw the desegregation of the Baltimore City Public Schools in 1954 when he was president of the Board of School Commissioners of Baltimore City. Later, he was deeply involved in the development of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor. He continued to be active in civic and educational activities in the city and state and served as the senior advisor to the Greater Baltimore Committee until his death in February 2007.

The 2022 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in partnership with the Walters Art Museum. Learn more about the Sondheim Art Prize on BOPA’s website and by following BOPA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @promoandarts.

The 2022 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize is made possible through the generous annual support of presenting sponsor M&T Bank and the Maryland State Arts Council.

About The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA)

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which serves as Baltimore City’s arts council, events center, and film office. By providing funding and support to artists, arts programs, and organizations across the city, and by producing large-scale events such as Artscape, Baltimore Book Festival, and Light City, BOPA’s goal is to make Baltimore a more vibrant and creative city.

About the Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum is a cultural hub in the heart of Baltimore, located in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. The museum’s collection spans more than seven millennia, from 5000 BCE to the 21st century, and encompasses 36,000 objects from around the world. Walking through the museum’s historic buildings, visitors encounter a stunning panorama of thousands of years of art, from romantic 19th-century images of French gardens to mesmerizing Ethiopian icons, richly illuminated Qur’ans and Gospel books, ancient roman sarcophagi, and serene images of the Buddha. Since its founding, the Walters’ mission has been to bring art and people together to create a place where people of every background can be touched by art. As part of this commitment, admission to the museum and special exhibitions is always free.