David Knopp. Metamorphosis

The winners of the 2012 Mary Sawyer Baker Prize were announced tonight on Maryland Public Television’s ArtWorks, where the three $25,000 award recipients presented examples of their work along with brief video bio’s of each. In celebration of this year’s winners, The Baker Artist Awards hosted a reception at The Metro Gallery to watch the announcement live.

Established in 2008 by The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, the Baker Artist Awards recognize Baltimore’s artists and engage regional, national and international audiences in supporting their work. Through an innovative application process that allows for image, video, audio, and text formats, artists in any creative discipline are encouraged to register at www.bakerartistawards.org, create a “profile”, and upload samples of their artwork to be exhibited on the website. This year, over 700 artists uploaded their work to what is perhaps the largest compendium of Baltimore artists the web has to offer.

Visitors to the site are invited to participate by signing up to create a collection of “Favorites”, a way of saving or bookmarking a selection of artwork. Up to three Mary Sawyers Baker Prize winners are selected annually from the site’s applicants (or “nominees”) by a private jury and awarded up to $25,000 each.

In addition to the three grand prize winners, The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund created its “b-grant” program in 2010 to promote the quality, diversity, and depth of the region’s arts scene.  These $1,000 grants recognize emerging artists, and established artists exploring new directions.  Up to nine awards will be given annually to artists selected by discipline specific experts from nominations on the Baker Artist Awards website. Three awards will be given in November; three awards in December; and three awards in January. This year’s b-grant winners were: Ellen DurkanMarcia Woolfson RaySmooth KentuckyTiffany Jones, Brent Crothers, Miranda Pfeiffer,  Lauren SimonuttiYoshi Fujii, and Chris Bathgate

Mary Sawyers Baker, one of Baltimore’s early philanthropists, studied voice as a young girl in Paris and embraced the arts throughout her life. She established the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund in 1964 to honor her husband, a well-known Baltimore civic leader. In 2007, the Fund narrowed its philanthropic mission to focus exclusively on arts and culture; and in 2008, the Fund’s Board of Governors established the Mary Sawyers Baker Awards, up to three annual prizes of $25,000. The first prizes were awarded in 2009.


What Weekly proudly announces the winners of the 2012 Baker Artist Awards:


David Knopp:


Alexander Heilner:


Nathan Bell:


Nancy Harrigan Award: Miranda Pfeiffer


All photos courtesy of the artist and the Baker Artist Awards Website

For more information on these artist, and many others, please visit www.bakerartistawards.com