Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) Announces the Finalists for the 17th Annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize

By Editorial Team on April 19, 2022
Courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) announces the finalists for the 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize. The three individual artists selected as this year’s finalists are Maren Henson, Megan Koeppel, and James Williams II. 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.

The selected finalists will show their work at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles Street. The finalists’ exhibition will be on view from Thursday, July 21–Sunday, September 18, 2022. Admission to the exhibition is free. After the panel of jurors — Catherine Morris, Jean Shin, and Kambui Olujimi — conducts a final interview with each artist in their exhibition space, they will meet and decide the prize winner and the recipient of each residency. The winner of 17th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony held at the Walters.

In the case of COVID-19 restrictions not allowing for exhibitions in person, BOPA will utilize the online platform Kunstmatrix, with assistance from the Walters’ curatorial staff. Juror interviews will take place online, and BOPA will coordinate a virtual award ceremony. 

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 Master of Fine Art degree 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, LA, 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 & 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 17th annual 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 by visiting https://promotionandarts.org/arts-council/janet-walter-sondheim-art-prize and following BOPA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @promoandarts.

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.

(Source: BOPA Press Release)