GBCA has administered the Baker Artists Awards on behalf of the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund since 2009. GBCA does not participate in the selection process for the Mary Sawyers Baker prizes or the b-grant prizes.
The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund established the Baker Artist Awards in 2008-2009 to recognize Baltimore’s artists and engage regional, national and international audiences in supporting these artists’ work. The Baker Artist Awards encourage all Baltimore area artists working in any creative discipline to register, exhibit their work, promote the site to friends, enjoy the broad public attention given to the site and compete for the Mary Sawyers Baker Prizes. The latest web technology is available to artists and the viewing public to better appreciate video, audio, image and text nominations. All site visitors are invited to logon as participants and to create a “favorites” exhibition, to comment on artist work and contribute to the site blog.
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 on arts and culture. In 2008, the Fund’s Board of Governors established the Mary Sawyers Baker Artist Awards in honor of its founder. Up to three prizes of $25,000 each are awarded annually to up to three metropolitan Baltimore artists, selected by a private jury.
In 2010, the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund created its “b-grant” program to recognize the quality, diversity, and depth of the region’s arts scene. Its grants recognize emerging artists, and established artists exploring new directions. They will be given annually to artists selected from nominations on the Baker Artist Awards website. Each year, two b-grant winners will receive additional awards in honor of Semmes G. Walsh and Nancy Haragan. Semmes G. Walsh served the Baker Fund for over forty years, and his service was characterized by integrity, common sense and a commitment to artistic excellence. Nancy Haragan was the founding executive director of GBCA, and the award honors her decade of creative service to Baltimore’s arts sector.
The Selection Process for the Mary Sawyers Baker Prize
Jury selection process and deliberations for the Mary Sawyers Baker Prize will remain private. All artistic disciplines will be considered. Nominations begin in October of each year, with the deadline to nominate in January.
Who is Eligible
You must be an artist at least 21 years old and have been a legal resident of the Baltimore region for at least one year prior to the start of the nomination process. The Baltimore region is defined as: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County. The Baker Artist Awards are intended for individual artists and groups of artists working as a collective. Artists working in any discipline or multi- disciplines are eligible. Organizations and venues are not eligible. Winners of the Baker Artist Awards will be required to provide additional proof of age and residency beyond information requested through the online self-nomination process. Under the direction of the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) administers the Baker Artist Awards. All inquiries should be directed to GBCA by email to GBCA@baltimoreculture.org.
About The Baker Fund
The William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund commits its resources to enhance the region’s economy and quality of life by making investments in arts and culture. The Fund makes these investments in cultural resources so that all residents may participate and benefit. Its grants support artistic and cultural organizations and their partners through initiatives that enhance an individual’s sense of self and pleasure and make Baltimore a more attractive place to live, work and play.
The Fund Trustees conceived Baker Artists Awards to promote and honor individual artists who live and work in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. Three Mary Sawyers Baker Prizes will be awarded annually in the Spring. The Baker Artist Awards are intended to show that talent and creativity are flourishing in the metropolitan region and attract the attention of regional, national and international audiences.