Mayor Sheila Dixon and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts announced that Baltimore Development Cooperative is the winner of the 2009 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented by Mayor Dixon at this evenings awards ceremony at The Baltimore Museum of Art
. Works of art by the prizewinner and five other finalists are on view at the BMA until August 16.
The Sondheim prize is part of Artscape, Americas largest free celebration of the arts, taking place July 17-19 along Mount Royal Avenue and North Charles Street. It is designed to assist area visual artists in furthering their careers by allowing them to pursue tracks in their work that may not otherwise be possible. The winner was determined by an outside panel of three jurors: Ellen Harvey, a New York-based artist; Valerie Cassel Oliver, Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
The Baltimore Development Cooperative (BDC) is an artist group with an interdisciplinary practice that uses the strategies of art, research, and activism to critically engage with urban spatial politics. Co-founded in 2005, the group has produced tours, exhibitions, workshops and site-specific projects in public space. The BDC is dedicated to the analysis of neo-liberal urbanism and the invention of alternatives based on social, economic, and ecological justice in the city. The core members of BDC are Scott Berzofsky, Dane Nester, and Nicholas Wisniewski. For the 2009 Sondheim Prize Finalists exhibition, BDC created Participation Park, a two-part multi-media installation. Outside on the terrace in front of the BMA is a colorful geodesic dome with seating that invites viewers to create their own experience; whether listening to music, eating, or talking. In the exhibition galleries is a cardboard sculpture of Baltimores downtown landmarks on bulldozer tracks.
The Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize: 2009 Finalists exhibition includes works of art by all six finalists for this years prizeBaltimore Development Cooperative, Leslie Furlong, Ryan Hackett, Jessie Lehson, Molly Springfield, and Karen Yasinsky. The BMAs exhibition is organized by Jay Fisher, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs. Another exhibition of semifinalists will take place at the Maryland Institute College of Arts Decker and Meyerhoff Galleries from July 17 through August 2.