The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, is the longest running scholarship and recognition program for creative teens in the country. Now in its 94th year, the Awards recognizes the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provides opportunities to celebrate creative teens. Writers like Billy Collins, Langston Hughes, David Sedaris, and Elizabeth Acevedo have participated as jurors.  The Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts  is the new affiliate for the state of Maryland which will receive more than 4000 submissions annually for the competition. We are in the process of gathering judges for this coming judging cycle, and BOPA is looking for amazingly talented professionals in the field of visual and literary arts to participate as Regional Jurors. This is a great opportunity for professionals to hand select the next generation of amazing talent, see the work of students from across the state, and share their expertise with others. Jurors are also invited to a virtual regional ceremony on March 7th 2021  featured in our promotional materials of the Awards. If interested in changing the life a talented teen, please fill out the attached form. Also if you know of other creative professionals who’d be interested in being a juror, please feel free to spread the word!

The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts would like to thank you for participating in Free Fall Baltimore this year. This was an unusual year and your programming helped make it a success.

Please submit your final report of your Free Fall Event so that you can receive the final grant payment. This report is due by Friday December 4th, 2020 at 5pm. Failure to abide by the deadline will result in your organization not receiving the last 20% of your funds or receiving future funds from BOPA grant programs.

Thank you again!

Devin Shacklett


Application deadline – Monday, January 11, 2021

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Inc. (BOPA) is proud to announce the 16th edition of the Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize. The prize will award $25,000 to a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Baltimore region. Approximately six finalists will be selected for the final review for the prizes; their work will be exhibited in the Walters Art Museum, or, in the case of COVID-19 restrictions, via the online platform Kunstmatrix. Finalists not selected for the Sondheim Prize will be awarded an M&T Bank Finalist Award of $2,500 each.

We will also be awarding a Sondheim Creative Residency, a six-week long fully funded residency at Civatella Ranieri, in the Umbria region of Italy, to one of the remaining five finalists not selected for the Sondheim Prize.


Naz Cuguoğlu

Naz Cuguoğlu is a curator and art writer, based in San Francisco Bay Area and Istanbul. She is the co-founder of “Collective Çukurcuma,” experimenting with collaborative thinking processes through its reading group meetings and international collaborative exhibitions. She held fellowship positions at the KADIST and the Wattis Institute; researcher positions at de Young Museum and SFMOMA Public Knowledge; and worked as a projects and exhibitions manager at Zilberman Gallery, Maumau Art Residency, and Mixer. Since 2017, she has been working as an artist advisor for Joan Mitchell Foundation. Her writings have been featured in SFMOMA Open Space, Art Asia Pacific, Hyperallergic, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art,, and elsewhere. She received her BA in Psychology and MA in Social Psychology from Koç University, and another MA from California College of the Arts’ Curatorial Practice program.

She has curated exhibitions internationally, at institutions such as The Wattis Institute (San Francisco), 15th Istanbul Biennial Public Program, Framer Framed (Amsterdam), Kunstraum Leipzig, Red Bull Art Around Istanbul, among many others. Her writing has been featured in SFMOMA Open Space, Art Asia Pacific, Hyperallergic, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and elsewhere. She co-edited three books: After Alexandria, the Flood (Umur: 2015), Between Places (Verkstad Konsthall: 2016), and The Word for World is Forest (The Wattis Institute: 2020), and presented at institutions such as SALT (Istanbul), Norköpping Art Museum, Contemporary Art Center (New Orleans), and Curb Event Center (Nashville).

Michelle Grabner

Michelle Grabner (born 1962 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin) is an artist, writer, and curator based in Wisconsin. She is the Crown Family Professor of Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she has taught since 1996. She has curated several important exhibitions, including the 2014 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art along with Anthony Elms and Stuart Comer, and FRONT International, a triennial exhibition in Cleveland, Ohio in 2018. In 2014, Grabner was named one of the 100 most powerful women in art and in 2019, she was named a 2019 National Academy of Design's Academician, a lifetime honor.le Grabner

Meleko Mokgosi

Meleko Mokgosi (born in Francistown, Botswana; lives and works in New York, NY) is an artist, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Art, and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program. He received his BA from Williams College in 2007 and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study program from 2007-2008. Mokgosi received his MFA from the Interdisciplinary Studio Program at the University of California Los Angeles in 2011. He participated in the Rauschenberg Residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva, FL in 2015 and the Artist in Residence Program at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY in 2012. By working across history painting, cinematic tropes, psychoanalysis, and post-colonial theory, Mokgosi creates large-scale project-based installations that interrogate narrative tropes and the fundamental models for the inscription and transmission of history. In 2018 he co-founded the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program in New York City. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at venues such as Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City; Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town and Johannesburg; Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Perez Art Museum Miami (2020); The Smart Museum of Art (2019); University of Michigan Museum of Art (2019); Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2018); The Fowler Museum at UCLA (2018); Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown (2017) Rochester Contemporary Art Center (2017); The University of Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery (2017); and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2015).

Review Process

The selection process will occur in three phases:

1st Review –Jurors will review applicants’ submissions independent of each other. They will complete score sheets that will be tabulated to select approximately 25 to 35 semifinalists. Submissions will consist of five (5) digital images of work or up to ten (10) minutes of time based work and a resume.

All of the submitted work for the first round of review will also be provided to area galleries and their curators who will be participating in the Artscape Gallery Network exhibitions. If these galleries choose an artist for their exhibitions occurring concurrently with the Sondheim Prize finalist exhibition, artists will be contacted directly by those galleries.

2nd Review – Semifinalists will be asked to submit an expanded submission including up to 30 images or time based works and a description of how they will use the fellowship if they are selected. The jurors will convene to choose approximately six finalists for the exhibition and final review.

Works by the remaining semifinalists will be selected by BOPA curator Lou Joseph for a separate exhibition during the summer of 2021.

Final Review – The finalists will have their work exhibited in the Walters Art Museum. Each finalist will meet with the Walters Art Museum curators to determine installation requirements. Finalists will work collaboratively with the WAM curators to determine which artwork is to be included in the finalist exhibition; however, please keep in mind that the final decision on what is exhibited and the decision regarding the feasibility of installation requirements is the responsibility of the WAM curators. The exhibit design and artwork placement within these galleries is at the sole discretion of the Walters Art Museum curatorial and exhibition staff. On Saturday, July 10, 2021, the jurors will meet with each artist for up to 30 minutes in their exhibition space for a final interview. After all of the interviews, the jurors will meet and decide the fellowship award winner. The award will be announced later that evening at the award reception.

In the case of COVID-19 restrictions not allowing for in-person exhibitions, we will utilize the online platform Kunstmatrix, with curatorial assistance from the Walters curatorial staff. Interviews with each finalist will take place with the jurors online, and BOPA will coordinate an online award ceremony.

Application Process

Image Submission Guidelines

  • Artists may submit five (5) images of artwork for the first round of jury review.
  • Images should be in jpeg format, and be not larger than approximately 3MB.

Video Submission

  • Artists submitting time based works may submit up to ten (10) minutes of work. The 10 minutes may include excerpts from up to five (5) works as long as the combined time totals no more than 10 minutes.
  • Artists wishing to submit still and time based works, for every still image subtract two (2) minutes from the allowed 10 minute time based total.
  • Videos should be in .mov or .mp4 format.

Please contact Lou Joseph at 443-263-4339 or with questions regarding the submission of sound based works.


  1. Artists living and working in Maryland; Washington, DC; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties and the city of Alexandria in Virginia; Delaware and Adams, Chester, Franklin, Lancaster and York counties in Pennsylvania are eligible to submit for this award.
  2. Artists may not be full-time students at the time of the exhibition and during the granting period. Students who will have graduated by the time of the exhibition and granting period may apply.
  3. Artists must live and work in one of the geographic areas listed above during time of application and during the entire granting period.
  4. Artists who work in collaboration may apply as a group. Each artist’s name and contact information should be listed on the application form. A one-page resume for the collaborative group and a single set of support materials should be submitted. Each individual member of the collaborative group must meet all other guidelines.
  5. Artists who apply as individuals must submit original artwork that is principally created by them. It is understood that sometimes individual artists may employ the work of another artist to complete a larger scale project. For example, an artist who works in video may choose to include sound in the video that is composed by another artist. In such cases, the individual artist applying to the Sondheim Prize must be the primary creator of the work, they must disclose any assistance received on artwork submitted for consideration and they must obtain permission from the contributor to submit the work for consideration. Failure to disclose this support will disqualify application, and the artist will be required to return any prize monies awarded.
  6. Upon’s receipt of application materials, artists will be sent an automatic email confirmation. If an artist does not receive this confirmation within 48 hours, please contact Lou Joseph at
  7. The award will be paid in monthly installments. $5,200 will be paid for the first month and $1,800 will be paid for each of the following 11 months. If artist collaborators are selected the above payments will be equally divided between the collaborating artists.
  8. Winners of the Sondheim Prize will be responsible for paying all applicable federal, state and local taxes.
  9. Artists’ work included in the Semifinalist Exhibition will be insured during the exhibition duration by BOPA; artists’ work included in the Finalists exhibition at the Walters Art Museum will be insured by that organization while the artwork is on the premises of the Walters Art Museum.
  10. Winners of the Sondheim Prize will be required to file a final report by June 30, 2022, before the final payment. This report should include an explanation of how winning this prize has enabled the artist or artist collaborative group to further develop their work, as well as an explanation of any additional opportunities that may have arisen as a result of winning this prize.
  11. Work submitted for this prize will also be made available to curators of the Artscape Gallery Network exhibitions. This program has more than a dozen galleries throughout the Baltimore Region.
  12. BOPA reserves the right to reproduce images of applicants’ work for printed or internet publicity, catalogue or marketing purposes. The Walters Art Museum also will have the right to reproduce work relating to the 2021 Sondheim Prize.
  13. The decisions of the jurors are final. Jurors may change without notification.
  14. Finalists will be required to meet with Walters Art Museum curators to finalize their installation needs; these needs must meet the exhibition guidelines set forth by the Walters Art Museum. If required by the installation of the artwork or its intended interaction with the public, the Walters Art Museum may choose to issue waivers of liability to be signed by the artist. Otherwise, the Walters Art Museum will insure the artwork while in its possession.
  15. Artists chosen as finalists will be required to take primary responsibility for installing and deinstalling their work at the Walters Art Museum. Artists must be present on the Walters Art Museum premises for the installation and deinstallation of their work, which will occur Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9am and 4pm. If artists cannot personally be present for installation, their work will not be exhibited. While artists may bring assistants to help them with installation, they cannot serve as substitutes for the artists.
  16. Artists chosen as finalists must provide a complete list of materials used in artworks at the time of the initial site visit by Walters Art Museum curators and staff. Artists’ materials will be reviewed by the Walters Art Museum’s Conservation Department. Artists will additionally accommodate requests by Conservation team members to inspect work in person. Any material (including but not limited to salvaged lumber, food stuffs, other unstable organic materials, objects that off-gas fumes, and objects stored outdoors) that may introduce insects or present a risk to the Museum’s environment and collection will not be permitted inside of the Museum. It is the responsibility of each artist to suggest alternative works suitable for exhibition to the Walters Art Museum curators. If no acceptable alternatives are identified, the artist’s work will not be included in the exhibition, but may be represented by photographic or video documentation to be provided by the artist.
  17. Finalists are strongly encouraged to attend the press preview for the Finalist exhibition, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
  18. Finalists may be required to make presentations at the Walters Art Museum at some time during the duration of the exhibition, including during the awards ceremony.
  19. Photography by the general public will be allowed in the Finalist Exhibition at the Walters Art Museum and in the Semifinalist Exhibition.
  20. Previous winners of the Sondheim Prize are not eligible to apply. Previous finalists and semifinalists may apply.
  21. BOPA and BFAI Board members, employees and/or relatives (defined as children, spouse, domestic partner or parents) are not eligible to apply for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.

Estimated Timeline

Application deadline: Monday, January 11, 2021

Announcement of semifinalists: Mid-February 2021

Announcement of finalists: Mid-March 2021

Finalist studio visits with exhibition curators: late March, 2021

Finalist exhibition installation: May 17-21, 2021 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm)

Finalist exhibition Press Preview: May 25, 2021, 10am

Opening reception for Finalist Exhibition: May 27, 2021 (6pm)

Finalist exhibition duration: May 27 to July 18, 2021

Finalist exhibition deinstallation: July 19-23, 2021

Finalist interviews: Saturday, July 10, 2021

Award announcement: Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 7pm; Galleries open at 6pm

For more information, contact: Lou Joseph at 443-263-4339 or

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts: Arts Council