The Baker Artist Portfolios were created to support artists and promote Greater Baltimore as a strong creative community. The online portfolios are open to artists working in all disciplines who live and work in Baltimore City and its five surrounding counties. The portfolios expose area artists' work to regional, national and international audiences.  The site has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of art lovers, critics, gallery owners, academics, and leaders in creative business in nearly every country around the globe. The program serves artists of all disciplines 

The portfolios and associated awards were established by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund and are a program of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.


Artists who create a Baker Artist Portfolio are automatically eligible for one of five Baker Artist Awards, which include significant monetary prizes, an exhibition at a major institution as well as a feature on Maryland Public Televisions Artworks

This year, five artists will be selected to win $85,000 in prizes: the $50,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize, the $20,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize, and three $5,000 prizes: The Semmes G. Walsh, Nancy Haragan and Board of Governors Awards. 


Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize 

One $50,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize will be awarded to an established artist who demonstrates a dedication to their art, a mastery of craft, and a commitment to excellence. 

Mary Sawyers Imboden was the beloved niece of Mary Sawyers Baker and throughout her childhood traveled extensively with her aunt throughout Europe.  Mary Sawyers Baker established The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund in 1964 and upon her death in 1976, was succeeded by Mary S. Imboden on its Board of Governors on which she served until 1999.  During her tenure on the board, she was instrumental in forming the Fund’s guidelines and procedures to better reflect her aunt’s wishes.  In addition to making sure each dollar was granted wisely, Mary Imboden wanted to make sure the fund was innovative and specifically met the needs of the city of Baltimore. 

Mary Sawyers Baker Prize 

One $20,000 Mary Sawyers Baker prize will be awarded in 2016 to an established artist who demonstrates a dedication to their art, a mastery of craft, and a commitment to excellence.

Mary Sawyers Baker was 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.



The Semmes G. Walsh, Nancy Haragan and Board of Governors Awards

These three $5,000 prizes are designed to showcase quality, diversity, and depth of the region’s arts scene. These prizes recognize both emerging artists and established artists exploring new directions. 

Semmes G. Walsh gave more than forty years of service to Baltimore and the William G Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund who were grateful for his integrity, common sense, and a commitment to artistic excellence. Nancy Haragan, founding director of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, gave years of creative service to Baltimore’s arts sector. The Board of Governors Award recognizes the amazing contribution that the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund's Board of Governors has made to Baltimore. 



Artists may upload and update their portfolios on the the Baker Artist Portfolios site from October 1, 2015  through 5:00 PM on January 15, 2016.  The Baker Artist Awards selection process will be conducted by a private jury of national and international multidisciplinary experts.

In February 2016, up to 60 award finalists will be announced and their portfolios featured on the site. In May 2016, the winners of the five awards will be announced on a special episode of Maryland Public Television's Artworks. 



To create a portfolio on the Baker Artist Portfolio site, you must be at least 21 years old and have been a legal resident of the Baltimore region since October 1, 2014 (one year prior to the opening of the current open portfolio season). The Baltimore region is defined as: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County.

The Baker Artist Portfolios and associated awards are intended for individual artists and groups of artists working as a collective. Artists working in any discipline or multiple disciplines are eligible to win the Mary Sawyers Imbodem Prize, the Mary Sawyers Baker prize and the Semmes G. Walsh, Nancy Haragan and Board of Governors Awards. Past $1,000 and $5,000 winners remain eligible to win the Mary Sawyers Imboden and Mary Sawyers Baker prizes. Organizations and venues are not eligible.

Winners of all awards and prizes will be required to provide additional proof of age and residency beyond information requested through the online self-nomination process.

The Baker Artist Portfolios and awards are managed by The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.  All inquiries regarding eligibility should be directed to bakerartistawards@gmail.com.

About The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance

The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) is an inclusive and independent organization that believes that arts and culture are essential to the vitality of theGreater-Baltimore region and that the cultural community is stronger together than apart.

Conceived in 1997 and incorporated in 2001, GBCA nurtures and promotes a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable arts and cultural community essential to the region’s quality of life. Its goals are to connect artists and organizations to one another and to vital resources through funding, technical assistance, and convening to advocate for the health, visibility, and ļ¬nancial strength of the sector with communications and other strategies that result in public and private support.

GBCA is a membership and service organization for arts, culture, history, heritage organizations, and attractions, as well as universities and colleges and individual artists. GBCA serves organizations and artists in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford, and Howard counties.


About The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial 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. 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 and work.