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Significant Changes in 2021 Award Structure in response to COVID-19

In order to respond to the needs of artists who have been severely impacted by COVID 19, the entire awards process for the 2021 season has been reconfigured.

The $90,000 pool of funding usually reaches six artists annually. This year it will be awarded in the amount of $2,500 to 36 artists.

Knowing that the need is urgent, GBCA will accelerate the adjudication timeline and distribute the award funds as early as February 2021.

Each of the 36 artists who receive an award this year will remain eligible for all awards in coming years.

This year's awards will not include an exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, however selected artists will all have the opportunity to showcase their work in a series of public performances and online exhibitions.

We are grateful to the Board of Governors at the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund for their support and vision in making this change.

These prizes are awarded to artists who demonstrate excellence. Portfolios are reviewed by an anonymous jury in three areas: mastery of craft, depth of artistic exploration, and unique vision. All artists who have an active portfolio on the Baker website on January 22, 2020 at 5:00PM will be considered for one of this years 36 awards.


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 September 1, 2019 (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 be awarded the Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize and the Mary Sawyers Baker prize.

Previous awardees receiving $10,000 or less remain eligible to receive an additional award after the completion of one additional awards cycle (artists may not receive awards in two sequential years).

Staff of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and the Baltimore Community Foundation, as well as their immediate family, are not eligible to receive and award.

Awardees 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 [email protected]

How to submit

Your portfolio on the Baker Artist Portfolios website serves as your submission for the Baker Artist Awards.

Artist's have until January 22, 2020 at 5:00PM to create or update their portfolio. At that time, the website will automatically create a cloned copy of each artists portfolio to be used for adjudication. After 5:00PM, artists may still update their public portfolio, but these updates will not be judged until the following year.

There is no "submit" button. All artists with an active portfolio on Friday, January 22, 2020 at 5:00PM will have their worked reviewed by this years anonymous jury.

Artists may choose to keep their portfolio private, but will still be considered fir an award. To keep your portfolio hidden from public view, once you are logged in as an artist, click on your name in the upper right hand corner of the website. Select Edit Account Info, and then click on the "Artist Profile" button. At the bottom of that screen, there is a button which reads "Keep my artwork private." Select this box, and click "Save". Your portfolio will now be hidden, but will still be viewed by jurors.

Need more help?

Visit our help page here. Or contact us at [email protected]

Awards in previous years*

*While the 2021 awards have been modified, as explained above, we expect to retrn to our previous award structure nwxt year.

Mary Sawyers Baker Prize

One exemplary artist from each discipline who has created a portfolio on the Baker site will be awarded a $10,000 Mary Sawyers Baker prize.

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.

Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize

Established to be truly transformational to the life and career of one artist, the $40,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize will be awarded to one exemplary artist who has create a portfolio in the Baker site.

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.