Winners of the 2019 Baker Artist Awards were announced May 17. Back row, left to right: Meshelle Foreman Shields, David Page, Selin Balci and Elissa Blount-Moorhead. Front row, left to right: Leslie Harrison and Scott Patterson.
Winners of the 2019 Baker Artist Awards were announced May 17. Back row, left to right: Meshelle Foreman Shields, David Page, Selin Balci and Elissa Blount-Moorhead. Front row, left to right: Leslie Harrison and Scott Patterson. (HANDOUT)

Musician Scott Patterson just captured the largest art award given annually in Baltimore.

Patterson, the pianist, composer, lyricist and librettist and the co-founder of the Baltimore performance space Afro House won the Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize and $40,000 stipend,the largest of six Baker Artist Awards announced May 17 during a broadcast of Maryland Public Television’s “Artworks” program hosted by Rhea Feikin.

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According to a press release issued by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Patterson’s blend of classical, soul and rock music “is futuristic, emotive and luxuriant.”

Baltimore artist Amy Sherald, who painted Michelle Obama's portrait, wins $40,000

Amy Sherald won the 2018 Mary Sawyers Imboden Prize, which carries a $40,000 award — the largest art prize in the Baltimore region.

Arts lovers look forward to the annual prize announcement, now in its eleventh year. Not only do the Baker prizes cross genres (rare for arts competitions) but they’re a reliable way to identify up-and-coming local talent. Winners are selected by an anonymous jury and culled from roughly 900 applicants each year.

In addition to the top prize, five other local creators received 2019 Baker Artist Awards, which are accompanied by $10,000 grants. They are: comedian Meshelle Foreman Shields, who performs as Meshelle, The Indy Mom of Comedy and won in the performance category; Elissa Blount-Moorhead (film); David Page (visual arts); Selin Balci (interdisciplinary) and Leslie Harrison (literature).

A showcase of the work of the 2019 and 2020 Baker Award winners in the visual and interdisciplinary categories will be presented at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the fall of 2020. The work of the remaining 2019 Baker Award winners will be presented this fall in a showcase at a venue that has not yet been determined. In the meantime, check out their portfolios here.

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