Maryland Institute College of Art teacher Abigail Lucien wins Janet and Walter Sondheim Art Prize

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

Instructor Abigail Lucien leans in, adding insight for the "Introduction to Sculpture" class for Maryland Institute College of Art students as the group members critique one another's end-of-year art projects, on display for the day at Pearlstone Park on May 2.

Abigail Lucien, a teacher at the Maryland Institute College of Art, was announced Thursday as the winner of the 18th annual Janet and Walter Sondheim Art Prize.

Lucien is a Haitian American artist who works in sculpture, literature and time-based media. Their practice addresses themes of belonging, futurity, myth and place by considering our relationship to inherited colonial structures and systems of belief/care.


The Sondheim Prize, which is presented by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, carries a stipend of $30,000 for the winner. Second- and third-place winners are awarded artist residencies.

“Since 2006, the Sondheim Art Prize has awarded over $400,000 to 16 artists to advance their careers, providing funds at a key moment to move their studio practice to the next level,” Lou Joseph, BOPA’s prizes and competitions manager said in a news release.


Lucien was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, received a 2021 VMFA Fellowship and was the 2020 Harpo Emerging Artist fellow. Their past exhibitions include ones at SculptureCenter (New York), MoMA PS1 (New York), MAC Panamá (Panamá), Atlanta Contemporary (Atlanta), Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and the Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia).

Recipients of two residencies also were announced Thursday.

Visual artist Kyrae Dawaun received the six-week residency at Civitella Ranieri, an American artists’ community at a 15th-century castle in the Umbria region of Italy. Dawaun maintains a practice centering on human dependence on inorganic matter and explores these geological transactions as they implicate human relationships.

Mixed-media artist Nekisha Durrett was awarded the residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. Durrett uses foregrounding issues of Black life with her work while creating a space where fantasy, imagination and history converge.

Additionally, these three finalists have also had the opportunity to collaborate with the world-class curatorial staff at the Walters Art Museum to produce the Sondheim Finalists Exhibition, which is on view at the Walters through Sept. 3.

BOPA proudly announces Abigail Lucien as the winner of the 18th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize, receiving the...

Posted by Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts on Thursday, August 17, 2023