Sondheim Artscape Prize finalists announced

Seven artists, representing a range of media, from drawing and sculpture to animation and film were named finalists for the fifth annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The winner of the award, which provides a $25,000 fellowship for career enhancement, will be announced July 10.

The list of finalists includes Baltimore native Matthew Porterfield, an independent filmmaker who directed "Hamilton" and the upcoming "Putty Hill." Porterfield is also a photographer and teacher at Johns Hopkins University.

Two of the artists were finalists last year: Karen Yasinsky, a faculty member at the Maryland Institute College of Art who specializes in animation and drawing (and is this year's recipient of a Baker Artist Award); and Ryan Hackett, a University of Maryland graduate who explores natural and synthetic materials in his sculptural and sometimes sound-enhanced works. Hackett, a resident of Kensington, Md., is the sole finalist this year not living in Baltimore.

The list reflects particularly well on MICA. In addition to Yasinsky, another of the finalists is a faculty member there — Nate Larson, who works in photography and video. And three finalists received graduate degrees at MICA: Leah Cooper, who specializes in installation-based works that utilize ordinary objects; Matthew Janson, who creates mixed media pieces often inspired by animals; and Christopher LaVoie, a sculptor and multimedia artist who uses nontraditional materials.

Works by the seven artists will be exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art from June 19 through Aug. 1. The jury for this year's Sondheim Prize will consist of New York-based critic and editor Robert Nickas, New York gallery owner Magdalena Sawon, and Chicago-based curator and writer Hamza Walker. The prize is held in conjunction with the annual festival Artscape, which runs this year from July 16 to 18.

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