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MICA Salutes 2009 Sondheim Prize Semifinalists

$25,000 Award Recognizes Achievements of Visual Artists or Visual Artist Collaborators

Posted 02.16.09 by MICA Media Relations

Fourteen alumni or current students of Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) are among the visual artists or members of groups who on Feb. 11 were named semifinalists for the fourth annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize, one of the most prestigious arts awards in the mid-Atlantic region.

Organized by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in conjunction with Artscape, the $25,000 prize recognizes the achievements of visual artists or visual artist collaborators living or working in Maryland, Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, and southeastern Pennsylvania. This year's contest drew 334 entries. The winner will be announced July 11.

MICA graduate Geoff Grace (BFA, MAT '04) won the 2008 prize for his work, it's the linger, not the long. The 2007 prize was awarded to MICA faculty Tony Shore (BFA '93) and the 2006 inaugural winner was Laure Drogoul (MFA '81). A major exhibition of Drogoul's work, Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul, is on view at MICA through March 15.

This year's semifinalists with ties to MICA are: alumnus and adjunct faculty Alzaruba, also known as Al Zaruba (MFA '90), Baltimore Development Cooperative whose members include Scott Berzofsky (BFA '04) and Nicolas Wisniewski (BFA '04), Alyssa Dennis (BFA '02), Liz Ensz (BFA '05), Leslie Furlong (MFA '02), Jessie Lehson (BFA '02, MFA '08), Kim Manfredi (BFA '88 and candidate for a 2009 MFA), Katherine Mann (candidate for a 2009 MFA), Sebastian Martorana (MFA '08), Ellen Nielsen (BFA '08), Molly Springfield (Post-Baccalaureate certificate '00), and TwoCan Collective members Emily C-D (BFA '05) and Jessica Unterhalter (BFA '05).

Manfredi and Mann, both candidates for MFA degrees from MICA's Hoffberger School of Painting, will exhibit their work at MICA during this spring's MFA Thesis Exhibitions. Manfredi's work will be shown in MFA Thesis Exhibition II, which takes place April 10-19, and Mann's work will be shown in MFA Thesis Exhibition III, which takes place April 24-May 3.

About six Sondheim Prize finalists will be selected in April and an exhibit of their work will be shown at the Baltimore Museum of Art June 20-Aug. 16. An exhibit of the semifinalists' work will be shown in MICA's Decker and Meyerhoff galleries July 17-Aug. 2, coinciding with the 2009 Artscape Festival, which takes place July 17-19.

Judges for this year's prize are Ellen Harvey, a New York-based artist; Valerie Cassel Oliver, curator of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and Elisabeth Sussman, curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.