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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

Maryland Honors 89 Artists for Excellence

Maryland Honors 89 Artists for Excellence

Awards totaling $249,000 recognize artists’ contributions to the creative vitality of the state

March 26, 2014Press Release

The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce, has awarded grants to 89 Maryland artists for creating work of exceptional quality within a range of disciplines. The group of outstanding choreographers, composers, dancers, musicians, poets and sculptors was selected from nearly 400 applicants and received Individual Artists Awards ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 to advance their artistic careers.

 “Artists and art making in Maryland fuel our creative economy and expand opportunities for cultural engagement across the state,” said Dominick Murray, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce. “The diversity of work by exceptional individual artists is essential to the arts industry, which generates a billion dollars a year in Maryland.”

The MSAC’s competitive Individual Artists Award (IAA) recognizes the value of artists and their work to the cultural vitality of Maryland. In determining the awards, an out-of-state jury reviews submissions and, having no other information about the artist, recommends grant awards on the basis of artistic merit alone.

Artists report applying IAA grant funds to buy materials, invest in technology, travel to or participate in arts and film festivals and spend more time creating art.

“With the grant money, I traveled to the Stuttgart International Festival of Animation to present my short animation, “The Living Things,” an official festival selection,” said Baltimore-based filmmaker and digital artist Phil Davis, who received a 2013 IAA of $3,000.  “I presented my work to an international audience, participated in Q&A sessions after screenings, viewed a wide range of inspiring international animation and networked with fellow animators, producers and curators.”

IAA recipients also say that the award is not only an honor, but an expression of support and encouragement. “I wanted every cent of the IAA money to go back into my craft,” said 2013 IAA recipient Kelly Renee Armstrong, a Columbia-based storyteller and performer. “The MSAC grant was the seed money for a new outlook on how I fund my dream. I’ve used the money for workshops, fringe show application fees and headshot mailings. It wasn’t long before the money was spent, but the idea and mindset it fueled is here to stay.”

The IAA Program reviews a total of 18 artistic disciplines, which are separated into three competition groups that are awarded once every three years. The 2015 Individual Artist Award will open to applications in June, with a deadline of Friday, July 24, 2014.  Eligible categories will include: Crafts; Non-Classical Music Composition; Non-Classical Music Solo Performance; Photography and Playwriting.

A celebration in honor of Maryland’s 2014 Individual Artist Awardees will be held at 7:00pm on Monday, May 19 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Pictured: Untitled (for Louise) by Keith W. Bentley of Baltimore City who received an Individual Artist Award in Sculpture.

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About the Maryland State Arts Council 
The mission of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, is to encourage and invest in the advancement of the arts for the people of Maryland. The latest economic impact report shows that MSAC grantees' activities support more than 12,700 full-time equivalent jobs and generate $1.07 billion in economic activity and $48 million in state and local taxes.