(Left to right) James Williams II’s velcro, resin and oil artwork “Mind Racing”; Maren Henson’s charcoal artwork “Letter to an Engine”; and Megan Koeppel’s fabric appliqué artwork “Hands Quilt.” The three artists are finalists for the 2022 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize, and their artwork will be displayed in an exhibition at the Walters Art Museum from July 21 through Sept. 18. Images courtesy of James Williams II, Maren Henson and Megan Koeppel via The Walters Art Museum.

The Walters Art Museum will exhibit the art of the three finalists for the 2022 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize from July 21 through Sept. 18.

The three finalists, announced in April, are Baltimore-based artists Megan Koeppel, Maren Harris, and James Williams II. They are all alumni of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Koeppel, who received her undergraduate degree in fine art and curatorial practices from MICA in 2018, will have her fiber work on display. Her piece “Hands Quilt,” which is displayed on the Walters’ website, is made with naturally dyed fabric and was created by both machine and hand appliqué. Koeppel’s work has been displayed throughout the DMV, as well as in her home state, Wisconsin.

Henson received her master’s of fine art from MICA in 2017. Her work displayed at the Walters highlights conspiracy in American culture. On her website, Henson writes, “Labor and power are the root of communication. Exploring how these forces inform language establishes the essential context for my work.”

Williams also received his master’s of fine art from MICA and now works there as a professor. His interdisciplinary work focuses on American social and cultural identity. His piece “Mind Racing,” also displayed on the Walters’ website, works with a number of media, including velcro, resin, and oil on canvas and panel.

As finalists, the artists are competing for a $30,000 fellowship that will go towards assisting the winner’s career. For the finalists not selected for the fellowship, two residencies are available: a six-week residency at Civitella Ranieri in the Umbria region of Italy, and a six-month residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.

Throughout the first week of the exhibition, the finalists will be interviewed by a panel of jurors in the Walters exhibition space to determine the winner. Jurors include curator Catherine Morris, sculptor Jean Shin, and visual artist Kambui Olujimi.

On July 28, the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony held at the Walters. The ceremony, which is free to the public and Walters supporters alike, will be held from 6-8 p.m. 

This will be the 17th year the Jean & Walter Sondheim Art Prize is granted to a Baltimore artist, and the first ceremony in over two years to be celebrated in person. In 2020 and 2021, the prize winners were celebrated virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year’s winner was Hae Won Sohn, a Baltimore-based visual artist from Seoul, South Korea.

The award is funded by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, Baltimore City’s art council.

Liv Barry

Liv Barry is Baltimore Fishbowl's 2022 summer reporting intern. Barry is rising junior at Washington College, where she is majoring in communication and media studies and double minoring in journalism,...