Next Monday, the Baker Artist Awards will give out their first round of "B-Grants" for the year. Are you on the site yet, oh artist friends of mine?
If you're somehow living in a hole (one with internet connection? where is this hole?) and don't know about the grants - allow us to school you. The Baker Art Awards were developed in 2008 to promote and support the arts in Baltimore by way of a free website for artists to upload images of their work. Everyone gets a personal "nomination" page which is shared with internet users round the world on the main Baker site (thus putting Baltimore on the map as a place where folks make some pretty cool stuff - rather than just reenacting scenes from The Wire all day). Site users are allowed to comment on, favorite, share, and view artists work & profiles. A select jury chooses from the full pool of artists (which includes dancers, musicians, filmmakers and writers, along with visual artists) for prize winners for both the Mary Saywers Baker prize ($25,000 awarded to three individuals in January) and "B-Grants" (smaller prizes of $1000 each, given out in November, December and January). It's free to start your own nomination page, and the only requirement is that you are a resident of the Baltimore region. (See HERE for details).
In addition to all that, you can also curate your own favorites page - so when you're sick of uploading your own images, you can gaze dreamily at the work of your fellow Baltimoreans and pump your fists with pride.
Above is a collection of some of my personal favorites from the nomination pool so far. You can check out who made what by clicking right HERE... And if you're still reading this blogpost and haven't abandoned it to sign up for your own nomination page yet, CLICK HERE.