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Arts and Entertainment

Best-Kept Secret

Baker Artist Award Jurors

A self-taught artist, an MFA graduate, and a professional musician walk into a museum. It sounds like the start of a joke, but it might actually be the secret formula to the Baker Artist Awards. Nobody is complaining about the interactive website and generous cash-funding bestowed upon Baltimore’s creative class by the Baker Foundation, but the fact that their awards process is completely secret seems at odds with their mission of visibility. When asked about their process, executive director Melissa Warlow cites other artist awards decided in secret, like the MacArthur Fellows Program. According to Warlow, “The Board of Governors of the Baker Fund holds the process to the highest objective and professional standards and annually recruits a panel of nationally respected jurors from outside Maryland who use the website to make their independent selections.” We honestly don’t care if they hire psychics or draw names out of a hat, the Baker Artist Awards give over $80,000 a year directly to Baltimore artists: The end justifies the means.

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