Three UMBC artists—Kelley Bell, Corrie Francis Parks, and Katie Hileman—named Baker Artist Award finalists

Published: Apr 9, 2024

By: Tom Moore

In a work of art, two eyes gaze out from a rectangular enclosure surrounded by small stones.
Still from Foreign Exchange by Corrie Francis Parks. Image courtesy of the artist.

Kelley Bell, M.F.A. ’06, associate professor of visual arts, Corrie Francis Parks, associate professor of visual arts, and Katie Hileman ’12, theatre, and general associate in the department of theatre, are among the finalists for the prestigious 2024 Baker Artist Award.

Established in 2009, the Baker Artist program was created to support artists and promote greater Baltimore as a strong creative community. Since then, more than 150 artists have been awarded $1.3 million in grant money. The program was established by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund and is managed by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

A building with a colonial style façade is covered with an illuminated projection.
Still from Paper Palazzo by Kelley Bell. Image courtesy of the artist.

As part of the Baker program, artists across six disciplines—visual arts, film/video, interdisciplinary, literary arts, performance, and music—are invited to establish online portfolios of their work, which are housed on the Baker Artist Awards website. The 2024 portfolios, numbering more than 700, were reviewed by an anonymous jury which selected the 36 finalists. One artist in each of the disciplines will be awarded the $10,000 Mary Sawyers Baker prize, and one of those six awardees will be selected to receive the additional $30,000 Mary Sawyers Imboden prize. This year’s awardees will be announced in May.

In a theatrical setting, we see a long dinner table covered with a white tablecloth. Three women stand at the head of the table.
I Will Eat You Alive, written and directed by Katie Hileman ’12. Pictured from left, actors Betse Lyons, Vicky Graham ’20, and Meghan Taylor. Photo by Kiirstn Pagan ’11.

The work of Bell, Parks, Hileman, and other finalists will be featured in a series of finalist showcases. Kelley Bell’s work (in the interdisciplinary category) will be on display at Current Space from April 20 to June 2; Katie Hileman’s work (in the performance category) will be featured at Theatre Project on April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 28 at 4 p.m. The showcase that will feature the work of Corrie Parks (and others in the film/video category) has yet to be scheduled.

UMBC is no stranger to the Baker Artist Awards. Previous recipients have included:

  • 2011—Andrew Liang, M.F.A. ’24 ($1,000 b-grant)
  • 2013—Jenny O’Grady, assistant vice president, strategic content ($1,000 b-grant)
  • 2015—Eric Dyer ’95, visual arts, and professor, visual arts ($25,000 Mary Sawyers Baker prize); and Dominique Zeltzman, M.F.A. ’14, ($5,000 Nancy Haragan award)
  • 2018—Lafayette Gilchrist ’92 ($10,000 Mary Sawyers Baker prize)
  • 2021—Rahne Alexander, M.F.A. ’21, ($2,500 Baker Artist award); and Mina Cheon, M.F.A. ’02 ($2,500 Baker Artist award)

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