So the Baker Artist Awards are back up. Artists, musicians, filmmakers, and writers from Baltimore are encouraged to post work and write a lengthy artist statement. The website is minimal and attractive and it offers an easy way to showcase your most current work. For me, it has turned into a portfolio of sorts that I can share with people from all over the states.
I hope this is the year they finally award one of the three $25,000 prizes to a writer, but there is an inherent problem with posting writing on an arts website. It just doesn't "look" good.
Without book covers and videos of readings, without some compelling visuals to make a writer's nomination more attractive, they simply get lost in the sea of images and sound. That's just the world we live in. Additionally, stories and poems take time to read. Even I tend to gravitate towards graphics instead of a long poem.
Now that the Baltimore Museum of Art is showcasing the winning artists, this creates a larger obstacle for traditional writers. How would the BMA properly display the work of a writer? Would they let the writer reconstruct their office or studio in the gallery with books that the writer is currently reading with edited manuscripts and reference materials on bookshelves? Would they let them create a book especially for the BMA audience?
As a more interdisciplinary writer, I feel fortunate that I can create a more dynamic nomination by posting prints, videos, and design work, but I'm an anomaly in this very vibrant community of novelists, poets, and publishers within Baltimore. If there are any local writers out there that need help with their nomination this year, please email me. I want to help out.