May 22, 2023


Government Relations and Public Affairs
187 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401


Seven Baltimore City Public Schools students awarded $20,000 in scholarships through Courting Art Baltimore

BALTIMORE, Md. – The District Court in Baltimore City unveiled the artwork of Courting Art Baltimore’s student finalists and winners, whose artwork has been professionally reproduced for long-term display at its Eastside Courthouse, 1400 East North Avenue. Members of the Maryland Judiciary, including District Court of Maryland Chief Judge John P. Morrissey, Administrative Judge Geoffrey G. Hengerer, Senior Judge Halee F. Weinstein, Baltimore City Public Schools Fine Arts Department, and Arts Every Day celebrated 20 finalists and seven winners at an evening reception held on May 17, 2023.

The seven winners, with 10 Baltimore City public schools and nearly 140 students participating, in Courting Art Baltimore’s eighth annual art contest received $20,000 in scholarships for art programs and post-high school degrees for their expression of the theme My Baltimore: Student Perspectives through various art mediums, including paintings, drawings, and other two-dimensional works of art.

In addition to scholarships, Courting Art Baltimore awarded each of the 20 finalists with a $50 gift card. Two students received free placement in the Maryland Institute College of Art Young People’s Studio, which is for students in grades 9 to 11.

“I congratulate all the students who submitted works of art for this year’s Courting Art Baltimore contest. Their creativity and commitment to art and beautifying their hometown is extraordinary,” said Chief Justice Matthew J. Fader, Supreme Court of Maryland. “Through their artwork, each told a story about Baltimore and their experiences, which serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of people and places in every community.”

Courting Art Baltimore showcases the creative work of high school students from participating Baltimore City public schools to promote the city’s youth and their artwork, connect the legal community with local Baltimore communities, and to reduce stress and anxiety for litigants and visitors by beautifying local courthouses.

“Courting Art Baltimore brings young people and the community together in a unique way by not only showcasing their artistic talent, but it also highlights the varied and important perspectives of Baltimore’s youth,” said Chief Judge John P. Morrissey. “I am honored to have their artwork decorate the courthouse for the public to reflect upon and enjoy. I also applaud Judge Halee Weinstein’s inspiration and vision in bringing this program to Baltimore’s young artists.”

The Courting Art Baltimore panelists who served as judges for the art contest included Baltimore Museum of Art Director Asma Naeem; Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Director Adam Holfcener; Artist and Co-Director of BmoreArt's Connect+Collect Initiative Jeffery Kent; Twi McCallum, arts education specialist, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts; Tamara Payne, artist and professor, Baltimore City Community College; and Alex Montanio, director of corporate social responsibility, Gordon Feinblatt, LLC.

“All of the students who participated in Courting Art Baltimore did a fantastic job and each work of art demonstrates their unique and thoughtful perspectives,” said Senior Judge Halee F. Weinstein, District Court in Baltimore City. “The program was adapted from one that I visited in Pennsylvania, which was replicated in Baltimore with the help and support of the Baltimore Bar Foundation, the Bar Association of Baltimore City, Baltimore City Public Schools, the Arts Every Day program, and countless others who helped make this program a success by bringing art to a heavily utilized public space such as the courthouse.”

Courting Art Baltimore, established by Judge Weinstein in 2015 and assisted by Bar Association of Baltimore City member Brian D. Katzenberg, Esq., is an art contest open to all Baltimore City public high school students. Presented by the District Court in Baltimore City in conjunction with the Baltimore Bar Foundation, Inc., and the Bar Association of Baltimore City, Courting Art Baltimore is celebrated in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools, Arts Every Day, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and the CollegeBound Foundation.

“This is a thoughtful and exciting community-based program for the District Court in Baltimore City,” said Administrative Judge Geoffrey G. Hengerer. “I am proud to have the students’ artwork displayed at the Eastside District courthouse, where it is bringing joy to court visitors while creating a public space to view and display the students’ artwork.”

The seven scholarship winners are:

Laila Williams, Western High School, $7,000, Morning in Baltimore

Gertrude Smith, Baltimore City College High School, $4,500, My Baltimore

Shantay Williamson, Western High School, $3,500, Self-Portrait, and free placement in the MICA Young People’s Studio

Kesai Lee, Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, $2,250, I Can Do Anything!

Rayne Davis, Baltimore Polytechnic High School, $1,500, Her Eyes, and free placement in the MICA Young People’s Studio

Aniya Branch, Western High School, $750, Sister Love

Sophia Bender, Baltimore Polytechnic High School, $500, untitled artwork

Courting Art Baltimore
Courting Art Baltimore
Artwork by Laila Williams
Artist: Laila Williams
Artwork by Gertrude Smith
Artist: Gertrude Smith
Artwork by Shantay Williamson
Artist: Shantay Williamson
Artwork by Kesai Lee
Artist: Kesai Lee
Artwork by Rayne Davis
Artist: Rayne Davis
Artwork by Aniya Branch
Artist: Aniya Branch
Artwork by Sophia Bender
Artist: Sophia Bender

Bradley Tanner
Public Information Officer
[email protected]

Terri Charles
Asst. Public Information Officer
[email protected]