Arts District

Baker Artist Awards Recognizes Six Area Artists

Pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn wins largest, $40,000 prize

By Gabriella Souza | May 25, 2017, 9:00 pm

Pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn -Video still
Arts District

Baker Artist Awards Recognizes Six Area Artists

Pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn wins largest, $40,000 prize

By Gabriella Souza | May 25, 2017, 9:00 pm


Pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn -Video still


Susan Alcorn was at a hair salon when she got the call. And when she heard the news, she was dumbfounded.

Alcorn, the noted Baltimore pedal steel guitarist, had won the top, $40,000-prize at this year’s Baker Artist Awards, which recognize artists in any medium who reside in Baltimore City and five surrounding counties.

 “All of a sudden, your reality changes,” Alcorn said. “Now, it’s ‘What am I going to do now, and with all this money?’”

Alcorn is being recognized along with five other artists, who won $10,000 prizes: dancer Naoko Maeshiba (who was also a recipient last year), visual artist David Marion, filmmaker Theo Anthony, writer Elizabeth Dickinson, and interdisciplinary artist Sara Dittrich.

Alcorn said she was first attracted to the steel guitar by its floating, iridescent sound. “There’s just something magical about it that drew me to it,” she says. “As my relationship with the steel guitar has progressed, I listen to the instrument more and try to feel what it’s telling me.”

She started playing in bands that specialized in pop, country, and western music, where the instrument is more commonly heard, but soon found herself pulled into the worlds of free jazz and experimental classical music. Alcorn has released six albums and toured the world, collaborating with artists from a variety of genres (including the Baltimore Boom Bap Society).

In addition to sprucing up her home studio, Alcorn said she will use the prize money to start a collaboration with Swedish singer Hanna Olivegren.

It’s exciting “to get recognition here in Baltimore from my colleagues and the arts community,” she said. “This process was validating in ways I didn’t imagine.”

The 2017 Baker Artist Awards: An Artworks Special airs on MPT-HD Saturday, May 27, at 8 p.m. and on MPT2 on Sunday, May 28 at 6:30 a.m.




Meet The Author
Gabriella Souza is the arts and culture editor for Baltimore magazine, where she covers arts, entertainment, music, and culture.

You May Also Like


Arts & Culture

Q&A with Natural Velvet

We talk to Corynne Ostermann of the post-punk outfit about their new album.

MaxSpace

Review: The Hero

Sam Elliott shines in this career-defining role.


Arts District

The Big Baltimore Playlist: June 2017

The top five local songs you should download right now.

Arts & Culture

Golden Globe

Print is not dead at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Grain Trust
Portside Tavern’s latest Canton restaurant is surprisingly upscale.

Elvis of the Himalayas
Restaurant owner bridges two worlds—food and music.

Top Dentists 2017
Looking for Baltimore's most highly regarded dentists? We did the research for you.

Book Reviews: June 2017
The latest from Richard Chizmar, Stephen King, and April Ryan.

Q&A with Natural Velvet
We talk to Corynne Ostermann of the post-punk outfit about their new album.