Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award


Arts patron Ida F. Haimovicz developed her artistic talent as a sculptor late in life, but as she grew older she wished that she had started much sooner. Because of this, she wanted to encourage young people to develop and pursue their talent in visual art while they are young. In her memory, her family created an endowment with the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC). AHCMC gratefully recognizes the Family of Ida F. Haimovicz for their generous gift to endow this award


This award is given to a high school senior graduating in the class of 2017 who is enrolled in a public or non-public high school in Montgomery County to benefit his/her pursuit of a visual arts career. The $3,000 Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award for 2017 will be granted following a juried selection process that is based upon artistic merit of the original work submitted and the applicant’s potential for a visual arts career, not financial need.


An applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a Montgomery County resident
  • Be enrolled full-time during the fall semester of their senior year in a public or non-public high school located in Montgomery County, and
  • Be graduating in the Spring of 2017.

Application Deadline

Applications for the school year 2016-2017 Award must be submitted via the online application system by Friday, October 14, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Below are the 2016-2017 guidelines and application materials for your reference:

2016-2017 Haimovicz Guidelines

Application Preparation Assistance

AHCMC staff will provide hold free application preparation webinars to those applying for the Haimovicz Visual Arts Award. Workshops are held at AHCMC's offices; AHCMC encourages all applicants to attend.



Applicants are encouraged to contact AHCMC with any questions they may have. Assistance is available via email, phone or in-person by contacting Nabil Ghachem at or 301-565-3804.


Fall 2015 Recipient: Zoe Hall

Join us on March 11 at 6:00 p.m. for a reception celebrating Zoe Hall, Fall 2015 recipient of the Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award! Her work will be on display at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room. RSVP ONLINE

Zoe Hall 
Zoe is a senior at the Montgomery County Visual Art Center, at Albert Einstein High School. She has dedicated the last few years to improving her painting and drawing skills. Zoe spent her childhood in love with The Simpsons, Hayao Miyazaki, comic books, and any other visually appealing thing she could get her hands on. Her greatest source of inspiration though, has been the people around her, and she seeks to bring out the inner life of those people as they engage in the ordinary. Zoe will continue to explore her interest in human nature by pursuing a career that combines communication with creativity.

Curatorial Statement
Close to Home is a series of figurative pieces depicting what Zoe Hall values most: the underlying significance of everyday moments.  Hall places viewers face-to-face with the subjects of her paintings, simulating an intimate evening meal or moment of silence in conversation. While these experiences are fleeting in reality, Hall invites viewers to linger in the shadowy depths of each piece, perhaps making inferences about the subject’s expression.

Earlier in her high school years, Hall developed her observational ability through various exercises, describing still life objects on large pieces of paper. To keep things interesting, Hall experimented with different stylistic techniques.  This variety is constant throughout each of her pieces, from the kooky cartoon style of her illustrative pieces to the faded edges of her Frame Still Life.Because this is her first solo show, Hall is thrilled to have the opportunity to share work that is personal to her.  Many of the subjects of her pieces are family members or friends who put up with her slightly intrusive photography methods.  Earlier this year she traded in a few hours of homework to capture individuals in Downtown Silver Spring, enjoying an entertaining diversion from life at home.

Fall 2014 Recipient: Danya Firestone

Danya Firestone
Danya is an honors student of Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland. First introduced to photography in the seventh grade, Danya has spent the last six years honing her talents in photography. This exploration down the artistic pathways has revealed to herself, as a photographer, that she values true intention over spontaneous picture taking. Furthermore, she has found black and white film photography to be the purest form of communication for those intentions. Although each photograph is carefully planned, Danya has come to appreciate the perceptually subjective nature of photography and the varying meanings each viewer uncovers, and thus she plays with that concept accordingly.

Danya plans to keep the darkroom as her second habitat throughout her college career while double-majoring in photography and education. She considers effectively combining the two passions to teach film photography to middle and highschoolers of future generations.

Artistic Statement
My 35mm lens is my trusted means of self-exploration and expression. When I expose a frame of film to the light and image before me, I am choosing to expose my musings. And even if my intended audience is only myself, it is often a difficult decision to make.

When I was first introduced to photography in the seventh grade, I thought that it was predominately about capturing a moment. Restrict your view for just a second so that you can hold onto that moment forever. Use whatever you can: a disposable camera, a digital camera, an iPhone. There is just one thing that I find  lacking in spontaneous picture taking--intention. Anyone can learn to line up his or her camera so the edges are straight, or to angle the camera to achieve a more unique perspective. But the one characteristic that makes a photograph personal, the one aspect that truly reveals the identity of the photographer behind the camera, is intent.

I always plan. I don't waste a single one of my 27 frames before I have thought about the message that I am trying to convey. The lens is merely the method of communication that I choose to express myself, and it did not take me long to find its most pure and truthful form--film, and more specifically, black and white film. Many photographers would argue that the convenience of the digital camera should be exploited, and that film, especially black and white film, is obsolete. I disagree. There is something enticing about narrowing your visual palette to the spectrum between black and white, and working in total darkness with only your hands guiding you. There is a certain honor in observing a precise process that was established decades ago, despite its having been "improved" since. It is akin to reading the works of Shakespeare or Aristotle though language and philosophy have since been further developed. What I have learned in response to comments and criticisms of my work is that no person will take the exact same meaning from a photograph. Sometimes it is hard for me to remember that everyone perceives art in a different way and that I should try to avoid frustration with "misinterpretations" of my work. Perception is hindered by what one prefers to see (or not see), and the meaning a person will take from a photograph is so subjective that it cannot be deemed a misinterpretation.

People are often comforted by images because they regard them as more tangible, concrete, and objective than words. Indeed, many look to photojournalism to find truth, with the idea that seeing is believing. However, the relationship between viewer and photograph is so individual that I cannot agree with the idea that photographs are objective. I find  personal discovery in analyzing photographs. When I look at a photograph, I notice what is interesting or beautiful or controversial or upsetting-to me. Black and white film gives me the opportunity to discover an aspect of my genuine self and manipulate an image to reveal it.

I used to be very guarded about my work because I felt it was extremely intimate. Sharing my photographs with anyone outside of my family made me vulnerable, and I felt that people would judge me for the subject matter and messages I chose to portray. Yet, I have come to appreciate photography as a tool that enables me to open up to people in a way that I have been unable to find in words. My comfort with this method of communication has motivated me to continue my dedication to film photography. I have been in the darkroom for six years now, and can think of no smellier or more wonderful place to call my sanctuary.

Spring 2014 Recipient: Malaika V. Temba

Malaika V. Temba
Malaika is a recent graduate from Albert Einstein High School’s Visual Arts Center Magnet Program where she concentrated in Visual Arts. Earlier this year, she was a semifinalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Since she was a little girl, Malaika has been fascinated with color and design. While she currently lives in Silver Spring, she grew up traveling overseas. Her distinct memories of colors, red spices and blue tiles from the ornate markets in Morocco, yellow fruit and green banana trees from Uganda, and purple from the jacaranda trees of South Africa, have inspired her artistically. She will be attending the Rhode Island School of Design this fall and aspires to pursue a career in the visual arts. 


Artistic Statement
Art is a central part of who I am. Since I was a little girl I have always been fascinated with color and design. Every piece of paper I used had patterns of some sort on it. I have had bright green graffiti, purple, yellow, pink, and black and white damask walls in my bedroom. 

My family lived overseas while I was growing up, and from every country of my childhood I have a distinct memory of colors: red spices and blue tiles from the ornate markets in Morocco, yellow fruit and green banana trees from Uganda, and purple from the jacaranda trees of South Africa. These colors that I have collected not only represent my life and experiences, but they are the memories and the emotions and the images that I am tied to.


Now, as a high school senior at the Visual Art Center Magnet Program, I spend most of my time thinking about and doing art. I try to make it a part of everything I do, whether it be a history paper about visual propaganda or data in science class that needs to be represented in a visually effective way.


The type of art I'm most fascinated by now is visual historical propaganda; in this, I define propaganda neutrally, as something that can be used for good or bad, but that is designed to persuade towards a specific goal. Art has influenced the world in extremely powerful ways, such as bringing individuals to power or encouraging whole nations to make peace or fight wars. The power that visual messages have over people is unmatched by any other field of expression. Messages that are conveyed have a level of accessibility that makes visual artists understood universally. There are certain emotions that, when evoked with visual art, are stronger and more moving than anything texts or speech can generate.


As I grow as an artist, I would like to learn graphic design and digital motion graphics to be able to spread my art in our age of digital media. Today people are plagued with annoying advertisements in almost every aspect of life. I hope to change this and become a modern day visual propagandist (in a positive way) and create those same graphics that people cannot avoid in a way that will be not only appreciated, but also influential.


This body of work is my first effort at creating propaganda for the common good. The concept I tackled is racial inequality in schools in terms of disciplinary punishment for students. In the United States, we have Zero Tolerance policies that stemmed from heightened security in schools after 9/11 and school shootings. While I agree that we must create safe learning environments, these policies result in very serious consequences for minor infractions.  Suspension, expulsion, and in-school arrest rates are higher than ever before, and what is worse is that a much higher proportion of minority students are being punished.


My concentration focuses on the idea that this issue must be brought to light and openly discussed. It also addresses the consequences of Zero Tolerance policies, what some are calling the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Disproportionate numbers of students from minority backgrounds are isolated from classes beginning with the common punishment of in-school suspension, and fall into pre-determined paths from then on that lead straight to prison. This subject is really important to me because I feel as though this issue is both common and ignored. As a minority student, I want to see a change in this school policy. 


About the Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award

The Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award, now in its sixteenth year, was established by the family of the late Ida F. Haimovicz to support a Montgomery County high school senior intent on pursuing a visual arts career. The Haimovicz award, a cash award of $3,000, is administered by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

At age 64, Mrs. Haimovicz, a resident of North Bethesda, attended a sculpture class at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. This class started Mrs. Haimovicz on a much-loved hobby, says her son Joseph Hamer. "She began sculpting at home, but the clay became heavier and heavier as she grew older. She realized that she should have started much earlier in life." Mrs. Haimovicz wanted to