Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award

The Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award (Haimovicz Award) is available to high school juniors enrolled in a public or non-public high school in Montgomery County MD who demonstrate a commitment to the visual arts.

The 2023-2024 Haimovicz Award will be presented to three recipients following a juried selection process that is based upon the merit of the original submitted work and the applicant’s commitment to the visual arts discipline, not financial need. The awardee who receives the highest average panel score is given an award of $1,500, a mentorship with a visual arts professional, and a solo exhibition presented in conjunction with an award ceremony. In addition, two runner-up awardees will receive $750 each and a one-on-one meeting with the mentor.

AHCMC gratefully recognizes the family of Ida F. Haimovicz for their generous gift to endow this award. Click on the “About Ida F. Haimovicz” tab below to learn more about the endowment and her legacy.

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Important Dates

Application Deadline
Monday, January 15, 2024 - 11:59 pm


Jesus Guzman
Grants Assistant Manager
Karen Judson
Grants Manager
(301) 565-3804
Krystle Seit
Grants Coordinator
(301) 565-3805 ext. 20
Dates + Deadlines

2023-2024 Important Dates

  • Guidelines Published – November 2023
  • Application Deadline – Monday, January 15, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EST

Applicants are highly encouraged to contact AHCMC grants staff. All applications and relevant materials must be submitted online through AHCMC’s grants portal, SurveyMonkey Apply (SM Apply).

Late applications and relevant materials will not be accepted.

Additional Dates Post-Application

  • Panel Review (virtual) – July 2024
  • Award Announcement – Summer 2024 – Following Panel Review
  • Award Ceremony – October 2024


    All AHCMC webinars will be hosted through the Zoom platform.

    Webinars allow applicants to ask AHCMC grants staff specific questions about the guidelines, application, and online application portal.

    At each webinar, AHCMC grants staff review eligibility requirements and offer technical assistance for both the application process and the online application portal.

    Assistance is available via email or phone by contacting AHCMC Grants Manager, Karen Judson at or (301) 565-3804.

    Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award Application Webinar

    SurveyMonkey Apply (SM Apply) Tutorial

    Guidelines + Eligibility



    An eligible applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

    • Resides in Montgomery County, MD;
    • Is able to provide AHCMC with a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) prior to receiving the award disbursement;
    • Is enrolled full-time during the fall of 2023 and spring of 2024 of their junior year in a public, private, or home school located in Montgomery County, MD; and
    • Will be graduating high school in the spring of 2025.

    Visual Arts Disciplines

    The artwork submitted must demonstrate the applicant’s proficiency in any one or combination of the following visual arts disciplines:

    • Painting (i.e., acrylic, oil, watercolor, tempera, etc.)
    • Drawing (i.e., charcoal, pencil, pastel, etc.)
    • Photography
    • Printmaking (i.e., screen-printing, lithography, etching, etc.)
    • Digital media & film (i.e., graphic design, digital illustration, animation, etc.)
    • Mixed media (i.e., fiber-based arts, collage, assemblage, etc.)
    • Sculpture (i.e., woodwork, metalwork, glass, etc.)
    • Ceramics

      Required Application Materials:

      1. Completed Application Form
      2. High School Transcript
        • Applicants must upload a PDF copy of their current high school transcript verified by the original signature of their guidance counselor. This signature verifies that the applicant’s grades are up to date and that the applicant is on track to graduate with a high school diploma in the spring of 2025.
          • Homeschooled applicants may have their current high school transcript signed by their primary instructor if a guidance counselor is not available.
        • Transcripts will only be used to verify eligibility; transcripts are not sent to the panel and do not impact the evaluation process.
      3. Homeschool Notification Form (required for homeschooled students only)
        • All homeschooled applicants must submit a Homeschool Notification Form signed by a parent or guardian who verifies that the student is homeschooled and that they comply with Maryland State Department of Education homeschooling regulations.
        • The Homeschool Notification Form will only be used to verify eligibility; this form is not sent to the panel and does not impact the evaluation process.
      4. Work Sample(s)
        • Upload 1-10 samples of original work created within the past two years. Samples should include at least 5 pieces that the applicant would feel comfortable exhibiting publicly.
      5. Completed AHCMC Reporting Data Form
        • This form corresponds with AHCMC’s reporting obligations. Responses will not be factored into eligibility or the panel review.
            Application + Templates

            Ready to apply? Submit through the SM Apply portal.

            All applications and relevant materials must be submitted through SM Apply by the deadline. Applicants are highly encouraged to use the application templates to prepare the narrative and supplementary materials.

            Please read the guidelines thoroughly before starting an application.

            2023-2024 Haimovicz Award Templates:

            *Know that these are templates for your reference only – all applications and relevant materials must be submitted online through SM Apply.*

            Award Recipients

            Learn about the 2022 – 2023 Award Recipient, Sebastian Tulin



            2021 Award Recipient – Larisa Kachko

            Larisa is student at both Sherwood High School and the art magnet program at Albert Einstein High School, the Visual Arts Center. Larisa’s works have featured in several local and national galleries, such as BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, School 33Art Center in Baltimore, Friends of the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo, the Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York, the Crocker Art Museum in California, and several others. Among other awards, Larisa was the first-place teen winner of the 2020 Envisioning Health Equity Art Challenge hosted by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Her award-winning work tells the stories of objects and people by focusing on the underlying layers of an object’s colors, as well as its surface characteristics. Larisa looks forward to attending art school after graduating high school.

            Artist Statement

            I tell the stories of objects and people through my work. I focus on the underlying layers of an object’s colors as well as it’s surface characteristics, which lets me paint out a soul and life for it. I particularly adore objects with imperfections such as scratches, broken handles, or cracks because those details make it that much more interesting to express its life in a painting. For portraiture I study different types of people and try to find their most prominent features that show who they are. Oftentimes I go for a sober, nostalgic feeling, where I try to bring light to the character of my models. When deciding on a composition, I go with multiple light sources to add interesting cast shadows, reflections, and highlights, and try to picture how I will make a piece flow.

            2020 Award Recipient – Mary Ma

            Mary Ma is a student at Richard Montgomery High School who is perpetually infatuated with art. She loves visiting museums, checking out local exhibits, and painting in her free time. Though she mainly works in oil, Mary also dabbles in watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, pencil, fabric, and even digital 3D design. Mary is fueled by creativity; when she isn’t painting, she’s altering and making her own clothing. As a part of the Smithsonian Freer Sackler Teen Council, the Hirshhorn ARTLAB+ Emerging Artist Internship program, and as a former member of

            the National Gallery of Art’s Museum Makers and the Smithsonian Libraries Chaptour Guides, Mary is incredibly involved in the DC museum community. She is also involved in her school community; she is the senior president of National Art Honor Society, and an Editor in Chief of her school’s newspaper, the Tide. Her work has been exhibited at numerous locations, including but not limited to: Yellow Barn, VisArts, Freer Sackler. In the future, she hopes to be involved with a museum career, whilst continuing to create and exhibit art.

            Artist Statement

            Mary’s process involves her memories and dreams. In her works, she explores her subconscious, mining her memories and dream journals for details to reconstruct. She chooses not to use references while painting in order to avoid the limitations that physical objects can impose on her flow of emotion. She draws directly from her memories and descriptions of her dreams, evoking the subconscious with her paintbrush, not the tangible.

            2018 Award Recipient – Astrid Dong

            Astrid Dong is a senior the Albert Einstein High School and a resident of Rockville, Maryland. Astrid is the Vice President of the National Art Honor Society and has participated in Internship programs at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum. She plans to study cinematography and media arts and pursue a career in the independent film communities working to amplify voices in media that are lesser heard. Her award-winning multi-media artwork explores abstraction, space, and symbolism through materials that either degrade over time, or transform as a part of their presentation.

            2017 Award Recipient – Ben Dale

            Ben Dale is a senior at the Montgomery County Visual Art Center Magnet Program at Albert Einstein High School. Inspired by imagery of Greek mythology and the storytelling of Roald Dahl with Quentin Blake, he incorporates this dramatic narrative into his artwork. In addition to visual arts, Ben is a cellist in the DC Youth Orchestra Program’s Youth Philharmonic. Music informs how he thinks about his art, seeking to convey rhythm and movement of his figures and settings. This past Winter Ben earned several Scholastic Silver and Gold Key Northeast Regional Awards for his illustration and animation. Upon graduation, he will pursue a BFA in Animation with the goal of bringing his stories to life.

            Artist Statement

            Broken System is a combination of two series, one personal and one political. I often reflect my personal experience into visual narratives, creating fantasy stories. When I am feeling certain emotions or going through a certain experience I can almost feel the appearance of the piece. My series Nightmare Narrative is a fantastical series that takes the viewer through a scary experience to a dark place, ultimately realizing that there is hope and uplift in the end. While it is a fantastical series, it very closely parallels a traumatic experience that happened in my family last year.The Brexit series is a result of this past summer. I visited my family in Northern England and considered the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union and what it might foreshadow for the upcoming U.S. election. Theses pieces are more visceral than my typical storytelling style. They show the social turmoil, broken political machinery, and compare human behavior to that of the ever-present sheep.

            2016 Award Recipient – 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.

            2015 Award Recipient – Danya Firestone

            Danya is an honors student at 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.

            Artist 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.

            2014 Award Recipient – Malaika V. Temba

            Malaika V. Temba 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.

            All past recipients

            • Sebastian Tulin (2023)
            • Larisa Kachko (2021)
            • Mary Ma (2020)
            • Astrid Dong (2018)
            • Ben Dale (2017)
            • Zoe Hall (2016)
            • Danya Firestone (2015)
            • Malaika V. Temba (2014)
            • Gahyun (Esther) Kim (2013)
            • Samantha Ritchie (2012)
            • Daniel Toretsky (2011)
            • Aaron Kuhn (2010)
            • Elena Hutchinson (2009)
            • Brooke Kao (2008)
            • Hannah Wides (2007)
            • Jamie Eakin (2006)
            • Rebecca Sugar (2005)
            • Julia Chiplis (2004)
            • Christine Wang (2003)
            • Gabriel Abrantes (2002)
            • Brendan Wiuff (2001)
            • Justin Craun (2000)
            • James Johnson (1999)
            • Rachel Cox (1998)
            About Ida F. Haimovicz


            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.” By providing financial aid to deserving high school students, Mrs. Haimovicz wanted to encourage young people to enjoy their creativity while still young, as well as develop and pursue their talent in visual art.

            In her memory, Ida F. Haimovicz’s family created an endowment with the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County in 1998.

            Contribute to the fund

            Please contact AHCMC Deputy Director, Joe Frandoni, at