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.


The purpose of the Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award, established in 1998, is to benefit a Montgomery County high school junior graduating in the class of 2021 who intends to pursue the study of and/or career in the visual arts. The 2019-2020 Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award of $3,000 and solo exhibition will be granted to one recipient 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 of 2019 and spring of 2020 of their junior year in a public or non-public high school located in Montgomery County (Home-schooled students in Montgomery County are also eligible); and
  • Be graduating in the spring of 2021.

Application Deadline

Applications for the school year 2019-2020 Award must be submitted via the online FluidReview application system by Friday, January 10, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Below are the 2019-2020 guidelines and application materials for your reference:

2019-2020 Haimovicz Guidelines

Application Preparation Assistance

AHCMC staff will provide free application preparation webinars to those applying for the Haimovicz Visual Arts Award. Workshops are scheduled in coordination with schools. Attendance to a webinar and/or workshop is not required, however AHCMC encourages all applicants to attend or reach out for preparation assistance.

Applicants are encouraged to contact AHCMC with any questions they may have. Assistance is available via email, phone, or in-person by contacting Ana-Alicia Feng at or 301-565-3805 ext 21.

Class of 2018 Recipient: Astrid Dong

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



Class of 2017 Recipient: Benjamin Dale

 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.

Class of 2016 Recipient: Zoe Hall

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.

Class of 2015 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.

About the Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award

The Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award 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 provide financial aid to deserving high school students to enjoy their creativity while still young.

Past recipients

  • 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)


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