The 2020 High School Visual Arts and Creative Writing Student Award Winners

Cultivating, uplifting and supporting Montgomery County’s young artists and scholars! The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is thrilled to award two Montgomery County high school students, Mary Ma and Rachel Epstein-Shuman, with the 2019-2020 High School Visual Arts and Creative Writing Student Awards (Student Awards) in recognition of their outstanding talents.

“Creative excellence abounds in Montgomery County” says Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. “Every year, we are honored to award two of the county’s promising up and coming talents with a Student Award celebrating their exceptional achievements and supporting their future goals, hopes, and dreams in the arts and humanities.”

Now in its twenty-second year, the Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award (Haimovicz Award) was established by the family of the late Ida F. Haimovicz to support a high schooler intent on pursuing a visual arts career. Mary Ma, a student at Richard Montgomery High School, received this year’s Haimovicz Award. Mary’s work involves the exploration of her subconscious; she prefers to draw directly from her memories and descriptions of her dreams in lieu of using physical objects for reference. Her incredible paintings have been exhibited by renown DC-area galleries Yellow Barn, VisArts, and Freer Sackler. Mary is also heavily involved in the DC museum community as part of the Smithsonian Freer Sackler Teen Council and the Hirshorn ARTLAB+ Emerging Artist Internship program. As part of her award, she received $3,000 and a solo exhibition at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery in Silver Spring. Her exhibition titled ‘Memory Reincarnated’ is available online, click here to view.

Established in 2010 to celebrate former AHCMC Grants Director, Fran Abrams, the Fran Abrams Writing Award benefits a Montgomery County high school student intent on pursuing a creative writing career. Rachel Epstein-Shuman, a student at Albert Einstein High School, received this year’s award. Rachel proclaims herself as a loud and proud voice of the #metoo movement. Her writings focus on rape culture and sexual abuse in order to hold a lens to the problems victims face in their daily lives. Her goal is to bring everyone to terms with the realities of rape culture through her work and bring potential solutions to the forefront. Already an experienced public speaker, Rachel has participated in panels on sexual assault and open mic nights at Busboys and Poets. She also received $3,000 as part of her award and a solo exhibition featuring her writings. Rachel’s exhibition titled ‘Reflections’ is on view here.

Click here to discover more about the winners: Mary Ma Blog | Rachel Epstein-Shuman Blog

To learn more about the High School Student Awards, visit our website at:


About the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County  
Established in 1976, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is the county’s designated local arts agency. Our vision is to provide leadership that sustains arts and humanities organizations, artists, and scholars and inspires participation in Montgomery County’s rich cultural assets. The Public Arts Trust is AHCMC’s central program for managing, commissioning and conserving all public art on County-owned property, as well as supporting other public art projects throughout Montgomery County. Today, the County’s public art collection includes 258 outdoor sculptures and murals as well as more than 500 works on paper. For more information about AHCMC, visit or connect with AHCMC on Facebook and Twitter.