The John Dorsey Endowment was established in October 2008 by Robert Armacost. Spendable Income from the John Dorsey Endowment provides the annual John Dorsey Prize for Outstanding Curatorial Practice in the Department of Art.
As the preeminent art critic for The Baltimore Sun, John Dorsey was well known for his belief that "the essential element of criticism is praise." Called "one of the most erudite critics that Baltimore has ever seen," by the Baltimore Museum of Art board chairman, Stiles T. Colwill, John was revered both for his critical acumen and for his strong commitment to the area's burgeoning artistic community. His championing of budding artistic talents generated strong readership of his art columns, forged interest in Baltimore's artistic community and drew audiences to little-known studios and galleries. After he retired from the Sun, John was invited to curate several art exhibits in the Baltimore area. John took great pleasure in this unexpected career turn; one of the shows he curated was an exhibit of works by Herman Maril, the renowned Baltimore area artist and longtime faculty member at the University of Maryland's Department of Art.
In recognition of John Dorsey's talent and spirit, Robert Armacost established an endowed fund to support an annual prize for outstanding curatorial practice at the University of Maryland, College Park.