The 3Arts Awards express our gratitude to Chicago’s women artists, artists of color, and Deaf and disabled artists for their indisputable contributions to the health and vibrancy of our city. Every year, ten artists who live and work in the six-county metropolitan area receive unrestricted $30,000 awards in dance, music, teaching arts, theater, and visual arts. Artists may use the award in any way that makes a difference to their lives and careers, including paying off debt, purchasing equipment, hiring collaborators, producing new work, and saving for the future.
We invite you to read two reports that compile reflections from artists who have received a 3Arts Award:
3Arts awardees are selected through a nomination and jury process. More than 100 artists are nominated annually by at least 35 anonymous local nominators--artists, curators, presenters, and advocates--who are acutely knowledgeable about the breadth of artists working in neighborhoods across the metropolitan area.
After the nominees have completed our online application process, five national, discipline-specific panels of judges convene to select ten awardees from the pool. 3Arts requires judges to disclose conflicts of interest as part of the selection process. If a strong personal or professional relationship exists between a judge and a nominated artist that might be an impediment to the integrity of the process, a full recusal from the discussion and vote is implemented.
In honor of the time and energy it takes to apply, all artists who submit an application will receive a $100 honorarium.
Meet our 2021 judges.
Marta GarciaVisual Artist Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin AwardeeMarta Garcia received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL with a concentration in Theater. After graduation she founded Akropolis Acting Company. As the Artistic Director, her company received recognition …
Mierka GirtenActorMierka Girten was last seen in SIMPATICO at A Red Orchid Theatre where she is a proud ensemble member. Off-Broadway, she was seen in MISTAKES WERE MADE with Michael Shannon and Sam Deutsch at the Barrow Street Theater. Other credits …
Irena KnezevicMultidisciplinary Artist Chandler Family AwardeeIrena Knezevic is a Serbian artist working in various visual art formats, music, and architecture. She has performed and exhibited her work in solo projects at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; threewalls, Chicago; White Columns, New York; Massachusetts Institute of …
Ronnie Kuller is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, teaching artist, and the Artistic Director of Mucca Pazza. She has written music for Mucca Pazza, Theater Oobleck, The Cambrians, and the Actor’s Gym, as well as Opera-Matic, where she is an Artistic Associate. …
Michel RodriguezDancer McCormick Family Foundation AwardeeMichel Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba and graduated from the Cuban National School of Art in 2003. He began dancing as a company member of Danza Contemporanea de Cuba in 2003 and became a principal dancer in 2006 participating …
Vershawn Sanders-WardChoreographer Southwest Airlines Awardee
Vershawn Sanders-Ward is a movement artivist, and Founder and Artistic Director of Red Clay Dance Company based in Chicago, IL. A native of Chicago, Sanders-Ward holds a MFA in Dance from New York University and a BFA in Dance from Columbia …
Robert SchleiferActor Siragusa Foundation Awardee
Robert Schleifer has worked as a teaching artist and an actor. He has had the privilege of teaching his classes and workshops all over the world including several renewed Opera Programs in Austria and Italy. He has taught at Act …
Kelli SimpkinsActor Merrill Lynch Awardee
Kelli Simpkins (she/they) is a theater, film, and television artist whose career has spanned thirty years. They are dedicated to telling stories often excluded from the mainstream that focus on class, queerness, disenfranchisement, and ‘the other.’ They are a company …
Cauleen SmithExperimental Filmmaker Lydia Yun Lee & Lisa Yun Lee Awardee
Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, …
Dr. Nick John Demos
Ellen B. Rudolph