3Arts Awards

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:

We thank our Award Partners and Community Award donors for their generosity in helping 3Arts support and advocate for local artists.

Selection Process

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

2015

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    Allen Gilmore

    Actor Denise & Gary Gardner Awardee

    Originally from Houston, Texas, Allen Gilmore trained professionally as an actor in New York with master teacher Stella Adler at New York University and is a graduate of The Juilliard School. He has performed on Broadway with Tony Randall's National Actor's Theatre …

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    Benji Hart

    Dancer Irene Siragusa Phelps Awardee

    Benji Hart is a Chicago-based author, artist, and educator whose work centers Black radicalism, queer liberation, and prison abolition. Their words have appeared in numerous anthologies, and been published at Time, Teen Vogue, The Advocate, The Funambulist …

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    Kris Lenzo

    Dancer David Pinkerton Awardee

    Kris Lenzo transitioned to dance after more than two decades as a wheelchair athlete. He was a national champion in both wheelchair basketball and wheelchair track multiple times. Kris competed as a US team member in Nova Scotia, Spain, and …

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    Stephanie Martinez

    Choreographer RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

    Over eleven years of award-winning works, Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez moves her audiences along a journey guided by the kinetic momentum of her work. With original creations for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Charlotte Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, …

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    Fawzia Mirza

    Actor Community Awardee

    Fawzia Mirza is an award-winning actor, comedian, producer, and writer. She was selected as a 2015 3Arts Award recipient in Theater, named to the New City Magazine Film 50 and a “Top 10 Creative” by Indiewire magazine, one of Chicago's 'Rising Stars' …

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    Cheryl Pope

    Interdisciplinary Artist Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

    Cheryl Pope received her BFA and Master’s in Design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is now an Adjunct Full Professor. Pope studied under artist Nick Cave for twelve years, was a teaching artist at the Museum …

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    Chris Silva

    Multidisciplinary Artist Chandler Family Awardee

    Though born in Puerto Rico, Chris Silva’s creative pursuits are firmly rooted in Chicago's urban culture. Chris was an innovative figure in Chicago’s graffiti and skateboarding scenes and from that foundation proceeded to play a significant role in the …

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    Frank Waln

    Vocalist Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

    Frank Waln is an award winning Sicangu Lakota Hip Hop artist and music producer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Raised by a single mother, Frank taught himself how to produce and record music as a teenager. A recipient …

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    Folayemi Wilson

    Multidisciplinary Artist Next Level Spare Room & Allstate Awardee

    Folayemi (Fo) Wilson is an object and image maker whose work celebrates the Black imagination as a technology of resistance and self-determination. Her work explores the Black Atlantic experience though sculptural and multimedia installations presenting speculative fictions that reference history, …

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    Chihsuan Yang

    Instrumentalist Southwest Airlines Awardee

    A native of Taiwan, Chihsuan Yang began studying music at a very early age. Today, her renowned skill and eclectic versatility with the violin, erhu, and piano can be heard throughout the globe. From playing with Yo-Yo Ma and Brian Wilson …

2015 Judges

Dance
Amy Fitterer
Alice Sheppard
Sarah Solotaroff-Mirkin
Music
Afa Sadykhly Dworkin
Shulamit Ran
Isabel Yrigoyen
Theater
Mica Cole
PJ Powers
Faye Price
Teaching Arts
Barbara Hackett-Cox
Sandra Jackson-Dumont
Visual Arts
Amanda Cachia
Tricia Van Eck
Deborah Willis

More Award Years