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.

Meet our 2021 judges


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    Keyierra Collins

    Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher Walder Foundation Awardee

    Keyierra Collins is a dancer, teaching artist, and choreographer based in Chicago. She earned a BA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago where she studied various dance forms, including West African, modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and improvisation. As a dance …

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    Emjoy Gavino

    Actor & Casting Director Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

    Emjoy Gavino is an actor, casting director, teaching artist, and producer proud to call Chicago her home. The eldest child of Filipino immigrants, Emjoy grew up in the Pacific Northwest, falling in love with the Seattle theater scene.

    In 2006, …

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    J'Sun Howard

    Dancemaker RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

    J’Sun Howard is a Chicago-based dancemaker, writer, curator, and administrator who was awarded an inaugural 2020 Esteemed Artist Award from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and is an Asian Cultural Council Fellow.

    A Links Hall …

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    AJ McClenon

    Interdisciplinary Artist Gary & Denise Gardner Fund Awardee

    Originally, I was born and raised in “DC proper,” and I now call Chicago my second home. In 2014 I received a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Beforehand I received a Bachelor …

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    Meagan McNeal

    Vocalist, Cultivator, Mother Walder Foundation Awardee

    Meagan McNeal is a powerhouse singer/songwriter and recording artist from Chicago. Well-versed in the genres of soul, jazz, and R&B, she is known for her diverse range and soulful voice. Influenced by groundbreaking artists such as Anita Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, …

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    Luis Álvaro Sahagun Nuño

    Artist & Educator Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

    Luis Álvaro Sahagun Nuño was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in 1982. His grandfather came to the United States in the 1940s under the Bracero Program, working in Chicago Heights’ steel industry. His mother and father found work in the …

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    Junius Paul

    Bassist & Composer SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation Awardee

    Junius Paul is an internationally recognized composer, bandleader, and acoustic and electric bassist born and raised in the Chicago area. He has shown himself to be a highly versatile bassist, with performance and/or recording credits that include The Art Ensemble …

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    Dorian Sylvain

    Muralist & Teaching Artist Southwest Airlines Community Awardee

    Dorian Sylvain is a painter whose color and texture explore ornamentation, pattern, and design as identifiers of cultural and historical foundations. She is a studio painter and muralist, as well as an art educator, curator, and community planner. Much of …

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    Sydney Lynne Thomas

    Scenic Designer HMS Fund Awardee

    Sydney Lynne Thomas is a Chicago-based designer from Dallas, Texas who has been a practicing visual artist for 10 years. Her breadth of work includes scenic design, workshops, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, community organizing, and building. Beginning with a background …

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    Reveca Torres

    Visual Artist Chandler Family Awardee

    Reveca Torres was paralyzed in a car accident as a teenager. After completing degrees in Fashion Design and Theatre Arts, Reveca worked as a costume designer and simultaneously with organizations doing disability work in health, advocacy, recreation, and peer support. …

2020 Judges

Stephanie Martinez
Douglas Scott
Amara Tabor-Smith
Neil Lerner
Sam Lewis
Gargi Shindé
Teaching Arts
Karen Benita Reyes
Richard Hinojosa
Em Kettner
Lisa Portes
Hana S. Sharif
Samuel Yates
Visual Arts
Carolyn Lazard
Kamilah Rashied
Reuben Roqueñi

More Award Years