The 3Arts Awards offer applause and deserved recognition to exceptional Chicago-based women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities. Every year, ten Chicago artists working in the performing, teaching, and visual arts receive 3Arts Awards of $25,000, with no strings attached. Artists may use the awards to defray expenses, pay off debt, purchase equipment, and focus on their creative process—or in any way they see fit. They know what they need. We know that the freedom and security provided by a 3Arts Award is an expression of gratitude for their art and a demonstration of how deeply they are valued in Chicago.
3Arts awardees are selected through a nomination and jury process, with five discipline-based jury panels comprised of judges from across the country convening in Chicago to make the selections.
An unrestricted cash award is significant on its own, but our awards are more than just cash. They are the entry point to an array of tiered, multiyear support structures and programming designed to help artists build momentum in their careers. Once artists receive 3Arts Awards, they become eligible for project funding, residency fellowships, informal and formal professional development, and promotion.
3AP Project Support
Awardees may receive project support through our online 3AP (3Arts Projects) platform, a unique hybrid grantmaking and crowdfunding program in which artists post projects to our web site and invite contributions from our collective networks. Once 1/3 of the funding goal has been reached, 3Arts contributes 1/3 in the form of a grant, which boosts campaign momentum and operates as an incentive for other supporters. When the total funding goal has been reached within the allotted time frame, all contributions, including the 3Arts match, are distributed to the artist. Donations made through this program are tax deductible. Learn more by visiting the Projects page of our website.
An International Network of 3Arts Residency Fellowships
Every 3Arts awardee has the opportunity to apply for our fellowships in an international network of residency programs. The fellowships include monthlong residencies, stipends, and airfare. This program is managed by the Alliance of Artists Communities and our residency partners: AS220 Visiting Artists Program, The Camargo Foundation, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Rauschenberg Residency. 3Arts has also established residency fellowships through a long-term alliance with Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, as well as a partnership with the Hyde Park Art Center. Visit our Residencies page to learn more about these fellowships.
3Arts provides workshops, mentorships, and technical support to help artists gain valuable career-building skills. Awardees participate in a financial management workshop, followed by individual consultations with a financial advisor. 3AP artists participate in a crowdfunding workshop, receive video production support, and are provided with a step-by-step handbook on fundraising and marketing. 3Arts staff also offers informal mentorship to awardees and feedback sessions to applicants of the awards program.
Because visibility is important to artists working in every discipline, each 3Arts awardee is given an online gallery on our web site and provided access to update the site as needed. Further, we feature the work of our awardees in e-blasts, advertising, and through social media.
3Arts Awards Selection Process
3Arts awardees are selected through a nomination and jury process. No unsolicited applications are accepted. More than 100 artists are nominated each year by 35 anonymous nominators. The nominators themselves are Chicago artists, arts advocates, curators, and presenters who are acutely knowledgeable about artists working in a wide variety of communities in the greater metropolitan area. Nominees are invited to submit online applications to be considered for the awards. Discipline-based panels of three judges review the applications and select the award recipients. Each panel consists of one local and two out-of-state judges who convene in Chicago to make their selections. Two awardees are selected within each of the five panel disciplines: dance, music, teaching arts, theater, and visual arts.
3Arts requires judges to disclose conflicts of interest as part of the award selection process. If a strong personal or professional relationship exists between a judge and a nominated artist that might impair the judge’s ability to be a neutral evaluator, he/she may not participate in the discussion or the vote related to that artist’s application.