3Arts Awards

The 3Arts Awards express our gratitude to Chicago’s 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.

Profiles of all 3Arts Awards recipients are accessible further below on this page, or download an awardee list in PDF here.

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 jurors convene to select ten awardees from the applicant pool. 3Arts requires panelists to disclose conflicts of interest as part of the selection process. If a strong personal or professional relationship exists between a panelist 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. 

We express our gratitude to the most recent jury panelists


  • None

    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 …

  • A light skinned femme in white undershirt holds their forearms up partially obscuring their face. Their eyes are closed.

    Benji Hart

    Dancer Irene Siragusa Phelps Awardee


    Benji Hart is an interdisciplinary artist, author, and educator whose work centers Black radicalism, queer liberation, and prison abolition. Their words have appeared or are forthcoming in anthologies from Oxford University Press, Beacon Press, Haymarket Books, Pluto Press, …

  • None

    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 …

  • None

    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, …

  • None

    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' …

  • None

    Cheryl Pope

    Interdisciplinary Artist Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

    Cheryl Pope is an interdisciplinary visual artist who questions and responds to issues of identity as it relates to the individual and the community, specifically regarding race, gender, class, history, power, and place. Her practice emerges from the act and …

  • None

    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 …

  • None

    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 …

  • None

    Folayemi Wilson

    Multidisciplinary Artist Next Level Spare Room & Allstate Awardee

    Folayemi 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, integrating inspiration …

  • None

    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

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

More Award Years