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 the 2022 jury panelists


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    Alejandro T. Acierto

    Visual Artist & Musician Denise & Gary Gardner Awardee

    Alejandro T. Acierto is an artist and musician whose work is largely informed by the breath, the voice, and the processes that enable them. He has exhibited artworks at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Issue Project Room, Museum of …

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    Tirtza Even

    Experimental Video Documentary Maker Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

    An experimental documentary maker for over twenty years, Tirtza Even has produced work which ranges from feature-length documentaries to multi-channel installation and interactive video work, and which aims to depict the less overt manifestations of complex, and at times extreme, …

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    Ayriole Frost

    Musician & Educator Samuel G. Roberson Jr. Awardee

    Ayriole Frost is an active composer, performer, and teacher. She co-founded and currently serves as the Executive Director of Shift: Englewood Youth Orchestra, an El Sistema-inspired youth development program on Chicago’s Southwest Side. She is a sought-after workshop leader for creative music …

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    Mabel Kwan

    Pianist RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

    Pianist Mabel Kwan is a performer of classical, improvised, and experimental music. She is fascinated by sound, contradictions, and our perceptions of what is familiar or strange.

    Mabel regularly tours the U.S. with improvised music group Restroy, synthesizer duo Mega …

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    Ginger Lane

    Dancer & Choreographer Community Awardee

    Ginger Lane began her dance training in Chicago with Edna McRae, and continued her training with John Kriza and Ruth Ann Koesun of American Ballet Theatre, Gus Giordano, and dance faculty at the Interlochen Center for the Arts where she studied …

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    Will Liverman

    Operatic Baritone Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

    Called “one of the most versatile singing artists performing today” (Bachtrack), baritone Will Liverman is a recipient of a 2019 Richard Tucker Career Grant and Sphinx Medal of Excellence.  

    Recent engagements include his return to the Metropolitan …

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    Tara Mallen

    Actor, Director, Producer William Franklin Grisham Awardee


    An actor, director, producer and the Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Tara Mallen was most recently on stage in the Midwest premiere of The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter for which she was honored with a 2018 Joseph Jefferson …

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    Meida Teresa McNeal

    Performance Maker

    Meida Teresa McNeal is the Director of Honey Pot Performance, an Afro-feminist collective dedicated to critical performance and public humanities. Recent projects include ways of knowing (2019), a performance and media project exploring systems of knowledge production that premiered at …

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    Marcela Munoz

    Actor & Director Southwest Airlines Awardee

    Marcela Muñoz is the Co-Artistic Director and Managing Director of Aguijón Theater, Chicago's oldest Spanish-language theater company. Marcela is a director, actress, acting teacher, and translator of dramatic works.

    Besides regular gigs at Aguijón, her acting credits include works with …

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    Juan-Carlos Perez

    Interdisciplinary Artist & Educator Chandler Family Awardee

    Juan-Carlos Perez is a visual artist who was born in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and immigrated to Los Angeles, California at an early age. He later moved to Chicago to pursue a degree in Fine Arts at the School of the …

2017 Judges

Grisha Coleman
Lane Harwell
Sandra Kaufmann
Jesse Menendez
Jason Ikeem Rodgers
Pamela Z
Teaching Arts
Eyenga Bokamba
Jacqueline Terrassa
Rebecca Vaughan
Alana Arenas
Ron Himes
Kathryn M. Lipuma
Visual Arts
Romi Crawford
Jason Lazarus
Claire Tancons

More Award Years