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.

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 this year's distinguished jury panelists


  • None

    T. Ayo Alston

    Dancer & Drummer Southwest Airlines Awardee

    T. Ayo Alston teaches and practices a signature theatrical style of West African drum and dance culture that captures the strength and power of women and community. Ayo is the founder, executive director, composer, and choreographer of Ayodele Drum and …

  • None

    Sandra Delgado

    Playwright & Actor Community Awardee

    Sandra Delgado is a Colombian-American writer, actor, singer, and producer born and raised in Chicago. She is best known as the creator and star of the hit play La Havana Madrid. Acclaimed as one of the best plays of …

  • None

    Brittany "BrittanE" Edwards

    Vocalist & Musician SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation Awardee

    Born and raised in Chicago, Brittany ("BrittanE") Edwards is an artist, producer, and songwriter. Growing up as the daughter of a worship leader/musicians, she drew inspiration from her mother as well as other artists, producers, and songwriters such as Prince, …

  • An image of Dianna Frid sitting on a chair in front of two works in progress that are only seen partially. A ladder is next to her. She is smiling softly and looking at the camera. She is also barefoot, but this is not visible because the image is cropped

    Dianna Frid

    Visual Artist Chandler Family Awardee

    Dianna Frid was born in Mexico City. As a teenager, Frid immigrated with her parents and siblings to Vancouver, Canada. Based in Chicago since 2000, Frid has exhibited her work in the USA, Mexico, Canada, and abroad. Her work is …

  • Lady Sol's Dance Diary Portrait

    Leyda "Lady Sol" Garcia

    Teaching Artist & Mentor RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

    Leyda “Lady Sol” Garcia is a humble Mexican-American-XICANA street dance professional, mother, and wife from Chicago's proudest community, Humboldt Park. She was trained within Chicago and New York City's Black Dance community among greats such as Kamikazi House Dance Crew, Mama …

  • None

    Ben LaMar Gay

    Musician & Storyteller Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

    Ben LaMar Gay is a composer and cornetist who moves sound, color, and space through folkloric filters to produce electro-acoustic collages.  His unification of various styles is always in service of the narrative and never solely a display of technique. …

  • None

    Huong Ngô

    Interdisciplinary Artist Next Level Spare Room & Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

    Hương Ngô (Huong Ngo, Ngô Ngọc Hương, 吳玉香) is an artist born in Hong Kong, often working between France and Vietnam, and currently based in Chicago where she is an Assistant Professor in Contemporary Practices at The School of the …

  • None

    Christine Pascual

    Costume Designer Lakeside Bank Awardee

    Christine Pascual is a costume designer based in Chicago since 1994. She was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island in Dix Hills, New York. She is the oldest of seven children whose parents immigrated to …

  • None

    Elgin Bokari T. Smith

    Graphic Artist & Educator Denise & Gary Gardner Awardee

    Elgin Bokari T. Smith (aka Kari the Illustrator) is an artist, social activist, and educator who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Discovering a passion for art in elementary school while drawing his favorite cartoon characters on his homework, Elgin …

  • None

    Anna Martine Whitehead

    Performance Maker HMS Fund Awardee

    Anna Martine Whitehead does performances. She has been presented by venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; San José Museum of Art; Velocity Dance Center; Chicago Cultural Center; Links Hall; AUNTS; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She …

2018 Judges

Ayisha Morgan-Lee
Craig T. Peterson
Tara Aisha Willis
Jean Cook
James Falzone
Heather Ireland Robinson
Teaching Arts
Courtney J. Boddie
Beth Feldman Brandt
Sarah Ward
Rob Bailis
Tony Garcia
Willa J. Taylor
Visual Arts
Taylor Renee Aldridge
Yasmeen Siddiqui
Julie Rodrigues Widholm

More Award Years