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


  • Black man with black hair and brown eyes wearing a brimmed hat

    Charles "Poppin Chuck" Bledsoe

    Dancer & Visual Artist 3Arts Awardee

    Charles Bledsoe, better known as “Poppin Chuck,” is a remarkable dance and visual artist who exemplifies the definition of a true school innovator. In the last three decades, Chuck has performed with and choreographed for some of the world’s best …

  • Black woman with blue tinged locs

    Lili-Anne Brown

    Director Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

    Lili-Anne Brown, a native South Side Chicagoan, works as a director, actor, and educator, and has performed in, directed, and produced many award-winning shows, both local and regional. She is the former Artistic Director of Bailiwick Chicago, where she focused …

  • Black woman with glasses, dark braids, and holding a violin on her shoulder

    Caitlin Edwards

    Creator, Violinist, Musician, Composer Walder Foundation Awardee

    Caitlin Edwards began studying the violin at the age of eight through the Music Opportunity Program in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. She went on to be the recipient of the 2018 Rising Star Award from the Gateways Music Festival. …

  • Black man with graying black beard and hair, wearing dark rimmed glasses

    Andres L. Hernandez

    Artist, Designer, Educator Chandler Family Awardee

    Andres L. Hernandez is an interdisciplinary practitioner engaged in discovering, recovering, and uncovering the histories, politics, and possibilities of the built environment. Through collaborative and socially engaged work, as well as an independent, studio-based arts practice, he considers the potential …

  • Black woman with long locs, black glasses, standing in front of a bright blue mural

    Emily Hooper Lansana

    Storyteller & Community Builder BMO Harris Bank Community Awardee

    If you hear Emily tell stories, you may hear an African folktale, a moment from Black History, a personal memory, or a journey into the future. Whatever the form, you will hear a story that inspires.


    Here's how it …

  • None

    Andrés Lemus-Spont

    Teaching Artist HMS Fund Awardee

    Andrés Lemus-Spont is a designer, educator, fabricator, and proud child of Mexican immigrants. He teaches art and architecture to youth from kindergarten through high school in various in-school and afterschool programs. He studied architecture at the College of DuPage and …

  • Black being with very short hair and dark brown eyes

    Cat Mahari

    Artist & Black Being Walder Foundation Awardee

    cat mahari’s practice is built from a richly layered body history, stemming from an archive of research, physical training, and intent to manifest an intellectual, material, and informal legacy of Black liberation through documentation. By examining personal marks and socio-genealogical …

  • Black woman with short gray hair, brown eyes, smiling and wearing a colorful patterned top

    Shanta Nurullah

    Musician & Storyteller SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation Awardee in honor of Samuel G. Roberson Jr.

    Shanta Nurullah makes music primarily on sitar, bass, and mbira, and works as a storyteller and teaching artist. She has been performing professionally as a musician since 1972 and as a storyteller since 1978. She co-founded two all-women’s groups, Sojourner …

  • Asian American man with short hair and wearing dark blue shirt

    David Rhee

    Theater Artist Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

    David Rhee began his career as an actor after graduating from New York’s Circle in the Square Musical Theatre program. Since then, he appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie, worked at numerous theaters across America …

  • Black man, tall, curly lashes, smiling

    Derrick Woods-Morrow

    Multimedia Installation Artist & Filmmaker Gary & Denise Gardner Fund Awardee

    Derrick Woods-Morrow's work is a meditation on deviation and disruption, on language and representation, and on growing up in the American South. Currently based in Chicago and originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, he explores through his artistic practice Black sexual …

2021 Judges

Kealoha Alex Ferreira
Sarah Cullen Fuller
Ricarrdo Valentine
Alejandro Ayala
Blake-Anthony Johnson
Elena Park
Teaching Arts
Akilah S. Halley
Cayenne Harris
Jon Hinojosa
Jamil Jude
Tara Mallen
André Pluess
Maysoon Zayid
Visual Arts
Taraneh Fazeli
Candice Hopkins
Cesáreo Moreno

More Award Years