Founded in 1912, with a history centered on women artists, 3Arts is a nonprofit organization that supports artists working in the performing, teaching, and visual arts in the Chicago metropolitan area, including women artists, artists of color, and Deaf and disabled artists. By providing unrestricted awards, project funding, residences, professional development, and promotion, 3Arts helps artist take risks, experiment, and build momentum in their careers over time. 
Awards and other grant opportunities at 3Arts are by nomination or invitation. Our signature program, the 3Arts Awards, is the entry point to career-spanning support that includes access to residency fellowships, project funding, peer mentorship, professional development, and more.  
Through the Resources pages on our website and postings on our social media channels, we share other opportunities for grants and professional development with the wider public. 

 Funding and Opportunities for Artists

How can I receive funding from 3Arts? 
3Arts has three primary funding opportunities for artists: 3Arts Awards, Make a Wave, and Next Level Awards.
  • 3Arts Awards: Each year, more than 100 artists are nominated by 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. Once nominees are identified, they are invited to complete an application. We then convene five panels of national, discipline-based jurors to review applications and select ten awardees (two in each of our five categories). The nominators and jurors change each year. Recipients receive $30,000 unrestricted cash awards which are announced each fall.  
  •  Make a Wave: Artists are selected by a previous 3Arts awardee. Annually, each of the ten artists who receive a 3Arts Award is invited to select another local artist to receive a surprise $2,000 grant from 3Arts. 
  •  Next Level Awards: Eligible artists have received an award or fellowship from 3Arts in the past. Next Level is a unique concept in which a second award at a higher level is distributed to an artist at a critical juncture in their career.  Currently, these are unrestricted cash grants of $50,000 for three women visual artists and two teaching artists practicing in the Chicago metropolitan area. 
  • All other funding opportunities, such as 3AP (3Arts Projects) funding, 3AC (3Arts Access) microgrants, 3AMP (3Arts Mentorship Program), and 3ER (3Arts Emergency Response) grants are limited to artists in our network.  
How do I access professional development and residencies? How can I apply to run a 3AP campaign? 
Professional development opportunities and Residency programs are open to artists who have received past support from 3Arts. These opportunities include 3AP (3Arts Projects, our crowdfunding platform), 3AC (3Arts Access microgrants), 3AMP (3Arts Mentorship Program), and in-person or virtual workshops or other gatherings. 
Do you have emergency and responsive programs for artists? 
  • Yes. Through our 3ER (3Arts Emergency Response) program, 3Arts provides grants of up to $1,500 to artists for pressing needs, including family care, bill payments, mental health, and rent. The Resources page on our website lists emergency grants and other funding opportunities that operate outside of 3Arts. It also offers resources for professional development, accessibility services, and more.  
  • We also have 3-Opp (3Arts Opportunities), a program that provides grants of up to $1,000 to artists to pursue unanticipated creative or career opportunities. 3ER and 3-Opp are open to artists in the 3Arts network.
Do you offer fiscal sponsorship for artists?
No. Please visit our Resource page for more information on fiscal sponsorships. 


How does one nominate an artist for a 3Arts Award, Next Level Award, or Make a Wave Award? How can an individual artist get nominated? 
  • Each year, 3Arts invites 35 anonymous local artists or arts leaders (at least seven in each of our five disciplines) to nominate artists for the 3Arts Awards. We strive to recruit new nominators every year to ensure a wide breadth and fresh perspective. 
  • Nominators may be invited to return to the role in subsequent years, however, 3Arts is committed to ensuring a variety of viewpoints and therefore no more than two nominators in any given category may be asked to serve in consecutive years. 
I live in a county close to the Chicago metropolitan area. Can I be nominated? 
Geographical eligibility includes current residents of the Chicago metropolitan area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, and Will counties) who have been residents for at least two years. 
How can I apply for a 3Arts/Bodies of Work Residency? 
The 3Arts/Bodies of Work Residency Program is offered by invitation to practicing Deaf and disability-identified artists who live and work within the Chicago metropolitan area. If you are interested in this program, email  

Getting Involved with 3Arts 

Are there any opportunities to get involved with 3Arts (i.e., employment and volunteer opportunities)? 
  • When we have job openings at 3Arts, we will publish that on our website. If you’d like to volunteer or intern with 3Arts please email your resume and cover letter to
  • If you are interested in learning more about service on our Board of Directors, contact Esther Grimm, Executive Director, at
If I haven’t received support from 3Arts, can I get hired for events or have my work promoted by 3Arts? 
  • For our annual 3Arts Awards Celebration or other events, we hire artists within our artist network. 
  • As part of our support of 3Arts artists, we help promote them when they’re involved in other events or opportunities. 
How can I book a 3Arts artist for my event? 
If you are interested in contacting an artist to explore booking them at your own event, please email
Do you produce artist events or performances? 
3Arts presents one major public event each year to celebrate the newest recipients of our awards and showcase work by 3Arts artists. 
Are you related to the Three Arts Club Cafe in Chicago?
No, 3Arts is not affiliated with the Three Arts Club Café. The building in which the Three Arts Club Café is housed was formerly The Three Arts Club of Chicago, an organization created to change the composition of the male-dominated art world by encouraging women to pursue careers in the arts. Over time, the club evolved into an alternative dormitory serving downtown art schools and providing scholarships for nearly 25 years. 3Arts is the contemporary reinvention of The Three Arts Club of Chicago and in 2007, we pivoted our mission to the ethos of our current work. 
Are you related to 3 Arts Entertainment?
No, 3Arts is not related to 3 Arts Entertainment.
I’m interested in supporting 3Arts. How do I do that, and do you have options for monthly donations? 
Do you have a list of upcoming events featuring 3Arts artists?
Yes! Each month, we publish a list of Artist Events on the News page of our website. This curated list includes events featuring or created by 3Arts artists across disciplines (dance, music, teaching arts, theater, and visual arts).
If you have additional questions, please email us at