3Arts Awards Artists $25,000 Cash Grants

Press Release

3Arts awards 20 Chicago artists of color,
artists with disabilities, and women artists
with unrestricted cash grants

3Artsthe Chicago-based nonprofit grant making organization, is honored to award 20 Chicago artists with unrestricted grants at the 12th annual 3Arts Awards Celebration, taking place Monday, November 4 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The celebration will honor ten 3Arts Awards recipients with $25,000 cash grants, and ten additional artists with $2,000 cash grants through Make a Wave—an unprecedented artist-to-artist giving initiative in which each of the previous year’s 3Arts awardees select another artist to receive a surprise grant, sending a “wave” of support through Chicago’s cultural communities.

3Arts has distributed more than $3.4 million in total funding to more than 900 Chicago artists over the past eleven years and will award $270,000 on November4 alone.

“As we prepare to celebrate the newest awardees on November 4, everyone at 3Arts is full of gratitude and admiration—for all of the ways that artists shake up and wake up Chicago and for the generous contributors who support those artists by investing in our work,” said Esther Grisham Grimm, Executive Director of 3Arts. “We are looking forward to a night of pure joy.”

The 2019 recipients of $25,000 3Arts Awards are

Dance artists Laksha Dantran and Jumaane Taylor; musicians Samuel “Trump” Harris and Bethany Thomas; teaching artists Ivelisse Diaz and Damon Locks; theater artists Richard Costes and Stephanie Diaz; and visual artists Norman Teague and Santiago X.

3Arts will additionally celebrate the recipients of Make a Wave, a groundbreaking artist-to-artist grant program in which past 3Arts Awards recipients select another ten Chicago artists to receive awards. This year, Make a Wave grants are doubling to $2,000 per artist, thanks to the generous partnership of the Siragusa Family Foundation and additional support from the Reva & David Logan Foundation. The recipients of this year’s Make a Wave grants were selected by 2018 3Arts awardees and will be announced at the November 4th event.

This year’s 3Arts Awards Celebration will feature performances by past awardees and Make a Wave recipients including violinist Nura Aly, dancer/choreographer Nejla Yatkin, musician Ben LaMar Gay, and members of Ayodele Drum & Dance led by T. Ayo Alston.

The event is led by honorary co-chairs Honorable Mayor Lori E. LightfootFirst Lady Amy Eshleman and Dr. Carrie Sandahl (University of Illinois at Chicago), and event co-chairs Dee Alexander (2012 3Arts/Southwest Airlines Awardee), Christine Donovan (Manager, The Northern Trust Charitable Giving Program), and Kwesi Smith (3Arts Board of Directors and Global Research Analyst, William Blair).

The recipients of the 2019 3Arts Awards are:


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Laksha Dantran3Arts/HMS Fund Awardee

Laksha Dantranis an artist whose work is rooted in the forms of Indian classical dance and theater. Taking new spins on ancient Hindu mythology, she believes in creating ancient characters embedded in modern reality, often urging artists to delve into their own experiences to bring truth into their portrayals. Her choreography focuses on bringing out the natural expression of artists. She creates movement that is clear and elegant, effortlessly conveying a mood and story without excessive decorum or abstraction. Currently Laksha is working with Mandala South Asian Performing Arts in Chicago, which promotes ancient cultural arts and their modern progressions. Laksha has toured throughout India, Belgium, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the United States. Her work has received critical claim as a performer, curator, and director.

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Jumaane Taylor3Arts/Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

Jumaane Taylor, a Chicago native, has been tap dancing since the age of seven and made his professional debut in 2001 with the tap company M.A.D.D. Rhythms. He has been part of the ensemble in Imagine Tap!; Tap Into Peace; and Rasta Thomas’ Tap Stars, which performed in Hamburg, Germany. In 2014, Jumanne created Supreme Love—a tap dance production honoring John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and the art of tap—which premiered at jazz music and dance festivals including Jacob’s Pillow in 2017. He received a Chicago Dancemakers Forum 2017 Lab Artist Award and has performed his work for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jazz Institute of Chicago, and abroad. He teaches in the Hubbard Street Youth Dance Program, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre, and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.


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Bethany Thomas3Arts/RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

Bethany Thomas is a performer known for her work in theater and as a genre-defying solo artist who’s graced the stages of several Chicago rock venues. She is a regular contributor at The Paper Machete and has done several performance residencies at The Hideout and for Steppenwolf’s LookOut series. She has devised live content for WBEZ, WFMT, WTTW, and the Chicago Humanities Festival, and was a featured local artist in Renee Fleming’s Chicago Voices Project at the Lyric Opera. Most recently, Bethany has been touring as one quarter of the alt-country project, Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls (Bloodshot Records). In 2017, Bethany released an EP of her own eclectic, but united brand of rock music called First, and has a full LP of originals due out next Spring entitled BT/SHE/HER.

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Sam Trump3Arts/Southwest Airlines Awardee

Sam Trump is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter from Houston, TX, and has been a student of music from first picking up the trumpet at age seven. Since moving to Chicago in 2009, he has become heavily involved in the city’s live music scene and is widely known as a band leader, sideman, mentor, and curator. Wherever he is, Sam is known for creating a vibe that is sophisticated and soulful. His debut album Purple Skies (2018) documents the early maturation of his solo artistry, covering topics of love and romance, family, inspiration, societal interdependence, and the Black American plight. All songs are produced by long-term collaborator and LA-based producer, Calvin Valentine. Sam is also a long-standing member of the hip hop, soul, and jazz band Sidewalk Chalk, who released their fourth album An Orchid Is Born in 2017.


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Ivelisse Diaz3Arts Community Awardee

Ivelisse Diaz was born and raised in Humboldt Park, Chicago’s Puerto Rican barrio. Her Bomba journey began in 1992 at the age of five at Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center when she was mentored by her uncle Eli S. Rodriguez and gained her start as a member of “Yubitas” youth Bomba group. At 14 Diaz recorded as one of the lead vocalists on Grupo Yuba’s album Chicago Sabe a Bomba y Plena. Her passion for teaching grew and in 2009 she founded her own Bomba dance school, La Escuelita Bombera De Corazon, which has been providing classes to a diverse population in Chicago for a decade. Today Ivelisse is a co-founding member and lead vocalist in Bomba con Buya, a Bomba group based in the heart of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. She has traveled individually and with the group to places like California, New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and Ghana, to name a few. With 27 years of learning and continued studies, Ivelisse has become a well-known vocalist, dancer, and leader in and out of the Bomba community in Chicago.

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Damon Locks3Arts/Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

Damon Locks is a visual artist, educator, vocalist/musician, and deejay. He attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his BFA in Fine Arts. Since 2014 he has been working with Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) teaching art at Stateville Correctional Center. Damon has done sound design for Free Street Theater, and in collaboration with dancer/educator Onye Ozuzu’s Project Tool and dancer Anna Martine Whitehead. He is a 2015 recipient of the Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier Achievement Award in the Arts and participated in The New Quorum music residency in New Orleans. He was a 2016 MAKER Grant awardee and a co-recipient of a 2017 Soros Justice Fellowship. Damon is a teaching artist with the SPACE program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, introducing civically engaged art into the curriculum at the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy. His group Black Monument Ensemble has performed at the MCA, Garfield Park Conservatory, and the Chicago Cultural Center.


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Richard Costes3Arts Awardee

Richard Costes is a deaf actor of color who has also worked as a director, playwright, and accessibility consultant. He grew up near Youngstown, Ohio where he graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies. Richard’s professional career began in Chicago where he immediately fell in love with the storefront theater scene and its continued work towards diversity and inclusion. Since 2014 he has performed at Steep Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Red Tape Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Rasaka Theatre Company, and many others. He is a 2017 recipient of a 3Arts Make a Wave grant. His upcoming projects include performing the role of Bosun in Mosquitoes at Steep Theatre Company and the creation of an original one-man show exploring his journey growing up deaf in a hearing world. Richard is represented by Gray Talent.

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Stephanie DiazSIF Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation Awardee

Stephanie Diaz is an actor and puppetry artist. Her acting credits include work at Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Seattle Rep, The Gift Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, First Stage, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and Creede Repertory Theatre. Her voiceover work in Spanish and English spans radio, television audiobooks, and video games. An award-winning puppeteer, Stephanie specializes in Bunraku-style tabletop and shadow puppetry and has designed for numerous Chicago theaters, most recently Wolf Play at The Gift Theatre, for which she was recognized with a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination. Her critically acclaimed original piece Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych, was featured in the 2017 Chicago Physical Festival and the 2015 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and had successful runs at 16th Street Theater and Free Street Theater. Stephanie is a founding member of The Chicago Inclusion Project and a proud Guatemalan American.


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Norman TeagueDenise & Gary Gardner Awardee

Norman Teague is a designer and educator who focuses on the complexity of urbanism and the culture of communities. He specializes in custom furniture design and designed objects that deliver a personal touch and/or function to a specific user and unique aesthetic detail. Past projects have included consumer products, public sculpture, performances, and designed spaces. Norman has participated in exhibitions and discussions at Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Documenta 13, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Hyde Park Art Center. He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Columbia College Chicago. He and Fo Wilson co-founded and run blkHaUSstudios to work on collaborative projects like Sounding Bronzevile, Connect Hyde Park, and South Shore and Back Alley Jazz. Norman was awarded the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists in 2015 and is presently a creative collaborator with the exhibition design team of Ralph Applebaum & Associates and Civic Projects for the Obama Presidential Center.

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Santiago XChandler Family Awardee

X, M.Arch, MFA, is an Indigenous futurist and multidisciplinary artist specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation. He is an enrolled citizen of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana (Koasati) and Indigenous Chamoru from the Island of Guam U.S.A (Hacha’Maori). X has exhibited and designed Internationally including The World Expo in Shanghai, China; Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy; and Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. He is an invited contributor in the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial and a 2020 American Arts Incubator, Art and Technology Fellow. Currently X is reinvigorating the ancestral mound building practice of his Koasati people via two large-scale, augmented, public earthwork installations being constructed along the Chicago and Des Plaines River in Chicago, Illinois. This is notably the first time that effigy earthworks will be constructed by Indigenous peoples in North America since the founding of the United States. They will open on Indigenous Peoples Day (October 14, 2019) as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

About 3Arts

3Arts is a nonprofit organization that advocates for Chicago’s women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities who work in the performing, teaching, and visual arts. By providing cash awards, project funding, residency fellowships, professional development, and promotion, 3Arts helps artists take risks, experiment, and build momentum in their careers.

3Arts extends a special thanks to its 2019 Award Partners: The Chandler Family; Denise & Gary Gardner; HMS Fund; Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin; The Reva & David Logan Foundation; RH, Restoration Hardware; The SIF Fund at the Chicago Community Foundation; Southwest Airlines; and donors to the 2019 3Arts Community Award. One of the ten 3Arts Awards, designated as the 3Arts Community Award, is named in honor of the Chicago community. Earlier this spring the award was supported by 90 donors who contributed to a crowdfunding campaign that also included a one-third match from 3Arts. This year’s 3Arts Community Award recipient is Ivelisse Diaz, a well-known Bomba artist born and raised in Humboldt Park and deeply committed to keeping the Bomba tradition alive and growing in Chicago’s Afro-Puerto Rican community and beyond.  

3Arts also gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following: Presenting Sponsor: Allstate; Make a Wave Partner: the Siragusa Family Foundation; Lead Sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, BMO Harris Bank, Kimpton Gray Hotel, Lakeside Bank, Northern Trust, Perkins Coie LLP, Wolfgang Puck Catering, and William Blair; Media Sponsor: Chicago Magazine; and After-Party Sponsor: Fetch Integrated Marketing Communications.

For more information about 3Arts, please visit www.3arts.org