10th annual 3Arts Awards celebration-Nearly 100 Chicago Artists Receive Grants

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3Arts, the Chicago-based nonprofit grantmaking organization, is honored to announce the nearly 100 Chicago artists who received unrestricted grants at the 10th annual 3Arts Awards celebration on Monday, November 6 at The Mid-America Club. The celebration recognized the ten annual 3Arts Awards recipients along with the 83 recipients of Make a Wave—an unprecedented artist-to-artist giving initiative launched in recognition of the organization’s 10th anniversary.

3Arts has distributed more than $2.5 million in total funding to nearly 500 Chicago artists over the past ten years, and awarded $330,000 this night alone.


Executive Director Esther Grimm, Photo: Robin Subar


“To say it is a privilege to award this many artists in a single year is a woeful understatement; it’s really a dream come true,” said Esther Grisham Grimm, Executive Director of 3Arts. “Ten years ago, we hoped that one day we would be able to do something like Make a Wave, and we kept that idea afloat until we could figure out how to make it happen. I can’t tell you how excited we are to have turned the reins over to all of the past 3Arts awardees to select the Make a Wave artists and to make that early dream of ours a reality in our anniversary year. I think doing more of what we do is the best possible way to celebrate ten years of supporting Chicago artists.”

Co-Chair Amanda Williams.
Photo: Robin Subar

Each year, 3Arts honors ten Chicago-based women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities working in the performing, teaching, and visual arts sectors. Each 3Arts awardee receives an unrestricted $25,000 grant to use according to their individual needs and priorities.

2017 3Arts Awardees, Photo: Robin Subar

The 2017 recipients are: dancers/choreographers Ginger Lane and Meida Teresa McNeal; pianist Mabel Kwan and operatic baritone Will Liverman; teaching artists Ayriole Frost and Juan-Carlos Perez; actors/directors Tara Mallen and Marcela Muñoz; and visual artists Alejandro T. Acierto and Tirtza Even.

The 2017 awards celebration additionally honored recipients of Make a Wave, a peer-to-peer giving initiative in which 83 past 3Arts awards/ recipients—including STARZ Pour Vida showrunner Tanya Saracho, artistic director of Chicago’s The Gift Theatre Michael Patrick Thornton, and Obama Presidential Center collaborator Amanda Williams—selected another 83 Chicago artists to receive $1,000 awards. This anniversary initiative was supported by the 10 x 10 Campaign, in which ten individuals, circles of individuals, and organizations each contributed $10,000.

The 10th annual 3Arts Awards celebration was presented on Monday, November 6, by the 3Arts Board of Directors and Event Host Committee in a celebratory gathering at The Mid-America Club at the Aon Center. The event also featured performances by past 3Arts awardees including bassist Tatsu Aoki, blues guitarist/singer Lurrie Bell, singer/songwriter Jess Godwin, and President and CEO of the Chicago Children’s Choir Josephine Lee.

All award recipients, Photo: Robin Subar

One of the ten 3Arts Awards, designated as the 3Arts Community Award, is named in honor of the Chicago community and was supported by 118 donors who contributed to a board-led crowdfunding campaign that was also supported by a one-third match from 3Arts. This year’s 3Arts Community Award recipient is Ginger Lane, a dance artist dedicated to creating movement that incorporates dancers with and without disabilities to confront misperceptions and stereotypes of disabled bodies.

What is especially exciting to Splash Magazine Worldwide is that Ginger Lane, in addition to all of her other work also occasionally writes for Splash Magazines Worldwide.  Are we proud!


The recipients of the 2017 3Arts Awards are:


Ginger Lane, Dancer/Choreographer, 3Arts Community AwardeeGinger Lane began her dance training in Chicago with Edna McRae, Erik Braun, John Kriza, Bentley-Stone, and Walter Camryn. She was awarded a dance scholarship at the Interlochen Center for the Arts to study with Sheila Reilly, Maxine Munt/Alfred Brooks, Chester Wolenski, and Joseph Gifford, from whom she learned the Doris Humphrey technique. Using a wheelchair since 1984, Lane has collaborated and performed with The Joffrey Ballet and for ten years was a member of Dance>Detour, a company of dancers with and without disabilities. She has been performing and choreographing with MOMENTA since 2003. Lane has performed at the St. Louis Spring to Dance Festival for several years, at Chicago’s Bodies of Work Festival of Disability Arts & Culture in 2006 and 2013, and at the Chicago Disability Pride Parade. Since 2008, as Coordinator of the Arts & Culture Project at Access Living, Lane has produced the physically integrated dance concert Counter Balance.

Eve Dress

Meida Teresa McNeal, Dancer/Choreographer, 2017 3Arts AwardeeMeida Teresa McNeal has been making multidisciplinary collaborative performance works for more than 20 years.


Mabel Kwan, Pianist, 2017 3Arts/RH, Restoration Hardware AwardeePianist Mabel Kwan performs with the new music collective Ensemble Dal Niente, the improvising group Restroy, and as one half of the synth duo Mega Laverne and Shirley.

Will Liverman, Operatic Baritone, 3Arts/Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin AwardeeWill Liverman is quickly gaining a reputation for his compelling performances, while making significant debuts at opera houses across the country. He is a recipient of a George London Award, a winner of the Stella Maris International Vocal Competition, and a recipient of a Gerda Lissner Charitable Fund Award, in addition to a grand finalist in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.

Teaching Arts:

Ayriole Frost, Musician/Educator, 3Arts/Samuel G. Roberson Jr. AwardeeAyriole 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

Juan-Carlos Perez, Visual Artist/Educator, 3Arts/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 Art Institute of Chicago.


Tara Mallen, Actor/Director/Producer, 3Arts/William Franklin Grisham AwardeeTara Mallen is the founder and Artistic Director of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Chicago’s only professional theater dedicated to producing work with women at the core. An actor, director, and producer, she was most recently on stage in Rivendell’s world premiere production of The Firebirds Take the Field. Prior to that she appeared in Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat at Arena Stage and Steppenwolf Theatre’s How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence. Mallen has produced and acted in more than thirty productions at Rivendell

Marcela Muñoz, Actor/Director, 3Arts/Southwest Airlines AwardeeMarcela 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 other Chicago companies such as Teatro Luna, Teatro Vista, Victory Gardens Theatre, and Goodman Theatre.

Visual Arts:

Alejandro T. Acierto, Visual Artist, 3Arts/Denise & Gary Gardner AwardeeAlejandro 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 Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois State University Galleries, and SOMArts, in addition to presenting performance works at Rapid Pulse Performance Art Festival, the Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival, Center for Performance Research, and Center for New Music and Technology.

Eve Dress, Photo: Lisa Green

Ginger Lane’s acceptance speech:

“Thank you William!  I need to know when and where I can avail myself of your wonderful Mobile Art Cart.  It’s so ingenious!

I am so appreciative of, in fact, overcome by, the generosity of all you 118 citywide people who contributed to this Community Award. Thank you so much! Chicago is not only the City of Big Shoulders (thank you Carl Sandburg), it is also and truly a city of ART, and ART LOVERS, and ARTs SUPPORTERS. Accepting this Community Award—seeing all your names up on that screen– leaves me absolutely stunned!  Sorry about the Valley Girl talk BUT-this is AWESOME! And AMAZING! The collective support, from all neighborhoods, in all corners of the city, –Really, How cool is that?!? I am filled with gratitude, and thrilled to be included in such great company, and to be embraced by this loving, richly diverse, and generous community. I also hope that this award is a little recognition of, shines a light on, integrated dance as a viable and growing art form.


While I have only just met my fellow awardees, I think I can speak for us all when I say how much we appreciate all of you, our fantastic supporters and donors, for the recognition and honor you’ve bestowed upon us. You know, each of us works in our own little area of interest, sometimes just quietly plodding along year after year, doing our own thing. We don’t expect recognition or awards; we just do what we love.

Eve Dress, Photo Lisa Green

But I think we do hope we might make a difference in peoples’ lives—by expressing ourselves, raising awareness, or making a political statement.


And so, if we get that acknowledgement, it makes a deep impression and has a lasting impact. We know that art can inform, illuminate, inspire, challenge, question, enrich, and change perceptions. Art feeds the brain and nourishes the soul. Most importantly, it can open our minds and hearts, and bring us together.


We are so very grateful that these awards exist, that there are so many champions who join 3Arts in making this kind of support possible.  We applaud you. And we all say:   Thank you,   Thank you,   Thank you!



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