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3Arts awards 20 Chicago artists with unrestricted cash grants

Annual celebration honors 10 artists with $25,000 cash grants 

Peer-to-peer giving program Make a Wave doubles award amount to $2,000 for 10 artists

3Arts, the Chicago-based nonprofit grant making organization, recently awarded 20 Chicago artists with unrestricted grants at the 12th annual 3Arts Awards Celebration. The celebration honored 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 awarded $270,000 at its recent event.

“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.

This year’s 3Arts Awards Celebration featured 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 was led by honorary co-chairs Honorable Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, First 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 10 recipients of the 2019 $25,000 3Arts Awards are:


Laksha Dantran, 3Arts/HMS Fund Awardee, is 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.

Jumaane Taylor, 3Arts/Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee. 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.


Bethany Thomas, 3Arts/RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee, 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.

Sam Trump, 3Arts/Southwest Airlines Awardee, 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.

Teaching Arts:

Ivelisse Diaz, 3Arts Community Awardee, 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.

Damon Locks, 3Arts/Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee, 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.


Richard Costes, 3Arts Awardee, 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.

Stephanie Diaz, SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation Awardee, 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.

Visual Arts:

Norman Teague, Denise & Gary Gardner Awardee, 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.

Santiago X, Chandler Family Awardee, is an Indigenous futurist and multidisciplinary artist specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation. He 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.

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.

For more information about 3Arts, please visit



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