3Arts awards 20 Chicago artists with unrestricted cash grants

Brittany "Brittane" Edwards will be honored for her contributions in music.

3Arts, the Chicago-based nonprofit grant making organization, is honored to award 20 Chicago artists with unrestricted grants at the 11th Annual 3Arts Awards Celebration taking place Monday, November 5, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The celebration will honor the 10 annual 3Arts Awards recipients along with 10 recipients of Make a Wave—an unprecedented artist-to-artist giving initiative.

The 3Arts Awards celebration honors 10 artists with $25,000 cash grants and 10 additional artists with $1,000 grants as part of the peer-to-peer giving program, Make A Wave. 3Arts has distributed more than $3 million in total funding to more than 600 Chicago artists over the past 11 years and will award $260,000 on November 5 alone.

“Championing Chicago artists is a privilege like no other. We are thrilled to present our awardees with opportunities that they profoundly deserve,” said Esther Grisham Grimm, executive director of 3Arts. “Last year’s launch of Make a Wave made it abundantly clear that there is nothing quite as exciting as witnessing artists offering support to other artists by paying it forward and encouraging them to dream big.”

ANNA MARTINE WHITEHEAD is an accomplished dancer.

The 2018 recipients of $25,000 3Arts Awards are: dancers and dance educators T. Ayo Alston and Anna Martine Whitehead; musicians Brittany “BrittanE” Edwards and Ben LaMar Gay; teaching artists Leida “Lady Sol” Garcia and Elgin Bokari T. Smith; playwright and actor Sandra Delgado and costume designer Christine Pascual; and visual artists  Dianna Frid and Huong Ngô.


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 10 Chicago artists to receive surprise $1,000 awards, in effect sending a wave of support through our city’s brilliant creative core. This year’s Make a Wave grant recipients were selected by 2017 3Arts awardees and will be announced at the event.

T. AYO ALSTON is being honored for her expertise in Dance.

This year’s 3Arts Awards celebration will feature performances by past awardees, and the event is led by co-chairs Erryn Cobb (3Arts board of directors and CEO of Fetch Integrated Marketing Communications), Remberto Del Real (3Arts board of directors and Managing Director of Personal and Business Banking Marketing for BMO Harris Bank), and Jess Godwin (singer/song- writer and 2016 3Arts Award recipient).

The recipients of the 2018 3Arts Awards are:


Ayo Alston, 3Arts/Southwest Airlines Awardee 

Alston teaches and practices a signature theatrical style of West African drum and dance culture that captures the strength and power of women and community building. Raised in a family of highly-skilled artists and musicians, Ayo served as dance captain for Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago for 11 years. Ayo teaches at Columbia College Chicago and Chicago High School for the Arts.

Anna Martine Whitehead, 3Arts/ O’Neill & Williams Family Awardee

Whitehead is a dancer, teacher and writer. Her work has been presented at local venues including the Chicago Cultural Center; AUNTS in New York City; and CounterPulse and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, among others. She writes about race, gender and performance. Martine teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and with Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project.


Brittany “BrittanE” Edwards,  3Arts/- The SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation Awardee in honor of Samuel  G. Roberson Jr.

Born and raised in Chicago, Edwards is an artist, producer and songwriter who grew up with many musical influences and who draws inspiration from her mother, as well as other artists, producers and songwriters. She refers to her music as true “soul music.” In her own words, “I don’t make music for money or because I want to be rich, and I don’t do it for attention or fame. I want to see the world and future generations be better, so I make music that will set people free, comfort them through hard periods in their lives, but most importantly, encourage the development of a quality people.”

Ben LaMar Gay, 3Arts/Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin Awardee

Gay is a composer and cornetist who moves sound, color and space through folkloric filters to produce electro-acoustic collages. A Chicago native, Ben’s true technique is giving life to an idea while exploring and expanding on the term “Americana.”

Teaching Arts:

Leida “Lady Sol” Garcia,  3Arts/RH, Restoration Hardware Awardee

Garcia is a proud Mexican-American street dance professional, mother, wife and Chicago native who is globally recognized as a teaching artist, creative director and manager. Her newest work, Lady Sol’s Dance Diary, is an autobiographical “dance-dramedy” solo show in which she humorously explores music industry politics, cross-cultural identity and the growing pains of uncovering self-love.

Elgin Bokari T. Smith,  3Arts/ Denise & Gary Gardner Awardee

Smith (aka Kari the Illustrator) is an artist, social activist and educator. In 2009, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Illustration and Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and subsequently worked as an assistant for Chicago artist Theaster Gates. He has worked as a teaching artist for several organizations.


Sandra Delgado, 3Arts Community Awardee

Delgado is a writer, actor and producer born and raised in Chicago. Her first full-length play, La Havana Madrid, was developed as part of Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit and produced by Teatro Vista. It received recognition as one of the best plays of 2017, and was nominated for an award by the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists (ALTA). She will be starring in La Ruta at Steppenwolf this winter.

Christine Pascual, 3Arts/Lakeside Bank Awardee

Pascual is a costume designer who graduated from SUNY at Stony Brook with a Bachelor of Arts degree and earned a Master of Fine Arts in costume design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She began her career with daring, innovative storefront theaters, including Defiant and Onyx. Since then she has been working with storefront, mid-size and large theaters. Christine is passionate about new theatrical works that deal with real-life human experiences and the human condition.

Visual Arts:

Dianna Frid, 3Arts/Chandler Family Awardee

Frid is an artist working at the intersections of material, text and textile. She makes artist books, drawings and sculptures. In her work, embroidery is a prominent vehicle for exploring the relationships between writing and drawing, and between transcription, composition, and ineffability. Dianna engages themes of time, process, death and the transformation of matter. She teaches in the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Huong Ngô, 3Arts/Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

Huong Ngô (Huong Ngo) is an interdisciplinary artist whose conceptual practice translates invisible histories into material form. Having grown up as a Vietnamese refugee in the American South, she creates work that reframes the hybrid, the imperfect, and the non-fluent as sites of survival and knowledge. She is Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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 2018 Award Partners: The Chandler Family; Denise & Gary Gardner; Lakeside Bank; Stan Lipkin & Evelyn Appell Lipkin; O’Neill & Williams Family; The Reva & David Logan Foundation; RH, Restoration Hardware; The SIF Fund at the Chicago Community Foundation (in honor of Samuel G. Roberson Jr.); Southwest Airlines; and donors to the 2018 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 112 donors who contributed to a board-led crowd funding campaign that also included a one-third match from 3Arts.

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

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

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