The Crusader Newspaper Group

Nearly 100 Chicago artists receive $330,000 in unrestricted awards through 3Arts

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

3Arts, the Chicago-based nonprofit grantmaking organization, is honored to announce the nearly 100 Chicago artists who received unrestricted grants at the recent 10th annual 3Arts Awards celebration. The celebration honored the 10 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 10 years.

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LURRIE BELL, blues guitarist, entertains the crowd. (Photos by 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. “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 10 years of supporting Chicago artists.”

Each year, 3Arts honors 10 Chicago-based women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities working in the performing, teaching, and visual arts sectors. Each 3Arts awardee received an unrestricted $25,000 grant to use according to their individual needs and priorities. The 83 Make a Wave recipients received $1,000 awards, an initiative that was supported by the 10 x 10 Campaign, in which 10 individuals, circles of individuals, and organizations each contributed $10,000.


Ginger Lane, Dancer/Choreographer, 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. Using a wheelchair since 1984, Lane has collaborated and performed with The Joffrey Ballet and for 10 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.

Meida Teresa McNeal, Dancer/Choreographer, has been making multidisciplinary collaborative performance works for more than 20 years. She has produced creative projects as both a solo artist and with Honey Pot Performance, for which she is the Artistic and Managing Director. McNeal received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.


Mabel Kwan, Pianist, 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. Kwan has toured nationally and internationally, including concerts at Ravinia, Millennium Park, Library of Congress, and the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music. Mabel received piano performance degrees from Rice University and Northern Illinois University.

Will Liverman, Operatic Baritone, is quickly gaining a reputation for his compelling performances, while making significant debuts at opera houses across the country. This year, Liverman will perform the leading role of Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Seattle Opera and Kentucky Opera. He holds his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College.

AYRIOLE FROST, Musician/- Educator, is co-founder of Shift: Englewood Youth Orchestra, an El Sistema-inspired youth development program on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Her history of working with music programs focused on social justice and her own program in Englewood.

Teaching Arts: 

Ayriole Frost, Musician/Educator, 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. Her history of working with music programs focused on social justice, including The People’s Music School Youth Orchestras and Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project, as well as her own program in Englewood, led to her joining North Park University’s faculty as part of their Certificate in Music for Social Change and Human Values. Frost received her Bachelor of Music from Ball State University. She completed the esteemed Sistema Fellows Program at New England Conservatory in 2014.

Juan-Carlos Perez, Visual Artist/Educator, 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. As an independent teaching artist, Perez partners with arts organizations such as Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and more.


Tara Mallen, Actor/Director/Producer, is the founder and Artistic Director of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Chicago’s only professional theater dedicated to producing work with women at the core. Mallen has produced and acted in more than 30 productions at Rivendell.

Marcela Muñoz, Actor/Director, is the Co-Artistic Director and Managing Director of Aguijón Theater, Chicago’s oldest Spanish-language theater company. Muñoz 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. As an actress and director, she has participated in international theater festivals in Peru, Argentina, and Colombia. She is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf Theatre.

Visual Arts:

Alejandro T. Acierto, Visual Artist, 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.

Tirtza Even, Visual Artist, is a practicing documentary-maker and video artist. Even has produced both linear and interactive video work that has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the Johannesburg Biennial, and in many galleries, museums, and festivals in the U.S., Israel and Europe. She is currently an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Film, Video, New Media and Animation department.

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.

For more information about 3Arts or the 10 x 10 Campaign, visit

Writers Theatre

SHANNON COCHRAN AS Lady Bracknell, Jennifer Latimore as Gwendolyn Fairfax and Rebecca Hurd as Cecily Cardew performing in “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Writers Theatre.

The Importance of Being Earnest

One of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language, “The Importance of Being Earnest” introduces us to Jack and Algernon, two charming bachelors who are each living a double life, aided by a fictional alter ego called “Ernest.” But when they fall truly in love with a pair of proper young women, will they be able to bring an end to the charade and convince the formidable Lady Bracknell that they are suitable candidates for marriage? After all, “the one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.”

This is a hilariously snooty, timeless play written by Oscar Wilde that delivers the comedic punches and the politeness that is associated with the upper crust. But when the lies are unfurled, the two main male characters have to come to grips with reality. I really enjoy the ambience of the Writers Theatre and the fact that this performance is presented with a diverse cast. It’s worth checking out. The Writers Theatre is located at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, Illinois, until December 23. For info: visit

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