CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five collaborations between artists of color and cultural organizations in Chicago, Cleveland and the Twin Cities have each won $50,000 from annual Joyce Awards competition, a region-wide program dedicated to supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities.
A distinctive feature of the Joyce Foundation's annual awards is the call for commissioned artists and host institutions to include community engagement as a core feature of the project. And appropriately at a time of social, economic and political change, the winning projects for 2017 address themes such as voting rights, immigration, and the impact of women's labor on the global economy.
Including the $250,000 for this year's winners, the Chicago-based foundation has awarded nearly $3 million to commission 55 new works since the competition started in 2003.
Joyce President Ellen Alberding commended this year's group of winners for intensifying the competition's emphasis on community inclusion.
"It is exciting to see such a powerful focus not only on the creative aspects of these works, but also on how the artists plan to involve diverse communities in their development and presentation," said Alberding. "We are confident these productions will do a great job of telling stories that can foster civic participation and cross-cultural understanding, and we are proud to support them and showcase the artistic talent of the Great Lakes region."
The goal of the Joyce Awards is to elevate the visibility and recognition of artists of color by providing meaningful support to organizations in the Great Lakes region that see as central to their mission the commissioning and presenting of outstanding new works by such artists.
The 2017 Joyce Awards winners include:
Free Street Theater and Ricardo Gamboa
Free Street Theater will commission renowned artist and activist Ricardo Gamboa to work with a team that includes visual artists, poets, and storytellers to research the history of Mexican migration to Chicago, capture the oral histories of local residents, and engage in interactive community installations. The completed work will be presented in programs held in the Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods next summer, and featured in the 2017 Mexican Independence Day celebrations scheduled next September.
"At Free Street, we are fundamentally committed to self-representation, to making theater by, for, with, about and in Chicago's diverse communities," said Coya Paz, artistic director of Free Street Theater. "We are thrilled to have this support for making Meet Juan(ito) Doe, a project conceived by Ricardo Gamboa that uses a grassroots and ensemble process to center the stories and contributions of Chicago's Mexican-American community."
Old Town School of Folk Music and Ernest Dawkins and Rahul Sharma
Renowned artists and educators Ernest Dawkins and Rahul Sharma will partner in creating a new work designed to engage up to 1,000 young musicians in an exploration of rich musical heritage of Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Dawkins and Sharma will compose a new piece that examines and celebrates Englewood's dynamic history, and work with groups of musicians at all levels of experience to produce a culminating performance of the piece in 2017.
"We're thrilled to have this opportunity to work with such exemplary artists in a celebration of the musical heritage of a section of our city that is more often cited for challenges rather than artistic achievements," said Bau Graves, executive director of Old Town School of Folk Music. "The Joyce Award will set free voices that have long gone unheard."
Terence Blanchard and Cuyahoga Community College Foundation
As part of a two-year artist residency at Cuyahoga Community College, award-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard will create a new work inspired by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 entitled, OUR VOICES: DEMOCRACY RE:visited. Blanchard will work with students, churches, voting rights advocates, and local musicians in a series of voting rights forums, formal and improvised musical performances, and workshops to develop his composition. The preliminary work will be presented at Tri-C JazzFest 2017, with the world premiere of the final composition in April 2018.
"The work reflects upon the core values of Cuyahoga Community College, which represent integrity, respect, responsibility, fairness and diversity. We are excited about this renewed partnership with the Joyce Foundation and look forward to seeing a preview of the work at Tri-C JazzFest in 2017," said Rick Chiricosta, chairperson of the Tri-C Foundation.
Minnesota Center for Book Arts and Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.
Lauded Detroit-based printer Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. will lead a series of free, community work sessions at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis, where participants whose involvement is generally under-represented in the institution's offerings will learn to print placards, posters and broadsheets on the Center's printing presses. The resulting works will become an exhibition designed to take over the 55,000-square-foot facility during the center's biennial celebration in summer 2017.
"We are eager to partner with Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. on this project that will re-imagine how we create, shape and share art through personal and community narratives," said Jeff Rathermel, executive director of Minnesota Center for Book Arts. "This commission is an opportunity for Kennedy to create in a highly collaborative environment, while responding to the voices of our rich and diverse community."
The O'Shaughnessy with Ananya Dance Company
The O'Shaughnessy, at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, will commission the Minneapolis-based Ananya Dance Company and its artistic director, Ananya Chatterjea, to develop and stage a new production called "Shaatranga." Meaning "seven-colored" in Chatterjea's native Benjali, the work will address women's roles, work and global commerce through the metaphor of blue jean processing. The 18-month collaboration will bring together St. Kate's students and staff and refugees living in the Twin Cities.
"This support will broaden the collaboration that The O'Shaughnessy and Ananya Dance Theatre began in 2012 to share women's stories through performance and inspire passion for justice around the globe," says Kathleen Spehar, executive director of The O'Shaughnessy.
For images and more information, please visit the Joyce Awards web page here.
The 2017 Joyce Awards were recently approved by the foundation's board of directors at the recommendation of Joyce staff, including new Culture Program Director Tracie D. Hall. Hall joined the foundation last month after three years as deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
About The Joyce Foundation
The Joyce Foundation works with grantee partners to improve quality of life, promote community vitality, and achieve a fair society. We focus grant making primarily on the Great Lakes region, and also have national impact through our program areas – Education, Employment, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention, Democracy and Culture. Our Culture program focuses on strengthening and diversifying arts organizations, building capacity within the arts sector and investing in the creative capital of artists of color. For more information, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @JoyceFdn.
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SOURCE The Joyce Foundation