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"Cartography," by Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers at New Victory Theater. (Photo by Myers)

The Joyce Foundation Announces 2019 Joyce Awards

Six cultural organizations in the Great Lakes region will partner with artists to create new works.

CHICAGO: The Joyce Foundation has awarded $300,000 to support six collaborations between Midwest cultural institutions and artists. Each partnership will receive $50,000 to produce a commissioned new work and program community engagement activities.

This year’s  projects will explore themes of immigration, segregation, community sustainability, and finding a sense of home in today’s world.

“For 15 years the Joyce Awards have been a celebration of cultural diversity,” said Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation, in a statement. “This year, given the climate in our country, there is a greater need to spotlight efforts that encourages an appreciation of diversity as a strength of our society. We’re thrilled to support these incredible artists and vital cultural organizations that brilliantly help shape our understanding of each other.”

The 2019 recipients include Cleveland Public Theatre and playwright Lisa Langford, who will work together to produce and present Langford’s Rastus and Hattie. The play is based on a real human-like robot developed by Westinghouse, designed with brown skin to confront race in the 1930s.

Cleveland’s Playhouse Square will commission theatre artist Kaneza Schaal and author/illustrator Christopher Myers to develop Cartography, a theatre performance exploring themes of travel and population migration. The interactive project will engage the community with mapmaking and storytelling workshops. The project will partner with refugee service organizations and the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

The Lao Assistance Center of Minneapolis and poet Bryan Thao Worra will work with contributing artists to present Laomagination: 45, an interactive, interdisciplinary exhibition of multi-generational stories from the Lao community. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Lao community’s migration to Minnesota.

The Smart Museum of Art at University of Chicago and Emmanuel Pratt, founder of the Sweet Water Foundation, will work together on a year-long project to restore an abandoned house. The project is called “People, Energy, Light, Power: the [Re]Construction of Ethos,” and will enlist the help of international artists and a corps of youth apprentices.

Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago will partner with Adela Goldbard, a Mexican visual artist, to create a participatory art exhibit including sculptures and pyrotechnic displays called “The Last Judgment.” The project will draw on the residents’ experiences of environmental justice, migration, and safety. In addition, the piece will travel throughout Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

Milwaukee’s TRUE Skool will collaborate with hip-hop artists Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, Cita Sadeli (CHELOVE), and Aja Black to give local young artists and aspiring arts administrators an opportunity to create breakdance, emcee, and graffiti-style art works.

To date the Joyce Awards have granted $3.5 million to commission 65 new works through collaborations between artists and cultural organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.

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