CHICAGO: The Joyce Foundation has announced the winners of this year’s Joyce Awards, which support the creation of new works by pioneering artists of color across disciplines in conjunction with arts institutions. Playwright Nancy García Loza with the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), musician Nabil Ince (a.k.a. Seaux Chill) with the Harrison Center, choreographer Michael Manson with Living Arts, artist Aram Han Sifuentes with the HANA Center, and artist Pramila Vasudevan with Public Art Saint Paul will each receive grants of $75,000 to support high-impact projects intended to foster culturally vibrant, equitable, and sustainable communities in the Great Lakes region, with at least $25,000 awarded directly to the commissioned artist. This year’s grants mark the largest total Joyce Awards granted to date, after the award amount was increased from $50,000 to $75,000 last year.
Nancy García Loza is a playwright rooted in Chicago, Ill., and Jalisco, México. She will develop the play Pénjamo: A Pocha Road Trip Story, which explores bicultural identity and the myths and realities of ancestral homelands. García Loza will collaborate with NMMA to create public workshops engaging immigrant communities and communities of color in Chicago. The project will culminate in a live public workshop reading of Pénjamo, presented at NMMA.
Nabil Ince (a.k.a. Seaux Chill) is a musician, artist, and educator based on the Southside of St. Louis. Through a songwriting residency at the Harrison Center, he will work with residents from three historically Black Indianapolis neighborhoods, using art to combat cultural erasure and gentrification. Ince will explore underrepresented areas of Black urban cultural and commercial life, creating songs and music videos that capture the experiences of local Black business owners and patrons.
Michael Manson is a Detroit teaching artist, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the street dance forms of popping, locking, house, and Detroit Jit. His project Rhythm of the Feet is a new concert-length dance production centering Detroit Jit, a legendary 1970s street dance style. Facilitated by Living Arts, Manson will work closely with Detroit’s Black and Latinx communities, offering free family-oriented workshops and events, which will situate Jit in historical context alongside other dance styles.
Aram Han Sifuentes is a Korean American fiber and social practice artist, writer, and educator based in Chicago who works to center immigrant and disenfranchised communities. The project Citizenship for All: Storytelling for Immigrant Justice through NongGi Making will engage multiple generations of Asian and multi-ethnic communities in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood through collective storytelling and artistic co-creation. Participants will learn to sew, embroider, and create protest banners modeled on traditional NongGis that integrate their own stories into the design. Through this exchange of personal stories, the completed banners will serve as a powerful collective statement of community solidarity and pride.
Pramila Vasudevan is Minneapolis-based choreographer, movement-centered artist, cultural worker, and maker of community-rooted/routed interdisciplinary work. Her project Prairie/Concrete imagines new pathways for communities to connect with each other and with the natural world through a series of workshops and events centered around the city’s land and ecosystem. Taking place on Dakota land in three Saint Paul public parks, the events will explore pressing ecological and societal issues facing the city.
The Joyce Foundation is a private, nonpartisan philanthropy organization that invests in public policies and strategies with the aim of advancing racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. Founded in 1948 by Beatrice Joyce Kean, the foundation supports policy research, development, and advocacy in Culture, Democracy, Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, and Journalism. Since 2004, the Joyce Awards competition has awarded more than $4 million to commission 77 high-impact projects and commissions between pioneering artists of color and arts and community organizations in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. As of 2019, the Joyce Foundation had a budget of approximately $50 million.
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