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2017 Joyce Awards Announced


By: Tracie Hall, Culture Program Director

As the new Culture Program Director at the Joyce Foundation, it’s my great pleasure to announce the winners of the 2017 Joyce Awards. I am especially pleased that these winners speak to the vital role of the arts in community development and social justice.

The 2017 Joyce Awards have been awarded to five collaborations between artists of color and cultural organizations --in Chicago, Cleveland, and the Twin Cities. Each collaboration receives a $50,000 grant to produce and present new work. The awards are the only region-wide program dedicated to supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities, and since the competition started in 2003, Joyce has awarded nearly $3 million to commission 55 new works.
A distinctive feature of the Joyce Awards is the requirement that artists and host institutions include a robust community engagement plan. Appropriately at this 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.
The 2017 Joyce Awards winners are:

Free Street Theater and Ricardo Gamboa

Free Street Theater will commission 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, to capture the oral histories of local residents, and to engage residents in interactive community installations. The completed work will be presented in programs held in Little Village and Pilsen next summer, and will be featured in the 2017 Mexican Independence Day celebrations scheduled for next September. 

Old Town School of Folk Music and Ernest Dawkins and Rahul Sharma
In partnership with the Old Town School of Folk Music, 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 the 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.

Terence Blanchard and the 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, and the world premiere of the final composition will be in April 2018.

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 the summer of 2017.

The O'Shaughnessy with the 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.

It is clear that these 2017 Joyce Award artists and their presenting institutions see the input and firsthand testimony of the respective communities as critical to the creation and culminating presentations of their prospective works. They are allowing the experience gained from deep engagement in these incredibly rich communities to inform not only the resulting artwork, but their creative practice as artists. We hope the artists, commissioning institutions and the communities involved are fundamentally and positively impacted by this experience.
Indeed, as I embark upon my work at Joyce, I hope to similarly engage in and convene critical conversations around art and community building. I look forward to working with each of you as we move towards the level of equity and inclusion, excellence and innovation in the arts that reflects the society we seek to create.
I see today’s announcement as an auspicious way to begin this work.
Much Light,
Tracie D. Hall
Program Director, Culture
The Joyce Foundation