Joyce Award Winners

Cecilia Smith with Cuyahoga Community College



Cecilia Smith is a professional composer, recording artist and performing vibraphonist. Smith is one of the leading four mallet technique vibraphonists in the United States. She is the first woman vibraphonist with recordings released both nationally and internationally, and has performed in concert halls, nightclubs and festivals throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Smith attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston earning a bachelor’s degree in Professional Music. In 2003, Smith was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to bring to life the music of Mary Lou Williams, widely credited as the first woman of jazz. Smith performed in concert original compositions inspired by Williams’ life, as well as music that Williams wrote but never performed.

The Joyce Award supported The Performing Arts Division at Cuyahoga Community College to engage in a multi-year collaborative with Smith. As part of Tri-C’s Creative Campus Project, Smith has a long-term residency in Cleveland where she, along with Tri-C students and faculty, work to identify an African American from the Cleveland community as the subject and inspiration for a new composition.

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) opened in 1963 as Ohio’s first community college. It now serves more than 55,000 credit and non-credit students annually and offers more than 70 career and technical programs and liberal arts curricula at its three campuses. The Performing Arts Division at Tri-C has a long history of presenting the arts in a wide variety of disciplines and to a broad and diverse audience. Since 1980, it has presented the Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, which reaches 30,000 to 50,000 people annually each April. The ten-day event features performances, jazz workshops, clinics, and educational programs on campus, and at various venues throughout the Cleveland area.

2008 Joyce Awards Winners

Related Content


Joyce Awards Information Session - August 2023

Culture director Mia Khimm and grants manager Lynne Wiora discuss the Joyce Awards program and application process. LOIs are due on Sept. 11, 2023. New applicants should create accounts by Sept. 6, 2023.

Grantee Spotlight

Ron OJ Parson

Acclaimed director/actor Ron OJ Parson is in a season of radical reflection. In a 50-year career that most creatives dream of, Parson has become one of the nation’s pre-eminent theater directors. Learn more about his work here.


2024 Joyce Awards applications open: Grants increased to $100K each

Now accepting applications for the 2024 Joyce Awards


2023 Joyce Awards Announcement

We’re thrilled to announce the 2023 winners of our Joyce Awards, which support the creation of community-driven new works by artists of color in partnership with organizations in the Great Lakes region.

Grantee Spotlight

They Got NEXT — Chicago Sinfonietta Celebrates 35 Years

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, like so many organizations, was forced to reimagine itself, pivoting programming and performances to a fully virtual space.

Chicago Sinfonietta


Joyce Awards Information Session - August 2022

Culture director Mia Khimm and grants manager Lynne Wiora discuss the Joyce Awards program and the application process. LOIs are due on September 12, 2022. New applicants should create accounts by September 7, 2022.


2022 Joyce Awards Announcement

Five innovative new projects by pioneering artists of color spanning the visual, performing, and multidisciplinary arts that engage diverse communities in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul will receive this year’s annual awards.


The “Full-Circle” Moment of Nick Cave and Forothermore

Recent work by Internationally acclaimed, Chicago-based artist and Joyce Awards winner Nick Cave.