Culture

Program Mission

Inspiring creativity and fostering culturally vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities

With a primary focus on Chicago, the Culture program supports the development, growth, and visibility of artists of color and arts organizations of color to advance racial equity and inspire creativity.

Arts organizations of color are central to sustaining culturally vibrant and diverse communities. As vital neighborhood assets, they provide gateways for long-term arts participation, help sustain diverse art forms and traditions, and nurture the voices and talents of artists of color. Yet the arts and cultural sector is facing unprecedented challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted artists of color and arts organizations of color. The Joyce Foundation aims to address these racial inequities and help the sector recover and build long-term stability and resilience to make Chicago a robust center where artists of color and organizations of color can thrive for years to come.

We define arts organizations of color as organizations whose primary practices and mission are by, for, and about artists, cultures, and communities of color. Indicators may include but are not limited to the presence of some combination of: organizational mission; executive, artistic, and governance leadership; programmatic content; artists; and audience.

Strategy

Creative Organizations

Arts organizations of color function as important neighborhood anchors, sustain diverse artforms and cultural traditions, and provide key arts access points for diverse communities across Chicago.

Many of these organizations provide a vital platform for communities of color, including the next generation, to see themselves and their stories realized, providing key venues to engender a sense of social identification and cohesion. However, they have historically faced deep inequities in arts funding compared to their larger, white-led counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these inequities. This focus area seeks to support the recovery, long-term stability and resilience of arts organizations of color, helping expand their operational capacity, and fostering creative excellence.

Goal: To expand capacity, foster creative excellence, and support the long-term stability of small and mid-size arts organizations of color in Chicago.

Objectives:

  • Providing resilience grants or multi-year general operating grants to emerging and legacy arts organizations of color
    • This initiative aims to support the recovery, long-term sustainability and eventual growth of the sector by providing small and mid-size emerging and legacy arts organizations of color the flexibility to utilize the funds how they deem most effective. Multi-year general operating support will provide these organizations with the necessary runway to enable long-term planning.
  • Providing leadership grants to support core staff
    • This initiative will supplement the resilience grants or general operating grants by supporting core staff positions in arts organizations of color, targeted support we believe is essential to fostering the full vitality of arts organizations and the sector. Examples include full- or part-time staff positions across program and administrative functions, such as public engagement managers, fundraisers, arts administrators, curators, etc.
  • Supporting digital initiatives
    • This initiative will supplement the resilience grants or general operating grants by providing programmatic support and capacity building for organizations of color to help pilot and expand virtual programming, strengthen digital infrastructure, test new business models, increase accessibility, and establish network learning around best digital practice in the field. Funds can support an existing effort or be used as part of a larger effort that has funding from several sources.

We define arts organizations of color as organizations whose primary practices and mission are by, for, and about artists, cultures, and communities of color. Indicators may include but are not limited to the presence of some combination of: organizational mission; executive, artistic, and governance leadership; programmatic content; artists; and audience.

Creative Individuals

Artists and creative workers remain among the most severely affected segmented of the nation’s workforce due to COVID-19. In Illinois, the unemployment rate in 2020 for artists of color (66%) exceeded the rate among white artists (52%). Moreover, while funders over the last decade have sought to address the lack of cultural diversity at major arts institutions, the contributions and voices of artists of color across mainstream institutions are still vastly underrepresented. This focus area seeks to support a diverse range of organizations working to nurture the creative accomplishments, professional growth, and visibility of artists of color working in Chicago and the Great Lakes region.

Goal: To support the artistic growth, creative accomplishments and professional development for artists of color to raise visibility of their work on regional and national levels and to heighten recognition of their contributions to the field at large.

  • Supporting artistic production
    • This initiative will target individuals working in Chicago as well as the rest of the Great Lakes region. Recognizing the opportunity to deepen and expand the impact of the Joyce Awards, we have increased the number of annual $75,000 Joyce Awards to six. In addition, we will establish and sustain a Joyce Award alumni network for artists and organizations to promote knowledge exchange and networking.
    • Beyond the Joyce Awards, this initiative will fund projects at diverse presenting institutions and organizations commissioning or featuring artistically rigorous and challenging cultural work and productions by artist of color. This includes grants for new exhibitions, performances, presentations, and publications/catalogues. This initiative recognizes that artists must navigate a spectrum of institutional contexts to build and sustain their careers and raise visibility and build audiences for their work. We will also support publications and other forms of documentation, such as exhibition catalogues by artists of color because they serve as important historical records and raise awareness about an artist and their work.
  • Supporting networking and professional development
    • This initiative will increase networking and professional development opportunities for Chicago artists of color, including artist residencies, fellowships, workshops, career development, and skills training to help individuals advance their careers, build professional networks, and raise visibility for their work.
  • Supporting arts journalism
    • Through the Joyce Foundation’s Journalism program area, this initiative seeks touplift artists and arts organizations of color, through meaningful arts and culture journalism in Chicago and the Great Lakes region. This initiative welcomes proposals that seek to (a) expand the body of arts journalism and criticism, centering the work of artists of color or (b) supporting early-career development and pipelines for art journalists and critics of color.

We define arts organizations of color as organizations whose primary practices and mission are by, for, and about artists, cultures, and communities of color. Indicators may include but are not limited to the presence of some combination of: organizational mission; executive, artistic, and governance leadership; programmatic content; artists; and audience.

2022 Joyce Awards Announcement

The 2022 Joyce Awards mark the largest amount awarded to date and feature projects that uplift local histories and cultural traditions, deepen our understanding of immigrant experiences, and strengthen community pride across the Great Lakes.

About the Joyce Awards

The Joyce Awards, the only regional program supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities, aims to inspire creativity, artistic excellence, and collaboration in Great Lakes communities.

Since its inception, the competition has awarded more than $4 million to commission 77 new works and collaborations between artists and leading arts, cultural, and community-based organizations in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Each award of $75,000 supports an artist or artists in the creation and production of a new work and provides the commissioning organization with the resources needed to engage potential audiences, new partners, and their surrounding communities at large.

In 2022, the Foundation will increase the total number of annual $75,000 Joyce Awards to five and will launch a Joyce Award alumni network for artists and organizations to promote knowledge sharing and network.

Applications for the 2023 Joyce Awards will be open on July 5, 2022. Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) will be accepted until Monday, September 12, 2022. Registration for new organizational applicants is due one week prior, by September 7, 2022.

Recently in Culture

News

Joyce Awards Information Session

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.

Joyce Award Winner

Nancy García Loza with National Museum of Mexican Art

Nancy García Loza and the National Museum of Mexican Art are one of the five winners of the 2022 Joyce Awards, which honor collaborations between artists of color and arts and community organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.

Joyce Award Winner

Nabil Ince with Harrison Center for the Arts

Through a songwriting residency at the Harrison Center, musician and educator Nabil Ince (a.k.a. Seaux Chill) will work with residents from three historically Black Indianapolis neighborhoods, using art to combat cultural erasure and gentrification.

Joyce Award Winner

Michael Manson with Living Arts

Michael Manson and Living Arts are one of the five winners of the 2022 Joyce Awards, which honor collaborations between artists of color and arts and community organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.

Get the latest on our work in Culture and other programs.

Culture Staff

Mia Khimm

Program Director

Jory Simmons

Program Assistant