Joyce Awards2019 Social 1120X584 V1 Lisa Langford
Joyce Awards2019 Social 1120X584 V1 Bryan Thao Worra
Joyce Awards2019 Social 1120X584 V1 Kaneza Schaal Christopher Myers
Joyce Awards2019 Social 1120X584 V1 Emmanuel Pratt
Joyce Awards2019 Social 1120X584 V1 Garcia Chelove Black
Joyce Awards2019 Social 1120X584 V1 Adela Goldbard

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2019 Joyce Awards Winners


It is a great pleasure to announce the winners of the 2019 Joyce Awards! This year, we award a record six collaborations between talented, committed, and socially-engaged artists and equally dedicated cultural organizations – in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and the Twin Cities.

Each partnership will receive $50,000 to produce and present a commissioned new work and program of intensive community engagement activities. This year’s Joyce Awards projects take compelling looks at the timely themes of immigration, segregation, community sustainability, and the quest to find a sense of home in our polarized society. 

To date, the Joyce Awards have granted $3.5 million to commission 65 new works connecting artists with cultural organizations throughout the Great Lakes region. Joyce Award-winning artists have gone on to world-wide acclaim, to leading their disciplines in artistic achievement and innovation, and to heading artistic initiatives that strive to make the arts accessible to everyone. Commissioning organizations have reported record numbers of attendees for award-related programs, new alliances with organizational peers, and recognition from and greater coordination with municipal agencies.

It is because we recognize the generative impact of these awards historically that we are deeply excited to announce the 2019 Joyce Awards winners below:
  • Cleveland Public Theatre & Lisa Langford (Cleveland)
    Cleveland-based playwright, Lisa Langford, will stage a new play with the Cleveland Public Theatre entitled, Rastus and Hattie. Set in the near future, the play takes a page from the story of a real human-like robot developed by Westinghouse in the 1930’s. The robot, designed with brown skin, and clad in overalls, was to be a prototype of a fleet of time-saving laborers. Langford’s modern-day play will revisit this historical moment to confront the nexus of race and history and underscore the need for deeper human interaction, compassion and understanding.
  • Lao Assistance Center & Bryan Thao Worra (Minneapolis)
    The Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota will engage poet, Bryan Thao Worra, who will work with a number of contributing artists to produce Laomagination: 45, an interactive, interdisciplinary exhibition presenting multi-generational stories of the Lao community as it marks its 45th anniversary of migrating to Minnesota, now home to one of the largest Lao populations outside of Southeast Asia.
  • Playhouse Square & Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers (Cleveland)
    Cleveland’s Playhouse Square will commission Cartography, a new theatrical work by theater artist, Kaneza Schaal, and award-winning author and illustrator, Christopher Myers. Designed to directly interact with youth around the themes of population migration, the travelling work will partner with local refugee service organizations and the Cuyahoga County Public Library and will engage residents in large-scale mapmaking and storytelling workshops in building its narrative.
  • Smart Museum of Art at UChicago & Emmanuel Pratt (Chicago)
    People, Energy, Light, Power: the [Re]Construction of Ethos, will focus on the year-long renovation and activation of an abandoned house in the Perry Avenue area neighborhood where Englewood and Washington Park intersect. A group of international artists will be led by Chicago’s Emmanuel Pratt, founder of  the Sweet Water Foundation, in partnership with the Smart Museum of Art. Pratt will work with a corps of youth apprentices on this placekeeping effort to recreate a place of safety and opportunity for the community.
  • TRUE Skool & Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, CHELOVE, and Aja Black (Milwaukee)
    Milwaukee’s center for creative arts and hip-hop culture, TRUE Skool, will give local youth an opportunity to collaborate with three leading female hip hop artists to create new breakdancing, MC and graffiti-style art works. New York City’s pioneering breakdance artist, Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, notable Washington, D.C. muralist, Cita Sadeli (CHELOVE), and Colorado-based MC, Aja Black, will mentor young artists and aspiring arts administrators as they develop works for a community block party and various public exhibitions.
  • Gallery 400 at UIC & Adela Goldbard (Chicago)
    Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago will commission Mexican visual artist, Adela Goldbard, to create The Last Judgment, a participatory art exhibition at Gallery 400 that will culminate in a mobile performance throughout Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Featuring large-scale sculptures and pyrotechnic displays, this multi-pronged collaboration will draw on residents’ experiences of environmental justice, migration, and safety as they envision a collective future for this culturally rich community.
Congratulations to this year’s cohort of Joyce Awardees! May the ambitious projects represented here continue to expand our understanding of the capacity of the arts to reflect, inspire, and mobilize change.