17:10 PM

Joyce Foundation Announces Recipients of 2021 Joyce Awards


2021 Awardees: Sydney Chatman with Congo Square Theatre Company, Daniel Minter with Lynden Sculpture Garden, Kameelah Janan Rasheed with FRONT International, and SANTIAGO X with Chicago Public Art Group

2021 Awardees: Sydney Chatman with Congo Square Theatre Company, Daniel Minter with Lynden Sculpture Garden, Kameelah Janan Rasheed with FRONT International, and SANTIAGO X with Chicago Public Art Group

The Joyce Foundation today announced the 2021 recipients of the annual Joyce Awards which, since 2003, have supported the creation of new work by emerging and mid-career BIPOC artists and dedicated arts and cultural organizations to foster more culturally vibrant, equitable, and sustainable communities in six major Great Lake cities: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Minneapolis-St Paul. The $75,000 grants will support the creation and presentation of new site-specific works in partnership with community members in their respective regions, empowering collaboration and exploring ways that art can foster healing and restoration.

The 2021 awardees are: Sydney Chatman with Congo Square Theatre Company, Daniel Minter with Lynden Sculpture Garden, Kameelah Janan Rasheed with FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (FRONT), and SANTIAGO X with Chicago Public Art Group.

The only regional program dedicated to supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities, the Joyce Foundation has awarded more than $3.7 million to the development of 72 new works of visual, performing, and multidisciplinary art presented in collaboration with arts and community organizations in the Great Lakes region. While the foundation’s grantmaking has a regional focus, its work has national impact, demonstrating the capacity of the arts to inspire and mobilize social change.

“The Joyce Awards are a recognition of the important contributions of artists of color to the cultural fabric of the Great Lakes region. The disparities both brought into sharper focus and exacerbated by the pandemic and the racial reckoning have made this work all the more imperative,” said Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding. “The Joyce Awards invests in these artists so that they can continue to make a lasting impact in their communities.”


The 2021 Joyce Awards Winners:

Sydney Chatman | Congo Square Theatre Company | Chicago, IL

Congo Square Theatre Company is commissioning playwright Sydney Chatman to create Untitled.

Congo Square Theatre will partner with playwright Sydney Chatman to develop a new community-based healing theatrical work exploring the journey of healing from intracommunal and state-sanctioned violence. With the help of a licensed therapist, Chatman will develop and devise a new play in collaboration with an intergenerational group of Black women and girls through a healing and liberation circle. The generative process is designed to aid in rewriting a new narrative for their lives while reclaiming their joy and power.


Daniel Minter| Lynden Sculpture Garden | Milwaukee, WI

Lynden Sculpture Garden is commissioning visual artist Daniel Minter to create In the Healing Language of Trees.

A multi-faceted community engagement project that draws on traditions of the African Diaspora and explores nature, ecological threats, and the healing power of art, In the Healing Language of Trees brings artist Daniel Minter to Lynden Sculpture Garden for two three-week summer residencies, culminating in a public outdoor installation and symposia. Invoking axé, the “spiritual force that resides in all living things,” Minter will work in direct collaboration with artists, refugees, and local Black communities in realizing his vision of an ash borer-ravaged tree transformed as a spire, representing the healing power contained within all beings. Branches of this tree will be removed, hand carved into beads and symbolic objects, and will adorn the trunk. The resulting work will become part of Lynden’s permanent collection.


Kameelah Janan Rasheed | FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art | Cleveland, OH

FRONT is commissioning multidisciplinary artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed to create What would happen if this sentence never ended?

An ambitious civic mural project designed to create space for diverse narratives about lived Black experiences, What would happen if this sentence never ended? will bring artist and educator Kameelah Janan Rasheed to Corlett, a predominately Black neighborhood in Cleveland. Rasheed will engage the wider Cleveland community in the concept, design, and installation of the work, collaborating directly with unique teen-led community programs in partnership with Cleveland Public Library to produce a mural that will be anchored by an open-ended generative prompt. Rasheed will translate the collected responses into unique correlating typefaces, creating a mural that is a visual showcase of communal voice and authorship. The completed mural will center the 2022 FRONT International squarely within the diverse histories and narratives of Cleveland.


SANTIAGO X | Chicago Public Art Group | Chicago, IL

Chicago Public Art Group is commissioning multidisciplinary artist SANTIAGO X to create Augment Earth.

An interactive digital art experience, Augment Earth brings a virtual element to the 4000N, formerly known as Chicago’s Northwest Portage Walking Museum trail (NWPWM), that pays homage to the transportation crossroads of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River waterways used by residents for thousands of years. Using a smartphone app and geolocation, visitors will encounter an interactive digital gallery of Native histories, cultures, and languages, collected by and from Indigenous communities in Chicago as they traverse the trail. From augmented infographics hovering over Indigenous points of interest to three-dimensional models of pre-colonial constructed earthworks, Augment Earth firmly situates Indigenous perspectives, histories, and futures into Chicago’s urban landscape.


“Since their inception, the Joyce Awards have championed BIPOC artistic creation for emerging and mid-career artists working in the Great Lakes region, celebrating diverse artistic talents and catalyzing new opportunities for community dialogue and connection,” said Mia Khimm, Culture Program Director. “This year’s commissions speak to the power of collective healing and transformation through art, centering underrepresented voices and narratives, while addressing themes of identity, history, and nature.”

The Joyce Awards has helped advance the careers of emerging and mid-career BIPOC artists working across disciplines. Past recipients include Bill T. Jones, Kaneza Schaal, Nick Cave, Theaster Gates, Seitu Jones, Julie Mehretu, Kyle Abraham, Aparna Ramaswamy, Rosy Simas, Nari Ward, Sanford Biggers, and Camille A. Brown.

Upcoming Events

The Joyce Foundation will host a virtual panel featuring all four artist awardees on Thursday, June 10 at 4 p.m. CST. The artists will come together for the first time to discuss their projects and the awards’ impact. The conversation will be moderated by Heinz Endowments Arts and Culture Program Officer Shaunda McDill. To register for the conversation and learn more, visit the link here.

The application process for the 2022 Joyce Awards will open on June 1, 2021, with letters of inquiry due September 13, 2021. Potential applicants can learn more and apply by visiting the Joyce Foundation web site here, or by contacting joyceawards@joycefdn.org. There will be a Technical Assistance Information Session on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at noon CST that will offer guidance on the application process.

About the Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. The foundation supports policy research, development, and advocacy in five areas: Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, Democracy, and Culture. Learn more at joycefdn.org.