The 2023 Joyce Awards winners use art to aid communities

Great Lakes Greats

The 2023 Joyce Awards winners use art to aid communities

Concept mock-up of Spawning Indigenous Reverence: Dakota Augmented Reality Project by Marlena Myles (Courtesy Marlena Myles)

Today, the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation has announced the winners of its flagship grant program: the Joyce Awards. Established in 1948, the foundation typically awards $2.625 million in grants per year toward its goals to support organizations and artists working in all fields of the arts. Each recipient will receive $75,000 in support of a new large-scale work in the Great Lakes region commissioned by local nonprofits and organizations, such as Cleveland gallery SPACES, which curated the U.S. pavilion at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, and the new, first-of-its-kind National Public Housing Museum in Chicago.

The Joyce Awards has been supporting works from artists of color since 2004. Thus far the program has awarded $4.4 million in its tenure for the development of 82 new works of visual, performing, and multidisciplinary art.

This year’s projects explore pressing issues facing the country, among this how to approach urbanism and land stewardship, and address topics such as queer resistance, indigenous reclamation, and use emergent technologies for social good.

“The Joyce Awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the ambitious vision of artists and organizations committed to creating new work that represents and engages community,” said Joyce Foundation President and CEO Ellen Alberding in a press release. “We are proud to announce the 2023 awardees, who join a circle of eminent artists who have had a lasting influence on their communities and on the arts.”

The winners of this year’s award are a multidisciplinary group of up and coming artists and designers: Regina Agu with the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago; Sonny Mehta with Mandala South Asian Performing Arts; Marisa Morán Jahn with the National Public Housing Museum; Marlena Myles with Franconia Sculpture Park; and Julie Tolentino with SPACES.

The jury for the 2023 Joyce Awards comprised a number of previous Joyce Award recipients including artist Edgar Arceneaux, professor of  Art History at the University of Texas at Austin C. Ondine Chavoya, writer and producer Sandra Delgado, Stanford University Institute for Diversity in the Arts lecturer Daniel Gray-Kontar, Managing Director of the Pittsburgh Public Theater Shaunda McDill, and Richard Armstrong Curator of Contemporary Art at the Carnegie Museum of Art Liz Park.

A full list of the 2023 Joyce Award winners and a brief description of their project is below:

(SPACES Cleveland (Courtesy SPACES)

Julie Tolentino | SPACES | Cleveland

Tolentino will work with cross generational members of the LGBTQ+ community through various forms of research and workshops to create a final series of experimental performance installations celebrating queer life.

Marlena Myles | Franconia Sculpture Park | Shafer, Minnesota

Myles will be working with local urban and rural Native communities to create an augmented reality (AR) experience to restore Dakota stories, language, and art through immersive experiences in Franconia Sculpture Park.

A process image for HOOPS, a permanent basketball court located outside Chicago’s National Public Housing Museum that will be created by artist Marisa Morán Jahn codesigned with local residents, neighbors, and architect Rafi Segal. (Courtesy of Sapar Contemporary.)

Marisa Morán Jahn | National Public Housing Museum | Chicago

Morán Jahn will work alongside the the new National Public Housing Museum to create a permanent outdoor basketball court called HOOPS.

Regina Agu | Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago | Chicago

Agu will create large-scale panoramic installation that explores the community memory of the Black Midwestern lakeside communities based on oral history, photography, and archival research.

Performance photo from Mandala South Asian Performing Arts’ 2022 Mandala Makers Festival (Rich Rankin.)

Sonny Mehta | Mandala South Asian Performing Arts | Chicago

Mehta will partner with the South Asian communities  of Chicago’s North Side along with Black Gospel groups of the South side in order to create music that combines Gospel with Sufi Islamic Qawwali, a form of devotional music, to explore cross cultural and neighborhood relationships in Chicago.