Member Spotlight on 3Arts

For the month of June, GIA’s photo banner features artists and work supported by 3Arts. 3Arts is a nonprofit arts service organization that advocates for Chicago-based women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities who work in the performing, teaching, and visual arts. Now in its ninth year, 3Arts has distributed $1.8 million dollars and directly supported 396 artists through unrestricted cash awards, residency fellowships, project grants, promotion, and professional development.

Executive Director Esther Grisham Grimm says:

Our organization was established in 2008 to address several gaps in the cultural landscape, including a scarcity of direct artist funding, the lack of support structures to help artists forge successful careers, and a missing focus on equity in our field.

In addition to racial and gender equity, 3Arts places equivalent emphasis on supporting disability culture. In 2014, 3Arts expanded its residency fellowships by establishing the first-ever, custom-tailored, university-based residency fellowship for artists with disabilities, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 3Arts/UIC Fellowship program is an immersive and contextualized experience for two fellows annually. Set within UIC’s urban campus, the program connects fellows with support structures to create new work, as well as to multiple publics, faculty, and students as a way to raise awareness and expand the dialogue around disability culture. Arlene Malinowski, 2015 3Arts/UIC Fellow, shares:

This fellowship gave me support and resources, as well as the opportunity to be around faculty and students who helped me grow as an artist and teacher. I completed a piece of work, presented to classes, shared my work in progress with students, and most importantly, they shared their art with me. Thank you for such a gift.

As a result of her experience with this fellowship, Arlene was subsequently invited by Victory Gardens Theatre to produce her solo play, A Little Bit Not Normal, as part of their 2016-17 season. Dance artist Barak adé Soleil began his fellowship earlier this year, focusing on the intersections of disability and race. Barak, who creates movement in and out of his wheelchair, is working with several dance colleagues as well as with community leaders on a new dance performance.

These fellowships join other opportunities at 3Arts, including the annual 3Arts Awards ($25,000 unrestricted awards for ten artists annually), project support through a custom-built crowdfunding platform that includes a built-in match and behind-the-scenes professional development, and additional residency fellowships administered with the Alliance of Artists Communities.

3Arts has been a GIA member since 2012.

You can also visit the photo gallery on the Photo Credits page.