Winners of the 2023 Joyce Awards Revealed; Grants Will Support the Creation of New Works by Five Artists of Color

The five awardee pairs of artists and organizations will each receive a grant of $75,000 to support their projects.

By: Jun. 06, 2023
Winners of the 2023 Joyce Awards Revealed; Grants Will Support the Creation of New Works by Five Artists of Color

The Joyce Foundation has announced the 2023 recipients of its annual flagship program, the Joyce Awards, which support the creation of innovative and community-driven new works by artists of color in partnership with cultural organizations in the Great Lakes region. This year’s awardees explore and strengthen connections between diverse communities, urban environments, and nature to imagine new forums for cultural exchange and assembly The five awardee pairs of artists and organizations will each receive a grant of $75,000 to support their projects with at least $25,000 of each award going directly to the artist as a stipend.
The 2023 Joyce Awards have been awarded to 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.
Spanning visual, performing, and multidisciplinary arts, the Joyce Awards is the only program dedicated to supporting new commissions by artists of color across the Great Lakes region, focusing its impact on communities in and around Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis Saint Paul Grantee organizations in these six cities collaborate on site specific commissions with artists in their own communities as well as from around the country and the world, connecting the Midwest to global artistic traditions and expanding the reach of the foundation’s grantmaking Demonstrating the capacity of the arts to inspire and mobilize social change, the Joyce Awards act as a catalyst for artists’ creative practice as well as fostering culturally vibrant, equitable, and sustainable communities through the arts. 
“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. “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 2023 Joyce Award Winners:

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

Multidisciplinary artist Regina Agu will create Shore|Lines, a large-scale panoramic installation and field guide that will explore community memory within Black Midwestern lakeside communities, tracing legacies of historical migration from the Gulf South region to the Great Lakes. Using methods of oral history, photography, and archival research, Agu’s work examines waterways and natural environments as defining sites of Black life and belonging. Through sustained engagement with South Side Chicago residents, Shore|Lines will bring community knowledge and values into photographic representation, with photo images as a medium for relating ideas and themes of Black cultural memory connected to place.

Marisa Morán Jahn | National Public Housing Museum | Chicago, IL

Multidisciplinary artist Marisa Morán Jahn will co-design HOOPS, an imaginatively expanded permanent outdoor basketball court shared by the National Public Housing Museum, the only museum dedicated to public housing in the United States, and a new mixed-income housing development on the site of Chicago’s first federal housing project. Blending the linework of a basketball court with other street games, seating areas, and walkways, the project will mobilize residents and neighbors to collectively reshape the rules of public play and build a shared space that reflects a diverse set of interests and needs. Aiming to reframe the public understanding of subsidized housing and illuminate the rich history of basketball and other forms of recreation in public housing communities, HOOPS will joyfully create a place for empowerment, civic participation, and new social relations.

Sonny Mehta | Mandala South Asian Performing Arts | Chicago, IL

Musician Sonny Mehta will build bridges between ethnic and faith based communities in Qawwali and Gospel: Singing Together, a live performance and workshop series combining Gospel music with Qawwali, a devotional musical tradition rooted in Sufi Islam Meht a will collaborate with South Asian communities
in the Devon neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side and Black Gospel groups based on the South Side to create new music that highlights parallels between the two genres while celebrating their distinct roots the project will explore the complexities and inherited histories of Chicago’s cultural and neighborhood
relationships, creating opportunities for learning, reconciliation, and solidarity across different immigrant and diasporic backgrounds.

Marlena Myles | Franconia Sculpture Park | Shafer, MN

Spawning Indigenous Reverence: Dakota Augmented Reality Project by multimedia artist Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota/Mohegan/Muscogee) will use augmented reality to create public artworks that restore Dakota stories, language, and art to the land, combining recorded oral histories with geolocation and 3D animation to create immersive encounters with animals, plants, and spirits throughout Franconia Sculpture Park. Created in collaboration with urban and rural Native communities around the Twin Cities, Spawning Indigenous Reverence explores the possibilities of augmented reality as a medium for Native art that can build connections to the land without interrupting or damaging it, inviting visitors to explore a layered tapestry of shared history, present, and future.

Julie Tolentino | SPACES | Cleveland, OH

Interdisciplinary artist Julie Tolentino will build connections with a diverse group of LGBTQ+ community members in Cleveland to develop _UNTITLED_ (Queer Futures), an experimental performance installation within a larger gallery setting at SPACES that explores the possibilities of collectivity and intergenerational exchange. Deconstructing and defying normative approaches to political pressure and discrimination, the project proposes processes including local oral history interviews, archival research, and community workshops to build solidarity and radical forms of recognition between LGBTQ+ youth and elders. Participants will join Tolentino in conversation, creation, and reflection to inspire a vital series of artworks around their shared vision, dialogues, and values, working together to celebrate visionary queer life.
The Joyce Awards commissions enable artists to engage in sustained collaboration with organizations and communities over a period of up to 18 months, resulting in highly process-driven works that are shaped by the continuous input of local participants and that are relevant to communities throughout the duration of the project and beyond. Projects frequently build on existing collaborations between the artist and organization and often lead to the development of new long-term supportive relationships, resulting in a network of artists and communities connected by the Joyce Awards, who draw on their experience with the program as inspiration for future work.
“The 2023 Joyce Awards support ambitious and inventive projects by artists and organizations who are deeply committed to exploring new modes of creation and collaboration,” said Mia Khimm, Culture Program Director of the Joyce Foundation. “Each of this year’s projects brings together communities across the Great Lakes region to reimagine the world we live in and reshape how we relate to one another.”
The 2023 Joyce Awardees were selected by an independent jury of leading arts professionals, including:

Edgar Arceneaux, artist; 2005 Joyce Award recipient with Gallery 400 at University of Illinois at Chicago

C. Ondine Chavoya, Professor, Art History, The University of Texas at Austin

Andrew Cone, Chief Strategy Officer, Whitney Museum of American Art

Sandra Delgado, writer, actor, singer, and producer; 2015 Joyce Award recipient with Teatro Vista

Daniel Gray-Kontar, Lecturer/Community Arts Partner, Stanford University Institute for Diversity in the Arts; 2020 Joyce Award recipient (Twelve Literary Arts) with Terrel Wallace

Shaunda McDill, Managing Director, Pittsburgh Public Theater

Liz Park, Richard Armstrong Curator of Contemporary Art, Carnegie Museum of Art

The Joyce Awards have provided catalytic support for the careers of pioneering artists of color working across genres and disciplines, with many alumni receiving distinctions at the highest national and international levels. Past recipients include Nick Cave, Terence Blanchard, Sanford Biggers, Camille A. Brown, Larissa FastHorse, Theaster Gates, Rhiannon Giddens, Seitu Jones, Bill T. Jones, Kaneza Schaal, Julie Mehretu, Jessie Montgomery, Lynn Nottage, Nari Ward, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The 2022 recipients were Nancy García Loza with the National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago), Nabil Ince with the Harrison Center (Indianapolis), Michael Manson with Living Arts (Detroit), Aram Han Sifuentes with the HANA Center (Chicago), and Pramila Vasudevan with Public Art Saint Paul (Minneapolis-Saint Paul).
Apply for the 2024 Joyce Awards

The application process for the 2024 Joyce Awards will open on July 5, 2023, with letters of inquiry due September 11, 2023, and full applications due October 30. New applicants must register for the online portal by September 6, 2023. Potential applicants can learn more, download the 2024 guidelines, FAQs, and application, and apply by visiting the Joyce Foundation website here, or by contacting There will be a virtual information session on August 3 at 12pm-1pm CT that will offer guidance on the application process and project eligibility.

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. Joyce supports policy research, development, and advocacy in the six program areas: Culture, Democracy, Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, and Journalism.
For more information about the Joyce Foundation, please visit

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