Press Room / MIA Receives Joyce Award to Support New Contemporary Art

January 25, 2010

MIA Receives Joyce Award to Support New Contemporary Art

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THE JOYCE FOUNDATION HONORS ARTISTIC WORKS IN CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE, AND MINNEAPOLIS
2010 JOYCE AWARDS PROGRAM SUPPORTS FIVE MIDWEST CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS TO COMMISSION NEW WORKS BY ARTISTS OF COLOR

CHICAGO—The Joyce Foundation is proud to announce the 2010 Joyce Awards winners in the Midwest cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis/Saint Paul. Since 2003, the Joyce Awards program has been the only granting opportunity exclusively supporting artists of color in major Midwestern cities. Joyce is awarding five outstanding arts organizations grants of $50,000 each to support new works in dance, music, theater, and visual arts.

Winners in each artistic category include:

• DANCE: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (Saint Paul) to commission African American choreographer Uri Sands to create a new dance work inspired by the paintings of African American artist Ernie Barnes;
• MUSIC: Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago) to commission the African American stringband the Carolina Chocolate Drops to create “Kingdom Coming,” a new multimedia collaborative performance piece that celebrates black heritage from Vaudeville;
• THEATER: Steppenwolf Theatre Co. (Chicago) to support a new play based on the biblical book of Job by African American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney;
• VISUAL ARTS: The Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee), in partnership with the Chipstone Foundation, to support news works by African American visual artist Theaster Gates for a multimedia exhibition/installation that includes pottery, sculpture, video, and music.
• VISUAL ARTS: Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis) to commission Iranian American artist Ali Momeni to create two new media installations to launch the museum’s inaugural year of contemporary art programming.

“The Joyce Foundation is proud this year to grant five Joyce Awards to very talented artists and the vibrant cultural institutions that will present these works,” stated Ellen S. Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation. “Their artistry illustrates the diversity and creativity that lies within our area and is part of what makes the Great Lakes region so special.”

Since its inception in 2003, the Joyce Awards has supported cultural institutions in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Award winners have not only presented their works to the institutions’ traditional audiences; they have also worked with community groups, school children, and public art projects. The goal is for these commissions to produce vivid, new works of art that strengthen cultural venues and draw people of diverse backgrounds to experience the rewards of participating in the arts as well as elevate the visibility of creative works by minority artists.

Applications are reviewed by independent arts advisors from outside the Midwest and reviewed and approved by the Foundation’s board of directors. Joyce Awards of $50,000 are made directly to arts organizations and are awarded in dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Each award supports the work of the individual artist as well as significant community engagement efforts. Organizations have up to three years to complete their proposed projects.

DANCE
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Uri Sands
Established in 1985, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers. It produces and presents a wide variety of performances throughout the year showcasing American musical theater, world music, dance, family events, and educational programs, and is home to three important resident companies, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, and the Schubert Club.
Uri Sands’ choreography has received national recognition for his fusion of classical with contemporary. A native of Miami, Sands performed as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey for five years and with the North Carolina Dance Theatre. His recent choreographic commissions include VocalEssence, Penumbra Theatre, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Sands has several film and television credits and has taught dance extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He was awarded a 2004 McKnight Artist Fellowship, a recipient of the inaugural Princess Grace Award in choreography in 2005, and was selected as one of “25 to Watch” in 2005 by Dance Magazine. In 2004, Sands and his wife Toni (also a former Ailey dancer) founded the St. Paul-based dance company, TU Dance.
The Joyce Award will support Sands during the creation of a new dance work inspired by the paintings of African American artist Ernie Barnes. Sands plans to bring the movement of Barnes’ work—much of his imagery reflects urban life and dance—from the canvas to the stage through his choreography and R&B music of the 1960s. The premiere performance of this work—performed by TU Dance—would be during Ordway’s 2010–11 season.

MUSIC
Old Town School of Folk Music
Carolina Chocolate Drops
The Old Town School of Folk Music teaches and celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse American and global communities. The Old Town School presents hundreds of classes and workshops in music, dance, and art for adults, children, and teens. The Old Town School also presents an array of performances by internationally known touring artists, the best of Chicago’s local artists, and its staff and students virtually every weekend.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops are the most celebrated African American stringband since the Great Depression. The ensemble of three plays the rich tradition of fiddle and banjo music in Carolina’s Piedmont. The trio has trained extensively with Joe Thompson of Mebane, North Carolina—considered to be the last black traditional stringband player—and strives to carry on the long-standing traditional music of his and other black musicians like Odell and Nate Thompson, Dink Roberts, John Snipes, Libba Cotten, Emp White, and others.
The Joyce Award will support the creation of “Kingdom Coming” (working title), a new performance piece inspired by the African American roots of Vaudeville. The Carolina Chocolate Drops will develop the music to create an evening-length performance that will feature jazz tap virtuoso Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin and ragtime pianist Reginald Robinson (both are Chicago based). The final performance would be fully staged and presented in the fall of 2011.
THEATER
Steppenwolf Theater Co.
Tarell Alvin McCraney
Steppenwolf is considered one of Chicago’s flagship theaters. It has been the recipient of numerous awards including a special Tony® Award for Regional Theater Excellence, an Illinois Arts Legend Award, and the prestigious National Medal of Arts—the only theater company ever to receive this award. In 2008, the company took the theater world by storm with its production of August: Osage County, written by Steppenwolf ensemble member Tracy Letts. The Chicago run earned six Joseph Jefferson Awards; the Broadway production won five Tony® Awards, and Letts was honored with the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Tarell Alvin McCraney is an African American playwright and the recipient of the first New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for his play The Brothers Size. McCraney received a BFA in acting from DePaul University in Chicago and in 2007 graduated from the Yale School of Drama. McCraney is the RSC/Warwick International Playwright in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and a member of Teo Castellanos/D Projects Theater Company in Miami. His work combines Yoruban and Afro-Caribbean cultural influences with storytelling elements from the classical Greek and modern European dramatic traditions, blending them through dialogue that evokes the vernacular of the urban street and lyricism of hip-hop. McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays (In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus: Or the Secret of Sweet) are currently playing in repertory at Steppenwolf.
The Joyce Award will allow the Steppenwolf to commission a new work by McCraney based on the biblical book of Job. The piece will be developed for the Steppenwolf ensemble with the playwright’s frequent collaborator, director, and Steppenwolf ensemble member Tina Landau.
VISUAL ARTS
Milwaukee Art Museum/The Chipstone Foundation
Theaster Gates
The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 20,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum houses a Collection with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, named by Time magazine “Best Design of 2001.”

The Chipstone Foundation preserves a collection of decorative art, focusing mostly on early American furniture and historical prints, and 17th- and 18th-century British pottery. The Foundation partnered with the Milwaukee Art Museum in 1999 with the purpose of reaching a wider audience and displaying a larger portion of their collection. In addition to preserving and interpreting the collection, Chipstone stimulates research and education in the decorative arts by publishing annual journals in furniture and ceramics studies, hosting think tanks, and producing virtual exhibitions of major decorative arts installations.
Theaster Gates is a conceptual artist who creates spaces and events that celebrate and cultivate interactions and his works in venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Yamaguchi Institute in Woodlawn, and the Chicago club Sonotheque, among others. His works frequently evoke motifs from Buddhism, black culture, ritual activity, and Japanese tea traditions.

The Joyce Award will support the Milwaukee Art Museum to present a new exhibition by Gates entitled, Theaster Gates. Gates plans to explore the history and legacy of the influential early-nineteenth century potter Dave Drake, a slave who produced stoneware pottery in antebellum South Carolina. Theaster Gates would be a multi-media installation that includes sculpture, video, and music.

VISUAL ARTS
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Ali Momeni
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) was founded in 1883 and opened in 1915. As the upper Midwest’s premier encyclopedic art museum, it is home to more than 80,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years of world history through eight curatorial areas: African, Oceaniac, and Native American Art; Chinese, Indian, and Southeast Asian Art; Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture; Japanese and Korean Art; Paintings and Modern Sculpture; Photography and New Media; Prints and Drawings; and newly established—Contemporary Art.
Ali Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran and emigrated to the United States at the age of twelve. He studied physics and music and completed his doctoral degree in music composition, improvisation, and performance with computers from the Center for New Music and Audio technologies at UC Berkeley. Momeni is interested in interactivity in the arts, technologically mediated social interaction, gesture to sound/image mappings, and data-driven search and synthesis techniques. He currently holds an assistant professorship in the Department of Art and the Interdisciplinary Program for Collaborative Arts (IPCA) at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
The Joyce Award will support the MIA to commission Momeni to create collaborative, new media installations to engage younger audiences and the diverse residents of the museum’s community, the Whittier neighborhood; nearly one-third of Whittier residents were born outside of the United States. The commission would launch with emergent contemporary art programming at the MIA in 2011. The theme would be grounded in the exploration of art in times of global political and cultural crisis. Momeni would create multiple projection installations—in collaboration with visual artist Jenny Schmid and his group of itinerant artists, their bicycles, and projection technologies, Minneapolis Art on Wheels—inspired by battle scenes from the the museum’s collection of Persian and Indian miniature paintings of the Mughal period (1542–1605).

For more information on applying for a 2011 Joyce Awards or to learn more about the Joyce Foundation, please visit www.joycefdn.org or call 312.782.2464.

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Based in Chicago, the Joyce Foundation supports efforts to strengthen public policies in ways that improve the quality of life in the Great Lakes region. Cultural funding supports projects that bring diverse audiences together to share common cultural experiences and encourage more people to see the arts as integral parts of their lives. The Foundation also makes grants in the areas of Education, Employment, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention, and Money and Politics.