Chicago Artists Coalition Announces Awardees for SPARK Grant, Maker Grant and Coney Family Fund Award
CHICAGO — Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) today unveiled a total of 28 awardees who will receive unrestricted funds during the 2020-2021 cycle, including 25 awardees of the SPARK Grant program, two recipients of the MAKER Grant and one recipient of the Coney Family Fund Award. With the generous support of the Joyce Foundation and an anonymous donor, the SPARK Grant this year expanded to 25 unrestricted awards of $2,000 each. Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, CAC has a strong history of supporting emerging Chicago-based visual artists through unrestricted grant funds, and now administers a total of $61,000 in unrestricted grants to artists, more than five times the amount administered by the organization only two years ago.
Now in its second cycle of grantmaking, the SPARK Grant program supports the creative endeavors of visual artists who identify as ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American), an artist with acute financial need, an artist with a disability, or as a self-taught artist whose art practice is a primary vocation. 2020 awardees include Juan Arango Palacios, Yesenia Bello, Ireashia Bennett, Peregrine Bermas, Ladipo Famodu, Carlos Flores, Lional Freeman, Stephanie Graham, Juarez Hawkins, Malika Jackson, Dominique James, A.J. McClenon, Juan Molina Hernández, Allen Moore, Gabriel Moreno, Eliza Myrie, Zachary Nicol, Jose Santiago Perez, Aida Ramirez, David Richards, Roderick Sawyer, Jennifer Senecal, Monica Trinidad, Vicente Ugartechea and Marvin Young. The unrestricted award seeks to alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with being a working artist today. To read all 2020 SPARK Grant awardee bios, click here.
The SPARK Grant program reaffirms CAC’s commitment to emerging artists of Chicago and demonstrates the organization’s desire to directly address the historical barriers that have prevented the arts in the city from reflecting its demographic. The program recognizes that the category of “emerging artist” is not necessarily defined by age but often a consequence of encountering systemic disadvantages perpetuated by discriminatory policies, structures and practices; or, by operating outside of an academic or institutional system. The 2020-2021 grant cycle received more than 200 applications that were juried by Sampada Aranke, Gloria Talamantes and Derrick Woods-Morrow.
“At this time more than ever, we are committed to awarding unrestricted funds directly to artists,” said CAC Executive Director Caroline Older. “Artists are foundational to the arts ecosystem of our city, and direct financial support is only one of the myriad ways in which CAC offers support and opportunities to Chicago’s community of emerging artists.”
MAKER Grants, co-sponsored by Chicago Artists Coalition and OtherPeoplesPixels, offers two $3,000 unrestricted grants honoring artists whose work actively engages with social or environmental issues. Selva Aparicio and Silvia González were awarded the grants for 2020, with applications juried by William Fox and Stephanie Smith. The Coney Family Fund Award, sponsored by the Coney Family, is a $5,000 unrestricted grant supporting a Black or African American visual artist who demonstrates artistic excellence and experimentation. Brittney Leeanne Williams was awarded this grant in 2020, with applications juried by La Keisha Leek and Pascale Ife Williams.