Illinois Arts Council announces fellowship awards

Recipients come from urban, suburban and rural communities.

CHICAGO – The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA announced the 2023 Artist Fellowship Award (AFA) recipients last week.

The IACA AFAs are $15,000 unrestricted awards to Illinois artists in recognition of their work and commitment within the arts. This year 24 artists will receive fellowships totaling $360,000. Finalist Awards of $1,500 were also awarded to 10 Illinois artists for a total of $15,000.

The AFA Program offered funding in 8 artistic disciplines. This year’s recipients were selected from 283 Illinois-based creative artists working in choreography, media arts (category includes audio art, digital art, film, and video), music composition, music improvisation, new performance forms, poetry, prose, and scriptworks.

“As we re-engage post-pandemic Illinois’ individual artists are fueling our state’s creativity, communities, and economy,” said IACA Executive Director Joshua Davis-Ruperto. “After years of challenges brought on by the pandemic, artists have continued to provide opportunities for re-engagement and connectivity for those around them as well as ongoing investment in our communities.”

The Artist Fellowship recipients range in demographics and identities and come from 13 different cities across the state including urban, suburban, and rural communities.


  • Joel Hall, Chicago, $15,000
  • Erin Kilmurray, Chicago, $15,000
  • C. Kemal Nance, Champaign, $15,000
  • Regina Perry-Carr, Maywood, $1,500

Media Arts

  • Rita Coburn, Flossmoor, $15,000
  • Monty Cole, Chicago, $15,000
  • Laura Harrison, Chicago, $15,000
  • Özge Samanci, Evanston, $15,000
  • Colleen Plumb, Chicago, $1,500

Music Composition

  • Carlos Carrilo, Urbana, $15,000
  • David Vayo, Bloomington, $15,000
  • Martha Horst, Normal, $1,500
  • Amy Wurtz, Chicago, $1,500

Music Improvisation

  • Bobby Broom, Evanston, $15,000
  • Robert Chappell and Liam Teague, DeKalb, $15,000
  • Nick Mazzarella, Chicago, $15,000
  • Jon Irabagon, Park Ridge, $1,500

New Performance Forms

  • Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman, Urbana, $15,000
  • Meida Teresa McNeal, Chicago, $15,000
  • Marcela Torres, Chicago, $15,000
  • Aaliyah Christina, Chicago, $1,500


  • Allison Funk, Edwardsville, $15,000
  • Christopher Kempf, Champaign, $15,000
  • Simone Muench, Chicago, $15,000
  • Suzanne Buffman, Chicago, $1,500


  • Collen Abel, Champaign, $15,000
  • Nami Mun, Chicago, $15,000
  • Eden Robins, Chicago, $15,000
  • S.L (Sandi) Wisenberg, Chicago, $15,000
  • Kristi McGuire, Chicago, $1,500
  • Sahar Mustafah, Orland Park, $1,500


  • Kimberly Dixon-Mays, Chicago, $15,000
  • Reina Hardy, Skokie, $15,000
  • Missy Hernandez, Chicago, $1,500

Biographies and more information about the 2023 Fellowship and Finalist winners can be found here.

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