Four collaborations between artists of color and leading arts and cultural organizations in the Great Lakes region have received 2015 Joyce Awards to present new works designed to engage, communicate and build communities. The cash awards of $50,000 each will go to partnerships in Detroit, Chicago and the Twin Cities.

The Joyce Awards, the only program supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities, aims to strengthen cross-cultural understanding by bringing diverse audiences together. The Chicago-based Foundation has awarded more than $2.4 million to commission 46 new works since the program started in 2003.

“Every year, we have the honor of identifying and rewarding artists and organizations that are redefining and celebrating our diverse communities through these amazing collaborations,” said Joyce Foundation President Ellen S. Alberding. “We are so pleased to support new works by artists that change their street, their community, their city and their world.”

The 2015 winners comprise the following partnerships:

Sanford Biggers and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Detroit
Sanford Biggers will partner with MOCAD to create a multi-disciplinary work titled, “Subjective Cosmology.” Biggers, an interdisciplinary artist working in film, video, installation, sculpture, music and performance, will spend a year interacting with Detroit’s art and music communities in preparation for a seminal exhibition that continues his practice of broadening our understanding of American history.

“This Joyce Award will enable me to engage an existing network of Detroit musicians and artists while forging new relationships and raising visibility through a series of performances, programs and community-based projects,” Biggers said. “This effort will coalesce in the form of an exhibition in the fall of 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.”

Nari Ward and Detroit’s Power House Productions
Jamaica-born artist Nari Ward will create a dramatic sculpture for a vacant lot recently converted into Ride It Sculpture Park. Ward’s work, which has exhibited at the Whitney, The Walker Art Center and Mass MOCA, examines issues of race, poverty and consumer culture. In conjunction with Power House Productions, the Joyce Award will allow Ward to spend nearly a year in Detroit to gain inspiration and source local materials to create a beacon of art in the most unexpected of places.

“I have always wanted to come back and do another project in Detroit,” Ward said. “The opportunity to work with Power House Productions on a large scale public sculpture offers me this opportunity. I look forward to encounter, experiment with, and accompany a community with humility and respect.”

Helado Negro and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series
As part of the SPCO’s cutting-edge Liquid Music series, Helado Negro (the moniker for musician and composer Roberto Carlos Lange), will stage his immersive electronica music experience, “Island Universe Story” at the new Ordway Concert Hall on March 21, 2015. The Joyce Award allows the SPCO to partner with Helado Negro to bring this groundbreaking, Latin-inspired sonic performance to new audiences with a group of world class musicians who have performed with Wilco, Stereolab and David Byrne.

“Receiving the Joyce Award reinforces my confidence with the work I make and helps create more access points to my art,” Helado Negro said. “In the past I’ve had to constrain my work to fit within my means, but this opportunity allows me to expand and fully realize my creative vision. I can bring all my favorite people and artists I admire together into one space to generate new music and perform it in a completely new way.”

Sandra Delgado and Chicago’s Teatro Vista
Colombian American actress and playwright, Sandra Delgado, will activate her Joyce Award to stage a new interactive theater experience based on the 1960s Chicago nightclub,La Habana Madrid. The Teatro Vista production will bring La Habana back to life to tell the stories of the how this venue served as a gathering place for Puerto Rican, Cuban, Colombian and Dominicans immigrants settled on the city’s north side. Delgado will transport the audience back to 1965 and upon entering the theater they will become “patrons” of La Habana.

“Ever since my father told me about the long gone nightclub La Habana Madrid, I knew I had to bring back this lost part of Chicago’s history and shed light on the Latinos who helped build and shape this great city,” Delgado said. “The Joyce Award allows me to create meaningful work in and about the city I love and provides Teatro Vista and me the time, space and artists to bring this musical, technicolor, politically charged era back to life.”

Angelique Power, Joyce’s Senior Program Officer for Culture, said this year’s recipients show the many ways artists are working outside of “traditional” art spaces.

“The 2015 Joyce Awardees are all experimenting with new concepts to create change – erecting a permanent, significant sculpture in the midst of a skate park, creating an immersive art experience in a city, marrying classical music with psychedelic electronica, and paying homage to the Afro-Caribbean experience by recreating a 1960s nightclub.”

About The Joyce Foundation
The Joyce Foundation supports the development of policies that both improve the quality of life for people in the Great Lakes region and serve as models for the rest of the country. We focus on today’s most pressing problems while also informing the public policy decisions critical to creating opportunity and achieving long-term solutions. The Culture Program focuses on strengthening and diversifying arts organizations, building capacity within the arts sector and investing in the creative capital of artists of color through the Joyce Awards, an annual competition that has spawned almost 40 new major works and aims to change the canon of art history. Learn more at