Chicago dancers win 3Arts award
Ten artists recently won this year’s fifth annual 3Arts Awards—a no-strings-attached, $15,000 grant presented to female artists, artists of color and artists with disabilities working in the performing, teaching and visual arts. Year five ushers in the inaugural dance-category honorees—two of Chicago’s best in former River North dancer and choreographer Monique Haley and choreographer Nejla Yatkin.
For Haley, the award couldn’t have come at a better time. “There’s some bills I need to pay, then I’m going to invest it and make it last,” she says. A portion of the money, Haley notes, will fund her choreographic endeavors, the most recent of which came during a stint at Western Michigan University. According to Haley, the money will allow her, among other things, to “just start building a voice with my choreography.”
Yatkin, who has been traveling lately, has had little time to adjust to the city, despite relocating three years ago. “Literally, I haven’t been here more than two weeks at a time because I’ve been touring,” she says. With the 3Arts award comes a bit of downtime, but also new opportunities. As the former Princess Grace award winner says, the money will fund future projects, but also provide the flexibility to reach out to others in the dance community. “One of the things I’ve been contemplating is to give, this year, once a month, a free workshop and work with communities that don’t have access to dance.”
Grants such as 3Arts, which gave $1 million in total grantmaking in its first five years, offer a welcome peace of mind, says Yatkin: “It’s a relief. I can just take a step back and dream.”
Haley and Yatkin will both be honored tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Art.