This year’s recipients are Catherine Sullivan, Onye Ozuzu, Carole McCurdy, and Pranita Jain. The award includes a year-long mentorship program and $15,000 grant.
“One of the key things we have heard from members of our city’s dance communities is that artists are thirsty for dialogue and interaction bridging aesthetic and cultural distinctions, and that they yearn for greater exchange among their disciplines and practices,” said Ginger Farley, Executive Director of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum in a statement. “The areas that Jain, McCurdy, Ozuzu, and Sullivan have proposed provide a rich ground for individual contemplation, as well as stimulating interaction between them, as they embark on these new creations.”
The goal of the Lab Artist Award program is to build a platform for interaction between diverse dance artists, as well as between the artists and their audiences and funders. The award winners spend time together throughout the year, joining in roundtables and creating new projects. They explore and work together and with mentors to bolster the Chicago dance community.
A panel of local and national dance leaders, as well as former Lab Artist Award winners, select the recipients. The panel examines applicants’ body of work, vision, work ethic, and inquiry.
“Each year, the Lab Artist selection process is as illuminating as it is competitive, and 2016 was no exception,” said Zachary Whittenburg, Chicago Dancemakers Forum consortium member representative from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, in a statement. “Among the trends emerging from this particular group of proposals were shared interests in labor practices, and deeply considered questions about identity. Multiple applicants also expressed some degree of conflict between challenging and upholding time-honored traditions to which they were dedicated. The full experience has only reinforced my enthusiasm about the vitality of dance in Chicago, and reconfirmed its effectiveness as an art form uniquely suited to reflect contemporary life.”