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IACA announces 2023 Artist Fellowship Award recipients; local poet included

Edwardsville literary artist/poet Allison Funk among list, awarded $15,000

The Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) recently announced its 2023 Artist Fellowship Award (AFA) recipients. The IACA AFAs are $15,000 unrestricted awards to Illinois artists in recognition of their outstanding work and commitment within the arts.

This year 24 Illinois 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 Finalist Award category recognizes and encourages additional applicants who demonstrate considerable talent.

The AFA Program offered funding in 8 artistic disciplines. This year’s Fellowship and Finalist Award recipients were selected from 283 Illinois based creative artists working in the disciplines of Choreography, Media Arts (category includes audio art, digital art, film, and video), Music Composition, Music Improvisation, New Performance Forms, Poetry, Prose, and Scriptworks.

Executive Director Joshua Davis-Ruperto, states, “As we re-engage post pandemic Illinois’ individual artists are fueling our state’s creativity, communities, and economy. 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 2023 IACA Fellows were selected for their remarkable artistic practice and their commitment to Illinois’ communities – both within their specific regions and discipline at large.”

The Council is proud to be able to provide Illinois artists with unrestricted funds in these awards that will support their creative endeavors and artistic growth. The mission of the Illinois Arts Council Agency is “To build a strong, creative, and connected Illinois through the arts.” The Agency recognizes that Illinois’ artists are an essential component of the social fabric of the state and its arts community especially during these challenging times.

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

Allison Funk (Photo credit: Teri Dinnius. Courtesy Illinois Arts Council Agency)

Allison Funk is a poet based in Edwardsville, Ill. She is the author of six books of poetry and the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

She has also received awards from the Society of Midland Authors and the Poetry Society of America, as well as residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Internationally, she has been awarded residencies at the Dora Maar House in France, Hawthornden Castle Writers Retreat in Scotland, and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland.

Her most recent book of poems is The Visible Woman (Parlor Press, 2021). She is currently working on a volume of new and selected poems. Over a hundred of her poems have appeared in individual journals, some of which include PoetryThe Paris Review, The Cincinnati Review, Copper Nickel, Poetry Northwest, and Poetry Review (UK).

Her work has been selected for The Best American Poetry and anthologized widely, including in When She Named Fire: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by American Women. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. To learn more about Allison Funk, visit online at


The following is a complete list of the Fiscal Year 2023 Artist Fellowship and Finalist Award recipients listed by discipline:


Joel Hall                                                     Chicago                   $15,000

Erin Kilmurray                                           Chicago                   $15,000

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 at:


The following advisory committee members reviewed this year’s applications in the disciplines of:

Choreography: Margi Cole, AL; Joanna Furnans, IL; Rosanna Gamson, CA; Ayako Kato, IL; Haowen Wang, Washington DC

Media Arts: Paula Champagne, OR; James Duesing, PA; Susan B. Halpern, OH; Kristin McDonough, IL

Music Composition: Regina Baiocchi, IL; Seth Bousted, IL; Marjorie Rusche, IN; Laura Schwendinger, WI; Dan Visconti, IL

Music Improvisation: Geof Bradfield, IL; Ron Perrillo, WA; Dee Alexander, IL; Kathleen Keane, IL; Wayne Wallace , IN

New Performance Forms: Adelheid Mers, IL; Deke Weaver, IL; Chi-wang Yang, CA

Poetry: Rebecca Hazelton Stafford, IL; Emily Hooper Lansana, IL; Joshua Kryah, IL

Prose: Heidi Bell, IL; Mary Anne Mohanraj, IL; Matthew Neill Null, PA

Scriptworks: Julie Proudfoot, IL; Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, IL; Kris Vire, IL


About the Artist Fellowship Awards

The intent of the Artist Fellowship Program is to enrich and strengthen the state of Illinois by supporting accomplished Illinois artists who are the foundation of Illinois’ creative environment. The Artist Fellowship Program recognizes exceptional artists who have created a substantial body of work throughout their career by providing awards to support continued artistic growth. The awards are non-matching Fellowships in unrestricted fixed amounts of $15,000. In the next application cycle (FY24), the discipline categories of Ethnic and Folk Arts, Interdisciplinary/ Computer-Based Arts, Visual Arts (Visual-Based Arts, Crafts, Photography, and Sculpture) will be offered.

To learn more about the Artist Fellowship Awards visit:

About the Illinois Arts Council Agency

The Illinois Arts Council Agency was created as a state agency by the Illinois General Assembly in 1965 through legislation sponsored by Senators Paul Simon, Thomas McGloon, and Alan Dixon. The agency is governed by up to twenty-one private citizens chosen for their demonstrated commitment to the arts and appointed by the Governor. Council members serve in a voluntary, non-paid capacity and are charged with developing the state’s public arts policy, fostering quality culturally diverse programs, and approving grants expenditures. A small professional staff with in-depth knowledge of the arts develops and administers the agency’s programs, provides technical assistance, and ensures the responsible and impactful distribution of all funds. Resources to support the Illinois Arts Council Agency are provided by the Governor and General Assembly of Illinois and the National Endowment for the Arts.

To learn more about the Illinois Arts Council Agency visit:


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