Meier Achievement Awards for 2011 Gives Thanks for Work of Three Artists

Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier today released the names of their 6th Arts Achievement Awards. Their Foundation recognizes Chicago-based artists in mid-career who push the artistic envelope. “We give these gifts at Thanksgiving to show appreciation for their work, “says Helen.

The 2011 awardees are painter Wesley Kimler, composer and sound innovator Jeff Kowalkowski, and actor/director/stage combat choreographer Nick Sandys.

Wesley Kimler is a painter’s painter and eschews much of what’s going on in the world’s art centers. He does not work to appease his audience; he works to overwhelm them with the content, stature and the power of his imagery. He insists on good technique. Tim Meier says, “Wesley Kimler exemplifies a Meier Foundation awardee: uncompromising in his commitment to excellence and his vision.” For more information, see

Jeff Kowalkowski is a free-lance composer, arranger, keyboardist and bandleader performing classical, jazz, folk, and rock music, with a specialty in experimental “avant-garde” and “new music.” His work has appeared in many and different venues in the city, ranging from the Green Mill to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, as he explores new forms of sound and music. He is also committed to new forms of participation in sound, including a “scratch” orchestra of amateurs and professionals. He is a co-founder of the Milkwood Foundation, dedicated to sound projects for underserved people. Helen Meier adds, “Jeff Kowalkowski has special insight into the effects of sound and vibrations.” For more information, contact

Nick Sandys is a fight director/actor/director who moved to Chicago in 1992. Originally from York, England, he is a certified Teacher and Fight Director with The Society of American Fight Directors and his combat choreography has been seen all over the Chicago area, and across the country. He also a renowned actor and director. Helen Meier notes, “Nick Sandys takes traditional material and twists it to find meanings for today.” For more information, see or contact

The Meier Achievement Award

The 2010 Meier Achievement Award recognizes past work of mid-career arts professionals with checks for $33,333.33 (which is $25,000 & 33% for income tax).

The Foundation uses nominators. There is a research phase. The Board makes the final selection. There are no applications, no project to submit, and no outcome measurements. This follows Tim Meier’s directive, “No strings.”

Meier Achievement Awardees have subsequent honors. Among them, 2006 awardee Jim Lasko was Chicago’s 2010 Artist-in-Residence, 2008 awardee Michael Patrick Thornton was cast in a TV series in 2009, becoming the first wheelchair actor to have a love affair written in for him and received a 3Arts award. 2010 awardee Homer Hans Bryant’s Multi-Cultural dance group performed at the White House in 2010. Timeline Theatre has received numerous recognitions in the last year, including a Tony award and best theatre company of the year by Chicago magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

Past Recipients :

Jim Lasko, founding Artistic Director, Redmoon Theatre, 2010 City of Chicago Artist In Residence

James Bohnen, cofounder & former Artistic Director, Remy Bumppo Theatre

Meade Palidofsky, founder & Artistic Director, StoryCatchers Theatre

Patti McKenny, poet, librettist/lyricist

Founder of Chicago Musical Theatre Works

John Eskola, tenor, cabaret artist

Mark Messing, composer, Founder of Mucca Pazzo gypsy marching band & Lullaby Project

PJ Powers, founder & Artistic Director, TimeLine Theatre

Michael Patrick Thornton, founder & Artistic Director, Gift Theater

Homer Hans Bryant, Director, Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center

Elizabeth Doyle, composer, cabaret artist

Hallie Gordon, director, Steppenwolf Theatre for Young Adults

James Ginsburg, classical musical producer, Cedille Records

Terry Karpowicz, sculptor

Miroslaw Rogala, multi-media artist

Molly Shanahan, choreographer, Mad Shak company