Meier Achievement Awards for 2013 Gives Thanks for Work of Three Artists, Former Honoree Wins National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier today released the names of their 8th 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 2013 awardees are director/playwright Sean Graney, multi-media composer and artist Rob Mazurek, and composer/curator Julia Miller.

Sean Graney is the founder and former artistic director of The Hypocrites He was a participant in the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. He has won three Joseph Jefferson Citation awards for the Direction of Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses, Equus and Machinal. He has directed at numerous Midwest theaters including Chicago Shakespeare Court Theatre and Court Theatre. He is currently adapting the 32 surviving Greek tragedies into one epic script called All Our Tragic. Helen Meier says, “I’ve been in love with Sean’s innovations for years. His dreams are epic, but genuine and well-grounded.” For more information, see

Rob Mazurek is a cornetist, electro-acoustic composer, and visual artist. Rob founded the all-star Chicago-based Exploding Star Orchestra in 2005, and participates in seven other ensembles here and abroad. Recently profiled on the cover of The Wire Magazine, Rob has been characterized as making “cosmic connections between free jazz, science fiction, and the music of Brazil.” Helen Meier says, “His work is stupendous. Enjoy the effervescence of his imagination.” For more information, see

Julia Miller is a sound artist, guitarist, improvisor, composer, visual artist, curator and educator. Julia hosts and programs the Articular Facet series, featuring performances using ancient, adapted, or hacked technology, invented instruments and performative objects combined with traditional musical instruments. As a composer, she is currently working on an improvised opera, Dissecting Norton. As a guitarist, Julia performs with the noise funk quartet Volcano Radar with Elbio Barilari, Harrison Bankhead, and Avreeayl Ra. Helen Meier notes, “Julia Miller’s fresh ideas are far-reaching and subtle.” For more information, see

In a related development, StoryCatchers Theatre, founded by 2007 awardee Meade Palidofsky, received the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in a ceremony on Friday from First Lady Michelle Obama. “We give these awards to encourage artists in mid-career to keep on going,” says Tim Meier, “and we are so proud when our honorees continue to grow in their careers.”

The Meier Achievement Award

The 2012 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.” For more information, see

Past Recipients :

Jim Lasko, founding Artistic Director, Redmoon Theatre

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

Wesley Kimler, painter

Jeff Kowalkowski, new music composer

Nick Sandys, director/actor/fight choreographer, Artistic Director, Remy Bumppo Theatre

Mindy Rose Schwartz, sculptor

Bernard Williams, painter/sculptor

Jack Zimmerman, storyteller