Meier Achievement Awards for 2015 Gives Thanks for Work of Four Artists

Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier today released the names of their 10th Arts Achievement Awards. Their Foundation recognizes Chicago-based artists in mid-career who push the artistic envelope. “We give these gifts at Thanksgiving time to show appreciation for their work,” says Helen.

The 2015 awardees are multi-media artist Damon Locks, dancer and choreographer James Morrow, painter Dan Ramirez, and sculptor Eric Stephenson.

Damon Locks is a multi-media artist and activist, using drawing, digital manipulation, photography and silk screen to create his art. He is also a performing artist through his work with the group The Eternals and other collaborations. Damon Locks received his BFA in Fine Arts form the School of the Art Institute. His work often revolves around people and their landscape; the narrative themes of protest, unrest, and tension are woven throughout. The work can feel socially political and/or fantastically abstract in its narrative. Helen Meier congratulates Damon for his “border crossing in arts, especially his dizzyingly subjective points of view.  Damon has a bracingly fresh talent.” For more information, see

James Morrow, a Chicago native, is the founder and artistic director of james morrow/ The Movement. Morrow integrates the classical vocabulary prevalent in concert dance into the hip-hop culture with which he is submerged.  He has been recipient of the Artist Ambassador Award to Northeastern Illinois University (2001), The Mordine and Co. Mentoring Project (2006), Chicago Cultural Dance Center’s Dance Bridge (2008), Movement Research at Judson Church (2012), SOLO Commissioned Choreographer for Minnesota’s McKnight Dance Fellow (Stephen Schroeder 2012), Bates Teacher Fellowship (2013), and Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Choreography (2014). He has worked with many Chicago companies. He is currently living in Salem, MA and working as an assistant professor of dance at Salem State University. Helen Meier says, “his work has a hypnotic focus and is awash in clashing impulses.  He is a defiant shot to the future.” For more information, see www.jamesmorrow/the

Dan Ramirez is a painter born in Chicago in 1941. He received a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1975 and an MFA from the University of Chicago in 1977. Ramirez work is characterized as creating metaphor and narrative through geometric abstraction. He is Professor Emeritus as University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 2005. Ramirez’ work has been exhibited in the US as well as in Spain, Scotland, Mexico, Germany and Italy. It has been featured in over 30 solo exhibitions since 1974 and may be found in numerous private, corporate and public collections. He is currently represented by the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago. Tim Meier says admiringly, “his work shows awareness of patterns forming, though he never makes too much of the obvious – a fresh approach.” For more information, see

Eric Stephenson is an American sculptor based in Chicago whose work explores the form, spirit, and experience of the body, human and otherwise, rendered through abstraction and informed by industrial materials and methods. Stephenson’s work is found in numerous private and public collections. Stephenson received his BFA from the Pennsylvania State University and MFA from the University of Houston, and in 2014 completed a SIM Residency in Reykjavik, Iceland. Eric is a leader in the artistic community as president of Chicago Sculpture International. Tim says, “We appreciate his exploration of the human form, in its suggestion and subtext.  Eric’s work has a largeness of spirit.” For more information, see

The Meier Achievement Award

The 2014 Meier Achievement Award recognizes past work of mid-career arts professionals with checks for $40,000. 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

Sean Graney, playwright

Rob Mazurek, electro-acoustic composer, cornetist, improviser and visual artist

Julia Miller, sound artist, guitarist, improvisor, composer, visual artist, curator and educator

Simone Munch, poet

Chris Newman, sculptor

Donald Noon, sculptor