Meier Achievement Awards for 2016 Gives Thanks for Work of Three Artists

Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier today released the names of their 11th Arts Achievement Awards. Their Foundation recognizes Chicago-based artists in mid-career who push the artistic envelope.

The 2016 awardees are trumpeter and conductor Stephen Burns, composer Stacy Garrop, and dancer/choreographer Ayako Kato.

Stephen Burns – conductor, trumpet virtuoso, and educator – is the Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project in Chicago and co-curator with Augusta Read Thomas of the 2016 Ear Taxi Festival of Contemporary Music in Chicago. He has been acclaimed on four continents for his consistently and widely varied performances encompassing recitals, orchestral appearances, chamber ensemble engagements, and innovative multi-media presentations involving video, dance theatre, and sculpture. Tim Meier says, “For twenty years, Stephen has guided Fulcrum Point as it has shifted its vision, responding to social change and responding to new audiences.” For more information, see

Stacy Garrop is a composer whose works are centered on dramatic and lyrical storytelling, and which have been performed by chamber groups, choruses and orchestras nationwide. Stacy earned degrees in music composition at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (B.M.), University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University-Bloomington (D.M.). After teaching composition full-time at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University from 2000-2016, she stepped down from her position to compose full-time. Helen Meier says, “Stacy’s work conjures a broad range of exploration.”   For more information, see or

Ayako Kato is an award-winning Japanese native and Chicago-based dancer, choreographer, improviser, teacher, and curator. Influenced by a Japanese view of nature and the philosophy of Tao, Ayako’s dance movement encourages the viewer to perceive the intangible, and the beauty of being as it is. In 2016, she received a 3Arts Award in Dance. In Summer 2016, Ayako participated in the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) of its National Dance Project (NDP) funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts with the Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF). Since 2010, Ayako has been an artist in residence at the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater under Chicago Moving Company’s Dance Shelter Program. Helen Meier says, “Ayako choreographs silence and stillness in symphonic balance with action.” 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.  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 Muench, poet

Chris Newman, sculptor

Donald Noon, sculptor

Damon Locks, visual artist and musician

James Morrow, dancer and choreographer

Dan Ramirez, painter

Eric Stephenson, sculptor