Meier Achievement Awards for 2019 Gives Thanks for Work of Three Chicago Artists

Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier today released the names of their 14th Arts Achievement Awards. Their Foundation recognizes Chicago-based artists in mid-career who push the artistic envelope.

The 2019 awardees are painter Elsa Munoz, painter Olea Nova, and drummer/impresario Mike Reed.

Elsa Munoz – Ms. Munoz is an oil painter who works in series. Common subjects in her work are seascapes, forests, fires, tornados, the night, and figurative subjects who typically evade the viewer’s gaze. Elsa’s choice of subject matter is directly influenced by her cultural identity and experience growing up on the south side of Chicago, daughter to working class Mexican immigrants, and kept inside most of the time because of gang violence in her neighborhood. Helen Meier says: “Elsa uses simple things to create great beauty.” For more information, see

Olea Nova – Ms. Nova is a visual artist and composer. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and is a graduate of the University of Humanities and Social Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her body of work encompasses painting, drawing, printmaking, video and sound. There is no narrative content in her work. By exploring her sense of non-objective form, Olea Nova dematerializes objects and creates space that is non-referential. Olea Nova lives and works in Chicago. Tim says Olea’s work “gives place to imagination.” For more information, see

Mike Reed – Mr. Reed is a musician, composer, bandleader and arts presenter based in Chicago. Over the last two decades he has emerged as a dominant force within Chicago’s diverse artistic community, both through the music he makes and the live events he produces. In addition to leading or co-leading several working bands, he is founding director of the Pitchfork Music Festival, the current programming chair of the Chicago Jazz Festival, and the owner and director of the acclaimed performing arts venues Constellation and the Hungry Brain. He is a devoted cultural advocate committed to providing platforms for artistic expression unhindered by commercial pressures. Helen says, “Mike is both an artist and impresario. He is expanding Chicago’s jazz classics and finding new forms.” For more information, see

The Meier Achievement Award

The 2019 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
Stephen Burns, artistic director and conductor, Fulcrum Point
Stacy Garrop, composer
Ayako Kato, dancer and choreographer
Tim Anderson, painter
Chris Bradley, sculptor
Chloe Jensen, choreographer and artistic director, Aerial Dance Chicago
Jill King, sculptor
Renee Baker, composer
Eric Lindsey, sculptor,
Scott Stack, painter