Meier Achievement Awards for 2020 Gives Thanks for Work of Six Chicago Artists

Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier today released the names of their 15th Arts Achievement Awards.  Their Foundation recognizes Chicago-based artists in mid-career who push the artistic envelope.

This year, the Foundation is giving out a record six awards to Chicago area artists in many genres, a total of $240,000 in awards. The 2020 awardees are poet/painter Krista Franklin, singer/composer Terisa Griffin, multi-media artist Candace Hunter, dancer/choreographer Corinne Imberski, dancer/choreographer Ayesha Jaco, and painter Angel Pagan. 

Krista Franklin is a writer and visual artist, the author Too Much Midnight (Haymarket Books, 2020), the artist book Under the Knife (Candor Arts, 2018), and the chapbook Study of Love & Black Body (Willow Books, 2012). She is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant and has been published in Poetry.  Helen says, “Krista is a beautiful American woman and explorer who self-creates and re-creates herself.”  For more information, see

Terisa Griffin – Soulful singer/composer Terisa Griffin has produced and starred in her “One Voice, One Woman” concert series, and has produced four successful independent albums, which includes her latest “The Soul Revival.” She also won the Chicago Music Award for Solo Independent Artist of the Year. Terisa’s charity, Better Love Yourself, helps young adults master the art of loving and caring for themselves while succeeding at college. Helen says, “Her realness embraces us so solidly. She is real Chicago, whether singing her works or classics.” For more information, see

Candace Hunter creates collage, paintings, installations and performance art to tell stories. Through the use of appropriated materials from magazines, vintage maps, cloth, various re-used materials, she offers this new landscape of materials back to the viewer with a glimpse of history and admiration of the beautiful. Tim observes, “Candace tells an exciting story of someone who can’t stay away from art, visualizing the loss to Africa in the same instant celebrating America’s needs in beauty and social justice.” For more information, see

Corinne Imberski is a Chicago based dance performer, choreographer, improviser, and educator. As an independent dance artist, Corinne has presented solo and ensemble works for over thirty years, at venues grand, small, and impromptu. She has staged her choreography throughout the country. Helen observes the Corinne creates “clean, focused post-modern dance, so well thought out.” For more information, see

Ayesha Jaco is a Chicago based philanthropist, educator and choreographer. Ayesha is the founder and Artistic Director of Move Me Soul, an internationally traveled youth dance company headquartered on Chicago’s West Side. Ayesha’s disciplinary focus is a fusion of contemporary modern, jazz, West African and hiphop dance.  Helen is “grateful that Ayesha makes a pathway via dance to form bonds, create something wonderful, and show students how they fit into America.”  For more information, see

Angel Pagan began his career as an urban and graffiti artist.  After attending the American Academy of Art in Chicago, he expanded to public murals and fine art, Tim says, “Angel has much to say as he has bridged street art to fine art – a brave transition. Bravo!” Angel self-represents his work. For more information, see

About the Meier Achievement Award

The 2020 Meier Achievement Award recognizes past work of mid-career arts professionals with checks for $40,000.  Since its inception, the Foundation has presented 50 Chicago-area artists with awards. 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, Chicago Music Theatre Works

John Eskola, tenor, cabaret artist

Mark Messing, composer, founder of Mucca Pazzo gypsy marching band 

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, 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, and visual artist

Julia Miller, sound artist, guitarist,  and composer

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

Elsa Munoz, painter

Mike Reed, drummer/impresario

Olea Nova, painter/composer