Meier Achievement Awards for 2021 Gives Thanks for Work of Three Chicago Artists

Morgan Frank, Sam Jaffee and Zack (“Beverly Fre$h”) Ostrowski recognized for innovation, past achievements, and community contributions 


Helen Coburn Meier and Tim Meier today released the names of their 16th Arts Achievement Awards.  Their Foundation recognizes Chicago-based artists in mid-career who push the artistic envelope.

This year, the Foundation is giving out three awards to Chicago area artists in several genres, a total of $120,000 in awards. The 2021 awardees are poet Morgan Frank, fabric artist Sam Jaffee, performance and visual artist Beverly Fresh (Zach Ostrowski). 

Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of four collections of poems, most recently Oh You Robot Saints! (2021). Called a “poet of the exacting and harrowing,” her poetry and prose have appeared such places as The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, and elsewhere.  Morgan’s poems are sought out for frequent musical settings in art song and modern music with composers such as Eric Malmquist, Aaron Stepp, and Mara Gibson. Helen says, “Morgan’s poetry presents compelling visions and intriguing premises.” For more information, see

Samantha Jaffee is a Chicago-based fabric artist. Characterized by wacky, toxic color and overstuffed, mutating forms, Sam Jaffe’s recent work explores labor, folk and domestic art traditions, ornamentation, collecting behaviors, femininity, and the grotesque fallibility of the human body. All art materials are recycled, reused, repurposed, dead-stock, vintage, or otherwise sustainably sourced. Sam received her BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design in 2005 and her MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. Helen adds, “Sam’s masterful realization of textiles capture the eye and tease the senses.” For more information, see

Beverly Fresh (Zach Ostrowski) is a contemporary artist and musician from the rural Midwest.  He examines cultural structures through a variety of media, including drawing, graphic design, installation, video, music, parody and performance. He has a BFA in Graphic Design/Interactive Media from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He is an Associate Professor of Graphic Art at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Tim says, “Beverly Fresh uses his insightful and imaginative vision over many different media to comment on our American culture.” For more information, see

About the Meier Achievement Award
The 2021 Meier Achievement Award recognizes past work of mid-career arts professionals with checks for $40,000.  Since its inception, the Foundation has presented 53 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:  

Krista Franklin, writer and visual artist

Terisa Griffin, singer

Candace Hunter, collage, painting, installations, and performance artist

Corrinne Imberski, dance performer

Ayesha Jaco, educator and coreographer

Angel Pagan, multi-media artist

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