"...intends to be a catalyst


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Blair Thomas and Co.
Chicago, IL

A Chicago-based master puppeteer, Blair Thomas creates wild and often giant puppet experiences. He produces the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, which brings puppet theater troupes from around the world to the city, helping to establish Chicago as a puppetry center. The Festival exposes the local public to a traditional yet timelessly visceral storytelling medium.


Chicago, IL

The RDLF has provided both support for a named award as well as general operations.

With a focus on women artists, artists of color and artists with disabilities, 3Arts promotes diversity in Chicago arts. They support artists through multiple channels, giving artists validation, promotion, residencies, project support, and unrestricted cash grants. Each year, a jury panel selects ten artists to receive the 3Arts award of $25,000. Artists are free to use this money as they please and being selected for the award opens the door to other programs and support structures provided by 3Arts.

Pictured on Grants page: Frank Waln, RDLF Awardee



Young Chicago Authors
Chicago, IL

Thousands of young people in Chicago have come in contact with YCA through one of its programs, whether by competing in Louder Than A Bomb—the world’s largest youth poetry festival, or by attending open mics, workshops or summer classes. YCA has a simple and powerful core concept; to ask young people where they are from. This “ask” puts students in direct control of expressing their narrative, something teenagers aren’t often given the opportunity or the tools to do. YCA encourages students to write as the expert of their own experience, which leads to higher confidence in performance, and cultivates a habit of receptive listening to the often vastly different stories of others.


Social Justice, Scholarship, the Arts and Investigative Journalism

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