Onye Ozuzu Receives 2018 Joyce Award

Photo: Phil Dembinski '08
Ozuzu and Chicago’s Links Hall awarded for “pushing the boundaries of community engagement and social justice”

CHICAGO (Jan. 17, 2018)—Columbia College Chicago's Dance Professor and Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts Onye Ozuzu has been awarded a 2018 Joyce Award from The Joyce Foundation. This year marks the 15th anniversary year of the Joyce Awards, which recognizes collaborations between Great Lakes artists of color and cultural organizations. Ozuzu shares her award with Chicago’s Links Hall, which will commission Ozuzu’s “Project Tool.”

From the Joyce Foundation press release:

The competition has awarded nearly $3.25 million to commission 59 new works and collaborations between artists and cultural organizations in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The $50,000 award is used towards supporting an artist in the creation and production of a new work and providing the commissioning organization with the resources needed to engage potential audiences, new partners, and their surrounding communities at large.

“In a time of such dynamic social, economic, and political change, the winning projects for 2018 address themes of cultural identity, gentrification, and how labor shapes the movement of peoples and their histories,” said Tracie D. Hall, Culture Program Director at the Joyce Foundation. “These artists and organizations are pushing the boundaries of community engagement and social justice, and we cannot wait for these works to come to life.”

Ozuzu is a dance administrator, performing artist, choreographer, educator, and researcher who joined Columbia in 2011. Along with being a dean and professor, she also serves on the Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.

She has been actively presenting dance works nationally and internationally since 1997. Her most recent work, Project Tool, integrates woodworking improvisation and performance installation. The work is in collaboration with dancers, visual and sound artists, sculptors, and an interior architect. The project has also received grant support from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the National Performance Network, 3Arts, and a residency at Rebuild Foundation.

Ozuzu joins the other winners of this year’s award, including the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and jessica Care moore; the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Rosy Simas Danse; and the Cedar Cultural Center and Aar Maanta. Each have been awarded $50,000 to activate their respective community engagement artworks in their Great Lakes cities.


Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit colum.edu.


Danielle Wilcox
Columbia College Chicago