Ruth Foundation for the Arts Announces 2023 Artist Choice Recipients

The second iteration of the artist-led grant program awards $1.23 million to 55 arts and cultural organizations across the nation

Milwaukee, WI May 10, 2023Today, the Ruth Foundation for the Arts (Ruth Arts) is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the second annual Artist Choice—the Foundation’s flagship program uniquely guided by an artist-driven nomination process to award a total of $1.23 million in unrestricted grants across 55 arts and cultural organizations.

Stemming from the generous bequest from Ruth DeYoung Kohler II, Ruth Arts launched last June with the first iteration of Artist Choice to honor Kohler’s lifelong and groundbreaking models of artist support and community-building across the country.

Each year, Ruth Arts invites a wide selection of artists from across the country to nominate up to three organizations that have impacted their practice and instill a sense of creative community. Artists interpret the invitation as they wish, with responses ranging from residencies to film festivals, collectives to performance spaces, to arts education at all levels, to organizations in rural communities and on the islands. Anchored in this unique artist nomination process, Artist Choice informs the Foundation’s overall grantmaking, with each iteration determining the thematics and directions for the upcoming year’s programs.

Established in 2022, Ruth Arts has launched five grantmaking programs in addition to Artist Choice: Core Grants, RDK Legacy, Sites & Stewardship, Thought Leaders, and Wisconsin Grants to Artists. All these programs are the result of Ruth Arts’ direct dialogue with artists and creative practitioners. With the second edition of Artist Choice, Ruth Arts’ grantmaking streams total $15.72 million in funding to date.

“Artist Choice brings us full circle, and back to the root of our work which is to learn with and from artists and the communities that raised them,” said Ruth Arts Executive Director Karen Patterson. “Thanks to this exceptional cadre of artists, Ruth Arts now has a more complex understanding of the national arts landscape. We are thrilled to support these exceptional organizations and are indebted to the artists who nominated them. They have been excellent partners helping us craft an integral roadmap for the Foundation and I hope a cogent bellwether for arts philanthropy.”

This year’s cohort of Artist Choice recipients spans 41 cities in 26 states, including three Wisconsin-based organizations. Artist Choice is designed to center artists in the grantmaking process, aligned with Ruth Arts’ mission and reflecting their belief in the integral role artists play in their communities. The 2023 selection process was informed by the recommendation of 53 esteemed artists across various disciplines and geographic locations, acknowledging the artistic excellence of organizations that have inspired their own practice and communities.

“The organizations awarded truly reflect the multitude of ways an artist comes to be—these are the spaces where artists first became teachers, where they met their mentors, where they discovered what was possible in artmaking,” added Ruth Arts Program Director Kim Nguyen, “This year, artists acknowledged alliances and coalitions, signaling that advocacy and collectivity continue to be at the forefront of their interests. They wanted to honor both burgeoning artist-run spaces and the longstanding organizations that have shaped their practices. So many of these organizations are asking what does it mean to endure? And how do we care for one another? Fundamental questions that we are so grateful we get to support.”

The 2023 Artist Choice Nominators include: Zarouhie Abdalian, Indira Allegra, Teresa Baker, Chlöe Bass, Cara Benedetto, Jessica Campbell, Carolina Caycedo, Kiah Celeste, Raven Chacon, Jane Chang Mi, Sean Connelly, Maia Cruz Palileo, Alex Da Corte, Jovencio de la Paz, Erica Deeman, Jeremy Dennis, Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, Hasan Elahi, Josh Faught, Verónica Gaona, Tia-Simone Gardner, Karolina Gnatowski (kg), Pao Houa Her, Tomashi Jackson, Steffani Jemison, Dasha Kelly Hamilton, Sahar Khoury, Fatima Laster, Kathy Liao, Carolina Maki Kitagawa Frisby, Azikiwe Mohammed, Jiha Moon, Jason Moran, Hương Ngô, Lorraine O’Grady, Angela Piehl, Hayal Pozanti, Nirmal Raja, Ashwini Ramaswamy, Edra Soto, Renée Stout, Martine Syms, Hồng-Ân Trương, Anna Tsouhlarakis, and Lynne Yamamoto. Others chose to remain anonymous.

“Figuring out who does the work and where the work is can be difficult. Asking people who know where these two things intersect is also a deeply logical answer that many have not explored,” said artist Azikiwe Mohammed. “Ruth Foundation for the Arts asking artists to nominate the people they see working is an incredible way to give a chance to smaller structures to grow larger, or, at least, sustain their size, which, in and of itself can be a momentous task. Allowing that finding and thinking to live alongside the working is a way to think about the entire ecosystem at once, something that I have not seen enough.”

The 2023 Artist Choice Recipients are:

An asterisk denotes recipients with fiscal sponsors

New Orleans, LA

Art Enables
Washington, DC

Art Road
Detroit, MI

Asian American Arts Alliance
Brooklyn, NY 

The Black Painters Academy*
New York, NY

Black Arts MKE
Milwaukee, WI

Bread & Puppet Theater 
Glover, VT

Cassandra Press
Los Angeles, CA

The Center for Afrofuturist Studies 
Iowa City, IA

Center for Hmong Arts & Talent
Saint Paul, MN

The Center for Photography at Woodstock
Kingston, NY

Chicago Artists Coalition
Chicago, IL

Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts
Pendleton, OR

Culture Push 
New York, NY

Deaf Spotlight
Seattle, WA

Denniston Hill
Glen Wild, NY

Elsewhere Museum
Greensboro, NC

First Americans Museum
Oklahoma City, OK

Floating Museum
Chicago, IL

Franklin Furnace
Brooklyn, NY

Great Northern Winter Festival
Minneapolis, MN

Harlem Stage
New York, NY

Hawaii International Film Festival
Honolulu, HI

Human Resources
Los Angeles, CA

Institute of American Indian Arts
Santa Fe, NM

The Jazz Gallery
New York, NY

Josephine Sculpture Park
Frankfort, KY

Juxtaposition Arts
Minneapolis, MN

The Kitchen
New York, NY

The Lab
San Francisco, CA

La Impresora*
Rincón, PR

Marble House Project 
Dorset, VT

The Marsha P. Johnson Institute*
New York, NY

Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio 
Southampton, NY

Maude Kerns Art Center
Eugene, OR

Nurturing Independence through Artistic Development
Richmond, CA

New Haven, CT

Ortega Y Gasset Projects 
Brooklyn, NY

Saugatuck, MI

Los Angeles, CA

Project EATS
New York, NY

Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center
Chicago, IL

South Side Community Art Center
Chicago, IL

Cleveland, OH

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
New York, NY

Teatro Experimental Yerbabruja 
Bay Shore, NY

Tropic Editions
Honolulu, HI

Ucross Foundation
Clearmont, WY

The Union for Contemporary Art
Omaha, NE

Walker’s Point Center for the Arts 
Milwaukee, WI

Wa Na Wari*
Seattle, WA

Wave Hill 
Bronx, NY

Woodland Pattern 
Milwaukee, WI

The World Stage
Los Angeles, CA

New Orleans, LA

Ruth Arts will continue supporting organizations in the arts annually by invitation. For more information about Ruth Arts’ programming, artist nominators, or the awarded organizations, please visit the Foundation’s website.


The Ruth Foundation for the Arts (Ruth Arts) is a new grantmaker based in the Midwest and dedicated to meeting the evolving needs and lived experiences of artists, communities, and arts organizations whose work is anchored by visual arts, performing arts, and arts education. Based in Milwaukee and national in scope, the Foundation reflects the culture and spirit of the Midwest, which long inspired its namesake and benefactor Ruth DeYoung Kohler II. Led by Executive Director Karen Patterson, as well as Program Directors Kim Nguyen and Rachel Reichert, the Foundation is a responsive and adventurous new force in the realm of arts philanthropy.

A lifetime supporter of the arts, Ruth DeYoung Kohler II (1941-2020) was deeply committed to artists and consequently, broke down hierarchies and categories within the art world to center artists, support communities, and engage with overlooked art forms. She made significant contributions to the arts across the U.S., including serving as Chairman and member of the Wisconsin Arts Board, acting as a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Organization panel member and past site evaluator, as founder of the Preservation Committee of Kohler Foundation, Inc., and Director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center for more than forty years.

Among the many awards and honors Ruth received are the Governor’s Award for the Arts, Wisconsin; Visionary Award, American Craft Museum; Visionary Leadership Award, Center for Intuitive and Outside Art; Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award, Museum of Art and Design; and honorary doctorates from various institutions of higher learning.

She believed passionately that the arts reveal who we are as a people: past, present and future. She promoted equitable and inclusive access to the arts in her local community, her home state of Wisconsin, and on national and international levels.

Beverly’s Exhibitions Corp for The Black Painters Academy; Centro de Economía Creativa for La Impresora; Northwest Film Forum for Wa Na Wari; Performance Zone Inc for POT LA; and Social Good Fund for The Marsha P. Johnson Institute.


Ed Winstead
Vice President, Cultural Counsel

Allison Brainard
Account Executive, Cultural Counsel

Rachel Roberts
Account Executive, Cultural Counsel