Two Indian-Americans Win Arts Awards in Chicago


Two artists of Indian origin based in Chicago are among those awarded the 2019 3Arts Awards for their achievements.

Laksha Dantran (dance artist) and Richard Costes (theater artist), are two artists among the 20 artists that 3Arts is awarding this year with $25,000 grants, an Oct. 21, press release from the organization said. The money is given with no strings attached.

Laksha Dantran, Chicago based artist. (Photo: courtesy 3Arts)

The organization 3Arts is a Chicago-based non-profit which awards Chicago artists of color, artists with disabilities, and women in the arts, with unrestricted grants at the 12th annual 3Arts Awards Celebration, scheduled to take place Nov. 4, 2019, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Dantran is a transgender female dance artist whose work is rooted in the forms of Indian classical dance and theater. Currently she is working with Mandala South Asian Performing Arts in Chicago on a modern dance theatre work “Story of Ram” to be staged on Nov 3.

Taking new spins on ancient Hindu mythology, Dantran believes in creating ancient characters embedded in modern reality, often urging artists to delve into their own experiences to bring truth into their portrayals, her biography says.

Laksha Dantran, left, at a performance. (Photo: courtesy 3Arts)

Dantran has toured throughout India, Belgium, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the United States. Her work has received critical claim as a performer, curator, and director. She is the 2018-2019 Spark Microgrant recipient, according to her bio on Chicago Arts Coalition website, which noted that Dantran is an artist and teacher in Chicago and was born transgender. “Her hurdles have shaped her,” the website says, adding, “In her journey she is fascinated by blending all aspects of life into her visual art presentation, and breaking the boundaries of existing conversation in order to create an inclusive atmosphere among people of color, race, and gender.”

Richard Costes, a Chicago-based theater actor who is a hearing disability (Photo: courtesy 3Arts)

Costes is a deaf actor of color. Currently, he is a cast member of Mosquitoes at Steep Theatre running now through November.

Working as a director, playwright, and accessibility consultant, Costes is also involved in creating an original one-man show exploring his journey growing up deaf in a hearing world.

He has performed at many Chicago theaters, including Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Red Tape Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Rasaka Theatre Company, and more.

Richard Costes, right, performing in a play. (Photo: courtesy 3Arts)

He grew up near Youngstown, Ohio where he graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies. Costes’ professional career began in Chicago where he immediately fell in love with the storefront theater scene and its continued work towards diversity and inclusion.

He is a 2017 recipient of a 3Arts Make a Wave grant.




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