OnWord 2022 Annual Benefit
Join us at OnWord 2022, our annual benefit to raise funds for museum operations, including our youth education initiatives. The event takes place September 15 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, beginning at 6:00 pm Central. This year’s theme centers around Inspiration and there will be no shortage of inspiring people in the room who have made a mark in the world through their words, their leadership, and their teachings.
- Inspiring Writer Award to Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, essayist, editor, scholar, and educator Viet Thanh Nguyen, who has requested for the prize money to go directly to The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network to support their work of nurturing writers and artists.
- Inspirational Teacher Award to be presented by Nate Marshall, an award-winning writer, editor, educator, and MC. Each year, the AWM selects an established writer to nominate a teacher who they feel was inspirational to them. The selected teacher is awarded a $10,000 prize sponsored by the Chicago Council of the American Writers Museum.
- Cultural and Civic Leadership Award to Hill Hammock with tributes from Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Barbara Gaines, Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; David Greising, President Better Government Association; and Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President.
- The John Estey Student Writing Competition Awards to the winners of the third annual contest, tied to the museum’s exhibit entitled Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice which opens September 22. This free writing competition is part of the AWM’s efforts to motivate and inspire the young writers of tomorrow. Teachers were invited to submit entries of any genre from 3rd-grade through 12th-grade students using a quote from James Baldwin, “The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.”, as a jumping-off point, a first line from which students can write their imagining of the place in which they will fit. $10,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded to six finalists:
- The high school winners are Elizabeth Boguslavsky, Glenbard South High School, IL and Lana Olarte, Durham School of the Arts, NC.
- The middle school winners are Ali Giordano, Lazar Middle School, NJ and Alisha Walker, Lincoln Middle School, IL.
- The elementary school winners are Olivia Bakal, Oakwood School, CA and Evelyn Basken, Alcott College Prep Elementary School, IL.