In Awards, News, Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo, February 11, 2020: Charlotte Street Foundation is excited to announce the three local recipients of the 2020 Visual Artist Awards and two local recipients of the 2020 Generative Performing Artist Awards. This year, Charlotte Street’s Visual Artist Awards were given to Cory Imig, Glyneisha Johnson, and Kathy Liao. This year also marks the 100th Visual Artist Award granted. Recipients of the 2020 Generative Performing Artist Awards are Stacy Busch and Vi Tran. Since the award started in 2008, 25 performing artists in the Kansas City region have been given the Generative Performing Artist Awards.

Kathy Liao
(Pictured above: 2020 Visual Artist Award recipient Kathy Liao, In Between the Lines, 2019, installation)

Each Charlotte Street Visual Artist Award Fellow receives an unrestricted cash grant of $10,000, recognition by Charlotte Street at the time of Award announcement and throughout 2020—including announcements to media, web-based marketing and promotional efforts, special events, and inclusion in the 2020 Charlotte Street Visual Artist Awards Exhibition at Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS later in the 2020 calendar year. The exhibition will be curated by Bruce Hartman, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

The 2020 Charlotte Street Generative Performing Artist Awards recognize two exceptional artists in the fields of dance, theatre, music, opera, sound art, performance art, multimedia performance, spoken word, puppetry or hybrid performance-based forms. Both of the artists will also receive an unrestricted cash award of $10,000 and their public performances will be promoted by Charlotte Street throughout the rest of 2020 calendar year.

All of the 2020 Charlotte Street Award Fellows were selected through competitive processes beginning with open calls for applications from artists based in the five-county Kansas City Metro Area. Artists selections were made by a panel of jurors consisting of renowned and qualified arts professionals. Jurors participated in in-person interviews, presentations, and studio visits, resulting in the selection of 10 finalists for the Generative Performing Artists Awards and 10 finalists for the Visual Artist Awards.

The Visual Artist Awards panel included Marisa Del Toro, DAMLI Curatorial Fellow at the Phoenix Art Museum (Phoenix, AZ), Sylvie Fortin, independent curator, critic, arts administrator, and current Curator-in-Residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha (Montreal, Quebec), Deana Haggag, President and CEO of USA Artists (Chicago, IL), and Bruce Hartman, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS).

The Generative Performing Artist Awards panel included Anna Gallagher Ross, Associate Artistic Director & Curator at Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX), Melanie George, Audience Educator and Dramaturg at Lumberyard (Catskill, NY), Eddie Moore, former Charlotte Street Generative Performing Arts Fellow, jazz musician and arts administrator (Kansas City, MO), and Kenneth Martin, Professor of Theatre & Chair of the Theatre Division at UMKC Conservatory (Kansas City, MO).


Cory Imig is an artist based in the Midwest. Her work takes the form of large-scale installations that alter spaces physically, visually, and temporally. These installations are made through a process of building, moving, observing, and rearranging the assembled spaces that surround us. Imig has exhibited in numerous exhibitions across the United States, in spaces such as Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, Hardesty Art Center, and The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. She has attended residencies at Art Omi International Art Center, The Vermont Studio Center, and ACRE Artist Residency.

In addition to her studio practice, she is a co-editor of Impractical Spaces, which is a collaborative national project and groundbreaking anthology of publications that offer a historical look at defunct artist-run projects throughout the United States in small to mid-sized cities. She is also a founding member of PLUG Projects, an artist-run space in downtown Kansas City.

Cory Imig, artist
Featured image of work: Cory Imig, Orange Stick II (41.8441° N, 71.4382° W), detail, 2017, masking tape and found sticks.

Glyneisha Johnson is a multimedia artist currently living and working in Kansas City, MO. Johnson completed her Bachelor of Fine Art in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2017. Her work has been exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions in the United States, including but not limited to, SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, GE, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS, the Union for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE, Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, MO, and Haw Contemporary in Kansas City, MO. Johnson was a 2019 Summer studio artist-in-residence at Art Omi in Ghent, NY and will be an upcoming artist-in-residence at Bemis Center in January 2020. Johnson’s work is included in several private and museum collections in the United States.

Glyneisha Johnson, Sultry, art
Featured image of work: Glyneisha Johnson, Sultry, 2019, mixed media.

Kathy Liao currently resides in Kansas City, MO, and teaches at Missouri Western State University as the Director of the Painting and Printmaking Studio Art Program. Drawing inspirations from her diverse cultural background and personal history, Kathy Liao’s mixed media work is about the intimate yet universal concept of relationships. Liao received her MFA in Painting from Boston University and BFA in Painting and Drawing from University of Washington, Seattle.

Liao is a recipient of various awards including the StudiosINC Studio Residency Program, Charlotte Street Foundation Studio Residency, Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Grant, Artist Grants from Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Vermont Studio Center, and Jentel Artist Residency. In the past, Liao taught at Boston University, University of Washington, Seattle University, and Gage Academy of Art. Her work was shown in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Kansas City, and many other cities nationally and internationally.

Kathy Liao, artist
Featured image of work: Kathy Liao, 3 Am Kitchen, 2017, painting.


Stacy Busch is a composer, performer, and producer of collaborative concert experiences that are designed to be provocative yet accessible in order to cultivate broader artistic interest. In particular, Stacy is passionate about reaching underserved, misrepresented communities through creative work as a means of breaking down social stigma and fostering greater awareness around mental health, addiction and LGBTQ+ issues. Busch is the founder of No Divide KC, an arts/social justice non-profit that creates events for social causes. She composes pieces through improvisational performance and largely work in electronic music utilizing her own voice in innovative ways. Stacy focuses on producing shows that combine theatrical elements as well as bridge pop and experimental performances. All of her shows are in collaboration with a range of artists from various mediums. Her work is about expressing complex and ancient human struggles in ways that are innovative and experimental yet accessible to all people.

Vi Tran is a preacher’s kid and the son of butchers. Vi was born in the shadow of Sai Gon, Vietnam and raised in the cattle country of southwestern Kansas. He is equal parts sea salt and wheat fields. As a storyteller, actor, singer-songwriter, composer, and playwright, Vi utilizes a variety of methods and disciplines to examine topics as varied as the unpacking of inherited cultural trauma among refugee populations living in diaspora to the dismantling of the toxic masculinity within the mythos of the Hemingway Hero. His work, including his autobiographical Vietnamese American folk musical, The Butcher’s Son, straddles the dichotomy of Americana and the foreign Other. Using potent and empathetic storytelling about difficult subject matter but with the accessible and plainspoken straightforwardness of his southwestern Kansas roots, Vi’s work presents a path to healing, hope, and unity in an ever-divided society.


Since 1997, Charlotte Street’s Visual Artist Award has supported 100 outstanding visual artists living in Kansas City through annual, unrestricted cash awards, with a total of $751,500 now distributed directly to visual artists. These competitive awards recognize locally based artists who are creating outstanding artwork and show great accomplishment and promise. These awards provide financial support, critical attention, and increased exposure for these artists with the aim of fostering their continued artistic and professional development.


Charlotte Street launched its Generative Performing Artist Awards in 2008 as a parallel program to the Visual Artist Awards. With the 2018 Awards, Charlotte Street has continued to act as a catalyst for discovering and supporting contemporary performing art, and has now distributed $210,000 to 25 performing artists creating original new work in the fields of dance, theater, music, performance, spoken word, and hybrid/interdisciplinary performance-based forms. These Awards aim to recognize and meaningfully support artists producing exceptional performance-based work that is original, innovative, and progressive.


Charlotte Street identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. Charlotte Street cultivates the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City art community. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed  over $1.1 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit                           

Read the press release in PDF format here.

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