Eric Watts

Eric Watts was the 2016 University of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.

Watts is a Chicago based artist working in moving image and installation. He received his MFA from the University of Chicago, his BFA from The School of Visual Arts, with interstitial time at The Royal College of Art.

Eric Watts His Edes project, Edifice, is focused on the interrelated themes of Home, Biography, and Memorial. It looks specifically at connections between the house Ludwig Wittgenstein built for his sister in Vienna and the Cone House from Thomas Bernhard’s novel, Korrectur. He traveled to Austria to film these real and imagined spaces, creating his own architecture to install these films into.
In 2014, Watts took part in Winterjourney, a group thematic residency at The Banff Centre, Banff, AB and was an Artist in Residence at The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City, YT. Watts and his partner, artist Lauren Edwards, were awarded a DCASE Individual Artist Grant from the City of Chicago to fund their exhibition Fanfare for the Times at Heaven Gallery in 2016. Watts has exhibited and screened works at The Logan Center Gallery, Regina Rex, ACRE TV, Walter Phillips Gallery, and Trunk Show.


Norman Teague

Norman Teague
Norman Teague was the 2016 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.


Teague received his MFA in Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) from ​the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)​. He is a father of two sons w​ho lives on the South side of Chicago. During his Edes Prize year, he launched a design studio in his neighborhood to increase area residents’ access and exposure to art and design to facilitate social change.

Norman’s work, Plank Sinmi Stool, was featured in whatnot, AIADO’s exhibition at Milan’s 2015 Design Week; and was named “Best In Show” by Metropolis. His birch plywood and rubber stool ​is inspired by ​the traditional American rocking chair​, and​ create​s​ an innovative perch for temporary respite. Plank +, a wooden bowtie fabrication project that employs youth in Chicago, continued ​Norman’s​ ​work merging design, community​,​ and educational practice. Teague says, “I believe in impacting the neighborhood economy through direct acts of designing, making, selling, and marketing products that encourage sustainability.” ​

“​During my ​​Edes Prize year​,​ I ​​plan​​ to launch my design studio in Chicago’s ​S​outh​ ​Side​, increasing access to design education for area residents​. Presently, there is no place that ​promotes design as a career choice​,​ let alone as a device for change, so I would like to engage audiences in the design process​ by ​hosting events in​ my workspace​ where they can interact with​ art and design ​practitioners, enabling​ them to view making as an attainable choice in achieving change. I plan to develop a space that will ​showcase old and new furnishings​ and ​objects ​and evoke the stories behind them​. The space will also ​creat​e ​employment, ​encourage ​storytelling​,​ and ​generate ​revenue as a means of creating capital ​to support design openings, exhibitions, design lectures, workshops, dinners with professionals and patrons of the community, design/build charettes and ​pop-up design shows and performances. By including ​​community members in the design process​,​ I find that positive interaction becomes a bonding agent for independent design to take place. I have a solo show planned at Blanc gallery in Bronzeville, ​and am coordinating ​The BLK Atelier Collective​, a traveling exhibition​ that will showcase designers of African Diasporic backgrounds and the moments that inspire​ them​ in today​’​s urban ​environment​.

“Lastly, I plan to make products ​that convey my personal narrative as a professional practitioner in the design field ​as an example of success in the field for young designers who live in the neighborhood. I ​dedicate considerable time and effort to these projects in an effort to promote ​design as a monumental force in​ facilitating​ community empowerment.​”​

Will Arbery

Will Arbery was the 2016 Northwestern University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.

Arbery is a playwright, filmmaker, and performer. He grew up the only boy among seven sisters, and his work examines the idea of “perceived limitation.” Inspired by his older sister Julia, who has Down syndrome, he’s compelled to write authentic characters across all spectra, and is particularly invested in characters with physical and cognitive disabilities. He’s based in Brooklyn, and is a member of Clubbed Thumb’s writers group Impartial Nudity.


His play The Mongoose was produced by The Road Theatre in Los Angeles, where it was an LA Times Critic’s Pick. In 2014, he was one of the winners of the Samuel French OOB Festival with his play The Logic. His plays include: Claustrophile (Clubbed Thumb SummerWorks reading), The Confession (Alliance Theatre/Kendeda workshop), You’re Sadder Than You Realize (Dixon Place), and WE WERE NOTHING! (Flavorpill Editor’s Pick). He’s a member of BOOMERANG and was in residence with them at the Watermill Center.

During the award year, Will planned to finish his short film Your Resources and develop it into a feature film. He also planned to create: a new musical featuring a Down syndrome lead performer, a web-series involving perceived limitation, and a new play about his seven sisters. The award also helped him afford the costs of residencies, travel for research, rehearsal space, submissions, and professional development.

Residencies include: Tofte Lake Center, Wildacres, Can Serrat. His writing has been published in Better, great weather for MEDIA, The Awl, Word Riot, decomP, Howl Round, and more. He was named one of Variety’s “110 Students to Watch.”

Karly Bergmann

Karly Bergmann was the 2016 DePaul University Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize.

Karly BergmannBergmann received her BFA in Dramaturgy/Theatre Criticism from The Theatre School at DePaul University where she also received The Louise de Marillac Women of Spirit and Action Award. She found shadow puppetry when an old overhead projector was discovered in her closet, and has since been captivated by the enchanting effect the medium has on an audience and the visual dramaturgy inherent to the work.

Bergmann’s shadow puppetry reimagines the folk tale for a modern
audience. She has adapted The Green Ribbon (The Wretched Nobles Film Screening “Best of 2015” pick), Tatterhood (The Dollhouse Female Filmmaker Festival), and created shadow projections for the world premiere of the musical The Mountain Digby (MCL Chicago). Bergmann’s work has been performed at Constellation, The Den Theatre, and in DIY venues around Chicago. She is proud to have worked with Manual Cinema, National Cool Theater and the art festival 2nd Floor Rear.

During her Edes Year, Karly furthered her studies in shadow puppetry by attending festivals and workshops across Italy. These included the the Incanti Festival in Turin and an intensive international shadow puppet workshop held annually by Teatro Gioco Vita in Piacenza. The Edes Prize also supported the creation of a weekly shadow puppet GIF and monthly street performances in Rome.

skydiver from Karly Bergmann on Vimeo.