Alliance of Artists Communities
20th Anniversary Conference | October 19-22 | Chicago

Conference Speakers

[ keynote speakers ] [ event speakers + performers ] [ conference speakers + presenters ]

The Alliance aims to be widely inclusive in the conference, welcoming speakers from organizations new and established, large and small, public and private; emerging and veteran leaders; and a rich variety of perspectives from the U.S. and around the world. Additional speakers will be added to the list below as they are confirmed.

Tatsu Aoki | Composer and musician (Chicago, IL)
Katie Avery | Residency Director, Santa Fe Art Institute (Santa Fe, NM)
Jim Baker | Executive Director, Pilchuck Glass School (Stanwood, WA)
Seth Beattie | Strategic Initiative Director, Community Partnership for Arts + Culture (Cleveland, OH)
Douglas Beauchamp | Executive Director, Playa (Summer Lake, OR)
Michelle Boone | Commissioner, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs + Special Events (Chicago, IL)
David Bruce | Board member, Skopelos Foundation (Skopelos, Greece)
Penelope Burk | President, Cygnus Research Group (Chicago, IL + Toronto, ON)
Jennifer Calienes | Director, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (Tallahassee, FL)
Clayton Campbell | Advisor, The Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans, LA)
Mario Caro | President, Res Artis (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
CC Carter | theater artist (Chicago, IL)
Kathleen Cerveny | Director of Institutional Learning + Arts Initiatives, The Cleveland Foundation (Cleveland, OH)
Sara Coffey | Co-Founder + Director, Vermont Performance Lab (Guilford, VT)
Ed Dadey | Director, ArtFarm (Marquette, NE)
Esteban Del Valle | painter (Chicago, IL)
Karen DiLossi | Director, Arts in Sacred Places (Philadelphia, PA)
DJ D::Double | DJ (Las Vegas, NV| Chicago, IL | San Francisco, CA)
Mario Garcia Durham | President + CEO, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (Washington, DC)
Bob Emser | sculptor (Chicago, IL)
Liz Engelman | Alumnae Relations Coordinator, Hedgebrook (Whidbey Island, WA); Founder + Director, Tofte Lake Center (Ely, MN)
Robert Frankel | Acting Director of Artist Communities + Director of Museums and Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts (Washington, DC)
Melissa Franklin | Executive Director, Pew Fellowships in the Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
Emily Gray | Program Director - Insurance, Fractured Atlas (New York, NY)
Esther Grisham Grimm | Executive Director, 3Arts (Chicago, IL)
Xinxin Guo | Director, Beijing Studio Center (Beijing, China)
Deepa Gupta | Program Officer - Media, Culture & Special Initiatives, The MacArthur Foundation (Chicago, IL)
Peter Handler | Program Director, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; and playwright (Chicago, IL)
Terri Hemmert | Radio personality, WXRT (Chicago, IL)
Sara Hickman | songwriter (Austin, TX)
Maria Rosario Jackson | Director - Culture, Creativity and Communities; and Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute (Washington, DC)
Laura Jacqmin | playwright (Chicago, IL)
David Jones | Founder + Director, Anchor Graphics (Chicago, IL)
Ra Joy | Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois (Chicago, IL)
Robert Farid Karimi | performance artist and activist (Minneapolis, MN)
Brad Kik | Co-Founder/Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (Bellaire, MI)
Randall Koch | environmental artist and consultant (Portland, OR)
Kaitlin Kostus | visual artist (Chicago, IL)
Alex Kotlowitz | author and documentary filmmaker (Chicago, IL)
Joe Kurth | General Manager, Pfister Hotel (Milwaukee, WI)
Wayne Lawson | Director Emeritus, Ohio Arts Council (Columbus, OH); Incoming Board Chair, Alliance of Artists Communities (Providence, RI)
Angee Lennard | Director, Spudnik Press (Chicago, IL)
Melissa Levin | Director of Artist Residencies, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York, NY)
April Llewellyn | visual artist (Chicago, IL)
Louise Love | Provost + Vice President for Acaemic Affairs, Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL)
David Macy | Resident Director, The MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH)
sharon maidenberg | Executive Director, Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA)
Trevor Martin | Director of Exhibitions, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Trisha Martin | visual artist (Chicago, IL)
Mark Masuoka | Executive Director + CEO, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE)
Holly McAdams | Community Arts Program Manager, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE)
Elizabeth Millman | Managing Director - Joffrey Academy and Community Engagement, Joffrey Ballet (Chicago, IL)
Sage Morgan-Hubbard | theater artist (Chicago, IL)
Nami Mun | writer (Chicago, IL)
Justine Nagan | Executive Director, Kartemquin Films (Chicago, IL)
Adam Natale | Director of Partnerships + Business Development, Fractured Atlas (New York, NY)
Donna Neuwirth | Executive Director, Wormfarm Institute (Reedsburg, WI)
Audrey Niffenegger | visual artist and writer (Chicago, IL)
Craig Nutt | Director of Programs, CERF+ (Nashville, TN)
Hunter O'Hanian | VP of Institutional Advancement, Massachusetts College of Art + Design (Boston, MA); Board Chair, Alliance of Artists Communities (Providence, RI)
Lauren M. Pacheco | Executive Director + Co-Founder, Chicago Urban Art Society (Chicago, IL)
Crystal Pernell | Marketing + Communications Manager, Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL)
Craig Peterson | Director - Live Arts Brewery and Philly Fringe, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival + Philly Fringe (Philadelphia, PA)
Angelique Power | Senior Program Officer - Culture, The Joyce Foundation (Chicago, IL)
Jane Preston | Director of Programs, New England Foundation for the Arts (Boston, MA)
Aparna Ramaswamy | Artistic Director - Choreographer - Principal Dancer, Ragamala Dance (Minneapolis, MN)
Ranee Ramaswamy | Founder - Artistic Director - Choreographer - Principal Dancer, Ragamala Dance (Minneapolis, MN)
Julia Rhoads | Choreographer (Chicago, IL)
Bruce Rodgers | Executive Director, Hermitage Artist Retreat (Englewood, FL)
Linda Rodriguez | writer (Kansas City, MO)
Sara Schnadt | Chief Technologist - Chicago Artists Resource, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairts + Special Events (Chicago, IL)
Roger W. Shepard | President, RWS Consulting; Board Member, Ragdale (Lake Forest, IL)
Dick Simpson | former City of Chicago alderman, author, columnist, political science professor (Chicago, IL)
Regina Smith | Senior Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation (Troy, MI)
Carolyn Somers| Executive Director, The Joan Mitchell Foundation (New York, NY)
Keli Stewart | theater artist (Chicago, IL)
Caitlin Strokosch | Executive Director, Alliance of Artists Communities (Providence, RI)
Tracy Taft | Executive Director, International Sonoran Desert Alliance (Ajo, AZ)
Benjamin Thiem | Director of Member Services, League of Chicago Theaters (Chicago, IL)
Susan Page Tillett | Executive Director, The Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, IL)
Luis Alberto Urrea | author (Chicago, IL)
Taylor Van Horne | President, Instituto Sacatar (Itaparica, Brazil)
Christine Vincent | Study Director - National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations, The Aspen Institute (New York, NY)
Lois Weisberg | arts advocate (Chicago, IL)
Jan Williamson | Executive Director, 18th Street Arts Center (Santa Monica, CA)
Meredith Winer | Founder + Director, TRANSIT (Chicago, IL)
Pamela Winfrey | Senior Artist, Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA)
San San Wong | Director of Grants, San Francisco Arts Commission (San Francisco, CA)
Lori Wood | Director, Fes Medina (Fes, Morocco) and Consultant, Alliance of Artists Communities
Sadie Woods | DJ and curator (Chicago, IL)
Steve Woodall | Director, Center for Book + Paper Arts (Chicago, IL)
Sarah Workneh | Executive Director - Program, Skowhegan (Skowhegan, ME)

Keynote Presenters

Michelle Boone

Michelle Boone | Commissioner of Cultural Affairs + Special Events, City of Chicago

Michelle Boone's career spans television broadcast journalism, philanthropy, and Peace Corps service in Chad. Michelle most recently served as Culture Program Officer at The Joyce Foundation, and was appointed to lead the City's cultural programming, policy, and grantmaking agency in June.

Robert Karimi

Robert Farid Karimi | performance artist, activist

Robert Karimi is a Minneapolis-based multimedia humorist, interdisciplinary playwright, activist, and poet as well as artistic director of kaotic good productions. A 2009 Creative Capital grantee, he is currently touring The Cooking Show: Diabetes of Democracy; and Farid Mercury, an exploration of Persian politics, masculinity, and pop divination. He is also editing Punto!, a new Latina/o spoken word anthology. Robert is the recipient of the Alliance of Artists Communities' Midwestern Voices & Visions award, and was an artist-in-residence at The John Michael Kohler Arts Center's Arts/Industry residency.

Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz | author, documentary filmmaker

Alex Kotlowitz is the author of Never a City So Real, The Other Side of the River, and the national bestseller There Are No Children Here, which The New York Public Library selected as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. Alex is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine and Public Radio’s This American Life. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune, as well as on PBS and NPR. His play An Unobstructed View (co-authored with Amy Dorn) premiered in Chicago in June of 2005. His new film, The Interrupters – a collaboration with Steve James – premiered at Sundance earlier this year. He teaches writing at Northwestern University and was an artist-in-residence at Ragdale. A former staff writer at The Wall Street Journal, his book and journalism honors include the Helen Bernstein Award, The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the George Foster Peabody Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the George Polk Award. He is also the recipient of seven honorary degrees.

Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger | visual artist, writer

Audrey Niffenegger is a Chicago-based visual artist and writer. She specializes in writing and making visual books – including The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress, and The Night Bookmobile. Audrey’s first two novels, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, are both international best-sellers. She is currently working on her third novel, The Chinchilla Girl in Exile. Audrey helped to found the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book & Paper Arts and is an Associate Professor in the Fiction Department of Columbia College. Her art is exhibited at Printworks Gallery and is in collections at the Newberry Library, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the Houghton Library, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Library of Congress, Northwestern University, and the Rijksmuseeum Meermano in the Hague. Audrey has been an artist-in-residence at Ragdale and Yaddo, and is a member of the Ragdale Board.

Linda Rodriguez

Linda Rodriguez | writer

Linda Rodriguez is a writer of fiction and poetry, living in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2010 she received the Alliance of Artists Communities' Midwestern Voices and Visions award, supported by The Joyce Foundation in recognition of artists of color from the Midwest.
Linda has published two books of poetry, Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press, 2009), winner of the 2010 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence, and Skin Hunger (Potpourri Publications, 1995, Scapegoat Press, 2007). Her novel, Every Secret Thing, won the 2011 Malice Domestic First Book Award. She is currently working on a book of poetry based on teachings from her Cherokee grandmother, another novel, and a co-edited collection of essays by mixed-blood women writers.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea | writer

Luis Alberto Urrea, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss, and triumph. He is the best-selling author of 13 books, including The Devil's Highway, The Hummingbird's Daughter, and Into the Beautiful North. He has also won a Western States Book Award in poetry for The Fever of Being and was in The 1996 Best American Poetry collection. After serving as a relief worker in Tijuana and a film extra and columnist-editor-cartoonist for several publications, Luis moved to Boston where he taught expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard. He is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago and has been an artist-in-residence at Ragdale.

Event Speakers + Performers

Tatsu Aoki

Tatsu Aoki | composer and musician

Performer | Thursday Oct 20

Tatsu Aoki is a prolific artist, composer, musician, and educator. Aoki was an active performer during the early 70s in the midst of the Tokyo Underground Arts movement and since coming to U.S. in 1977 he has produced more than 60 recording projects and over 30 experimental films. In 2001 the Chicago Tribute recognized Tatsu Aoki as one of the “Chicagoans of the Year" for his contributions to the vitality and culture of Chicago. Aoki received a prestigious 3Arts Award in 2010.

DJ D Double

DJ D::Double | DJ

Performer | Thursday Oct 20

Resident DJ at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, DJ D Double started his career while spinning at top Chicago clubs and holding numerous residencies. His early success led to opportunities at many of the most renowned venues in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, Manila, Toronto and others. Over the past 20 years, he has worked with Common, The Roots, De La Soul, Lupe Fiasco, Mobb Deep, Biz Markie, Mystikal, Wu-Tang Clan, and others. Most commonly known as part of the Violator All Star DJ's (home of 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, and Diddy), D::Double is featured on Violator Radio's Hip Hop Nation on Sirius Radio 40. DJ D::Double also serves as Sound Designer for national touring artist Sway Peñala and Def Jam Poet / Performance Artist Robert Karimi.

Terri Hemmert

Terri Hemmert | radio personality, WXRT

Award presenter | Thursday Oct 20

Terri Hemmert has been at WXRT for over 30 years. Starting as overnight announcer and Public Affairs Director in 1973, Terri became the first female morning drive personality in Chicago in 1981. Prior to joining WXRT, Hemmert was an air personality at WCMF in Rochester, NY and also served as program coordinator for WGLD (currently WVAZ) in Chicago. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Peace Museum, Facets Multimedia, and other not-for-profit groups. She teaches the History of Rock and Soul in the broadcasting department of Columbia College Chicago, where she has taught for 30 years, and was an advisor at the student radio station, WCRX. She volunteers with the Inner City Teaching Corps, Latin School of Chicago, and other schools, teaching classes on the Roots of Rap, Women in Music, Classical Music’s influence on Rock and Sou,l and other musical topics. Terri works on music education programs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and co-hosts The Classic Encounter Series. She serves on the advisory board of WRSE-FM (the Elmhurst College student radio station.) She is also an active volunteer with the AIDS Pastoral Care Network and St. Clement Catholic Church. Hemmert has hosted Chicago’s Fest For Beatles Fans for nearly 30 years.

Sara Hickman

Sara Hickman | songwriter

Performer | Wednesday October 19

From May 2010 to May 2011, Sara served as the Official State Musician of Texas, and in May 2011 she released “The Best of Times", a compilation CD of Sara’s songs sung by other awesome Texas musicians, including Willie Nelson, Marcia Ball, Shawn Colvin, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Ruthie Foster and 25 other musical acts with proceeds going to Theatre Action Project to help put art, music, and theatre back into public schools. Sara is known for her one-of-a-kind live shows, which vary from intimate to hilarious, soothing to rocking, and she has performed on “The Tonight Show,” Austin City Limits, and SXSW.

Wayne Lawson

Wayne Lawson | Director Emeritus, Ohio Arts Council

Auctioneer | Thursday October 20

Wayne served as the fourth executive director of the Ohio Arts Council, 1978 – 2006. Under his direction the OAC became one of the foremost state arts agencies in the nation in terms of funding, long-range planning and evaluation, support for individual artists and innovative services to constituents in all arts disciplines. Wayne, who was born in Cleveland, studied Romance languages at The Ohio State University, earned a Masters degree in European literature, and a doctorate in theatre and comparative literature. He is a professor of art education at Ohio State. He has served on many panels for the NEA, and was chairman of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Arts Midwest. Wayne has received numerous awards, from The Association of American Cultures, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, the Ohioana Career Award, the Alumni Award of Distinction from the College of Humanities at Ohio State, and from the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Wayne is a trustee of the James Thurber House and the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio. In 2011, Wayne received the Ohio Governor's Awards for the Arts' Irma Lazarus Award. Wayne is the incoming Board Chair of the Alliance of Artists Communities.

Lois Weisberg

Lois Weisberg

Award recipient | Thursday October 20

Appointed by the late Mayor Harold Washington, Lois Weisberg served as Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs from 1989 until 2011. In this role, Lois was as a member of the Mayor’s cabinet and supervised a municipal department that is charged with making the arts accessible to all and with promoting the City of Chicago through its distinguished and diverse art and cultural attractions. Lois’s many accomplishments include establishing the Chicago Cultural Center, making Chicago a national model in cultural tourism through cultural exchanges, initiating public art exhibitions such as Cows on Parade, developing Chicago Neighborhood Tours, creating the Chicago Coalition of Community Cultural Centers, Gallery 37, the Chicago Sister Cities International Program and many other nationally known initiatives. Prior to being appointed Commissioner, Lois served as the Mayor’s Assistant for Special Projects, as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events where her initiatives included Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Gospel Festival, citywide neighborhood festivals, and the Chicago Holiday Sharing It Program. She is the recipient of numerous local and national awards including an award for extraordinary support and service to theatre in Chicago, the League of Women Voters Civic Contribution Award, Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year Award, the Harold Washington History Maker Award, the Chicago Tribute “Chicagoan of the Year” award, and many others.

Sadie Woods | photo by Matthew Ginger

Sadie Woods

DJ and curator | Saturday October 22

Sadie Woods is an independent curator and DJ. A Chicago native with a childhood steeped in performing and visual arts training, Sadie graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in 2000. Since then she has had exciting careers as curator and DJ, showcasing her talents everywhere from academia to nightclubs, boutiques to museums. Sadie honed her curating craft at the national award-winning Marwen Institute and as Resident Curator for Gallery 718 in Chicago's East Pilsen Arts District. Her exhibitions were marked by minimal, sleek presentation of emergent Chicago artist working with an urban sensibility and dynamic intellectual content. In 2006, Sadie was one of eight participants worldwide to be accepted to in Ecole du Magasin’s International Curatorial Training Program at Le Magasin-Centre National d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble. Upon her return to Chicago, she co-founded White Label. Essentially a deejay collaborative, White Label's work spans from selection as exclusive music curators for Oprah Winfrey's company-wide Trip of a Lifetime Mediterranean Cruise and collaborations with award-winning artist Theaster Gates for his "Temple Exercises" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Sadies' individual deejay career includes performances nationally and internationally. She has created and implemented independent and collaborative curatorial projects throughout Chicago and continues to freelance for select curatorial projects and maintains DJ residencies at Cocktail, Crimson Lounge, LUXBAR, and the Whiskey Sky Lounge.


Conference Speakers + Presenters

Katie Avery | Residency Director, Santa Fe Art Institute

Katie Avery was raised in Seattle, WA and has resided in Santa Fe since late 2007. She transferred from Portland, OR to finish her BA in Museum Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Coming from a diverse background, she incorporates Native issues and feminist and queer theories within art historical contexts as well as in her own work of photography.

Jim Baker

Jim Baker | Executive Director, Philchuck Glass School

Jim joined Pilchuck in June 2010 and most recently served as President of Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine (2006-2010) and as Executive Director of Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado (1995-2006). In both roles, Jim worked with board and staff to implement comprehensive strategic plans, develop strong community programs, broaden educational opportunities for faculty and students and lead significant capital and endowment campaigns. Baker served on the Alliance of Artists Communities board 1999-2005, and was the Chair of the Board 2004-2005. An accomplished photographer, Jim received his undergraduate degree in Meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University in 1973 and an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975.

Seth Beattie

Seth Beattie | Strategic Initiative Director, Community Partnership for Arts + Culture

Seth Beattie serves as CPAC’s Strategic Initiative Director, where he oversees development and design of Artists in Residence, a two-year pilot exploring artist-based community development within the city of Cleveland. He has previously worked in the development and design of the organization’s From Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference series and Creative Workforce Fellowship program. Mr. Beattie was the recipient of a 2008-2009 Robert Bosch Fellowship, an award that allowed him to work in Germany for a year, addressing social inclusion efforts for the European Capital of Culture, providing support research to Hofmann von Sell for a proposed film school in Kampala and analyzing cultural development strategies in deindustrializing cities. Previously, he served as CPAC’s program associate and program manager, a graduate assistant in workforce and global development, a communications associate at a nature center and a parliamentary aide for a member of Canadian Parliament. Beattie received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Relations from Franklin College and his Master’s of Public Administration from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

Seth Beattie

Douglas Beauchamp | Executive Director, Playa

Douglas Beauchamp, Executive Director of Playa, has worked professionally in public art and community arts development and promotion in Oregon since 1980. He served as Executive Director of Lane Arts Council until 2010, developing projects with and for artists, granting agencies, and schools, including arts education and artist residencies, festivals, exhibits, publications, and special events. He has managed numerous projects as a public art consultant and is presently art consultant for the I-5 Willamette River Bridge project for Oregon Department of Transportation.

David Bruce

David Bruce | Board member, Skopelos Foundation

David Bruce is a founding Board Member and Acting Secretary/Stateside Liaison of The Skopelos Foundation for the Arts (skopART). He and the founder, Gloria Carr, met while undergrads in Studio Art at George Mason University in VA; pulling through classes, assignments, and life in general together led to not only a wonderful friendship, but an expansion of family and the development of skopART. The Skopelos Foundation for the Arts is celebrating 10 years of programming this year --- and is happy to donate Sara Hickman's opening night performance to celebrate that fact as well as the Alliance's 20th!

David's full-time career is in Satellite Communications where he has handled everything from Quality Assurance to Inventory Management to Customer & Technical Support - an industry which has allowed him to travel to/through all but 1 of the United States - and see many different parts of the world. Currently Senior Manager of Customer & Technical Support at SkyBitz he began his career at American Mobile Satellite Corporation and also worked at ORBCOMM. These opportunities provide the resources that allow him to do as much as he is able for skopART as well as continue to feed his personal artistic pursuits, which is mostly through Digital Photography that often captures aspects of various travels.

Penelope Burk

Penelope Burk | Principal, Cygnus Research Group; author, Donor-Centered Fundraising

Penelope Burk has over 30 years' experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, marketing, and research. She has held management positions in both fundraising and communication in arts, social service, and sport/recreation charities and is today one of the most sought-after trainers in the sector, known as a "turn around specialist," advocating innovative solutions to improve revenue and institutional performance. Penelope is the author of Donor-Centered Fundraising and Fundraising in a Turbulent Economy, and more than 50 seminars, training programs, articles, and dramatic plays, all written specifically for nonprofit organizations. Her comprehensive research on donor relations is the foundation of her innovative work, her advocacy for donors, and her passion for the philanthropic spirit. Penelope is one of the industry's foremost authorities on fundraising research, training, and strategic planning based on the principles of Donor-Centered Fundraising.

Jennifer Calienes

Jennifer Calienes | Director, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography

Jennifer S.B. Calienes has been the Director of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) at Florida State University since its founding in 2004. At MANCC, she has supported the work of over 60 contemporary choreographers and dance companies though multi-week research and development residencies with collaborating performers, composers, set and lighting designers and dramaturges. She produces the award winning video and audio podcast series “Research Highlights” which showcases contemporary artists and their creative process. Her work at MANCC has helped raise standards for developmental residencies in dance in the United States. From 1999-2004, Calienes was Program Manager for the National Dance Project, a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), which supports the production and distribution of dance in the United States. While at NEFA, Calienes helped expand core programming and establish international partnerships with the U.K., Japan, Netherlands, France and Australia. She is an active advocate for contemporary artists and the support of new work, and in recent years, she has served as a panelist for Dance Advance, The MAP Fund, and United States Artists. Calienes holds a BS in Arts Administration with a Dance Concentration from Butler University.

Clayton Campbell

Clayton Campbell | Advisor, The Joan Mitchell Center

Clayton Campbell was named the first Director of the new Joan Mitchell Center located in New Orleans, LA in 2011. Campbell has over 30 years of experience as an arts administrator and cultural producer, and most recently he served as Artistic Director of the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. Campbell is a former President of Res Artis and has extensive experience as a consultant with such institutions as United States Artists, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Sanskriti Foundation in India, the Gyeonggi Creation Center in South Korea, and the French Government, which awarded Campbell the distinction of Chevalier, Order of Arts and Letters, for his efforts in the field of cultural exchange. As a practicing artist, Campbell has exhibited in numerous national and international museums and art centers and recently released a book of work, Context: Clayton Campbell; 40 Years of Photo Based Art.

Mario Caro

Mario Caro | President, Res Artis

Mario A. Caro is the president of Res Artis, an international network of art residencies that aims to assist its members in promoting cultural exchange. His involvement with the field of art residencies stems from his concern with their effects on local communities. He is also a historian, critic, and curator of contemporary art and has published on various topics, including museum practices, photography, and disciplinary methodologies. He currently holds a post as a fellow in the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Program at New York University.

CC Carter

CC Carter | Performance artist

CC Carter is a Chicagoan with national prominence on the performance poetry scene. Her first book, Body Language, a collection of poetry, was nominated for a 2003 Lambda Literary Award. She is the winner of a host of poetry slams including winning the Fifth Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Competition and the First Annual Behind Our Masks Poetry Slam. She has created and maintained several traditions in the poetry community, including national and local poetry slams for people of color, and the women of color night at Mountain Moving Coffeehouse.  She has participated in hundreds of women’s music festivals, including the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, and has sold out performances on both coasts. Recently she was a guest performer with Nedra Johnson and Mimi Gonzalez on an Olivia Cruise, receiving standing ovations for all three appearances. Her performances have been earned her opening credits for Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Cheryl Clarke and Dorothy Allison and headlining credits on bills with Staceyann Chin, Alix Olson, and Andrea Gibson.

Kathleen Cerveny

Kathleen Cerveny | Director of Institutional Learning + Arts Initiative, The Cleveland Foundation

Kathleen Cerveny is responsible for evaluating the impact of the foundation’s grantmaking and leadership initiatives, and for capturing learning from this work for the benefit of the foundation and the community. She remains the Foundation’s Director of Arts Initiatives where, for two decades she has directed its arts and culture programs and led major initiatives in public policy and organizational advancement for the arts. Kathleen has been a working artist, educator, development officer, and award-winning producer of arts programming for Cleveland Public Radio. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, she has exhibited her artwork nationally. She is also a published poet and held the title of Cleveland’s Haiku Champion from 2009 to 2011.

Sara Coffey & Dave Snyder

Sara Coffey | Co-Founder + Director, Vermont Performance Lab

Sara Coffey has been working in the performing arts field as a manager, programmer, producer and fundraiser for nearly 20 years. She worked with MASS MoCA on its inaugural performing arts seasons and developing its dance residency program from 1999-2001. She also has managed the dance companies of David Rousseve and Bebe Miller, and performance projects for David Gonzalez, Martha Bowers, and Laurie McLeod. After working in New York City for more than 13 years, she relocated to Southern Vermont in 2004 with her family. In the summer of 2006 she launched Vermont Performance Lab, an enterprise that focuses on providing creative residencies to artists working in contemporary music and dance in Southern Vermont.  Through the Lab Program performing artists have secluded studo time and support to develop new work and have opportunities to engage with local audiences and the creative process. Sara holds a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from New York University and a BA in Anthropology and International Studies from Marlboro College and the School for International Training.

Ed Dadey

Ed Dadey | Director, ArtFarm

bio to come

Esteban Del Valle

Esteban Del Valle | Painter

Esteban del Valle is a Chicago-based painter currently exploring issues surrounding the relationship between theology and the pursuit of “true” democracy. Drawn to the iconic imagery of revolutionary struggles as they appear in the genre of history painting, photography, and film, Esteban has been investigating the moral and ethical questions pertaining to the use of “force” in the struggle for justice and equality. His work often takes the form of large mixed media drawings on canvas. Esteban completed his BFA at Southern Illinois University where he received a 2007 REACH Creativity Award, and became a McNair Scholar. He completed his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he received a Presidential Scholarship and the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship. Esteban has produced murals throughout various parts of the USA, such as Chicago, IL, San Antonio, TX, and Kansas City, MO. He has been in numerous publications and his mural work has been featured on HGTV. Esteban has also been a part of various exhibitions including the 2009 New Insight exhibition at Art Chicago, and Geography of Imagination curated by Phong Bui in New York City.

Karen DiLossi

Karen DiLossi | Director, Art in Sacred Places

Karen has a BA in History and Drama from Washington College and an MA in Theatre from Villanova University. She has worked professionally in theatre since 2000, both onstage and off, serving as actress, stage manager, director, producer, administrator, and manager. Her directing credits include Jump/Cut, Twelfth Night, Tartuffe, and Pounding Nails. She is the co-Artistic Director of Madhouse Theater Company, and serves on the Board of Directors for Flashpoint Theatre Company; she is also a panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. As the Director of Programs & Services for the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia for over eight years, her most prominent responsibility was in producing the Barrymore Awards many times and directing them herself twice. Karen has taught acting at West Chester University and served as a stage management consultant for Villanova Theatre. As the first Director of Arts in Sacred Places, she is creating a clear path for Partners to follow whenever pairing together a congregation with a performing arts institution. She is working towards creating a training model and manual of instruction on long-term leases for arts organizations to thrive within the walls of congregations.

Bob Emser

Bob Emser | Sculptor

Born in Illinois at the height of the baby boom, Bob Emser was influenced both by the constant house construction of the era and his father, a mechanical engineer. Emser's interest in structure led him to begin his formal education in the study of architecture. Feeling the constrains of architecture and the excitement of his first art course in sculpture, he shifted his focus to the full time study of sculpture. After being awarded a full time graduate assistantship in sculpture from Bradley University, Emser completed his MFA in 1978. Gaining quick regional acceptance of his figurative laminated wood sculptures. Emser was the youngest sculptor to have his work selected for prestigious Illinois Arts Councils Sculpture Exhibition. The sculptures were exhibited in and around Chicago and traveled throughout the state for over a year. During his 25-year career Emser has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He has served as a visiting artist and has taught and at several universities and held a tenure professorship for 14 years. In addition to his commitment to the making of art he was the founder the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, a not for profit gallery that was the seminal push for the redevelopment of Peoria's riverfront. Emser has also distinguished himself as an arts advocate and leader within the sculpture community. He served 2 years as Executive Director of Chicago's International Sculpture exhibit, Pier Walk. He has served the arts by holding seats on the board of directors of the International Sculpture Center and the prestigious Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. In 2004 he co-founded the Chicago Sculpture International and currently serves as the president. He received the prestigious Pollack Krasner Grant in 2010.

Liz Engleman

Liz Engelman | Alumnae Relations Coordinator, Hedgebrook; Founder + Director, Tofte Lake Center

Liz Engelman is a freelance dramaturg who is currently splitting her time between Whidbey Island, WA and Ely, MN. Liz has served as the Literary Director of the McCarter Theatre, the Director of New Play Development at ACT Theatre in Seattle, Washington, Literary Manager/Dramaturg at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, and as Assistant Literary Manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville. She has worked on the development of new plays at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, ASK Theatre Projects, New York Theatre Workshop, the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, South Coast Rep, Denver Center, and Florida Stage. She has directed new plays at The Illusion Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, and Carleton College. Liz has been a guest at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Puget Sound, Cornish College of the Arts, and has taught playwriting at Freehold Studio Theatre Lab and The Playwrights' Center. She studied dramaturgy and new play development at Brown and Columbia universities, where she received her BA and MFA in theatre and dramaturgy, respectively. Liz is the co-editor with Michael Bigelow Dixon of several collections of plays, and a new book on playwriting exercises, and of two volumes of monologues with Tori Haring-Smith. She has written articles published in Theatre Topics and Theatre Forum. She serves on the Advisory Board of the National New Play Network and Emigrant Theatre, is a Consultant for The Playwrights' Center (where she helped initiate their New Plays on Campus Program), and Dramaturg at Mixed Blood Theatre. Liz most has served as President and Board Chair of LMDA, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. She is a member of the New Project Group of ITI, is the Alumnae Relations Coordinator of Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, and is the founder and director of Tofte Lake Center at Norm’s Fish Camp, a creative retreat up in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.

Robert Frankel

Robert Frankel | Acting Director of Artist Communities + Director of Museums and Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts

Robert Frankel is the Director of Museums and Visual Arts for the National Endowment for the Arts, and was recently appointed Acting Director of Artist Communities.A museum professional with more than 30 years experience working as an educator, curator and administrator, Mr. Frankel began his career in the Education Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He served as assistant director of the Phoenix Art Museum and as director of the Delaware Art Museum, the Center for the Fine Arts in Miami, and the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA, before moving to Santa Barbara. During his tenure at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Frankel oversaw a steady growth in attendance and membership, the construction of an addition to the building, an extensive exhibition and education program, and an increase to the collection of approximately 4,000 objects. The varied exhibitions organized under Frankel's supervision include the work of Nam June Paik, Carrie Mae Weems, Robert Henri, Louise Nevelson, Beatrice Wood and Pablo Picasso, as well as the presentation of works from the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest and the Vatican Library.



Melissa Franklin | Director, Pew Fellowships in the Arts

bio to come

Mario Garcia Durham

Mario Garcia Durham | President + CEO, Association of Performing Arts Presenters

Mario Garcia Durham begins as President + CEO at Arts Presenters in October 2011, after having served as Director of Artist Communities + Presenting at the National Endowment for the Arts since 2004. Mario was the founder and Executive Director of Yerba Buena Arts & Events at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Prior to founding the festival, Mario was the Performing Arts Curator and a founding staff member of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Mario has served on numerous boards, including the Executive Committee of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and on the board of the American Arts Alliance. Since starting at the NEA in 2004, Mario has been responsible for a renewed NEA focus on the role of Presenters, Artist Communities, Service Organizations, and Outdoor Festivals, and he is responsible for the creation of the American Masterpieces - Presenting program. In 2009, Mario's role at the NEA expanded to include direction of the new Artist Communities discipline, a category he helped create in 2008.

Emily Gray

Emily Gray | Program Director - Insurance, Fractured Atlas

As the Program Director for Insurance at Fractured Atlas, Emily educates artists in the peculiarities of insurance coverage and works with insurance companies to develop policies that will address the specific needs of the arts community. Emily holds broker's licenses in property/casualty and life/health insurance and travels regularly to present workshops across the country for artists and arts organizations on insurance, risk management, and emergency preparedness. A graduate of the Wesleyan University dance department, Emily is actively involved in the New York City dance world in addition to performing regularly with inDANCE, a Toronto-based South Indian classical and modern dance company. When not trying to make insurance cool, she learns French, dabbles in beer brewing, and knits strange and amorphous things (as well as the occasional sock for structure).

Esther Grisham Grimm

Esther Grisham Grimm | Executive Director, 3Arts

Esther's lifelong career in the arts spans administration, museum education, arts education, and philanthropy. She is the executive director of 3Arts, a public foundation dedicated to supporting women, people of color, and people with disabilities working in music, theater, and visual arts in Chicago. Prior to joining 3Arts in 2002, she served first as the director of education and then as the associate director of Marwen, a non-profit visual arts organization that provides out-of-school art instruction, college planning, and career development programs to Chicago's under-served youth in grades 6-12. Before joining Marwen, she was the assistant director of Museum Education in charge of Teacher Programs at The Art Institute of Chicago and the docent coordinator at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. Esther has worked as a freelance art writer, researcher, and editor since 1990, with reviews and features in C Magazine, Dialogue, and The New Art Examiner, as well as other publications, exhibition catalogues, book projects, and gallery guides. She authored a series of family guides for the Terra Museum and wrote six children's non-fiction, art-activity books focusing on the art of ancient and living cultures. She serves as the president of the Board of Directors of Free Street Theater, an organization working to empower teenagers through performance and writing. She is also on the Artist Advisory Committee of Ragdale Foundation, an artist community. Esther served as the treasurer of the Board of Directors of Chicago Women in Philanthropy, where she was a founder of the Women's Leadership Mentoring Program, a citywide effort that connects emerging and established leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Xin Xin Guo | Executive Director, Beijing Studio Center

Xin Xin Guo serves as Executive Director of the Beijing Studio Center, a residency program in Beijing, China. She graduted from TsingHua University in 2002 and worked as an Assistant Professor at Dalian University from 2002 to 2005 before founding BSC with her husband in 2005. In 2008, Xin Xin was invited by Appalachian State University in Boon, NC as a visiting scholar in Chinese contemporary art and society. Xin Xin served as a board member of Res Artis 2008-2009.


Deepa Gupta

Deepa Gupta | Program Officer - Media, Culture + Special Initiatives, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Deepa Gupta manages the Foundation's grantmaking in arts and culture in Chicago and the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, helping to ensure the sustainability of exceptional Foundation grantees. She previously served as a senior associate at McKinsey & Company in Chicago and led the marketing and development for an itinerant theatre company called Project Y in Washington, D.C. Deepa earned her MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has an AB in Public Policy and Biology from the University of Chicago. She chairs the board of Project Y Theatre Company (New York), is a board member of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, and an advisory board member of the Cure JM Foundation. She was recently nominated by President Obama to serve on the National Council on the Arts.


Peter Handler

Peter Handler | Program Director, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

Peter Handler is the Program Director for The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The Small Theater and Dance Company Funding Program is among his major responsibilities, though he reviews proposals from all program areas. For eight years, he ran the foundation’s Individual Artist Award Program. Peter serves on the board of Free Street Theater, a youth theater company in Chicago. He also serves on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts, a national membership organization of foundations and corporations that make grants in the arts. In an earlier life, Peter directed an artist residency program at the Chicago Park District. Peter is also a playwright whose plays have been produced in Chicago and San Francisco.  He has taught playwriting at Columbia College Chicago.

Maria Rosario Jackson

Maria Rosario Jackson | Director - Culture, Creativity and Communities, Urban Institute

Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, is a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center at the Urban Institute (UI) and director of UI's Culture, Creativity and Communities Program. Her research expertise includes neighborhood revitalization and comprehensive community planning, the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender in urban settings, and the role of arts and culture in communities. Her projects in cities throughout the United States have explored the role of intermediaries in comprehensive community planning, the characteristics of place that lead to cultural vitality, the measurement of arts and cultural vitality and the integration of new topics into policies and programs concerned with quality of life. Dr. Jackson's work has appeared in academic and professional journals as well as edited volumes in the fields of urban planning, sociology, community development and the arts. She has been a speaker at numerous national and international conferences focusing on quality of life, changing demographics, communities and cities of the future, and arts and society. She currently serves on the boards of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the National Performance Network and the Alliance for California Traditional Artists. Formerly, she was on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and the Fund for Folk Culture. Jackson earned a doctorate in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MPA from the University of Southern California.

Laura Jacqmin

Laura Jacqmin | Playwright

Laura Jacqmin was the winner of the 2008 Wasserstein Prize, a $25,000 award to recognize an emerging female playwright. Her plays include Look, We Are Breathing (Sundance Institute Theatre Lab), Dental Society Midwinter Meeting (At Play/Chicago Dramatists: summer 2010; 16th Street Theater: winter 2011; Theater on the Lake: summer 2011) and Ski Dubai (Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 5th Annual First Look Repertory of New Work). Her work has been produced and developed by the MacDowell Colony, Atlantic Theater, Vineyard Theatre, Ars Nova, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Chicago Dramatists, Victory Gardens Theater, The 24 Hour Plays Off-Broadway and more. Jacqmin was a member of the 2010-2011 Playwrights’ Unit at the Goodman Theatre, and will spent summer 2011 in residence at London's Royal Court Theatre. She is currently working on commissions for the Goodman Theatre, South Coast Rep, Arden Theater Company, InterAct Theatre, Victory Gardens/NNPN and Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project. She has a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Ohio University.

David Jones

David Jones | Founder + Director, Anchor Graphics

David Jones is the Founder and Director of Anchor Graphics in Chicago. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he moved to the Midwest to pursue studies in photography and printmaking. He attended the Center for Photographic Studies, Louisville; Banff Centre for the Arts; the Vancouver School of Art; received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute; and is currently pursuing his MFA at the Center for Book and Paper Arts. He has taught printmaking at the Chicago Art Institute and at Columbia College Chicago, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis and the Board of Directors of Southern Graphics Council International. He was Interim Director at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, NYC.


Ra Yoy

Ra Joy | Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois

Ra Joy is the executive director of Arts Alliance Illinois, a statewide advocacy organization that promotes the value of arts and arts education. Ra oversees civic engagement, coalition building and public policy strategies to strengthen the operating environment for the arts sector in Illinois. Prior to joining Arts Alliance Illinois in 2007, Ra served as a top aide to U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, focusing on federal appropriations for municipalities, universities, and nonprofits. Ra was a fellow in the Leadership Greater Chicago class of 2005 and serves on the Executive Council for Americans for the Arts’ State Arts Action Network.

Brad Kik

Brad Kik | Co-Founder + Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Living, Art + Natural Design (ISLAND)

The last 20 years of Brad Kik’s life have been a jumbled mess of film study, environmental activism, graphic design, community organizing, woodworking, chicken raising, music, ecology and permaculture. More recently, Brad found slightly more focus by falling in love with his partner Amanda and, with her, co-founding and now co-directing the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND), an emerging arts, ecology and agriculture program in Northwest Lower Michigan.


Randall Koch

Randall Koch | Artist + activist

Randall Koch is an artist living in Neskowin, on the Oregon coast. He served as executive director at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology from 1991 to 2005. Randall worked with T. Allan Comp from 2003 to 2005 to establish a residency at the Center in order to develop a conservation plan for a nearby property, engaging many disciplines and creating a collaborative process for monitoring the long-term needs of the site, which includes a vital coastal salmon run. 

Kaitlin Kostus

Kaitlin Kostus | Artist

Kaitlin Kostus is an artist who enjoys working in a multitude of mediums, including but not limited to printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture, artists' books, zines, and sound. She received her BFA in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is currently an MFA candidate in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Art at Columbia College Chicago. Kaitlin has received two Graduate Opportunity Award scholarships from Columbia College and is completing a fellowship in offset print production. Combining her love of periodicals and her Eastern European background, she has created Koshka, a print publication exploring contemporary Central and Eastern European art, culture, and community. Culture, Identity, Space, and Location are the key themes for her current thesis work. Her work has been shown at ARC Gallery, Woman Made Gallery, on, as well as the 1st International Printmaking Triennial of ULUS in Belgrade, Serbia. She will present a new body of work in a solo exhibition at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago in March 2012. In her free time she is passionate about traveling, Marimekko textiles, and electronic music.


Joe Kurth

Joe Kurth | General Manager, The Pfister Hotel

Joe Kurth joined the Pfister after working with The American Club, along with Loews and Hyatt Hotels.  Prior to joining The Pfister, he held the position of Vice President - Customer Relations for Pulte Homes in Sarasota, Florida. He has held progressive career growth positions throughout the United States, living in New Orleans, Denver, Memphis, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Sarasota, Kohler, and Milwaukee. He is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Stout with his degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management, along with Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Milwaukee. Kurth currently holds the position of General Manager at the historic Pfister hotel. The Pfister is the flagship property of Marcus Hotels and Resorts and one of only thirteen 35-year AAA Four Diamond Award winners out of over 50,000 hotels nationwide. In addition, the Pfister was recently named to Expedia’s Insider Selection of hotels, placing the Pfister in the top 1% of over 130,000 hotels on Expedia worldwide. Currently, Kurth resides in Brookfield with his wife Andrea, whom he first met in the hotel business in the great city of Milwaukee! He is active at Grace Lutheran Church downtown, the downtown Milwaukee Rotary Club, and sits on the board of the Greater Milwaukee Hotel and Lodging Association. In 2009, Kurth developed the Pfister's Artist-in-Residence program, supporting local artists in the creation of new work and connecting the public to artists and their creative process.

Wayne Lawson

Wayne P. Lawson | Director Emeritus, The Ohio Arts Council

Wayne Lawson served as the fourth executive director of the Ohio Arts Council, 1978-2006. Under his direction the OAC became one of the foremost state arts agencies in the nation in terms of funding, long-range planning and evaluation, support for individual artists and innovative services to constituents in all arts disciplines. Wayne, who was born in Cleveland, studied Romance languages at The Ohio State University, earned a Masters degree in European literature, and a doctorate in theatre and comparative literature. He is a professor of art education at Ohio State. He has served on many panels for the NEA, and was chairman of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Arts Midwest. Wayne has received numerous awards, from The Association of American Cultures, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, the Ohioana Career Award, the Alumni Award of Distinction from the College of Humanities at Ohio State, and from the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Wayne is a trustee of the James Thurber House and the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio. He is Chair-elect of the Board of the Alliance of Artists Communities.

Angee Lennard

Angee Lennard | Founder + Executive Director, Spudnik Press

Angee Lennard is the founder of Spudnik Press Cooperative, and currently serves as the Executive Director. Establishing the space in 2007, she built the press from the ground up, initially utilizing her apartment to create a live/work space. The following year, the press moved to a dedicated studio space, and programming expanded to include a residency program, keyholder memberships, consignment printing, and collaborative projects. She has participated in group shows at Green Lantern, Heaven Gallery, Butcher Show, Beverly Art Center, and Chicago Urban Art Space. She has been an Artist in Residence at AS220 in Providence, RI. She currently teaches at Marwen, CAPE, and Spudnik Press, and has previously taught at Rumble Arts and Paper Source. She has been a panelist at Zygote Press’ Collective INK and moderated the panel “Printmaker as Distributor, Collaborator, and Facilitator” at DePaul University Museum through Nomadic Studios. She is a member of the Chicago Printers Guild and Southern Graphics Council. She received her BFA with an emphasis is Print Media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005.

Melissa Levin

Melissa Levin | Director of Residencies, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Melissa Levin joined Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) in 2005 and is currently the Director of Artist Residencies. She oversees LMCC’s two major residency programs, Workspace and Swing Space, including programming at Building 110: LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island. Working closely with the real estate community in Lower Manhattan, LMCC’s residency programs transform temporarily vacant office floors, bank vaults, and storefronts, into studio, rehearsal, exhibition, and performance space, serving hundreds of visual, performing, and literary artists each year with residencies for the development of new work. Previously, Melissa has worked at Artforum International Magazine, Andrea Rosen Gallery, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. She has participated in panels at Baruch College, Dumbo Arts Center, Lower East Side Print Shop, Center for Book Arts, RISD, and Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts; and lectured at SMFA, NYU, Parsons: The New School for Design, and The Cleveland Institute of Art. Melissa is also an independent curator and writer and has curated exhibitions at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Cuchifritos Gallery, ISE Cultural Foundation, Andrea Rosen Gallery, LMCC, and Taylor De Cordoba Gallery, Los Angeles. Melissa received her BA with honors in Visual Art and Art History from Barnard College.

April Llewellyn

April Llewellyn | Artist

April Hannah Llewellyn is originally from Huntsville, Alabama where she graduated with a degree in studio art from the University of AL in Huntsville. In 2009 she moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College Chicago's Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts MFA program, where she was the papermaking graduate assistant and recently awarded the Graduate Opportunity Award. She is entering thesis candidacy this year. Her artwork explores the idea of the labor of love: how crafting and gifting can build relationships between people, communities, and places. This July, she undertook an extensive roadtrip to visit book and paper art centers and community art centers to explore these intersections of making, gifting, and community. When she has free time, she enjoys papermaking for fun, origami, clover flowers, and watching movies with ladies in big hats.

Louise Love

Louise Love | Provost + Vice President for Academic Affairs, Columbia College Chicago

A member of Columbia’s senior academic staff since 2006, Louise Love came to the college as deputy provost after an extensive national search. Love has been a leader in Columbia's efforts toward student success and the Integrated First Year Initiative through a partnership with Student Affairs, and she has encouraged interdepartmental initiatives and collaboration as evidenced in last year’s “Spotlight on Collaborations” series. Prior to joining Columbia, Love served at Roosevelt University for six years as associate provost and senior associate provost; she also worked in Northwestern University’s Division of Continuing Education and Special Programs. She holds a doctorate in English Literature from Northwestern.

David Macy

David Macy | Resident Director, The MacDowell Colony

David Macy joined The MacDowell Colony in 1994 as Resident Manager and has been Resident Director since 2002. After undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University and a short stint studying visual arts at the Cleveland Institute of Art, David began work in the field as Program Manager at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California (1991-1994). In 1995 David helped found the Peterborough Arts Council where he served as Chairman from 1995 to 2001. He served on the board of New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts from 2003 to 2007 and currently serves on the boards of Monadnock Arts Alive!, a regional arts advocacy group, and the Alliance of Artists Communities. David earned his MS in Management at Antioch University New England (2000).

Sharon Maidenberg

sharon maidenberg | Executive Director, Headlands Center for the Arts

bio to come

Trevor Martin

Trevor Martin | Director of Exhibitions, School of the Art Institute of Chicago - Department of Exhibitions + Exhibition Studies

Trevor Martin, Director of Exhibitions, is responsible for all administrative operations at the SAIC Sullivan Galleries and programming oversight for projects that include visiting artists, faculty and students of the School. A multi-media artist, he is also an instructor in the School’s performance department. Martin has been associated with the SAIC galleries since 1995. He received his MFA in 1998 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has exhibited and performed in venues both locally and internationally.


Trisha Martin | Artist

bio to come

Mark Masuoka

Mark Masuoka | Executive Director + CEO, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

Since 2003, Executive Director and CEO Mark Masuoka has taken the Bemis Center to a whole new level of civic engagement and cultural relevancy as one of the leading artist-in-residence programs in the world.

Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Mark earned his BFA from the University of Hawaii in 1983 and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1987.

In 1989, he founded the Mark Masuoka Gallery in Las Vegas. After four years in the commercial art business, he entered the non-profit arena and was appointed Director of the Nevada Institute for Contemporary Art in Las Vegas. Shortly after relocating to Denver in 1999, he became Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver. Masuoka has served as an advisor and panelist for the Joyce Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. Currently, he serves on the board of directors of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and Why Arts?

Holly McAdams

Holly McAdams | Community Arts Program Manager, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

As the Community Arts Program Manager, Holly McAdams coordinates all activities associated with the Bemis Center's community art program, including the Art 4 Omaha public art projects, workshops, symposiums and community panel discussions. Holly serves as the public link between the Bemis Center and the community to create and produce community-based public art projects and art education programs. Holly recently completed her second bachelor’s degree in Art Management from Bellevue University. She earned her BFA in Ceramics from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and has also studied glass blowing and hand-made tile work.

Elizabeth Millman

Elizabeth Millman| Managing Director - Joffrey Academy and Community Engagement, Joffrey Ballet

Elizabeth Millman came to The Joffrey Ballet in 2004, after 18 years of dance training in the Chicagoland area. After graduating with honors from Northwestern University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in French and Drama, Elizabeth joined the Joffrey as a manager and teaching artist for its educational outreach programs. Between 2004 and 2009, she helped to develop the Joffrey's Community Engagement programs as they grew from about 600 to about 4,000 students each year. In June 2009, Elizabeth took on the role of Managing Director for the newly opened Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, while continuing to support the Community Engagement programs. During her tenure in this position, Elizabeth has facilitated a more than 35% increase in enrollment across the Joffrey Academy's five main divisions, she established policies and procedures, and she implemented strategic and financial plans, enabling the school to exceed its financial goals by the end of its second complete year of operation. Elizabeth brings her passion for dance and education to her work each day, striving to serve the Chicago community by fostering continued growth in all of the Joffrey's educational programs.

Sage Morgan-Hubbard

Sage Morgan-Hubbard | Performance artist

Sage Morgan Hubbard earned her MA in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She is a graduate of Brown University where she double majored in “Performance Studies: Socially Conscious Art of the Everyday” and Ethnic Studies. She is a poet, activist and teacher from Washington, D.C. She is the founder of WORD! spoken word artists and activists, a former DC poetry slam coach and one of the original members of Spoken Resistance and the performance group Sol y Soul, arts for social change.

Nami Mun

Nami Mun | Writer

Nami Mun grew up in Seoul, South Korea and Bronx, New York. For her first book, Miles from Nowhere, she received a Whiting Award and a Pushcart Prize, and was shortlisted for the Orange Award and the Asian American Literary Award. Miles From Nowhere was also selected as “Editors’ Choice” and “Top Ten First Novels” by Booklist, “Best Fiction of 2009 So Far” by Amazon, and as an Indie Next Pick. Chicago Magazine named her “Best New Novelist of 2009.” Previously, Nami has worked as an Avon Lady, a street vendor, a photojournalist, a waitress, an activities coordinator for a nursing home, and a criminal defense investigator. After earning a GED, she went on to get a BA in English from UC Berkeley, an MFA from University of Michigan, and has garnered fellowships from organizations such as Yaddo, MacDowell, Bread Loaf, and Tin House. Her stories have been published in Granta, Tin House, The Iowa Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Evergreen Review, and elsewhere. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

Justine Nagan

Justine Nagan | Executive Director, Kartemquin Films

Justine is Kartemquin Films’ Executive Director as well as an Executive Producer on staff. With Kartemquin, she recently directed Typeface, a documentary on American typography and graphic design and the doc short Sacred Transformations. Formerly she worked as the organization's Director of Communications & Distribution and as the Associate Producer on Kartemquin’s Peabody-Award winning documentary Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita, which was broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens in early 2008. Prior to these projects, she helped Kartemquin to develop the series The Learning Chronicles while earning her Master's Degree in the Humanities with an emphasis on Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago. Other Chicago experience includes teaching at the Hyde Park Art Center, as well as working as a Theatre Manager at the Cadillac Palace and Thorne Auditorium for the Chicago International Film Festival and as a summer Fellow for The HistoryMakers, an African-American video oral-history archive.  She is currently Executive Producing several Kartemquin films including The Interrupters, directed by Steve James, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Before moving to Chicago, she produced promotional spots for Public Television, directed the post-production department for a small media firm and worked for various other companies ranging from M&C Saatchi in Sydney, Australia to Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know? on National Public Radio. Justine received her Bachelor's Degree in Film and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and in 2010, she was the recipient of the Ralph O. Nafziger award for "distinguished achievement by an alumnus within 10 years of graduation." She is an active volunteer in the community for such organizations as The Glass Slipper Project, the Hyde Park Art Center and WTTW. She is currently on the Advisory Board for Midwest Independent Film Festival, has served on the IFP Chicago Board, as the staff representative on Kartemquin’s Board of Directors, as an elected member of the Badger Herald Newspaper’s Board, and has acted on several other civic and community committees.


Adam Natale

Adam Natale | Director of Partnerships + Business Development, Fractured Atlas

With Fractured Atlas, Adam Natale has created innovative audience development, online education, and arts insurance programs, formed partnerships with over 60 arts organizations, presented at multiple national conferences, and has helped the organization grow immensely, with over 4000 artists joining in the past year. A graduate of American University with a degree in Directing for Theatre & Film, he is a freelance director, serves on the Board of Directors for Red Bull Theater, and is a member and the immediate past chair of Americans for the Arts' Emerging Leader Council. Formerly, he served the Theater & Musical Theater disciplines at the NEA and worked as an Associate Producer with the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Adam Natale

Donna Neuwirth | Executive Director, Wormfarm Institute

Donna Neuwirth founded, along with Jay Salinas, Wormfarm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in 1995 and began growing organic vegetables for a handful of Chicago families hungry for a connection to the source of their food. Several years and hundreds of families later, it became apparent that there was more to nourishment than could be found in vegetables alone. They began to explore the links between urban and rural communities beyond the food chain, creating a setting for artistic collaboration. In 2000, they formed a non-profit organization, the Wormfarm Institute. The Wormfarm expands the concept of the CSA, which helps reconnect consumers with the source of their food, by connecting urban and rural, people and land, culture and agriculture. It also expands the idea of ‘sustainability’ to include not just nourishment to live, but a vibrant creative community in which to thrive.They left a place (Chicago) that despite its crowds, crime, concrete and confusion seemed to incubate vital and diverse culture, and moved to a place that has open spaces, serenity and natural beauty, but because of the shift to agri-business and the corresponding decline of rural communities, seems to be only able to generate and support scattered cultural output. By enticing cityfolk to support a rural community, Wormfarm Institute serves as a conduit for resources and information to move in both directions. This trail has been blazed by the CSA Shareholders bearing bread, news and stories from the city and returning with vegetables and a deeper appreciation of the process by which food appears on their table. They have been followed by Visiting Artists, those attending workshops and Festivals, and participants in the Cultureshed program that draws from both local and distant sources.


Craig Nutt

Craig Nutt | Director of Programs, CERF+

Craig joined the CERF+ staff in Fall 2006. As a furniture maker, sculptor, and arts activist, Craig’s multi-faceted experience provides him firsthand understanding of the many ways that artists pursue their careers. In addition, Craig has been active with numerous arts organizations including: the Furniture Society, the Board of Directors of Tennesseans for the Arts, the Artists’ Council of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and most recently serving as interim executive director of the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA). Craig lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Hunter O'Hanian

Hunter O'Hanian | Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Massachusetts College of Art + Design

From 1997 to 2006, Hunter O'Hanian served as the Executive Director of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In December 2006 he was appointed President of Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. He joined MassArt in August 2009. He is a former litigation partner at the Boston law firm of Morrison, Mahoney & Miller, focusing on commercial and contract litigation. He is also the past Chairman of the WGBH Community Advisory Board, and the Art Institute of Boston Board of Trustees. Hunter was an overseer for the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, is involved with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and served as Chair of Provincetown’s Licensing Board. Hunter taught financial management for nonprofits at Boston University for five years, prior to moving to Colorado. He received his Bachelors degree from Boston College and Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School. Hunter is the Board Chair for the Alliance of Artists Communities.

Lauren Pacheco & Peter Kepha

Lauren M. Pacheco | Executive Director + Co-Founder, Chicago Urban Art Society

Born on Chicago's southwest side, Lauren M. Pacheco developed an interest in the art arena by way of a sign painter uncle, a muralist sister, and a multi-disciplinary creative brother with a knack for just about everything.  Having graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in social work, she gained experience in the private and public sector while working in New York, California, and Nevada. In 2006, she and her artist brother, Peter Kepha, founded 32nd&urban: gallery/space located in the Bridgeport community. In June 2010 they co-founded the opening of the Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS), a non-profit, 4,200 square foot exhibition and creative-use space recognized as an "important cultural and community hub." She currently serves as the Executive Director and Peter Kepha is Creative Director and Principal Curator.  

Crystal Pernell | Marketing + Communications Manager, Hyde Park Art Center

Crystal Pernell is a graduate of the University of Missouri where she received her Bachelor’s degree in English in 2004. She went on to receive her MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2007. Over the course of her career Crystal has held positions in education, politics and public relations. In 2008, Crystal joined the staff at the Hyde Park Art Center where she has been the Marketing and Communications Manager for 3 years. Favorite among her duties are working with community organization and individuals to build strong relationships within the arts.


Craig Peterson

Craig T. Peterson | Director - Live Arts Brewery and Philly Fringe, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival + Philly Fringe

Craig Peterson joined the staff of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival in 2010. For four years he was Artistic Director of Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), one of America’s preeminent performing arts institutions based in New York City, and he served in several positions at DTW from 1994 to 2004. In 2004 Peterson co-founded U-Phonic Records, an independent record label based in New York City, dedicated to identifying and producing the work of dance music artists and collaborating with a variety of seasoned artists including Rupaul, Chris Willis, and Sheryl Lee Ralph. Currently, Peterson directs the Live Arts Brewery (LAB), a center for research and development as part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. Initiated in 2009, the program seeks to support artists in the creative process through integrated, long-term residencies, elective programming and the facilitation of collaborative artistic exchange between audiences and artists of all disciplines. Peterson has served on numerous panels for international arts funding institutions, consulted with various arts and social service organizations as a program sight assessor and lecturer, and has traveled extensively nationally and internationally to identify emerging talent and connect with artists and arts organizations worldwide. Peterson is a graduate of Bard College with a B.A. in Drama/Dance and Psychology.

Angelique Power

Angelique Power | Senior Program Officer - Culture, The Joyce Foundation

Angelique Power recently joined The Joyce Foundation as senior program officer for the Culture Program. Ms. Power has more than 15 years experience in communications and outreach, most recently serving as director of communications and community engagement at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She also developed philanthropic marketing efforts as a senior manager and community relations specialist at Target Corporation. Ms. Power co-founded the Multicultural Arts Marketing Committee, which aims to increase participation of audiences of color within Chicago’s cultural institutions. She also serves on Museums in the Park’s marketing committee.

Jane Preston

Jane Preston | Director of Programs, New England Foundation for the Arts

Jane Preston serves as Director of Programs at New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), providing leadership and oversight in program design and delivery of NEFA grants and services in regional touring, public art, Native Arts, the National Dance Project, National Theater Pilot, and international exchange. Among her priorities is assuring quality and integration of NEFA’s research and evaluation processes in these program areas and toward building the cultural policy case for the creative economy and artist employment. Jane has over twenty-five years of professional experience in the cultural and nonprofit community, with emphasis on working at the intersection of public and private initiatives; addressing issues of the arts and community development; and creating new partnerships and resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Wellesley College and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Aparna Ramaswamy

Aparna Ramaswamy | Artistic Director - Choreographer - Principal Dancer, Ragamala Dance

Born in India and raised in the United States, Aparna is a protégé of Alarmel Valli, the world’s leading exponent of Bharatanatyam. Described as “a marvel of buoyant agility and sculptural clarity” (Dance Magazine), Aparna has been featured at prestigious venues throughout the United States and abroad, both as a soloist and as principal dancer with Ragamala. She has been awarded several honors, including a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers, a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, an Arts and Religion in the Twin Cities grant, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, two Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grants, an Artist Exploration Fund Grant from Arts International (New York), the Lakshmi Vishwanathan Endowment Prize from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India), and the Sage Award for Best Dancer (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Aparna’s choreography is supported by the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project, the Japan Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Most recently, Aparna has become the first Bharatanatyam artist to be named one of “25 to watch” by Dance Magazine.


Ranee Ramaswamy

Ranee Ramaswamy | Founder - Artistic Director - Choreographer - Principal Dancer, Ragamala Dance

Ranee Ramaswamy has been a master teacher and performer of Bharatanatyam in the United States since 1978. She is a disciple of Alarmel Valli, the world’s leading exponent of Bharatanatyam. Ranee has received many grants and fellowships in recognition of her choreography, performance, and tireless work in Bharatanatyam, including numerous McKnight Artist Fellowships in categories of Choreography and Interdisciplinary Art, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, a LIN (Leadership Initiative Neighborhood) Grant from the St. Paul Companies, and an Artist Exploration Fund Grant from Arts International (New York). Her work is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, The National Dance Project, and the Japan Foundation. In 2004, she was named one of the “Artists of the Year” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Throughout her career, Ranee has worked with celebrated artists of diverse backgrounds and disciplines, such as poet Robert Bly, jazz musician Howard Levy, jazz vocalist Charmin Michelle, Milwaukee-based African dance troupe Ko-Thi Dance Company, Deaf actress Nicole Zapko, virtuoso music ensemble Speaking in Tongues, and five of the Twin Cities most lauded dancemakers-Danny Buraczeski (jazz), Joe Chvala (tap), Susana di Palma (flamenco), Wynn Fricke (modern), and Lise Houlton (ballet). Ranee’s work has been commissioned by Zenon Dance Company, the University of Minnesota ‘s Interplay Series, composer Jan Gilbert, and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis).

Julia Rhoads

Julia Rhoads | Choreographer

Julia Rhoads is Artistic Director of the Chicago-based dance theater company Lucky Plush Productions, and has been described as "Chicago's resident surrealist" in the Chicago Sun Times, and "adept at both provocative and humorous material" in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. Her distinct integration of dance, theater, and visual design has located Lucky Plush in a wide range of venues including Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Joyce SoHo (NYC), Jacob’s Pillow (MA), the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Steppenwolf Garage (IL), Cusp Conference (Chicago), Grace Street Theater (VA), Spring to Dance (MO), the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival (AK), and the Chicago Humanities Festival, among others. Julia’s independent work has been presented in venues and universities across the U.S including commissions for Alaska Dance Theater, Mordine and Company Dance Theater, and River North Chicago Dance Company, and she has directed and choreographed for theater, performance and film companies including Lookingglass Theater, Redmoon Theater, Walkabout Theater, Hyperdelic and M5. She has received a Cliff Dwellers Foundation Award for Choreography, two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for Choreography, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award, and a fellowship from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography; Lucky Plush is the recipient of a 2011 National Dance Project award and a National Performance Network Creation Fund award for The Better Half, with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center as presenting partners. Julia was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" in 2010" and included in New City's  2010 feature "The Players: The 50 people who really perform for Chicago. She is formerly a company member of the San Francisco Ballet and a collaborating ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group, and earned a BA in History from Northwestern University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago. Julia currently teaches in the theater department at Columbia College Chicago.

Bruce Rodgers

Bruce Rodgers | Executive Director, Hermitage Artist Retreat

Bruce Rodgers is the founding executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat on Manasota Key in Englewood, Florida. He is also a musician, writer, producer, playwright and author and his work has been produced at major regional professional theatres throughout the United States and in Europe. Bruce received his undergraduate degree in Music Education from SUNY Potsdam and his graduate degree in Creative Writing from Indiana University. Between studies, he served three years with the West Point Band and was a lyricist with the famed BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York. Before coming to the Hermitage, Bruce served as the Associate Artistic Director of the Asolo Theatre Company in Sarasota from 1993 to 2004. The Asolo produced his plays, Lost Electra and The Gravity of Honey and commissioned him to write Centerburg Tales, an adaptation of short stories by Robert McCloskey. With a deep commitment to arts education, he has served on the board of the Alliance of Artist Communities, Florida Alliance for Arts Education and The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota Count . He has received a special Renaissance Award from the Sarasota County Arts Council and an “Ace of Hearts” award from the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. 


Sara Schnadt

Sara Schnadt | artist, curator, Chief Technologist - Chicago Artists Resource, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs + Special Events

Chicago-based artist Sara Schnadt explores technology in her work both as subject and media. Her installations and performances use found objects, interactivity, projection, and movement derived from common gestures. Much of her work involves representations or data that translate large quantities of socially resonant information into poetic forms. Schnadt often performs within accompanying sculptural environments, attempting to articulate the personal within virtual and technological innovation. Sara has shown her work throughout Chicago as well as nationally and internationally. Sara co-curates the IN>TIME Performance Series and is co-founder and technologist for Chicago Artists Resource website at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. She also serves on the Artists Advisory Committee for the Chicago Artists Coalition. 



Whit Shepard

Roger W. Shepard | President, RWS Consulting

Roger W. (Whit) Shepard has had nearly two decades of leadership experience in fundraising, strategic planning and board development for nonprofit institutions. Prior to starting a new career as an independent consultant, Shepard served as associate dean for development and alumni relations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His administrative experience includes vice president of development at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, director of development at the Ravinia Festival Association, director of development at Lake Forest Hospital and director of development, corporations and foundations, for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Recently, Whit led the board of trustees at the Ragdale Foundation through a feasibility study process in preparation for a $3 million capital campaign in 2008. He is also working with Elawa Farm Foundation and Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. Whit holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.

Dick Simpson

Dick Simpson | former Alderman, City of Chicago

Dick W. Simpson has uniquely combined a distinguished academic career with public service in government. He began his academic career at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1967, where he has taught for 30 years, and was principal researcher on important studies that have led to reform in many units of government in Cook County, Illinois.

During the past 35 years, Dick Simpson has published numerous studies on elections, voting patterns of elected officials, local government, public policy, and government budgeting. In his most recent book, Rogues, Rebels and Rubber Stamps (2001), Simpson challenges and recasts current theories of Regime Politics as he chronicles the often turbulent story of the internal wars in the Chicago City Council from 1863 to the present. He is also author or co-author of 14 books on political action, ethics, and politics, including Winning Elections (1996), The Politics of Compassion and Transformation (1989), and Chicago's Future in a Time of Change (1993). He has produced seven films and video documentaries winning a variety of film awards including an EMMY nomination. Simpson has published more than 80 professional journal articles, magazine articles, book chapters, and book reviews.

In the public service arena, Simpson surprised political observers when he won election as Chicago's 44th Ward Alderman in his first campaign for political office in 1971, despite a well-financed opponent with an army of precinct captains. As Alderman, Simpson consistently voted for and introduced reform and legislation – occasionally persuading old-line public officials to support his proposals as well. Simpson served the 44th Ward for two terms before voluntarily retiring in 1979.

As a private citizen and university professor, Dick Simpson continues to work in areas where he can put his ideals into practice. Simpson served on transition teams that advised Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne in 1979, Mayor Harold Washington in 1983, and Cook County Clerk David Orr and State's Attorney Jack O'Malley in 1990. He helped shape their positions on ethics, fair hiring practices, citizen participation, and efficient, local government. In 1992 and 1994, Dick Simpson ran for Congress in Illinois' 5th Congressional District opposing Congressman Dan Rostenkowski on a platform of congressional reform, women's rights, universal health care, economic recovery, and senior citizen's issues. In addition, Simpson has served as a political consultant on many campaigns for candidates from Alderman to President. He has also testified before city council, the state legislature, and congressional committees, and has frequently been an expert witness in federal court cases. Awards from many organizations including the City Club of Chicago, Clergy & Laity Concerned, Lakeview Shelter Team, and Clarence Darrow Community Center have recognized his extensive public service.


Regina Smith

Regina Smith | Senior Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation; President, Grantmakers in the Arts

Regina R. Smith has served as a program officer on the Arts & Culture team at The Kresge Foundation since 2008. Regina identifies prospects for national funding opportunities and possible partnerships; reviews funding requests; conducts site visits; meets with prospective grantees and partners; and monitors existing grant relationships. Previously, Regina worked at the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte, NC, where, as vice president of grants and services, she managed a $12 million grants portfolio. She served as programs and services director at Culture Works in Dayton, Ohio, from 1994 to 1999 and, earlier, managed a nationally recognized program for the Indiana Arts Commission. In 1989, while on a nine-month Arts Administration Fellowship, Regina was in residence with three arts organizations: the Madison Art Center, COMPAS in St. Paul, MN, and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs. She began her career as a museum educator at the Cleveland Children’s Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Regina studied art history at the University of Pittsburgh and received a master’s degree in arts administration from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. She is currently president for Grantmakers in the Arts.

Carolyn Somers | Executive Director, The Joan Mitchell Foundation

Carolyn Somers leads The Joan Mitchell Foundation in fulfilling the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to respond and attend to the needs of painters and sculptors. Established in 1993, The Foundation seeks to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities. To further this mandate, the Foundation awards grants to visual artists, supports professional development programming through workshops and residencies, and provides a comprehensive program of free art education to New York City youth. The Foundation recently embarked on a new initiative to develop a program to support the documentation of work by older artists, thus ensuring the preservation of their individual legacies. The Foundation has provided emergency funding to individual artists affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005 and continues to support the visual arts community in New Orleans as it recreates itself in the aftermath of the storms. By encouraging the ambitions of developing artists, the Foundation celebrates the unique legacy of Joan Mitchell as an American artist and seeks to emphasize and create visibility for the important contributions of artists working today.

Keli Stewart

Keli Stewart | Performance artist

A Chicago native, Keli Stewart’s stories, plays, and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Meridians, Naugatuck River Review, Warpland: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas, Torch Poetry, Hip Mama, On Becoming, Muzzle Magazine, Calyx, Spaces Between Us and Reverie: Midwest African American Literature. She is a recipient of the James Baldwin Honorarium from the WORD! Multicultural Theater Festival for her debut play, House of Forks and Knives, a performance piece about gender, identity and a families battle with drug addiction. She is a double recipient of the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation Scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center and also an alum of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation and Callaloo Summer Writing Workshops. Keli has received artist fellowships from the Augusta Savage Gallery’s Arts International Residency Program and Hedgebrook, where she was awarded the 2010 Adrienne Reiner Hochstadt Award. Selected by Illinois poet laureate Kevin Stein, Keli is the first prize recipient of the 2010 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award from the Illinois Center for the Book, Emerging Writers Prize. She was recently named finalist in Tidal Basin Review's Editors Poetry Prize and a Semi-finalist in the Naugatuck River Review's Poetry Prize. Keli was also recently nominated for a Ragdale 3Arts Fellowship. She received her BA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College and is currently an MFA Poetry student at Chicago State University.

Caitlin Strokosch

Caitlin Strokosch | Executive Director, Alliance of Artists Communities

Caitlin has been involved in professional arts management for nearly two decades, first in the performing arts and later on behalf of artists of all disciplines. She has served the Alliance since 2002 and was appointed Executive Director in 2008. Prior to joining the Alliance, Caitlin served as General Manager of His Majesties Clerkes, an early-music choral ensemble, and as Executive Director of CUBE, a new music group, both in Chicago. She is a frequent presenter and guest lecturer, and has been invited to speak by the Association of Small Foundations, Brown University, College Art Association, Dance/USA, Grantmakers in the Arts, Res Artis, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University, and others. Caitlin has served as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Joyce Foundation, and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in music performance from Columbia College Chicago and a Master’s in musicology from Roosevelt University, where her research focused on music as a tool for building communities of resistance and social dissent.

Tracy Taft

Tracy Taft | Executive Director, International Sonoran Desert Alliance

Tracy Taft is the executive director of the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA). With her leadership, ISDA is engaged in the redevelopment of the historic Curley School campus as an arts-based community economic development strategy for Ajo, Arizona. ISDA is also working to renovate 90K square feet of commercial space in Ajo’s historic town plaza. In addition, ISDA provides business development services, environmental education and GED programs, arts workshops, and organizes local festivals. Taft is a tenacious visionary with a background in academic and community education and experience in all elements of strategic nonprofit development and management. She holds a PhD in philosophy from SUNY/Buffalo and a BA in history from Stanford University.

Benjamin Thiem | Director of Member Services, League of Chicago Theaters

Ben joined the League of Chicago Theatres in September of 2004. In his position he serves as a primary contact for over 200 member theatre companies and manages many of the League's audience and professional development programs and services including Theater Thursdays, Free Night of Theater and numerous roundtables, networking events and conferences. Recently he helped develop the League's new website ( and currently he is working with Fractured Atlas to implement and launch the Spaces software ( in Chicago. Ben is also a company member and literary manager at TimeLine Theatre, a company dedicated to producing plays inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. Other Chicago credits include directorial and dramaturgy work with Profiles Theatre, The Gift Theatre and the New Theatre.


Susan Page Tillett

Susan Page Tillett | Executive Director, Ragdale Foundation

Susan Page Tillett is the Executive Director of the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. Since her arrival in 2000, Susan has guided Ragdale through the completion of a successful $4.5 million capital campaign, extensive renovations to the historic property and the development of strong community programs. Susan was a member of the Alliance of Artists Communities' Board 2001-2007, where she concentrated on services to the membership and mentoring to emerging artists' communities. She came to Ragdale with more than 25 years of experience with museums and cultural organizations. Susan has a Masters degree in American Studies from George Washington University and a Bachelors in American Literature from Hamilton College.

Taylor Van Horne

Taylor Van Horne | Director, Instituto Sacatar

Taylor Van Horne is one of the founders of the Sacatar Foundation, a California non-profit that administers a residency program in Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil. Since 2001, Sacatar has hosted over two hundred artists from forty-four countries on its island estate. Taylor’s interest in Brazil dates back to his experience as a high school exchange student there. After getting a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois, he returned to Brazil where he practiced architecture from 1974-1982. He returned to the USA for graduate studies at UCLA and continued his architectural practice on the west coast. Always interested in and supportive of artists, he began to dedicate his time to the creation of the Sacatar residency program in 1999. Although he and co-founder Mitch Loch first considered a residency program in California, it appeared that no such opportunities existed in South America. Taylor’s passion for Bahia, a very special place in Brazil, had also not diminished over the years. The Sacatar Foundation and its sister organization, the Brazilian non-profit Instituto Sacatar, operate the first residency program in Brazil and arguably the oldest in South America, where residency programs are still very much a novelty.  

Christine Vincent | Study Director - National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations, The Aspen Institute

Christine J. Vincent is a strategic advisor to leading foundations, drawing on more than two decades’ experience designing and managing philanthropic and cultural programs and institutions. A former president of Maine College of Art and a former Ford Foundation deputy director for media, arts and culture, she is Study Director of the Aspen Institute's National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations. Her work with the Aspen Institute is supported by venerable arts donors, including the Ford, Getty, and Henry Luce Foundations, as well as prominent artist-endowed foundations, such as those Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, and Andy Warhol. Her private clients include the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, Jay DeFeo Trust, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, among others.

At the Aspen Institute, Vincent organized, raised funds for, and directed the National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations (2006-current), the first look at private foundations created by visual artists in the U.S. The multi-year research project identified 300 artist-endowed foundations, more than half created in the last 15 years, holding $2.7 billion in assets. Annual grantmaking by the top 30 foundations totals more than $50 million. The Study report, The Artist as Philanthropist: Strengthening the Next Generation of Artist-Endowed Foundations, documents the field's origins and trends, highlights policy issues and influences, and cites practical considerations in creating and operating artist-endowed philanthropies.


Jan Williamson

Jan Williamson | Executive Director, 18th Street Arts Center

Jan Williamson is the Executive Director of the 18th Street Arts Center. She joined 18th Street in 1995 as the General Manager and from 1996 to 2006, she was Co-Executive Director with Clayton Campbell. During her tenure she has led the effort to purchase the 18th Street property, developed 18th Street¹s model Residency Program and Arts Education Program and and is now leading the effort to envision and plan 18th Street¹s new expanded facility. Through 18th Street she consults on professional development for individual artists and small nonprofit arts organizations and the operation of multi-tenant nonprofits. She holds a certification from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders and a Bachelor¹s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is an active member of the Santa Monica City Arts Commission, and serves on Commission¹s Artist Live-Work Task Force. Before coming to 18th Street she was a founding team-member for artist Tom Van Sant’s visionary GeoSphere Project, the first satellite composite map of the Earth free of clouds and a state-of-the-art interactive multimedia program for museums and planetariums. As the GeoSphere’s Director of Operations she oversaw the production and licensing of giant globes and maps for Earth Situation Rooms which were installed in the United States, Brazil, Japan, and Spain. Prior to the GeoSphere Project she served for seven years in the museum field as a preparator and registrar.

Meredith Winer

Meredith Winer | Founder, TRANSIT

Meredith Winer is a clay sculptor, a book artist, and a printmaker, as well as an arts administrator. Relocating from the SF Bay Area to Chicago in 2002, to pursue her MFA at Columbia College Chicago's Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts program, Meredith has worked within Chicago's rich arts community and beyond it. In 2009 she conceived of Transit, an intentionally transient residency program, and has since been exploring new ways of creating partnerships between arts facilities and artists who are looking for time and space to make new work.

Pamela Winfrey

Pamela Winfrey | Senior Artist, Exploratorium

Pamela Winfrey is a playwright and performer with a bachelor’s degree in theater and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary arts. She has been at the Exploratorium since 1979 and has worked as an Explainer and for the teaching programs, ran the Tactile Dome, started the Volunteer department, was the director of the performing arts program, acted as director for the arts, and is now a senior artist. Over the years, she has curated numerous performance series, exhibitions, artist residencies, and gallery installations. Pam has served on many panels, including the Interactive Arts Panel for Ars Electronica, and in 2009 was the lead curatorial consultant for emerging art forms for Creative Capital. As a playwright, she specializes in writing absurd plays for a thinking audience. She is currently in residence at Climate Theatre.

San San Wong | Director of Grants, San Francisco Arts Commission

San San Wong has over 20 years of working in the arts. Prior to joining SFAC, she was a consultant focused on the exploration of new aesthetics, the impact of changing demographics and increased internationalism on arts and cultural practice, and strengthening support systems for bringing artists and communities together. Her clients have included: the Ford Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, the Fund for Folk Culture, and the Asia Society, among others. She has worked throughout the United States, and in the Asia Pacifica region. Wong has also served as Executive Director of the National Performance Network, and before that, as Director of Development and Special Initiatives at Theater Artaud (San Francisco).

Lori Wood

Lori Wood | Director, Fes Medina; Consultant, Alliance of Artists Communities

Lori Wood has an extensive background in the field of artist residency programs and social entrepreneurship, and conducted one of the first field assessments for artists’ communities in the early 1990s. Lori directed the Villa Montalvo Artist Residency Program in California from 1991-1995, where she organized the NEA-funded “El Taller Nepantla,” a collaboration between Villa Montalvo and Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA), and other international residencies. She spent two years on the boards of both the Alliance of Artists Communities and Res Artis: The International Network of Residential Arts Centres, and helped run artist residency conferences and planning sessions in Budapest, New Delhi, and Dublin. She has created literary arts programming and fundraising programs for organizations such as the National Steinbeck Center and UCSC Division of Humanities. Lori produced two NEA Big Read programs, created and implemented the 2007 Steinbeck Festival, A Culture of Discontent: Steinbeck in the 60s, and led the early creation process of the 2008 Steinbeck Festival, Steinbeck in Mexico. She is currently managing a two-year IMLS leadership grant, a collaboration between the Salinas Public Library and the National Steinbeck Center, re-imagining Salinas, California as a City of Letters. She is also the founder and director of a social venture project in Fes, Morocco which is restoring traditional properties in Fes’ medieval medina and will provide non-profit residencies for artists from around the world. Lori holds a BA in Literature from Harvard College, an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School, and a Masters in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on France and North Africa.

Steve Woodall

Steve Woodall | Director, Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago

bio to come

Steve Woodall

Sarah Workneh | Executive Director - Program, Skowhegan

Sarah Workneh has served since 2009 as Skowhegan's Executive Director - Program. Previously, she was the Associate Director of Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency. She earned her BA in Linguistics and Russian Language and Literature from the University of Maryland-College Park and an MA in Interdisciplinary studies from DePaul University.





© 2011 Alliance of Artists Communities