Art Works Projects’ mission is to use design and the arts to raise awareness of and educate the public about significant human rights.
Art Works Projects (AWP) provides visual advocacy tools which produce action on human rights crises at the grassroots, media, and policy levels. Conceptualized and created in conjunction with established humanitarian and human rights advocacy organizations, AWP’s art and design exhibitions, books, recordings, films, and other initiatives provide opportunities for large numbers of the general population to engage in ending major human rights violations.
In its first eight years of existence, AWP’s agenda includes projects exposing genocide, extreme sexual violence against women, the global shortage of potable water, forced labor and human trafficking, and ethnic cleansing and anti-democracy actions. AWP selects topics which are the most intractable, the least covered in the mainstream media, and the most abusive for victims.
Our office is located at 625 N. Kingsbury St. in Chicago.
Send mail to 1074 W. Taylor St. #113, Chicago, 60607
- Create widespread media attention exposing a given issue.
- Direct viewers and readers to significant opportunities to impact the situation and create lasting change.
- Develop visual advocacy tools with guidance from major humanitarian and advocacy organizations who address the same topics, ensuring that a given project is useful in creating change.
- Conceptualize and fabricate the design which most achieves the goal at hand.
- Partner with a range of organizations and cultural institutions in order to present the issue widely and deliver far-reaching results.
- Work closely with partner organizations to elicit media coverage.
Click on any staff member to find out more
Art Works Projects has a growing, primarily volunteer, team with a shared commitment to global human rights, the arts, and impact.
EXECUTIVE AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Leslie Thomas is the founding Executive and Creative Director of Art Works Projects. Meanwhile, she is also an architect, Emmy-award winning art director, and mom. A founding principal with LARC Inc. and LARC Studio, a national architectural practiced based in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, Leslie is a graduate of Columbia University and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Leslie’s work has been the recipient of grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Humanity United Fund and the Graham Foundation. Leslie is committed to the use of art and design for public good, and she uses all of her resources to accomplish her goals. Set aside the world of social media and Leslie can be considered a networking master. A self-avowed Luddite, Leslie doesn’t regularly use Twitter or Facebook, but her instinct for connecting people and her skill in mobilizing teamwork is what made Art Works Projects a reality. With the year 2008 seeing Leslie’s first blog entry, it’s hard to imagine what might happen next. When Leslie is not busy dreaming up a great new project or toting her son Nico to various destinations, she is discovering the joys of urban biking. She has also fallen in love with Haiti. E-mail email@example.com.
Wendy Tng is a project coordinator and developer for AWP’s initiative on modern-day slavery, AT WHAT COST _ Human Trafficking/Forced Labor/Child Labor. She is a graduate of Oxford University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and speaks Mandarin and a little French. She enjoys research and writing and constantly learning. She has lived on three continents thus far (Asia, Europe and North America) and aspires to cross more off her list. Part of her will always miss being right on the equator in Singapore, where she was born and raised. Wendy’s goals include understanding philanthropy and social entrepreneurship better, working for positive social impact and finding the perfect macaron. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chelsea Very is a graphic designer who hopes to use design in way that positively affects people and the environment. Chelsea studied at an individualized major of graphic design, marketing and visual arts, with a minor in Italian studies. Having grown up in New Hampshire, Chelsea is a Chicago transplant that has learned to make the best of hibernating. E-mail email@example.com or visit www.chelseavery.com.
Kristin Esch is a communications coordinator for Art Works Projects and a project coordinator for Congo/Women, as well as a managing editor for Stories. She works as media assistant at the Poetry Foundation. Kristin has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University with a double major in English writing and French. Upon graduation from college, Kristin taught English to francophone children in Martinique. She loves traveling and trying new restaurants. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raven Moore is a communications coordinator and a managing editor for Stories. She is also the project coordinator for Women Between Peace and War: Afghanistan. Having academically studied the use of image and alternative media as educational tools and “messengers” for creating political awareness, Raven is devoted to cultivating civic engagement in human rights issues. She graduated from Bates College with a bachelor’s degree in political science with a focus in cultural politics. Raven is always on top of Internet and social media trends. She bore witness to—and is responsible for—Leslie’s first blogging event. E-mail email@example.com or read her blog at www.thewriterbabeseries.com.
Paul Schmit currently supports AWP’s website and ongoing digital needs. Paul is a Technical Director at CMD Agency in Portland, Oregon and a majority of his day is spent collaborating with interactive creatives and techies while contemplating some of the larger meanings of life beyond spin and soundbites. Paul is a transplant to the Pacific Northwest, where he and his former high school sweetheart raise their three sons – guided by the principles of life learning, slow food, non-violent communication, and a constant urge to grab a vintage camper and hit the road on an endless adventure. Paul is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a background in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He also received a certificate degree in Webmaster and Internet Technologies from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Alexandra Guajardo is an exhibition coordinator for Congo/Women and BLOOD/STONES. Alex graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art history and a minor in Italian from the University of Illinois. She has experience working in both the gallery and museum arenas at the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago’s River North gallery district. Alex is passionate about art appreciation and education as well as human rights. Alex grew up in Chicago and attended the Latin School of Chicago. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaclyn Robbins is an exhibition coordinator for Congo/Women and BLOOD/STONES. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from Columbia College Chicago with a focus in non-Western art. During her time at Columbia College, Jaci assisted in the production of Pandemic in Print, an exhibit whose goal was to bring public attention and awareness to the AIDs epidemic in Africa. She is currently at work in enrolling in graduate program in art history and is devoted to working in tandem with AWP to bring awareness to human rights issues through artistic means. Jaci manages to always offer a fresh eye and a positive attitude. E-mail email@example.com.
Greg Doench is an architect and exhibition designer who has worked internationally on a range of cultural, commercial, and institutional buildings. As a principle in the national architectural design studio LARC, Greg brings years of international project experience as well as a background in large buildings and small scale furniture and fabrication. He provides the creative team with strong technical support in all of its installations. Greg’s experience in designing cultural centers also allows him to understand and account for the challenges and opportunities of the large international tours undertaken by AWP’s installations.
J. Matthew Jacob, a New York City-based video editor and post-production supervisor, has been an integral member of the DARFUR/DARFUR project since its inception. Professionally, his clientele includes Jaguar, Old Navy, ExxonMobil, the Atlantic, and NASCAR. After studying experimental film at the University of Oklahoma, he honed his skills as an editor and a sports photographer. After moving to New York, he found a niche troubleshooting documentaries such as Murderball, The Trials of Darryl Hunt, and How to Eat Your Watermelon, seeing these films through the finishing process and into the international festival circuit. He has since seen his client base expand to advertising and the art world as he advises and supervises productions on digital acquisition through post-production.
Jane Sachs is a founder and principle at HS2 Architecture. Since 2006 Jane has worked helping to launch DARFUR/DARFUR and consulting on Congo/Women. With a degree in fine arts, a graduate degree in architecture, and 15 years of practice as principle at HS2 Architecture, she has been valuable voice in determining the direction of Art Works Projects. In 2006, Leslie Thomas with Jane Sachs, Thomas Hut and Greg Doench formed the architectural joint venture LARC Studio, one of the 24 pre-qualified design firms selected by the New York City Department of Design and Construction for 2008 to 2009.
Hunter Hollins is currently at the U.S. Department of the Interior and has been working with museums and non-profit organizations for more than 15 years. Hunter has served as a volunteer career counselor for the Women’s Center in Fairfax, VA, and for five years Hollins managed International Arts & Artists, a non-profit organization which organizes traveling exhibitions from Asia, Europe and within the United States. Hunter’s exhibition experience began at the University of California at Santa Barbara and continued with stints at the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art. He was raised on cattle and sheep ranches in the northern part of California and remains active in environmental initiatives.
Rachel has designed large-scale special events in both the private and public sectors with a uniquely personal flair. In her work for Art Works Projects, she draws upon years of experience in marketing, teaching, fundraising, the arts, and her continuous practice of yoga – which although not mandatory for development is of enormous practical benefit. Rachel thanks all of her teachers from past to present for inspiring her daily to be of service to others.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Amy Eliot is an architect and educator focused on the interface between architecture and interior design. She is a partner in the San Francisco design firm Tom Eliot Fisch where she provides leadership and direction to higher education, multi-family, and infrastructure projects for both public and private sector clients, as well as non-profits. A passion for interdisciplinary art and design thinking led her to teach for a decade at the California College of the Arts, where she held the position of Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Interior Architecture. During her tenure at CCA, Amy was involved in both developing and implementing studio and theoretical studies which explored the boundaries between art and design and how they can inform each other in ways that expand how we see the world and respond to it. A graduate of the Harvard Design School and Smith College, she also sits on the boards of Creativity Explored, a visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art; and LINE, AIA San Francisco’s design journal, whose mission is to connect Bay Area architects and designers with the broader community by provoking dialogue about critical issues that affect architectural and urban design, environmental and economic policy.
Susan Leach is a lawyer who has practiced in California and New York. Her practice has been varied, including complex business litigation with an emphasis on securities class actions, corporate governance and related counseling and regulatory and exchange proceedings. Her primary focus now is in public law, including election and constitutional law. Susan is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Gonzaga University.
Alissa Lillie is an interior designer working in the San Francisco Bay Area. After working for other design offices in San Francisco, she founded Lillie Design in 2003. Lillie Design specializes in educational interiors projects and interiors for residential clients. She has also worked on large institutional projects such as San Francisco City Hall and Berkeley Civic Center. Lillie Design has worked with many non-profit organizations to create spaces that reflect their character and work. From 1997 to 1998, Alissa served as the Director of 2AES/Center for Critical Architecture in San Francisco. This non-profit sponsors an architectural lecture series for the public and competitions to further design interest and integrity in the area.
Susan T. Rodriguez, FAIA, is an architect whose work focuses primarily on projects in the public realm for educational, cultural, scientific and governmental institutions. She is a design principal and managing partner in Polshek Partnership Architects, an internationally recognized studio in New York City. Her award-winning designs convey her passionate belief in architecture as an interpretive medium and its profound ability to communicate the values of contemporary society. As an extension of her professional work, Susan is actively involved in promoting the importance of design in the public realm. She lectures frequently on her work and for the past decade has served on the boards and executive committees of the Architectural League of New York and Van Alen Institute. She has also taught numerous design studios at Cornell University, Columbia University and City College. A graduate of Cornell’s School of Architecture, she serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council and the University President’s Council for Cornell Women. Susan received her master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University and is a national design peer for the General Services Administration and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Gretchen Steidle Wallace
The entire Art Works Projects team would like to express our enormous gratitude to those donors, advisors, photographers, editors, musicians, composers, designers, curators, writers, friends and family members who have made this work possible.
AWP is grateful for the generosity of these and other sponsors:
The Frankel Family Foundation
International Labour Organization
The Libra Foundation
The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
The Oak Foundation
The Open Society Institute
Polk Bros Foundation
Rainforest Learning Center
Donald J. Vaccaro
The Save Darfur Coalition
UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR, United Nations High Commission on Refugees
UNIFEM, United Nations Development Fund for Women
Art Works Projects is a 501c3 non-profit organization.