ART WORKS Projects has a growing team with a shared commitment to global human rights, the arts, and impact. You can learn about us below and see active job descriptions by clicking here.
EXECUTIVE AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Leslie Thomas is the founding Executive and Creative Director of ART WORKS Projects. She is also an architect, Emmy-award winning art director, and mom. Leslie is a founding principal with LARC Inc., a national architectural practice, and is a graduate of Columbia University and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She serves on the boards of Congo Kids Initiative and is on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Women and Global Development Steering Committee. Leslie’s work has toured globally and been the recipient of grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, the MacArthur Foundation, the Humanity United Fund and the Graham Foundation. She is committed to the use of art and design for public good.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION & OUTREACH
Claire Dillon is the Director of Education and Outreach for ART WORKS Projects. She graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Italian, where her work focused on expressions of solidarity between artists of different minority communities. She is committed to human rights advocacy and diversity initiatives including the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. She has several years of experience working with art and education; her research has received international recognition, and she has worked for Art Journal, the Block Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, among other institutions locally and in Milan and Bologna.
Program & Outreach Coordinator
Samantha Owens is the Program and Outreach Coordinator. Samantha holds a BA in International Studies and Religious Studies from Northwestern University and an MA in Human Rights from University College London, where her studies focused on the economic, social and cultural rights of ethnic and religious minorities. In her professional life, Samantha has held positions in development, communications, and community engagement for NGOs in both London and Chicago. Her primary professional interests lie in using effective storytelling and building partnerships to elicit social change.
Daniela Delgado Villanueva
Daniela Delgado Villanueva is an intern at ART WORKS Projects. She is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a BA in Advertising and Public Relations and minors in Sociology and Photography. Although originally from Mexico, Daniela grew up in the United Arab Emirates and has also lived in South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico and the US. This exposed her to a variety of different cultures and fed her motivation to continue learning about the world and global issues. Studying communications, sociology, and photography inspired her to want to join ART WORKS, where she would find a blend of all her interests.
Giovanna Giuriolo is an intern for ART WORKS Projects. She is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago majoring in International Studies and History, with a minor in Black World Studies. Giovanna was born in Brazil and grew up in Italy. She spent her junior year of high school in Seattle, WA as an exchange student, and she studied in Rome for her freshmen year of college where she volunteered for a refugee center. This experience helped her develop an interest in human rights, in particular slavery, sex trafficking, and other forms of forced labor. In the future, Giovanna plans to attend graduate school for international affairs and political science in Europe.
Erika Holum is rising senior and Reagan Fellow at Eureka College in Illinois. She is studying Political Science and History. Her research interests include visual politics, memory, storytelling, and post-conflict reconciliation. Erika is currently writing her senior thesis on the role of memory in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. After graduating from Eureka, Erika plans to attend graduate school in international politics and law to work as a legal advocate for human rights.
Verónica Jiménez is an intern for ART WORKS Projects. She is a rising senior at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and has a passion for art and music. She has worked at ART WORKS Projects for the past year, and her goal is to help the organization raise awareness about human rights issues. In the future she hopes to attend the School of the Art Institute to pursue a career that involves art and/or social justice.
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 in each of ART WORKS Projects’ installations.
Maren Wickwire is a Chicago-based documentary director and producer. Maren’s documentaries and media work for nonprofits reflect her desire to see social change and justice. Her work has brought her to Holocaust survivors, Arab Christians in the Westbank, underserved women in Tajikistan, and ex-guerilla fighters in Huanuco, Peru. She uses documentary film as a tool to raise awareness and give a voice to the untold stories of injustice. Maren has a degree in Communication Design from the Folkwang University of the Arts in Germany. View samples of her work at www.manifestmedia.de and www.vimeo.com/manifestmedia
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board basecamp login
Sonya Anderson has worked domestically and internationally to increase educational opportunity for under-served populations. She has designed and led programs to advance girls’ education in Africa; led federal policy and advocacy efforts to support early childhood education for at-risk youth in the United States; and worked throughout the non-profit and philanthropic sectors to provide funding and other resources to support strong schools, families, and communities. Sonya’s professional experiences include serving as the Senior Vice President for Programs at Crown Family Philanthropies, the Vice-President for National Affairs at the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and as the Education Program Director at the Oprah Winfrey Foundations. Sonya holds an undergraduate degree from Yale University, a masters degree from the University of Ghana, and a doctorate from Harvard University.
Leah Missbach Day
Leah Missbach Day is a documentary photographer, based in Chicago, whose work has been exhibited across the U.S. and internationally. In 2005, Day cofounded World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit organization, which has provided over 140,000 bicycles to families rebuilding livelihoods, caregivers combating disease, students seeking access to education and entrepreneurs who depend on quality transportation. Her images and storytelling often serve the organization’s campaigns. Day’s artistry extends to the written word including the forward to National Geographic’s book, Wheels of Change: How Women Rode to Freedom and a rebuttal to the book, Why Save Africa? She frequently speaks on behalf of World Bicycle Relief. Of distinction, as keynote speaker for Women Bike’s 1st Annual Summit. Day received her M.F.A. in Photography from Columbia College Chicago where she taught for 8 years.
Roberta M. Feldman, MArch, PhD
Roberta Feldman is an architectural activist, researcher and educator committed to democratic design. Feldman has been engaged in public interest design and research for more than 30 years. She has worked individually as well as coordinated multi-disciplinary teams of students, faculty and professionals in the fields of architecture, urban planning, graphic and industrial design, and history and culture of cities to support communities underserved by the design professions. Embracing participatory design and action research practices, Feldman has sustained working relationships with leaders in over fifty community organizations and development corporations in Chicago’s low income neighborhoods to address their visions for shaping, revitalizing and preserving their designed environments. Feldman has initiated numerous advocacy projects as well — forums, summits, exhibits, and websites – and written numerous publications to raise the professions’ and public’s awareness of design’s potential to serve the public’s interest.
Feldman is Professor Emerita, UIC School of Architecture, Director Emerita, UIC City Design Center, and affiliated faculty, IIT PhD Program in Architecture. She currently is Chair of the Board of Directors at ART WORKS Projects and Vice Chair for Programming and Interpretation, National Public Housing Museum.
Tracey Fletcher is a lawyer with the Friedman Law Group, Ltd., a Chicago-based firm specializing in marketing law. Tracey’s practice focuses on charitable promotions, environmental marketing, and general commercial transactions. She is also the general counsel of the Usher III Initiative, a medical research foundation. Tracey’s past experience includes founding the legal department of a global public relations firm and serving as Senior Assistant General Counsel of the American Hospital Association, where she handled transactional, litigation, and regulatory matters. She has prepared testimony for congressional hearings, represented clients before state and federal agencies, and drafted appellate briefs for submission to state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Tracey previously served as adjunct faculty at Loyola University School of Law and was a legal writing instructor at the University of Michigan Law School while a third-year law student. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan. Tracey openly admits that she possesses no artistic talent, abilities, or inclinations whatsoever.
De Gray is a dedicated activist with deep experience in the arts, education, and human rights. A long time supporter of ART WORKS, she was previously Co-Chair of the Human Rights Watch Chicago Committee. She serves on the Education Committees for both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Hyde Park Art Center Board, and is also a board member for Restore Justice Illinois, where she reaches out to prisoners through visits with other supporters. The organization helps individuals who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles, and works to promote fair criminal justice policies and a balanced criminal justice system. De additionally supports the Abraham Path, a long-distance walking trail across the Middle East, which traces the journey of the patriarch Abraham to inspire understanding and prosperity in the region and around the world.
Julie Hubbard is the Senior Vice President – Finance at Easter Seals, Inc., which offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals. Julie has a background in corporate finance and transitioned to the nonprofit sector in 2005 to fulfill her objective of making a positive change in the world. Julie served as the Treasurer to all of Oprah Winfrey’s philanthropic entities, and also served as the CFO for the Spencer Foundation, a private foundation that promotes educational improvement through fostering purposeful scholarly inquiry into matters of educational significance. Julie has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and completed her undergraduate work at Alma College. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Ashley Theriot McCall
Ashley McCall is a human rights advocate and philanthropist whose areas of interest include Human Trafficking, Refugees and Gender Based Violence. She is currently involved with Refugee One as a sponsor and mentor for Congolese refugee families, and is also on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Women and Global Development Steering Committee. She has consulted with UNHCR on Kenyan Refugee Camp fundraising initiatives and served on the Executive Council of the UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign. Ashley has chaired development and strategy committees for The Founders’ Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital, The Family Institute at Northwestern University and The Ounce of Prevention Fund. Previously, she worked on Wall Street at UBS and Credit Suisse. She has an MBA from Northwestern University (Kellogg) and a BA from Georgetown University.
Leslie Thomas also serves on the Board of Directors
Elizabeth Lazar, Former Board Member
Claire Van Cleave
Susan Leach, Founding Board Member
Susan T. Rodriguez, Founding Board Member
San Francisco/Bay Area
Amy Eliot, Founding Board Member
Alissa Lillie, Founding Board Member
Hunter Hollins, Former Board Member
Ambassador Steven E. Steiner
In gratitude to:
Gretchen Steidle Wallace