Mayor Lightfoot Appoints New Members to the Cultural Advisory Council of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

December 18, 2019

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334,


CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today introduced the new members of the local arts community to the Cultural Advisory Council of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), including Council Chair Amina J. Dickerson and Vice Chair Alison Cuddy. The Mayor will submit these appointments for City Council approval in January.

“A robust Chicago arts community inspires us, engages us, questions the status quo, and has the power to bring our diverse city together in conversation around the critical challenges of our day,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “I am grateful to the outgoing members of the Council and excited to bring these new voices to the table, who will work with us to ensure that Chicago remains a vibrant and innovative cultural hub – and that all Chicagoans have equitable access to the arts.”

The entirely new slate of Cultural Advisory Council members will advocate for a vital Chicago arts community and help advance the Mayor’s arts and culture priorities, which include making Chicago livable and affordable for artists and creative professionals, expanding public arts programming to help drive the economic life of our neighborhoods, collaborating with communities and creative industries to engage our artists and expand quality jobs, and expanding equitable access to high-quality arts education for all young people in Chicago.

The proposed appointees are a diverse group of Chicagoans from across the city representing a broad cross-section of arts genres. They include practicing artists, representatives from major cultural organizations, neighborhood and community organizations, and the community at large.

“Mayor Lightfoot has appointed an incredible group of Chicagoans to serve on the reinvigorated Cultural Advisory Council and I am looking forward to working closely with all of them to strengthen the cultural landscape,” said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly.

Pending approval, the new Cultural Advisory Council will be comprised of the following individuals:

  • Paola Aguirre Serrano, Founding Principal, Borderless Studio
  • Alison Cuddy, Artistic Director, Chicago Humanities Festival
  • Sandra Delgado, Theatre Artist, Writer, Actor and Producer
  • Amina J. Dickerson, President, Dickerson Global Advisors
  • Juan Díes, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Sones de México Ensemble
  • Bob Faust, Owner, Faust and Special Projects Director, Nick Cave Studio
  • Robert Gomez, Owner, Subterranean/Beat Kitchen/Underbar
  • Esther Grisham Grimm, Executive Director, 3Arts
  • Tracie D. Hall, Director, Culture Program, Joyce Foundation
  • Akilah S. Halley, Executive Director, Marwen
  • Tempestt Hazel, Arts Program Officer, Field Foundation of Illinois
  • Kevin Iega Jeff, Creative Director, Deeply Rooted Productions
  • Ginger Lane, Arts & Culture Project Director, Access Living
  • Josephine Lee, President & Artistic Director, Chicago Children’s Choir
  • Tonika Lewis Johnson, Artist, Folded Map Project
  • Bill Michel, Associate Vice President and Executive Director of UChicago Arts and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago
  • Heather A. Miller, Executive Director, American Indian Center
  • Cesáreo J. Moreno, Chief Curator & Visual Arts Director, National Museum of Mexican Art
  • Margaret C. Murphy-Webb, Executive Director & Co-Founder, South Side Jazz Coalition
  • Coya Paz, Artistic Director, Free Street Theater
  • Claire C. Rice, Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois
  • Silvia Rivera, Managing Director, Vocalo
  • Myrna Salazar, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Chicago Latino Theater Alliance
  • David Schmitz, Executive Director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • Jennifer A. Scott, Director & Chief Curator, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Paul J. Sznewajs, Executive Director, Ingenuity
  • Vivian Teng, Managing Director, Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival
  • Omar Torres-Kortright, Executive Director, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
  • Tanner Woodford, Founder & Executive Director, Design Museum of Chicago
  • One additional member to be named later


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


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