Born in 1956 and raised on Chicago’s south side, I attended Columbia College in the mid 70s, got involved in the women’s, anti-war and social justice movements of that era and served as Artistic Director of Photography for the City’s Artist in Residence program later that decade. Throughout the 1980s I worked as a photographer and graphic designer.
I began my tenure as Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago in 1996. My background in community organizing and the arts provided the impetus to develop programs in collaboration with a variety of institutions, including the JazzCity free concert series, a collaboration with the Chicago Park District which provides jazz performances to communities across Chicago, the Jazz Links education programs that provide opportunities for students to perform with and learn from jazz veterans, and co-curating the Chicago Jazz Festival and Millennium Park’s Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz series. In 2006 I began a 12-year partnership with a cultural arts organization in Poznan, Poland to curate and present a Made in Chicago Festival and to exhibit my music-inspired artwork.
I photographed the programs I developed, providing the chance to illustrate the story of the Jazz Institute and its community. While the majority of this period was spent growing this small not for profit arts organization, it also provided opportunities for me to continue to develop my art. I stepped down from my role as executive director on March 1, 2018 to focus more deeply on my own artistic endeavors.