Urban Gateways Center for Arts Education

 

Staff Bios

John W. Adams - Director of Finance and Operations

John Adams is responsible for all facets of accounting, audits, contracts, office logistics, human resources, technical resources and other related duties. Joining Urban Gateways in 2006, he has worked in the non-profit arena for over twenty years. Past positions include Business Manager at the Goodman Theatre, Excecutive Director at Writers' Theatre and Development Manager at Gay Games VII. Mr. Adams has served on the Board of Directors of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Board of the Chamber of Commerce of Glencoe.

Kristy Conway - Associate Director of Institutional Giving

Kristy Conway, Associate Director of Institutional Giving, joined Urban Gateways in 2008, bringing expertise in community building, social services, and child development, and holds a Masters level education in social work and psychology. As a lead grant writer and event planner at Urban Gateways, Kristy is motivated and inspired to fundraise by the New Arts Forum members she has had the pleasure to work with, and her personal belief and passion that the arts enrich the human experience. Kristy and her musician husband enjoy traveling, outdoor activities, and practicing and appreciating a variety of art disciplines.

Albert Cooper - Program Sales and Community Partnerships Manager

Albert Cooper directs and coordinates all program sales at Urban Gateways. He is also Urban Gateways’ community advocate, and he directs and oversees extended community engagement.  Albert graduated from Roosevelt University in Chicago with a Master of Business Administration in Finance and has served the nonprofit sector for several years in various capacities.

Abby Csanda - Associate Director of Individual Giving

Abby began her career in community arts as a Program Associate with Snow City Arts, an organization that provides in-hospital arts education for pediatric patients in Chicago. Following her work at Snow City Arts, Abby served as Director of Marketing and Communications for Green City Market and later as a fundraiser for the Old Town School of Folk Music, building their membership structure and auto-renewal programs as well as raising funds for their Capital Campaign for the new East Building in Lincoln Square.  Most recently, Abby worked for Cannon Design, an international design firm, creating innovative marketing strategies and proposals for their healthcare market. Abby finished her Masters’ thesis on Positive Youth Development and Mentoring Programs and in May of 2010 received her Master's of Arts Management from Columbia College of Chicago.  Before living in Chicago, Abby grew up in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois and received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University in Photography.

Sherre Jennings Cullen - Director of Development

Sherre Jennings Cullen, Director of Development, joined Urban Gateways in 2009.  Prior to Urban Gateways, Sherre led the development efforts at Writers’ Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.  Previously, she was the Vice President of Development and Communications at the Music Institute of Chicago for seven years where she oversaw the campaign to purchase and renovate the new education and performance facility in Evanston.  Sherre currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Chicago Chapter and she is the Co-chair of its Peer Mentoring Committee.  She lives in Evanston with her husband Joe and their son Ethan.  Sherre was a theatre major in college.  She and her family enjoy taking advantage of the many cultural opportunities Chicago has to offer.

Eric Delli Bovi - Executive Director

Prior to joining Urban Gateways in 2012, Eric Delli Bovi served as the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Director of External Affairs where he led its most recent capital campaign and unprecedented growth in fundraising for education and performance initiatives. Mr. Delli Bovi also served as an interim director in 2006, supervised its extensive marketing and retail operations for four years, and directed its education outreach programs until 2004. He is also a professional drummer and worked as a teaching artist for many years. Prior to his career as an arts executive, he was a school teacher in both high school and elementary school settings. Mr. Delli Bovi was named a Chicago Community Trust Fellow in 2010 and was elected to the Emerging Leaders Council for the Americans for the Arts in 2005. Mr. Delli Bovi holds an M.A from the School for New Learning at DePaul University with a focus in directing and developing community arts education organizations, and a B.A. from Ithaca College in Social Studies/Secondary Education.

Tarah Ortiz Durnbaugh - Performance Programs Manager

Tarah Ortiz Durnbaugh has been part of Urban Gateways since 2007. Her arts background spans many disciplines, including almost two decades of dance training, a Theatre degree from Northwestern University, as well as mastering “Hot Cross Buns” on the flute in elementary school. Her passion for the arts began in the 90s with a backyard Ace of Bass cover band and continues to grow today as an instructor and choreographer for the Kaleidoscope Dance Ensemble; director of the Kaleidoscope Krew youth hip hop group; ensemble member and choreographer for Be the Groove; and company member of the Joel Hall Dancers. Tarah’s work with Urban Gateways includes managing the performance programs with the goal of bringing the best arts experiences to students across the Chicagoland area.

Brian Foster - Director of Marketing & Sales

Brian J. Foster, a Chicago resident, is a graduate of Whitney M. Young High School and Illinois State University with his Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. He has worked in the not-for-profit world previously serving as the Ounce of Prevention Funds Communications Associate and at the Community Renewal Society as the Manager of Advertising and Promotions. Most recently he has served as the Director of Marketing for CollectiveQwest Entertainment and Marketing working with such high profile clientele as the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls and Burger King as well as several local businesses. He has been responsible for Strategic Communications, Program & Campaign Management, Targeted Public & Media Relations, Event & Fundraiser Coordination and Social Media & Web Content Development. An avid music, movies and sports enthusiast, Brian enjoys traveling, playing and participating in various sports and taking in all the culture and beauty the city has to offer.

Anna Joranger - Marketing & Sales Associate

Anna is excited to be working in marketing and sales at Urban Gateways, where her interests in communications/writing, nonprofit work, and the arts happily intersect. Anna attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing and Anthropology in 2010. Post-graduation, she spent a year teaching English in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a glimpse into the world of education which has come in handy at Urban Gateways. Her personal passions cover everything from fiction and songwriting to cross-cultural studies and travel. As a newbie in Chicago, her utmost current goal is to 'build her city' (a concept borrowed from a friend) to completion.

Gus Kim - Finance Associate

Gus graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 with a concentration in animation and comics.  From 2009 to 2011 he served as Program Assistant and Teaching Artist for Edgewater Community Council and Beacon Street Gallery's after-school youth arts program.  Currently he is writing a graphic novel and is creating large pastel drawings with the goal of having a gallery show in 2014.  He has lived in Chicago for 25 years, and loves the city for its celebration of the arts and its vast and diverse community of artists.

Claire Meyers - Performance Programs Associate

Claire Meyers is a recent graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Management. Claire has worked with several Chicago theatre and arts organizations in education and development capacities. At Urban Gateways, Claire assists with all things related to​ the​ performance programs, blending her passion for the arts with her interests in education and administration.​ Outside of work, Claire is a bicycle riding, coffee drinking, wanna be astronaut.

Ellie O’Hagan - Executive Assistant

Ellie O’Hagan is a Chicago native who has been Executive Assistant with Urban Gateways for two years. She has a degree in Philosophy and Painting from Northwestern University, and has had painting exhibitions is Chicago, Ohio, Oregon and California. She has been a waitress, a deli clerk, a short order cook, a flower shop owner, a Marketing & Public Relations Director, a Logic and English tutor, and a bookseller. She has two children and three grandchildren.

Kaja Overstreet - Curriculum Specialist

Kaja Overstreet, Curriculum Specialist, received an MFA in performance and time-based arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her education and training also includes two years of intensive study in traditional Japanese painting at the Sungen Institute in Tokyo, Japan. While in Japan, Kaja studied performance with the renowned Butoh (Contemporary Japanese Dance) Company, Dairakudakan. Her work has been exhibited and performed extensively both locally and internationally. As a teaching artist, Kaja has held many positions in the arts education arena including an original steering committee member for the Pilsen Arts Partnership, the Director of Programs for Art Resources in Teaching, and Director of Education for Pros Arts Studio (now ElevArte Community Studio). In addition to her work with elementary and high school youth, Kaja also served as adjunct faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, teaching performance and time-based arts undergraduate courses and consulting individually with graduate students as a Graduate Projects Advisor.

Jill LeCesne Potter - Director of Education

Jill LeCesne Potter has a diverse and proven background in arts education, program management and promotions.  In 2004, she joined Urban Gateways as a program coordinator; supporting such programs as the PEN/Faulkner Writers-in-Schools Program, Musical Instrument Bank Program and the Art Options program.  Currently, she is responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating all school-hour based educational programs, as well as managing the artist-in-residence and performance programs.  Her previous professional experience has included the Contemporary Art Center of New Orleans, New Orleans Museum of Art, The Richard Thomas Art Gallery, The New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation.  Jill received her B.A. in Art History from the University of New Orleans.

Carrie Rosales - Measurement & Documentation Manager

Carrie has a degree in music and theatre and has been working on the administrative side of the arts since 1999. She found her way into education by working in Spain as an ESL teacher, using theatre as a vehicle for language acquisition. Now, as the Measurement and Documentation Manager at UG, she uses data and evaluative processes to measure success throughout the organization. Currently she’s studying Educational Research Methodolgies at UIC, and during study breaks she’s riding her sweet new road bike, cheering on the St.Louis Cardinals to another World Series victory, or planning some epic overseas adventure.