Who We Are

LISA DEGLIANTONI

Executive Director

“Did you know that Evanston boasts 10 times the amount of artists living/working in the city than any other city of its size?”

When Lisa Degliantoni learned that fact it changed her life. Lisa felt compelled to make the town she lives in and loves a sought-out community for artists to find the perfect balance in their lives. It has become her mission.

She is a “citizen arts advocate” for the city and created Evanston Made to grow and bring together the creatives she saw all around her. In five years the initiative she started has become a beloved source of opportunities for artists. And the annual Evanston Made Exhibition at the Evanston Arts Center is the most popular event of the year.

In her live/work gallery space, 1100 Florence, she hosts pop-up shows, exhibitions, performances and installations while her husband, two sons, a bunny and chickens go about their lives.

But Lisa’s vision is far greater. She believes Evanston has everything an artist could want for a home and work environment. She wants to see artists flocking to Evanston for the natural beauty, the culture, the proximity to Chicago. She wants to see buildings dedicated to artists’ studios, galleries and a vibrant engaged connected creative community in every ward.

One would be wise to join the Get Artsy Train Lisa Degliantoni is driving.

KATHY HALPER

Co-Director

Kathy Halper has been an artist for most of her adult life. Most. Her early years were spent in some of the largest advertising agencies in Chicago crafting ad copy for skin lotion and TV spots for Wheaties. She stepped away from Michigan Avenue to raise a family and began to paint. Over the years, Halper has been a fixture in the Chicago art scene, exhibiting at Art Chicago, the Union League Club, and being represented by Packer Schopf Gallery and Aron Packer Projects, among others. Her paintings and embroideries have been shown in New York City and Los Angeles, Art Basel in Miami and countless other cities throughout the country. She also co-produced the first two annual Nasty Women Evanston Art Fundraisers with Lisa.

As a recent transplant to Evanston, yet lifelong Chicagoan, Kathy was eager to bring her expertise and experience to Lisa’s vision. She looks forward to helping Evanston Made reach its potential.

LIZ CRAMER

Co-Director

Liz is currently launching Artisan & Sage Marketing, acting as a consultant to small businesses and the creative community in Evanston. Her focus is project management and marketing strategies, content creation and event planning.

As a Regional Marketing Director and Field VP, she has worked with retailers to develop corporate sales, marketing and customer service strategies, merchandising and event plans and education programs to maximize the talent and potential of account teams. “Life is about connections. My strengths lie in bringing creative thinking, conceptualizations and a collaborative spirit to my work. Her passion is creating functional ceramics with a touch of nature, painting and  spending time supporting Evanston art and artists.

http://artisanandsage.com

MELISSA RAMAN MOLITOR, ATR-BC, LCPC

Board Member

Melissa is an artist and art therapist living and working in the Chicago-Evanston area.  Her work centers on developing programs that utilize the arts to encourage social-emotional development in young people, and engage communities in creative social action.  Melissa is an Adjunct Associate Professor at SAIC, and a consultant to schools and organizations interested in the myriad ways in which art can connect people and build community.  Her art practice involves the use of ritual and sensory memory to explore intercultural and intergenerational themes, creating meaning in both personal and collective identity through assemblage and mixed media narratives.

www.melissaramanmolitor.com

ANGELA LYONSMITH ATR-BC, LCPC

Board Member

Angela is the mother of three amazing humans, an artist and art therapist. Her work in a variety of settings is focused on using creativity to meaningfully connect communities, developing community art spaces that build ecosystems of resilience, and using art as a form of social action. She has worked with very young children through older adults within non-profit, social enterprise and for-profit models of care. Angela was the owner and energy behind Gather, a community art studio and creativity-focused playspace located in downtown Evanston, an administrator for WomanCraft, a social enterprise in Lawndale, and has provided consultation for art therapy program development in residential and treatment centers in Chicago and Evanston. Angela is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a doctoral student at Mount Mary University, a consultant in the development of therapeutic arts programming in East Africa with Global Alliance for Africa, and the Program Director for Creatively Empowered Women, a craft-based social enterprise in Rogers Park.

Evan Finamore

Board Member

Evan is committed to serving the greater good.

For over 20 years, as a consummate community volunteer and leader, she has dedicated much of her time and energy to building bridges to bolster the success of agencies devoted to human services, the arts, education, and community engagement in Evanston.

She has served on the boards of a variety of community organizations including Foundation 65, the philanthropic foundation dedicated to providing arts and literacy enrichment to Evanston's primary public schools and Young Evanston Artists, a thirty year old community arts festival featuring the artwork of students from all schools in Evanston, preschool to high school, public and private.

She currently works as Outreach and Development Manager for Illinois Partners for Human Service, a nonprofit dedicated to advocacy on behalf of the sector and a coalition of over 800 human service providers across the state of Illinois. Prior professional pursuits include exhibit development, strategic planning and museum evaluation.

Evan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and has completed certification coursework in Arts Management.

Cortney Lederer

Board Member

Cortney Lederer is an arts consultant, project manager and educator with seventeen years of experience managing an array of artistic programming for organizations and businesses. From 2011–14 she served as the Director of Exhibitions and Residencies at the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), where she designed and managed its two residency programs: BOLT Residency and HATCH Projects. While at CAC, Cortney curated and managed special projects for businesses such as tech incubator 1871, Patron Tequila, TOMS Shoes, Groupon and Taste of Chicago (DCASE). She curated and produced hundreds of solo and group exhibitions during her tenure at CAC. As a result of her efforts, her programs were cited as producing some of the most promising emerging practitioners in Chicago in the Chicago Tribune (2011) and voted “Best opportunity for emerging artists” by New City’s Best of Chicago (2013).

As of June 2014, Cortney launched CNL Projects (CNL), which provides project-based consulting to organizations with a specialization in curating, project management, program design and development. CNL has worked with notable organizations such as 3Arts, Chicago Artists Coalition, DePaul Art Museum, EXPO Chicago, Fashion Outlets of Chicago, LinkedIn, Wilson Sporting Goods, PurePoint Financial, Hyatt Hotels Corporate Office Chicago and EQ Office/Willis Tower. She also provides professional development workshops and individual consultation to artists. Most recently, CNL launched the initiative PROMPT, an artist dinner series intended to create space to build community, share stories, resources and skills amongst creatives. Cortney is faculty in the Arts Administration and Policy department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Cortney received her BA in Sociology from George Washington University (1999), a BFA from the University of Victoria (2002), and a dual Masters degree in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2009). Currently, she serves on the board of Every House Has a Door, the Education Advisory Committee for the Chicago Artists Coalition, and the Lakeview Public Art Committee.

Mat Rappaport

Board Member

Mat Rappaport is a Chicago based artist, curator, and educator known for works that utilize mobile video, performance, and photography to explore habitation, mass-tourism, perception, and power as related to built environments. Recent projects include the range series of performances employing commercial trucks, augmented with external cameras that capture video from the surrounding environment, and screens onto which video is projected as the truck navigates the city. Sitting in the passenger seat of the truck, the artist “remixes” the environment in real-time, performing a moving intervention into architectural space. range continues Mat Rappaport’s effort to shape the experience of urban environments through media-based interventions. In 2018, Rappaport developed the Range Mobile Lab, a platform for practice-based research based on a 1995 GMC delivery truck. The Range Mobile Lab serves to extend the range performances, architectural collaborations, and direct community engagement.

Rappaport’s work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally in museums, galleries, film festivals, and public spaces. Recent projects have been featured during EXPO Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2019 and 2017, Anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, Italy, and 2018 Ann Arbor Film Festival and performances with the Range Mobile Lab at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Block Museum at Northwestern University.

Rappaport is an Associate Professor in Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College in Chicago.

Denise W. Barreto

Board Member

Denise is not an artist, per se.

Yet she's been art adjacent her entire life and is excited to lend her talents to advance art in her adopted hometown of Evanston.

An entrepreneur, author and TEDx speaker,  Denise W. Barreto is a prominent 21st Century voice on leadership and storytelling. Whether she’s executing in her role as a business strategist and managing partner of Relationships Matter Now, LLC or behind the camera in her latest roles of executive producer and co-founder of Serqet Productions and Media, LLC, Denise is always challenging the status quo and building new, more inclusive narratives and environments across government, nonprofit, corporate and Hollywood multimedia entities.

Denise and her small firm are leading a new conversation about equity, inclusion and diversity in philanthropic, corporate and government entities across the United States, challenging and reshaping narratives and social norms.

Personal leadership is just as vital as organizational leadership to Denise. Before it was cool for young women of color to run for political office (2009), she was twice elected to the Board of Trustees for the Village of Lake in the Hills, IL.  Since 2014, Denise has served  on the Illinois Business Enterprise Program Council, a state commission that helps to implement, monitor, and enforce the goals of the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females and Persons with Disabilities Act appointed by former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. She serves on the Parks and Recreation Board for the City of Evanston and as an advisory board member of the 101 Best and Brightest Places to Work - Chicago Chapter.

Denise has recalibrated all aspects of her life in the last 48 months and has chronicled this journey in “healing tattoos” across her body. This newly minted outdoors gal enjoys trekking through local, state and national parks whenever ever she can or spending time laughing, enjoying meals and traveling with her progeny - visual artist and fashion school student Emma and Evan, her high school aged musician and digital artist.

Denise's first production as a television executive producer , Fly Brother with Ernest White II is currently running on PBS affiliates across the United States.

 

Amy Amoroso

Board Member

Amy has been a working artist and art-centered entrepreneur since the mid-1980s. With her high school diploma in hand, a baby in tow, and only a few thousand dollars, Amy started her first business in 1990, designing and exporting home decor items. Within two years, her business, which included two retail stores and a wholesale operation, was bringing in over $300,000 and boasted over 1,400 accounts. Creating temporary spaces emerged as a passion as she traveled the U.S. participating in wholesale trade shows from New York to Los Angeles. After selling the business in 2000, Amy continued her entrepreneurial endeavors through her jewelry making and metal work, which she sold directly via fairs. Her talents would be put to further use when setting up “Pop-Up’ shops in Evanston, Wilmette and Chicago. Eventually she began  producing shows for local artists to sell their work including “A Winter Festival” which ran annually for eight years becoming a seasonal event that Evanstonians looked forward to and supported.
 
She also shared her knowledge, skills, and talents with area children through her courses, which she ran out of her Evanston home from 2009 to 2019. Classes focused on “how to start your own art business” and culminated in the children selling their work to the public. She also ran summer camps for children where students learned gardening skills, plant identification and healthy cooking as well as art-based activities.
Giving back to the community has always been important to Amy. In her 20s, she volunteered in nursing homes and worked directly with individuals who were seeking shelter. As her three children grew up in Evanston Amy coordinated school wide arts projects for fundraising including a community quilt and collaborate mosaic projects. From 2010 to 2017, Amy volunteered for Mary Lou’s Place, the Evanston YWCA shelter for victims of domestic violence; she worked directly with residents teaching them how to prepare healthy food on a budget and to grow food in gardens, which she helped to build on site.
She currently works with metal and semi-precious stones creating one-of-a-kind jewelry and spiritually-centered custom wall art.