Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Jillian graduated Cum Laude from Loyola University Chicago in 2010, receiving a B.A. in Studio Art:Drawing and Painting as well as a B.A. in Visual Communications. Currently, she is in her second year of the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts: Book and Paper program at Columbia College Chicago.
Because art can function beyond the self, Jillian recognizes the potential of the artist to spark both individual and collective conversation that can affect social awareness. Considering the various roles of the artist, she looks beyond the internal state towards creating spaces of social engagement for Chicago youth. Currently a volunteer at the Center on Halsted, Jillian is working with the StandOut program to empower students ages 15-20 to strengthen themselves personally and professionally while engaging them in topics of leadership and community-building. As this year’s Art + Activism: Critical Encounters Community Engagement graduate assistant, Jillian is helping to facilitate connections within the Columbia community as well as with local Chicagoans to begin a dialogue on art activism. While words serve as a nice entry point, to divest words of their linguistic specificity is an ongoing investigation in Jillian’s work. Believing that art calls for a willingness to recognize what is not readily understandable, she is initiating ‘Oppressed. Oppressor. Liberator.’, a school-wide conversation which will materialize naturally within this discourse.
Kathlene graduated Magna Cum Laude from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio in 2010, with a B.A. in Theatre and Writing and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is now beginning her first year in the M.A.M. Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management program at Columbia College Chicago.
Kathlene’s creative background, coupled with experience in non-profit management, community organizing, and development, particularly relating to the environment and issues surrounding human sexuality, has drawn her to marketing for the arts. She is thrilled to be joining the Art + Activism: Critical Encounters program as a Marketing Assistant. In addition to her work with Art + Activism: Critical Encounters, Kathlene is the Assistant Editor of Dig Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is a Marketing Assistant with the Columbia College Chicago Press. She is interested in exploring and utilizing the ways that older and newer media can converge to influence participation in arts and activism.
Demi graduated from Kaneland High School, in Maple Park Illinois, in 2012, and is currently attending Columbia College Chicago earning her BA in Art and Design. Her background is in graphic design and she is a member of the National Technical Honors Society. Since October 2012 Demi been an office assistant and a graphic illustrator the Fresh Frances greeting card company. She works in other mediums and on other freelance projects. In addition to her arts practice, Demi is very involved with 4-H and the Suicide Prevention Center in Batavia.
“Being involved in the art world as well as with my community is a key factor for becoming a part of Art + Activism. All my life I’ve been captivated by art and how it can be a catalyst in our environment. I find beauty in the fact that one’s inspiration can trigger social movements and cause motivational changes over time. I’m honored to apply the creative skills I have to make change in the world as other artists have before me.”
Caitlin graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in 2007, majoring in Art History with a minor in Business Administration. This led her to pursue her MAM at Columbia College Chicago. Now in her second year in the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management program, Caitlin will receive her degree in 2013 with a focus in visual arts management.
"With a background in contracts management and administration, I am happy to serve the Arts and Activism: Critical Encounters agenda as their graduate assistant Grants Coordinator. I am fascinated with where the arts intersect with business and philanthropy - particularly its potential to serve causes not typically affiliated with the arts, such as HIV/STD awareness and social justice issues. I am drawn to artists’ ability to exploit their practice and use their work as a societally accepted platform of exchange and expression."