Executive Director

Claire Rice leads the visioning, development and implementation of all programs and initiatives of Arts Alliance Illinois. Rice previously served as the national director of Sustain Arts at Harvard University, a project providing free access to meaningful data on arts and cultural activity, successfully launched in three US regions to date. She began her arts career at the internationally renowned performing arts presenter UMS in Ann Arbor, where she served as director of education. While there, she produced a monthlong residency with the Royal Shakespeare Company, among the largest projects in the 131-year history of UMS, and was associate producer for the Naxos recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, recognized in 2006 with four Grammy Awards. In 2010, Rice was published as a contributing author of 20UNDER40, a collection of innovative ideas addressing challenges faced by the arts sector. Rice came to the arts after six years working with federal and state-level clients in Washington, DC as a management consultant for Accenture. She holds a BA from the College and William and Mary and an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Claire Rice 312.855.3105 ext. 14

Operations and HR Director

Julie Griffin leads the general management, staffing, accounting and finance operations of Arts Alliance Illinois, in addition to serving as a liaison to members of the organization’s committees and its board of directors. A freelance musician with 25 years of experience working in the Chicago area, she has held administrative roles with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Julie Griffin Headshot 312.855.3105 ext. 16

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  • Opportunities for staff
  • Billing and payment 
  • Office operations
  • Publication sales

Policy and Research Director

Jonathan VanderBrug brings more than 15 years of diverse experiences to Arts Alliance Illinois, where he builds policy initiatives, advocacy campaigns, and coalitions to influence funding and legislative decisions made at local, state and federal levels. Through generating new research, analyzing data, and maintaining relationships with fellow experts in the field, he coordinates the activities of Arts Alliance Illinois with state and national organizations, and develops targeted messaging to engage both new and lifelong advocates for the arts, culture, and arts education. VanderBrug holds a BA in English Literature from Calvin College, and an MNA from North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management. Jonathan VanderBrug 312.855.3105 ext. 12

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  • Arts and culture research and resources
  • Arts education curricula and standards
  • Policy developments and strategy
  • Public and civic engagement
  • Opportunities for advocates
  • National Arts Advocacy Day
Communications and Engagement Director

Zachary Whittenburg develops and implements communications strategies, online presences, public-facing materials, and engagement events supporting the members, mission, and partners of Arts Alliance Illinois. Staff writer and editor at Time Out Chicago magazine from 2009–12, Whittenburg is a regular panelist and guest speaker, and has contributed articles to publications in Canada, the UK, and the US. As a professional dancer, choreographer and technique coach for ten years, he performed in more than 100 cities worldwide, with ensembles based in Charlotte, Chicago, Montréal, and Seattle. Most recently associate director of marketing and communication at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, he represented the company on the Chicago Dancemakers Forum consortium, he is currently a member of the executive committee for the Chicago Dance History Project, and he serves on the artistic advisory council for High Concept Laboratories. Zachary Whittenburg 312.855.3105 ext.11

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  • Membership programs and events
  • Networking messages and e-blasts
  • One State Together in the Arts
  • Opportunities for volunteers
  • Opportunities for interns
  • The Local Arts Network
  • Social and new media
  • Press inquiries
Membership and Development Associate

Jackie Banks-Mahlum manages and executes projects supporting the general operations, development, and membership of Arts Alliance Illinois. As an arts manager, producer, and educator, Banks-Mahlum has worked across many performing arts disciplines including dance, opera, and theater. In addition to her roles with Arts Alliance Illinois, she is managing director of Chicago’s Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, and co-producer for Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, CA. Jackie Banks-Mahlum 312.855.3105 ext. 15

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  • Records and database management
  • New memberships and renewals
  • Collaboration and partnerships
  • Upcoming events
Communications Associate

Lisa VanAusdall coordinates and executes communications, general operations, and social and new media projects at Arts Alliance Illinois. She previously served as program assistant for the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015 and has volunteered for the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House Chicago festival, the Chicago Fringe Festival, Chicago Ideas Week, and the Love Hope Strength Cancer Foundation. VanAusdall holds a BA in art, a BA in psychology, and a minor in art history from William Jewell College, and serves as artistic director of Bring Your Own Theatre Productions, a Chicago-based company committed to producing original works. Lisa VanAusdall 312.855.3105

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  • Communications preferences
  • Suggestions and feedback
  • Social media and website