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

Contact me about

  • Opportunities for staff
  • Billing and payment 
  • Office operations

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

Contact me about

  • 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
Development Director

Sangini Brahmbhatt develops and executes fundraising strategies for Arts Alliance Illinois including individual giving, annual fund, major gifts, grants, and special events. Bringing a deep understanding of the arts sector and development to the Alliance, she has held development roles with the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, Chicago Cares, Kartemquin Films, and The Night Ministry. Brahmbhatt holds a BA in Art and Design from DePaul University, volunteers at a senior home doing arts and crafts, and she currently serves on LATITUDE | Chicago's board of directors. Sangini Brahmbhatt headshot 312-855-3105 ext. 13

Contact me about

  • Opportunities to support Arts Alliance Illinois
  • Benefit Luncheon and sponsorship
  • Making a donation
  • Fundraising
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

Contact me about

  • Membership programs and events
  • One State Together in the Arts
  • Partnership opportunities
  • The Local Arts Network
  • Press inquiries
Creative Content Development Specialist

Nehanda Loiseau manages communications, engagement, and development projects to support the Alliance and its members, partners, and stakeholder groups. She honed her marketing skills in the corporate sector (Northern Trust and Skadden Arps) and at Broadway advertising firm Serino Coyne, where her clients included Wicked and Second Stage Theater. Her engagement experience included targeting new theater audiences (The Public Theater) in addition to raising funds for advocacy (Border of Lights). Prior to returning to her native state of Illinois, Loiseau was a theater practitioner at Duke University, where she produced “Border Story Fest: The Dominican Republic and Haiti.” She collaborated with Duke Global Health Institute to teach students research ethics by way of theater, has guest-lectured theater courses at UNC Chapel Hill, and holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. Her truth: The arts and its techniques bring forth value-added insight to any and all industries — period. Alliance Creative Content Development Specialist Nehanda Loiseau 312-855-3105 ext. 15

Contact me about

  • Content for newsletters and e-blasts
  • Records and data management
  • Opportunities for volunteers
  • Opportunities for interns
  • Social and new media
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

Contact me about

  • New memberships and renewals
  • Updating your Alliance profile
  • Upcoming events