Claire Rice Named Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois

Claire Rice Headshot

CHICAGO – Claire Rice, a nationally-recognized leader with expertise in the areas of arts policy, data-informed decision-making, and organizational design, has been named Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois. 

“Claire is a collaborative and strategic leader with a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector here in Illinois,” said Kassie Davis, Board Chair of Arts Alliance Illinois. “With Claire on board, we are confident that the Alliance will remain a strong and vocal advocate for the arts statewide.”  

Rice brings over 18 years of professional experience in non-profit and corporate sectors, largely focused on arts education, community engagement, and cultural ecosystems, to Arts Alliance Illinois. Since 2012, Rice has built capacity and resources for cultural ecosystems around the country as National Program Director of Harvard University’s Sustain Arts Project, a cultural data, research, and policy initiative. 

Prior to her role with Sustain Arts, she held several roles with the University Musical Society (UMS) of the University of Michigan, including program development and implementation of over 100 annual educational and social events as Interim Director of Education and Audience Development, project management of the Royal Shakespeare Company residency, and coordination of large-scale productions including over 400 performers. Throughout her time with UMS, she built and sustained relationships with artists, students, educators, and arts and community organizations locally and nationally.

Rice holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Early in her career, she served over 200 government clients in a consulting practice, developing strategy, organizational design, and business processes for offices in the US Department of Treasury and US Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to lead Arts Alliance Illinois, as we look to the future of the arts sector and how our field can more meaningfully engage and support vibrant communities around the state,” Rice said. “I look forward to working with the board and other key stakeholders to continue to expand the impact and relevance of this critical organization, putting the arts at the center of critical conversations about the development of Illinois.”

Rice was selected following a highly competitive nationwide search conducted by The Himmelfarb Group, chaired by Jason Palmquist, Vice Chair of the Board of Arts Alliance Illinois. Rice’s service to the creative sector includes serving as a frequent grant panelist and conference speaker and currently, as Board Chair of Blair Thomas & Co. She was also selected as an author for 20 Under 40, an arts leadership book, in December 2010. She will join Arts Alliance Illinois full-time on September 19th, 2016. 

About Arts Alliance Illinois

Incorporated in 1982, Arts Alliance Illinois is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts advocacy and service organization promoting the value of the arts to all residents of Illinois. With nearly 30,000 advocates and hundreds of member organizations, the Alliance is the largest statewide arts advocacy network in the country and the only organization in Illinois that represents artists and cultural organizations across all disciplines, budget sizes, and geographic areas. Arts Alliance Illinois works to amplify the collective voice of the arts sector through legislative and grassroots action, close collaboration with policymakers and public agencies, and a robust online and social media presence. The Alliance ensures that the arts are central and indispensable to Illinois by empowering arts and culture stakeholders with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to be active participants in the policymaking process and the civic life of their communities; by proving data-driven evidence on the impact, assets, and needs of the arts and creative industries in Illinois; and by connecting and supporting leaders across multiple sectors around common goals and shared outcomes.