Executive Director

Claire Rice (she/her/hers) 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

Deputy Director - Civic Engagement

Jonathan VanderBrug (he/him/his) 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

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 Action Summit
Associate Director - Operations and Policy

Libia Bianibi (she/her/hers), an immigrant from the Zapotec indigenous community of Juchitan in Oaxaca, oversees the internal operations of the Alliance, with a focus on financial resilience. She also contributes to external projects that advance racial equity and expand public access to arts advocacy. As a cultural worker in Mexico City, she focused on building new audiences for contemporary art galleries and the production of large-scale events. In Chicago, she has facilitated art projects and public programs that highlight the narrative of indigenous and immigrant communities concerning decolonization, labor, and bureaucratic violence wielded through cultural policy. She teaches ESL at the Centro Cultural Albany Park, volunteers as an Artistic Associate at MAKE Literary Productions and is a 2020 Chicago United for Equity Fellow. She holds a BA in Art History from Universidad Iberoamericana and an MA in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 2018-1128 FY19 Headshot - Libia Bianibi - 300px

Contact me about

  • General administration and inquiries
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Organizational policy
Senior Manager of Membership and Development

Dimi Venkov (he/him/his) is an arts and nonprofit practitioner with a passion for youth development. Prior to joining the Alliance team, he was program manager at Leadership Greater Chicago, the area’s premier civic leadership development program. A proud alumnus of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), Venkov is committed to community development and served in a variety of roles at nonprofit organizations while based for three years in Washington, DC, including with Americans for the Arts. Venkov holds an MA in Arts Management from the University of Manchester (UK) and a BA in Theater with minors in Business, Cinema Studies, and English from the University of Tennessee.  2019-0115 Dimi Venkov - FY19 Headshot - 300px

Contact me about

  • Information about Membership
  • Making a donation to the Alliance
  • The Annual Benefit Luncheon
  • Alliance newsletters and general messaging
Program and Field Engagement Manager

Kacie Smith (she/her/hers) comes to the Alliance as executive director and co-founder of State Matters, a nonprofit that works with artists to create educational content that explains state and local government. She is a director, writer, and producer, as well as the co-founder of Pursuit Productions and an artistic producer for The Cambrians. She served as the performing arts director at the Hairpin Arts Center, bringing high-quality art, events, and experiences to Chicago’s Logan Square / Avondale community, and was a Chicago United for Equity 2019 Fellow. 

Contact me about

  • One State arts conference
  • Alliance webinars and programs
  • Information about the Local Arts Network
  • Sector partnerships and convenings