E(art)H Chicago’s Review Committee was integral to the program’s application review process. Committee members’ primary role was to serve as an expert in their capacity relative to public art, the environment, environmental justice, youth, and/or community organizing/development. Review Committee members evaluated grant applications based on a program scorecard and provided funding recommendations.
E(art)H Chicago Review Committee Members
Arts & Culture Coordinator, Access Living
Brianna Beck (she/her) is an artist and art therapist who utilizes her lived experience of disability to progress culture towards more accessibility and inclusivity. Bri considers herself to have a social art practice and combines her art practice and her work as a helping professional to change individual and societal insight.
Bri currently offers individual art therapy and counseling within private practice, but is so excited to work with Access Living part time as the Arts & Culture Coordinator to develop and execute disability arts and culture programming as she views the process of healing as both individual and systemic.
Bri obtained her Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication from Ball State University.
Lois Taylor Biggs
Curatorial Fellow, Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University
Lois Taylor Biggs is the Terra Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow at the Block Museum of Art, assisting with the development and implementation of a collaborative, community-based curatorial process for an upcoming exhibition focused on the Indigenous art history of Chicago.
In collaboration with a team of curators, Lois takes a deliberate approach to the under-appreciated art history of Chicago from Native American perspectives and focuses on cultivating collaborative, decolonizing processes that uphold Indigenous curatorial methodologies of inclusivity, reciprocity, and research shaped by community priorities.
Lois is a white Earth Ojibwe / Oklahoma Cherokee / white writer and artist, and a former US-UK Fulbright scholar at the University of Leeds.
Co-Founder, Lillstreet Art Center
Martin Cohen is an independent consultant specializing in regulatory policy regarding energy, renewable resources, efficiency and consumer protection. Formerly, Marty was the Director of Consumer Affairs for the State of Illinois and the Executive Director of Citizens Utility Board.
In 1975 he co-founded and still today co-owns Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago’s largest art center, including galleries, studios, supply company, and school.
Manager of Art Partnerships, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Elizabeth Corr works with artists, architects, and designers to heighten public awareness of and interest in the environmental issues that face today’s communities. She launched NRDC’s Artist-in-Residence program and is expanding support for NRDC’s art and climate–related projects.
Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and gender studies and a master’s degree in African studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She is based in NRDC’s Chicago office.
Senior Program Specialist, Youth Arts & Civic Engagement Arts & Culture Unit; TRACE Program, Chicago Park District
Marcus E. Davis is the Senior Program Specialist for TRACE (Teens Reimagining Art, Community, and Environment) which is a civic leadership and community curatorial job training program of the Chicago Park District headquartered at Hamilton Park Cultural Center in Englewood. Using the practice of creative activism, TRACE shows teens how to leverage the arts to engage, inspire, and persist for positive change within ourselves and our communities.
Marcus is also a multimodal artist. With a critical interest in black joy and queered creativity, Marcus leverages music, images, scholarship and humor to explore new ways of being and seeing in the world. His work has been featured in Blacklines, Windy City Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Reader. Marcus received a BA in Visual Ethnography from DePaul University.
Stewardship Coordinator, NeighborSpace
Yaritza Guillen, nominated to the E(art)H Art Chicago Review Committee through our public co-creation process, is the Stewardship Coordinator at NeighborSpace, the only nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago that preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of dedicated community groups.
Yaritza is an urban planner, horticulturist, and environmentalist with a strong focus on interdisciplinary practices, community-based design, and story mapping. She has worked with nonprofits and designers to educate institutions on effective ways to collaborate with BIPOC communities throughout the South and West side of Chicago. She has collaborated with Lurie Garden, Chicago Park District, Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion, and GGN ltd.
Yaritza engages with multiple projects as a cultural producer and community planner. Most recently she was selected to be one of the pillar hub artists to design civic engagement activities in North Lawndale, Little Village, and Garfield Park through the We Will Chicago Initiative – a collaborative planning effort by DCASE and the Department of Planning and Development.
Yaritza holds an Associates Degree in Art from Harold Washington College, and studied Urban Planning and Public Affairs at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Project Manager, E(art)H Chicago
Merove Heifetz is the manager of the E(art)H Chicago grant program. Since 2014, she has served as the project manager & digital strategist for Kindling Group’s Smart Power Illinois project which is funded by ISEIF, who is the primary funder of E(art)H Chicago. Through Smart Power Illinois media, Illinois’ consumers learn about green energy, cleantech, the green economy, climate change and locally-based stories about and opportunities for Illinoisans to live more greenly.
Merove has 20 years of diverse digital marketing strategy, operations and management experience and has worked with digital marketing agencies including See3 Communications; nonprofits such as Wildscreen, Shedd Aquarium and Earthwatch Institute; Fortune 5+ clients, and everything in between with her boutique agency Acquisition Digital.
She is an avid nature lover, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston University and an MBA in International Business & Sustainable Development from George Washington University.
Associate Program Officer, Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF)
Daniela tracks ISEIF grantee compliance and performance benchmarks, processes and manages organizational data, leads ISEIF’s communications, and reviews grant applications.
Daniela’s career began in ecological research when she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan to work as a Research Technician at the Kellogg Biological Station. She led field sampling events, collected and analyzed samples, and organized and analyzed data on a D.O.E. funded project focused on understanding the nitrogen cycle of perennial grasses used for biofuels. She later moved back to Chicago and began working at Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation as a Program Assistant for Natural Areas and Energy Programs.
Daniela received an A.S. from Elgin Community College and a B.S. from Loyola University Chicago. She was involved in social justice organizations throughout her academic career, interned at the Searle Biodiesel Lab, and conducted independent research using algae to remediate biodiesel wastewater. Daniela enjoys spending time in her Uptown neighborhood, cooking traditional Mexican dishes, sipping coffee, listening to Selena, and dancing Cumbia.
Dr. Antonio R. López
Program Director, Chicago Frontlines Funding Initiative
Dr. Antonio R. López is a Social Justice advocate, writer, and educator. Formerly the Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) from 2013-2016, Dr. López now serves as LVEJO’s Senior Advisor and the Project Director of the Chicago Frontline Funding Initiative (CFFI).
The Regeneration Fund and Franciscan Sisters of Mary partnered with LVEJO to launch CFFI. United by common values and a commitment to grassroots Environmental Justice leadership, this unique partnership between philanthropy and grassroots leaders provides Environmental Justice leaders across the Chicago area with the resources and support they need to build healthy and impactful organizations.
Dr. López has written extensively on anti-poverty and anti-racist social movements in Chicago, and has contributed to human rights, environmental justice, and economic justice struggles in Chicago and on the U.S./Mexico border. He received his doctorate in Borderlands History at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Community Engagement Specialist, Field Museum
Lorena Lopez is a Senior Community Engagement Specialist for the Keller Science Action Center at the Field who works jointly with partner organizations and community members to understand and advance their conservation and community well-being goals in the Chicago and Calumet regions. Her ultimate goal is to connect people to nature and encourage them to restore our natural areas actively.
In addition to working at the Field Museum, Lorena has served on the Advisory Council of Environmentalists of Color. Her past work experience includes Faith in Place, where she is currently a board member. As the Open Space Coordinator for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), Lorena led community mapping to demand a new, clean, safe park in Little Village.
Program Director, Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF)
As Program Director, Uzma Noormohamed implements ISEIF’s grantmaking strategy, manages the grant portfolio, finds collaborative opportunities within the grantee network, and cultivates new grantees. She has built broad knowledge of statewide environmental and community outreach efforts and stakeholders during her decade-long career in the environmental sector.
Uzma began her career working for and later managing her family’s financial services business, which served the mainly unbanked and underbanked South Asian community in Chicago. Upon leaving the family business, she pivoted to the environmental nonprofit sector where she developed and taught sustainability and design-focused education programs at Foresight Design Initiative.
Uzma is a proud native of Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood – one of the most ethnically diverse in the country. She has a B.A. in Philosophy from DePaul University and an M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. She was selected as a Boren fellow to study Arabic and political theory at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. Uzma previously served on the Advisory Council for Environmentalists of Color and on Storycatchers Theater’s Board of Directors.
Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa
Director of Neighborhood Parks, Friends of the Parks
Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and administrator, active for 30 years working in community-based settings – teaching, collaborating, connecting, creating. As the Director of Neighborhood Parks at Friends of the Parks, she focuses on community engagement to inspire, equip, and mobilize a diverse Chicago to ensure an equitable park system for a healthy Chicago.
Steeped in community based practices, Elvia has helped foster the creative community in Chicago by collaborating with a variety of groups and individual artists. As a lifelong city resident, Elvia enjoys visiting the diverse neighborhoods that make up Chicago and learning about the impact each ethnic group has in shaping this dynamic region.
Elvia is a proud graduate of Whitney M. Young Magnet, and holds a B.A. from Trinity Christian in Palos Heights, and an M.A. from the Interdisciplinary Program at Columbia College Chicago.
Cultural Coordinator, Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE)
Adept at cultivating, leading, and actualizing creative collaborations and concepts, Maryrose Pavkovic has worked with community businesses and organizations to build ties within neighborhoods by focusing on culture and history.
She is a Cultural Coordinator at DCASE where she manages the implementation of public art projects and special projects at all levels – from scoping opportunities, supporting community engagement in project scoping, developing calls for artists, managing the artist selection process, to monitoring & managing grants and art projects, and making recommendations and revisions to the Public Art Program and Percent for Art practices, ordinances, and city-wide policies on public art.
Prior to DCASE, Maryrose was the Managing Director for Chicago Public Art Group where she led project, administrative and operational management for the nonprofit community-engaged public art organization.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in History from University of Illinois at Chicago, and an MBA in Economics from the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University.
Project Manager, Cultural & Natural Resources, Chicago Park District
Naureen Rana is a Project Manager within the Chicago Park District’s Department of Cultural & Natural Resources. She is part of the Environmental Conservation and Engagement Team, which is focused on the development, ecological restoration, and activation of natural areas representing Chicago’s native ecosystems – prairies, savannas, woodlands, wetlands, and dunes. In her role, Naureen strategically plans and advances the Park District’s goals for natural areas largely through grant writing and management and building partnerships with regional and community-based organizations.
Naureen was intimately involved in the process leading to the creation of five artistic gathering spaces within the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (BWC), which is a 100-acre stretch of natural areas that runs along Chicago’s south lakefront between McCormick Place and 47th Street. Those spaces were designed and have been programmed through deliberate partnerships between artists and community-based organizations connected to the Bronzeville, Chinatown, Little Village, and Pilsen neighborhoods. Through public art, the BWC gathering spaces reflect the intersection of nature and some of the cultural traditions of the African American, Chinese, and Latino communities in Chicago. In a similar vein, Naureen is an advisory member of the curatorial committee selecting a culturally-relevant gathering space design for Beaubien Woods, a Cook County Forest Preserve on Chicago’s far southeast side.
Prior to working at Chicago Park District, Naureen held positions at a variety of environmental organizations where she gained valuable experience related to community-based conservation. She has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and an M.S. in Environmental Policy, both from the University of Michigan.
Director of Programming, EXPO CHICAGO
Kate Sierzputowski is the Director of Programming at EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, which features leading international galleries alongside the highest quality platform for contemporary art and culture.
Kate is also a freelance writer and curator. Fascinated by artists’ studio processes, she founded the website INSIDE\WITHIN to physically explore and archive the creative spaces of Chicago’s emerging and established artists. Kate has contributed art writing to Hyperallergic, Colossal, the Chicago Reader and Newcity, and is a co-director of the artist-run gallery Julius Caesar.
Kate received a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University.
Co-Founder, Englewood Arts Collective
Tanya Ward is a founding member of the Englewood Arts Collective, which was formed to help produce artists, events and interactions that reflect the Englewood community of Chicago in a positive way.
Tanya is also an engagement and social media marketing professional where she has supported brands such as: McDonald’s USA, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Verizon, Proctor & Gamble’s My Black Is Beautiful, Creme of Nature and Congo Square Theatre Company, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, among others.
She is proud to be a Chicago-born, Englewood community-raised individual, who is passionate about mentoring under-served and at-risk youth. She is also a partner in Organic Urban Revitalization Solutions (OURS), a Chicago-based startup, focused on social equity within the hemp and cannabis spaces.