Beverly Arts Center (BAC) announced today that Denise M. Powell has been appointed its Executive Director, effective August 1. She has served as board member since 2019. “I am thrilled, excited, and honored to accept this role leading the talented and dedicated team of the Beverly Arts Center at a time of challenge and change,” says Powell.
“As we emerge from a year like no other, Denise will reengage with the community, peer organizations and institutions to position the Beverly Arts Center as a beacon for arts and entertainment in the community and broader Chicago area,” says Andrea Nance, Board President.
Like most performing and visual arts institutions, the BAC was hit extremely hard by the covid-19 pandemic while answering the call for connection, as our community reeled from both the impacts of the pandemic and the increasing urgency of the decades-long call for racial justice. After canceling or significantly altering most of its programming and classes, the Beverly Arts Center experienced losses in staffing, revenue, and audience – at just the time the arts were needed most.
“Thanks to the extraordinary resiliency and creativity of the staff, the receipt of important emergency grant funding, and most importantly, the support of our community, the BAC is
poised to emerge from the crisis stronger than ever, and ready to provide what we’re all craving – connection and the transformative power of the arts,” says Powell.
The BAC has been operating under a triumvirate leadership model since 2017. This structure -- with directors of artistic, development and operations co-leading the BAC with strategic
oversight from the board -- was an innovative model for small nonprofit arts organizations, allowing the BAC cost savings to invest into its core operations. Today, as the BAC navigates
the significant challenge of restabilizing to thrive, the board made the decision that now is the time for executive leadership.
“With an executive director, the senior leaders of the staff will be better able to focus on what they do best, and the board will be able to perform its governance role,” says Nance. “This
move positions the BAC for success and growth.”
“I am excited to work with Denise and I know the staff will learn and grow from her vision and expertise,” says Carly Bishop, Artistic Director. “Denise’s leadership strength and commitment
to our mission will benefit the BAC in so many ways.”
“Having already collaborated with Denise on operational and policy projects, I know she will excel in this new role, and I am excited to welcome her aboard,” says Dan Jacobson,
Operations Director.
Powell recently retired from her role as an Operations Director with Aon Corporation, primarily responsible for Continuous Process Improvement and Project Management. She has worked
with Executive Leadership to analyze workflows and processes used by various business units and led teams or managed projects to optimize those processes or create new ones.
Powell has over 40 years of experience in Commercial Insurance including 23 years in Risk Control and more than 20 years in management and operations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts
Degree in Mass Media Communications, a certification in Change Management, is a retired Certified Safety Professional, a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and a 2009 graduate of
Aon’s Catalyst Americas Accelerated Leadership Program. Additionally, Powell served as the Governance co-chair and the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Lake County,
and as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Chapter of the National African American Insurance Association.
The Beverly Arts Center is a vibrant and multifaceted not-for-profit organization serving the Chicago metro area with high-quality programs in dance, visual arts, music, film and theatre.
The 40,000 square foot space houses a 400-seat theatre, art gallery, exhibition spaces, music and dance studios, art classrooms and event rental spaces including a courtyard and light-filled
atrium. Founded in 1967 and located in Chicago’s historic Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood, the BAC is also home to an extensive community outreach program.