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Cultural Production with Social Impact
Cultural Production with Social Impact
Cultural Production with Social Impact
Cultural Production with Social Impact
Cultural Production with Social Impact
 
 
 

Staff & Advisors


Project& Board of Directors

Project&’s Board Members possess extensive leadership experiences and a commitment to using culture as a tool for social change. The Board is comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors, who are distinguished leaders in a variety of fields including media production, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, philanthropy, arts and culture, community and youth development and education, equity, innovative business practices, design, and marketing.

 

Board Chair: Sonny Garg

Global Energy Solutions Lead at Uptake

Sunil (Sonny) Garg is the board President at Project& and the Global Energy Solutions Lead at Uptake, the advanced analytics and actionable insights platform improving reliability, productivity, safety and security for major industries, including rail, mining, construction, aviation and energy. Named the “Hottest Start-up” by Forbes in 2015, Uptake was recently recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer and ranked 5th on the CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

 

Prior to Uptake, Sonny spent 13 years at Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, in a variety of senior executive positions, including serving as a member of the Executive Committee. He is a Henry Crown Leadership Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

 

Prior to Exelon, Garg served as an assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. As a White House Fellow appointed by President Bill Clinton, Garg served as senior advisor to the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. He also was an associate with The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, where he conducted fieldwork on Chicago’s South Side and authored numerous reports on youth and community development in inner-city neighborhoods.

 

He serves as a lecturer at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and sits on the boards of MB Financial Inc. and RKNeal. He also serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including Project&, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and the Invisible Institute.

 

Garg earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

 

He lives in Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

Vice Chair: Gigi Pritzker Pucker

CEO, Madison Wells Media

Combining a strong entrepreneurial spirit with the resources of a diversified content company, Gigi Pritzker is focused on making MWM (Madison Wells Media) technologically innovative, astute and nimble in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Devoting her career in media to transforming and shaping the cultural landscape, from her start as an independent feature film producer to her most recent role as Chief Executive Officer at MWM. The hallmark of her career has been championing the voices of established as well as up-and-coming storytellers while growing strong entertainment and digital brands in media. Today, Pritzker continues to advise and invest in digital media startups, primarily focused on new content platforms and maintains a fierce commitment to her diverse philanthropic endeavors.

Committed to supporting the world’s most creative storytellers and passionate about creating opportunities for new voices in the industry; Gigi formed the sales/financing company Oddlot Entertainment in 2001, later merging it into MWM, which she co-founded in 2015 with former Legendary executive Clint Kisker. MWM produces and distributes premium content, including film, television, VR/AR, live theater and digital video, through its divisions MWM Studios, MWM Live, MWM Immersive and MWM Universe. Additionally, MWM has strategic holdings in STX Entertainment, Wevr, Fandor, The Void, Wonderstorm, Breakwater, and Atom Tickets.

Under her leadership, MWM Studios has produced Academy Award-nominated feature films such as “Hell or High Water,” with Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, and “Rabbit Hole” starring Nicole Kidman. Additionally, the well-regarded film veteran has produced “The Way, Way Back” starring Steve Carell; “Drive” starring Ryan Gosling; Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, “Rosewater;” and, most recently, the indie comedy “Landline” starring Jenny Slate. Among Pritzker’s television production credits are the 10-time Emmy-nominated National Geographic scripted series, “Genius,” and CMT’s “Sun Records,” based on the Tony Award-winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet,” which she also developed and produced through MWM Live.

Through MWM Immersive, and in partnership with Wevr, Pritzker is producing and co-publishing the Jon Favreau-directed VR production “Gnomes and Goblins,” offering users the unique opportunity to explore an enchanted world filled with mystical characters. MWM Immersive also recently announced, in partnership with Sony Pictures Virtual Reality, “Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son” VR, based upon the Sony Pictures film of the same name. Previously, Pritzker executive produced the groundbreaking VR work “Collisions,” which won the 2017 Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches: Documentary.

Pritzker herself has been widely recognized as an industry shape-shifter and tastemaker and has received many honors for her achievements. Recently The Hollywood Reporter included her on their list of ’25 Players Who Can Actually Get an Independent Movie Made;’ and Variety named her as a ‘Game-Changing Female Producer.’ Previously, Gigi was included as part of Fast Company’s ‘25 Leading American Business Innovators’ and has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The New York Times among others.

She currently sits on the Board of Directors at STX Entertainment, the Goodman Theatre of Chicago, and currently, holds a position on the Sundance Institute Board of Trustees. Additionally, Pritzker is a member of the Television Academy and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is a senior advisor to industry-leading content and tech start-ups and serves as the Founder and Vice Chair of Project&.

Pritzker received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Stanford University. As an undergraduate student, she lived in Nepal for a year which led her to producing her first documentary feature “Bhutan, Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon” with the BBC which launched her long and successful career in the motion-picture business.

She is a proud native Chicagoan and while traveling non-stop still calls that city home.

Secretary: Dana Arnett

CEO and Founding Partner, VSA Partners
Dana Arnett is a founding Principal and CEO of the internationally recognized firm of VSA Partners, headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Minneapolis, Detroit, and New York City. Arnett, along with his partners, leads a group of 250 associates in the creation of design programs, digital and interactive initiatives and brand marketing solutions for a diverse roster of clients, including: Harley-Davidson, IBM, General Electric, Coca-Cola, Thomson Reuters, and Nike.

Over the course of his 28 years in the field, Dana and the firm have been globally recognized by over 60 competitions and designations including; Communication Arts, AIGA (Dana is a 2014 recipient of the AIGA Medal), Graphis, The Type Directors Club, the American and British Art Directors Clubs, ID, The LA Film Festival, theAR100 and the American Marketing Association. Arnett was a 1999 inductee into the Alliance Graphique Internationale, and holds the honor of being named to the ID40 — who has cited him as one of the 40 most important people shaping design internationally. Arnett is a former member of the AIGA National Board of Directors and he currently serves as a board member of the Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago and The Chicago Children’s Theater. In addition to industry work, Dana is also active as an advisor and member of the business development and venture capital group, Cueball Collective, who help fund and incubate consumer and socially driven ventures.

Treasurer: Priscilla Kersten

President, Square One Foundation
Priscilla Kersten is President of the Square One Foundation, a private family foundation active in civic, educational, and social justice issues. Ms. Kersten is chair of the board of High Jump–an organization serving academically talented middle school students of limited economic resources. She is also on the steering committee of the Women’s Board of The University of Chicago, a co-chair of the Women’s Board Partner’s Committee of the Urban Education Institute, a member of the University of Chicago Charter School Board, the board of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and a member of the board of Project&. Ms. Kersten has a BA from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Management from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Priscilla and her husband, Steven, have three children: Sam, Ben, and Allie.

Steve Edwards

Vice President and Chief Content Officer of WBEZ Chicago Public Media

Steve Edwards is currently serving as the Vice President and Chief Content Officer of WBEZ Chicago Public Media, Chicago’s NPR member station and the home of such acclaimed productions as This American Life, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, Morning Shift, Worldview and Curious City.

Edwards returned to public media in August 2017 after spending five years at the
University of Chicago’s non-partisan Institute of Politics where he served as its Executive
Director and oversaw the development of the popular The Axe Files podcast with CNN.
Previously, Edwards led WBEZ’s digital and multiplatform efforts as Content
Development Director and served as the host of the station’s acclaimed locally-produced
news and culture magazine programs Eight Forty-Eight and The Afternoon Shift. During
his tenure, Eight-Forty- Eight was named “Best Public Affairs Program” by Chicago
Magazine, and “Best Weekly Program” by public radio news directors nationwide.
Edwards’ reporting and documentaries have won numerous journalism awards, and his
work has aired on the BBC, Bloomberg News, NPR, PBS and on numerous public radio
stations across the United States.

He was a Knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan and earned his B.A. in
Political Science at Amherst College.

Sunny Fischer

Chair of the Board, National Public Housing Museum
Sunny Fischer is the Chair of the Board of the National Public Housing Museum. From 1992 – 2013, she served as the Executive Director of The Richard Driehaus Foundation. Previously, she was Executive Director of The Sophia Fund, one of the first private women’s foundations in the country, and is a co-founder of The Chicago Foundation for Women. She has consulted for numerous other foundations including The Chicago Community Trust. At The Joyce Foundation, she developed two funding programs: to raise immunization rates in Chicago’s neighborhoods and to help more immigrants through the naturalization process. From 1997-1999, she directed the City of Chicago/Cook County Welfare Reform Task Force.

Numerous organizations have honored her for her work in philanthropy, anti-violence activism, and anti-poverty efforts, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Professional Grantor Award), the Women’s Funding Network, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, which gave her its “Point of Lightning” award. She also received the Perlman Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, the “Champion of the Public Interest” award from Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, Keeper of the Vision award from the National Public Housing Museum, The Gale Cincotta Community Leadership Award from the Neighborhood Housing Services, the Impact Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women, and Young Women’s Leadership Charter School. Recently, she was the subject of the “Remarkable Woman” column in the July 8, 2012 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Born in New York City, Sunny received her B.A. in English from Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her Master’s degree is from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Services Administration. Among her volunteer commitments are serving on the Boards of the National Public Housing Museum, Futures Without Violence, the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and Project&. She also serves on the Visiting Committee for the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and was a past board member of the Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in Arts and Media. She is married to Dr. Paul Fischer, an emeritus professor of Political Science. They have two children, Max, a lawyer, and Nina, a social policy researcher, and four grandchildren.

Barbara Manilow

Board Chair, Crown Family Philanthropies
Barbara Goodman Manilow has worked with and supported arts education since becoming a teacher and seeing first-hand how children learn and experience the world through the arts. Since that time she’s served on the boards of organizations doing innovative work to bring the arts into classrooms and provide exposure to the arts for children in underserved communities.

Currently, Barbara is Chairman of the Board of Crown Family Philanthropies (CFP) in Chicago. As chair, Barbara oversees the governance and collaborative engagement of her extended family’s focus on education, arts and culture, human needs, regional and national climate and waterway conservation, social service and educational projects in the Jewish community, and investment in poverty, medical and education work in Israel.

Barbara is personally dedicated to human needs and social justice issues with a focus on connections between human services and the arts. She is an actively engaged supporter of organizations that bring opportunities and attention to at-risk communities. From its inception, Barbara has been investing time and resources in the development of Project&, as a new arts entity based in the US designed to raise awareness of social justice issues through arts fellowships, exhibits, and engaging productions and performances. Project& focuses on cultural production with social impact addressing issues that include, economic and social equity, race and gender, LGBT rights, participation and response to violence.

Her travels take her to remote villages in Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi visiting clinics that work with women caught in conflict and to the Middle East on learning tours involving brain science and post-traumatic stress disorders, as well as cross border water management.

Barbara serves as a founding member and director of the Covenant Foundation, an organization awarding excellence and innovation in Jewish education with an emphasis on education through the arts, The Chicago Children’s Museum, and is a lifetime board member of the Francis W. Parker School. She is a former board member of Marwen, an agency that educates and inspires underserved young people through the visual arts and she is an annual sponsor of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize.

President and Artistic Director: Jane M. Saks

(ex-officio)
Jane M. Saks is a creative collaborator, arts producer, writer and educator who has worked to challenge and champion issues of gender, sexuality, human rights, race and power within the worlds of arts and culture, politics and civil rights, academia and philanthropy.

She is Founding President and Artistic Director of Project& (projectand.org). In collaboration with artists, Project& creates new models of cultural participation and experience with social impact. She works with artists including Lynn Nottage, Claire Chase, Lynsey Addario, Cheryl Pope, Hank Willis Thomas, Yance Ford, and Tania Bruguera. Previously, she was the founding Executive Director at the Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media where she created the award-winning Fellowship program, developing and launching works that went on to win Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur Genius Awards, Obie Awards and Guggenheims.

She serves on boards including: Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago, LGBT Pride Action Tank, Trustee Nathan Cummings Foundation, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, US South Africa Constitutional Court Artworks and Architecture Committee, Radio Diaries as well as others. She is an invited lecturer at civic, cultural and educational institutions internationally, a visiting critic at Yale University, Regional Judge for the White House Fellows and will be a visiting Professor at Harvard University.

She is a published poet and collaborates with artists including Kerry James Marshall, Jim Hodges, and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle. She has been the Creator, Author, Producer, Co-Producer, Creative Advisor and Series Producer on many original creative works in various media and art forms including “Sweet Tea: Gay Black Men of the South,” “MILKWEED,” “Congo: Women Portraits of War,”(which has traveled internationally to over 25 venues including the United Nations, New York and Geneva, the Nobel Peace Center, Sweden, Yale University, Connecticut and the US Senate as part of the hearings on Darfur and the DRC.), JOMAMA JONES, *RADIATE, the award-winning international radio series with Chicago Public Media and NPR, “Gender, Human Rights, and Leadership.”

Recent initiatives include, the creator and curator of “Working in America,” a multi-media initiative (working.org) including a traveling photo exhibition, a week-long radio series airing on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” and online living archive, Your Working Story, inspired by Studs Terkel and his influential book, “Working” (1974), “Truth Booth” in collaboration with Cause Collective, “Just Yell, Poetry as Self-Defense” Youth Response to Violence in partnership with Cheryl Pope, “OUT/Let – The Reading Project,” in collaboration with Lynn Nottage and “PAN” in collaboration with Claire Chase and Marcos Balter.

She has received awards including: Business and Professionals in the Public Interest, “40 Who Have Made a Difference Award,” the Inaugural Impact Award, Chicago Foundation for Women, Visionary Award from Rape Victims Advocates, BeyondMedia Justice Award, the Leppen Leadership Award from About Face Theatre, Pride Index Leadership Award recognizing her work with and support of the African American LGBT communities. She has been a fellow in the International Leadership Program National Arts Strategies, the Pilot Class of Leadership Fellows in the Arts, Stanford University, Leadership Greater Chicago, and an Inductee of the City of Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame. She’s a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and attended Rome University.

Some past collaborators/partners:

Saks is a sought-out creative collaborator by artists, scholars, thinkers, social entrepreneurs, civic and philanthropic leaders, public and private entities, civil society organizations, community-based groups, human rights organizations, educational and cultural institutions. Some partnerships include: US Senators Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold; United Nations and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Department of Cultural Affairs Special Events City of Chicago, The Clinton Global Initiative, The White House, The Goodman Theatre, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Health, The Congressional Black Caucus, Humanity United, Oak Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Every Mother Counts, National Public Housing Museum, Victory Gardens Theatre, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Black AIDS Institute, South African Constitutional Court, South African Gender Commission, UNFPA, Association of Women in Journalism, Women Deliver, African Women’s Development Fund, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, MOMA, WE-ACTx Rwanda, Signature Theater, Human Rights Watch, Access Living, Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago, Labyrinth Theater Company, The Kitchen, ENOUGH Project, DuSable Museum of African-American History, Chicago Public Schools, Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, Affinity Community Services, Radio Diaries, Studs Terkel Radio Archives/WFMT, Rape Victim Advocates, Illinois Arts Alliance, WBEZ Chicago Public Media, Arts Club of Chicago, Gender JUST, Council on Global Affairs, Center on Halsted, The Field Museum, ITVS, Amigas Latinas and others.

Awards and Honors:

Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2005); Women of Valor Award (2008); Business and Professionals in the Public Interest “40 Who Have Made a Difference” Award (2008); Inductee, City of Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame (2008); Leppen Leadership Award, About Face Theatre (2009); Impact Award, Chicago Foundation for Women (2010); Visionary Award: Rape Victim Advocates (2010); BeyondMedia Education: Media Justice Award (2010); Changing Worlds Leadership Award (2013); Pride Index Leadership Award In recognition of her partnership with and support of the African American LGBT communities (2013); Fellow, International Leadership Program, National Arts Strategies (2011-2013)

Global Advisory Board

The Global Advisory Board is composed of leaders in public and private fields and platforms, all of whom reflect Project&’s philosophy of social impact on a worldwide scale.

Dawoud Bey
Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellow

Michelle T. Boone
Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer, Navy Pier

Cheryl Lynn Bruce
Award-winning film and theater actor

Tania Bruguera
Guggenheim Fellow for Creative Arts

Kerry James Marshall
MacArthur Fellow and award-winning painter

Frank Mugisha
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Uganda

Lynn Nottage
MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright

Albie Sachs
Former Justice of the Constitutional Court, South Africa

Stephen Lewis
Co-Founder, AIDS Free World, Canada

Jim Hodges
Award-winning sculptor and installation artist

Project& Staff

President and Artistic Director: Jane M. Saks

Saks is the Founding President and Artistic Director of Project&, a new arts entity focused on cultural production with social impact. She is a cultural alchemist, arts advocate, creative collaborator and producer, as well as a writer and educator. She strives to challenge and champion issues of gender, sexuality, human rights, race and power within the worlds of arts and culture, politics and civil rights, academia and philanthropy.

In 2005, she was appointed the Founding Executive Director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media where she served as Executive Director until January 2014. Under her leadership, the Institute offered an innovative approach to merging arts and cultural production with critical theory, research and education– the first and only entity of its kind in the nation. The award-winning Fellowship program she conceived and created garnered international acclaim, launching works that have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur “Genius” Awards, Obie Awards and Guggenheim Awards.

As a published poet and writer, Saks collaborates with artists including Kerry James
Marshall, Jim Hodges and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle. She has served as the Producer, Co-
Producer, Creative Advisor and Series Producer on many original creative works in various media and art forms including “Sweet Tea: Gay Black Men of the South,” “MILKWEED,” “Congo: Women Portraits of War,”(which has traveled internationally to over 25 venues including the U.N., New York and Geneva, the Nobel Peace Center, Sweden, Yale University, Connecticut, Brussels Parliament and the US Congress and Senate as part of the hearings on Darfur and the DRC.), JOMAMA JONES, *RADIATE, and the award-winning international radio series in partnership with Chicago Public Media and National Public Radio “Gender, Human Rights, Leadership and Media.”

She serves on numerous boards including: Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Trustee, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Advisory Board, The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), Board Member, Radio Diaries of National Public Radio, Advisory Member, US Friends South African Constitutional Court Artworks and Architecture Committee, LGBT Leadership Council, and the Programming Committee and Women’s Leadership Committee of the Council on Global Affairs. She serves as a judge on the Chicago regional panel for the White House Fellows program. She is an invited lecturer at civic, cultural and educational institutions internationally (including, the United Nations, School of the Art Institute, The Aspen Museum, New York University, Arts Alliance of Illinois, University of Chicago, Field Museum of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, The New School, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, UNFPA, and the U.S. State Department) and has been a Visiting Critic at Yale University.

She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Rome University.

Some past collaborators/partners:

Saks is a sought-out creative collaborator by artists, scholars, thinkers, social
entrepreneurs, civic and philanthropic leaders, public and private entities, civil society organizations, community based groups, human rights organizations, educational and cultural institutions. Some partnerships include: US Senators Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold; United Nations and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Department of Cultural Affairs Special Events City of Chicago, The Clinton Global Initiative, The White House, The Goodman Theatre, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Health, The Congressional Black Caucus, Humanity United, Oak Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Every Mother Counts, National Public Housing Museum, Victory Gardens Theatre, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Black AIDS Institute, South African Constitutional Court, South African Gender Commission, UNFPA, Association of Women in Journalism, Women Deliver, African Women’s Development Fund, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, MOMA, WE-ACTx Rwanda, Signature Theater, Human Rights Watch, Access Living, Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago, Labyrinth Theater Company, The Kitchen, ENOUGH Project, DuSable Museum of African-American History, Chicago Public Schools, Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, Affinity Community Services, Radio Diaries, Studs Terkel Radio Archives/WFMT, Rape Victim Advocates, Illinois Arts Alliance, WBEZ Chicago Public Media, Arts Club of Chicago, Gender JUST, Council on Global Affairs, Center on Halsted, The Field Museum, ITVS, Amigas Latinas and others.

Awards and Honors:

Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2005); Women of Valor Award (2008); Business and Professionals in the Public Interest “40 Who Have Made a Difference” Award (2008); Inductee, City of Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame (2008); Leppen Leadership Award, About Face Theatre (2009); Impact Award, Chicago Foundation for Women (2010); Visionary Award: Rape Victim Advocates (2010); BeyondMedia Education: Media Justice Award (2010); Changing Worlds Leadership Award (2013); Pride Index Leadership Award In recognition of her partnership with and support of the African American LGBT communities (2013); Fellow, International Leadership Program, National Arts Strategies (2011-2013)

jane@projectand.org

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Project& Interns

Current Interns

 Jonny Bronstein, Selena Cotte, Jessy Pucker, Sarah Saks-Fithian

Opportunities

Project& has no available opportunities at this time.