Staff

Our Team

Anna Showers-Cruser

Chicago Genre Specialist

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons ashowerscruser@artsoflife.org

Anna Showers-Cruser is the Chicago Studio Abstract Genre Specialist. She joined the studio in 2017, after hearing about the group from fellow Chicago artists.

Showers-Cruser earned a B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, followed by an M.F.A. from University of Chicago in 2016.  She aspires to expand her current yoga practice and to become a yoga teacher for artists with anxiety and depression.

Outside of Arts of Life, Showers-Cruser can be found working at area museums or hanging with her trusty sidekick pup, Louise Bourgeois.  Showers-Cruser recently completed work as a resident with HATCH projects at Chicago Artist’s Coalition and has shown her work in galleries throughout Chicago.

Showers-Cruser finds inspiration throughout her Pilsen neighborhood, as well as through her involvement in  Arts of Life and the LGBTQIA community.

Anne Cauley

Director of Development & Communications

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons acauley@artsoflife.org

Anne Cauley is the Director of Development & Communications. She was drawn to join the studio in 2017, after learning about Arts of Life mission and culture.

“I was searching for an organization that was committed to strengthening and positively impacting our community, to building a collaborative and creative team, and to creating a sincere and healthy work environment. I found all of that and more at Arts of Life.”

Cauley graduated from Butler University, in 2007, with a B.S. in Arts Administration. She loves traveling, theatre, cooking, movies, reading and crafting. In addition to her involvement in Arts of Life, Cauley is the Executive Director for the Chicago Fringe Festival.

Ariella Miller

Chicago Arts Coordinator

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons amiller@artsoflife.org

Ariella Miller is the Chicago Studio Arts Coordinator. She earned an Undergraduate degree in Art History and Studio Art from Marlboro College in 2010, and her Masters in Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in 2016.

Miller joined Arts of Life in 2017, seeking an opportunity to utilize her educational background outside of a traditional classroom. Since joining, she has found the studio to be the perfect fit for her interests and skill set.

Miller enjoys spending time outside, going on bike rides, and collecting house plants. She draws inspiration from the creative endeavors of her friends and Arts of Life studio.

“The studio is bursting at the seams with inspiration. The artistic community in Chicago is so diverse and full of new ideas.”

Catherine Norcott

Chicago Studio Manager

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons cnorcott@artsoflife.org

Catherine Norcott is the Chicago Studio Manager for Arts of Life. She joined the studio in 2014, after learning about the Arts of Life from Core Members in L’Arche Chicago.

“Since graduating from college, I have been drawn to community spaces.  Arts of Life felt like the perfect pairing of engaged community and creative exploration to me.  Since joining, I have been pushed to grow and have created space for others to reach towards their goals.”

Norcott earned her B.F.A. from The Art Institute of Boston in 2011, with a focus in Printmaking, and Minors in both Psychology and Art History. She continues her practice, making small fiber works and prints.   She is also an active member of Spudnik Press Cooperative. Her work has been featured in exhibitions in the Spudnik Press Annex and the Arts of Life.

Outside of the studio, Norcott can be found fueling her love of life long learning though educational opportunities, and frequenting her local library.

Christea Parent

Chicago Studio Coordinator + Administrative Assistant

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons cparent@artsoflife.org

Christea Parent is the Chicago Studio Coordinator and Administrative Assistant at Arts of Life. They joined the studio in 2017, as Personal Care Studio Assistant (PCSCA).  They discovered the Arts of Life through their network of disability rights activists.

A performance artist, Parent strives to create and participate in work that “examines queerness and social expectations.” They graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre, from NYU Tisch School for the Arts, in 2011.

In addition to their work at Arts of Life, Parent is a drag and burlesque soloist, and is always working to expand and develop new programming in Chicago. 

They find inspiration in communities created around “otherness,” absurdism, and being very, very silly.

Denise Fisher

Co-Founder & Executive Director

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons dfisher@artsoflife.org

Denise Fisher co-founded Arts of Life in 2000 and currently serves as Executive Director. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Education and Psychology. Denise has over 25 years experience working to improve the leadership opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Seeing the lack of choice on the day/ employment side of services, Denise partnered with two artists, (one with and one without intellectual disabilities) to open Arts of Life.  She’s inspired by the people she works with and the personal and professional growth that comes from practicing Arts of Life model.

Diane Florian

North Shore Studio Coordinator

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons diflorian@gmail.com

Diane Florian is the North Shore Studio Coordinator. She graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and Psychology, and minors in Art History and Italian.

She learned about Arts of Life from a friend who volunteered at the Chicago Studio and joined the organization in 2017 as a Personal Care Studio assistant.

When inspiration levels are high, Diane can be found carving out linocut prints that explore the impacts of the urban environment on its wild animal denizens.

Diane is a lover of fries and enjoys lounging in her hammock by shores of Lake Michigan.

Domenic Bucci

Van Go Go Band Manger

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons domenicbucci@sbcglobal.net

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Erica Bittner

Grant Writer

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons ebittner@artsoflife.org

Erica Bittner is a Grant Writer. She joined the team in 2017, compelled by Arts of Life mission and culture.

“I find it easiest to write about things I feel genuinely passionate about… The generosity and sense of community at Arts of Life is truly inspiring.”

Bittner earned her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in 2011. She also earned a Certificate from the UK’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2014. A lover of all things theatre and dance, she has performed in several Jeff Recommended shows and television series.

Bittner also enjoys yoga, baking and traveling abroad. She finds inspiration in “honest connection to others through art of any form.”

Hilary Marshall

North Shore Studio Manager

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons hmarshall@artsoflife.org

Hilary Marshall is the North Shore Studio Manager. She has been part of Arts of Life team since 2010, when she was first introduced to the studio through her friend and fellow artist Linda Ruzga.

“Arts of Life was the first group of people who saw Linda in the same way I did – as a creative person with a powerful artistic voice.”

Marshall graduated from North Park University, in 2005, with a degree in Creative Writing, Communications and Spanish Language. Her primary creative interests are skilled craftworks, such as crochet and embroidery. She enjoys using recycled, scavenged materials in her work and draws inspiration from vintage books/materials and her community of fellow artists.   

In December of 2014, Marshall was certified as a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional.  

Julia Klein

Chicago Genre Specialist

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons jklein@artsoflife.org

Julia Klein is the Mixed Media Genre Specialist at the Arts of Life Chicago Studio.  She applied to join the Arts of Life in 2016, impressed by the caliber of artwork coming out of the studio.

Klein graduated from the University of Michigan, in 2002, with a B.F.A. She later earned her M.F.A from Bard College, in 2008.

Klein enjoys sculpture making, artists’ books, and reading. In addition to her work at the studio, she runs a small publishing company called Soberscove Press that focuses on producing art books. Her work has been exhibited in Chicago, NYC, Brooklyn, Detroit and Philadelphia.    

Kennedy Healy

Chicago Volunteer Coordinator

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons khealy@artsoflife.org

Kennedy Healy is the Chicago Volunteer Coordinator. A proud Libra, she has been involved with Arts of Life since 2012, when she first joined as a volunteer.  

Healy graduated from DePaul University in 2015, with an educational focus on Women’s and Gender Studies. She has written a reproductive health guide for women with disabilities and has since participated in academic conferences and public speaking events related to the topic.

Outside of the studio, Healy enjoys reading, writing and tending to her plants. She is inspired by authors and artists in the disability justice, anti-racist, feminist and other social justice movements.

Megan Harrigan

North Shore Arts Coordinator

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons mharrigan@artsoflife.org

Megan Harrigan is an Arts Coordinator (North Shore Studio) at the Arts of Life. She joined the studio in 2013, as a volunteer. She later started the studio’s own photography group and worked with artists as a Direct Support Professional. In 2016, she joined the Arts of Life, full-time as the North Shore Arts Coordinator.

Harrigan graduated from Western Illinois University with a B.S. in Photography and Minors and Art and Journalism. She also earned an A.A.S. in Digital Media and Design from the College of Lake County.

Harrigan enjoys yoga, live music, and daydreaming. She is inspired by emotion, human observation, abstract thinking, and curiosity. Her work has been featured in exhibits across Chicago and Illinois.

Rick Sindt

Development & Communications Manager

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons rsindt@artsoflife.org

Rick Sindt is the Development & Communications Manager. He joined Arts of Life in 2015, after hearing about the studio through friends and former volunteers. Previous to his current position, he served as the North Shore Studio Coordinator for 3 years.

“Arts of Life appeared to be a meeting place for the art and disability pieces of my life, so I decided to apply to join the community.”

Sindt is a post-contemporary, figurative, realist painter and draftsman. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from North Park University in 2013, with a B.A. in Arts.

“Through my work, I examine our relationships to ourselves, others, the natural world, lovers, and history or heritage.”

Sindt’s work has been featured in several group and solo exhibits. In addition to his arts practice, he works for Pitchfork Music Festival, writes, and occasionally fosters kittens.

Tasha Vos

Chicago Genre Specialist

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons tvos@artsoflife.org

Tasha Vos is the Chicago Studio Realism Genre Specialist. She studied psychology at Roosevelt University and Northeastern Illinois University, receiving her B.S. in 2014.

Vos joined Arts of Life as a volunteer in 2015, after it was recommended to her by friends. She only recently joined Arts of Life staff in 2018.

Vos has a longstanding interest in art therapy and has an expansive personal practice, incorporating drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, fiber and ceramics over the years.  As a student, she investigated drawing methodology alongside developmental markers in adolescents.  She is active in local pottery studios and also maintains supportive relationships with artists outside of the studio. 

Vos believes strongly that the arts can be vital in facilitating communication and healing.

Vincent Uribe

Art Director

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons vuribe@artsoflife.org

Vincent Uribe is the Art Director. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Visual and Critical Studies.

Uribe joined the Arts of Life in 2013, after hearing about the organization from a friend.

“I came into the studio, for the first time, for an interview and was amazed by the vast creative energy that was being fostered here and couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it sooner.”

As the studio’s Art Director, Uribe aims to pull the Arts of Life into the Contemporary Art scene. Outside of the studio, Uribe is the founding director of LVL3, an artist-run gallery and online publication. He has curated dozens of notable exhibitions within Chicago and abroad. He has a dog named Milo, a pizza tattoo and loves to dance.

 

Whitney Fragassi

Arts of Life Band Manager

ion-android-drafts - Ionicons music@artsoflife.org

Whitney Fragassi is the Band Manager for the Arts of Life Band. She joined Arts of Life in 2014, volunteering as a lyricism assistant and vocal accompanist. Now, as Band Manager, Fragrassi’s life “rocks way harder than ever before!”

Fragrassi graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005, with a B.F.A. in Media and Performing Arts/Poetry. She channels her creative expression through music, performance, sculpture, crochet and tattooing. Her work is inspired by the rhythms and patterns of nature, as well as the experiences she’s gained in traveling to perform her music. 

“Arts of Life is a boon to the spirit and I am happy to be part of such a vibrant community of artists and musicians!”