Dedicated Artists Making a Change
Our board is diverse, trained, and capable of providing expertise in given fields such as art education, public relations, community organizing, fundraising, accounting, marketing, grant writing and graphic design. We are a highly engaged group with strong ties to the Evanston Art, Education, and Non-Profit Communities. Present members most of whom are parents of children in District 65, 202 and private schools, are uniquely qualified to bring this event to fruition and to help position it to grow in the future.
Hope Washinushi, Board Chair
Sarah Laing, Strategic Planning/Board Development
Daria Van Engelen, Treasurer
Evan Finamore, Community Outreach Coordinator
Geeta Maker-Clark, Community Relations
Baxter Swilley, Public Relations
Christopher Jobson, Business Development
Walker Lawrence, General Counsel
Nicole Nava, Teacher Liason
Hope Washinushi, Board Chair, has a Bachelor in Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. She is the owner of Yasuko Design Company in Evanston. She creates custom murals, mosaics, graphic design and textiles with over 20 years of experience leading projects for schools and organizations throughout the Chicagoland area. She has been the Artist-in-Residence at Martin Luther King Literary and Fine Arts school, creating three different large scale art projects all in different mediums, coordinating and facilitating the project with art teachers, students and volunteers. Hope has also served as co-chair for the school’s large fundraiser for 2015-2106. Hope is currently serving her second year on the Evanston Arts CounciI. In addition she has volunteered with Tellin’ Tales Theatre in Chicago as co-chair for silent auction for their annual gala for the past three years.
Sarah Laing, Board Event Chair 2018, has a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Bachelor in Science in Studio Art from Skidmore College, NY, and completed a program in Public Art at Chelsea College of Art, London. She is a visual artist, teaching artist, and a Registered Art Therapist. Through a number of leadership roles in community, education, and healthcare settings, she is known as a proven catalyst for creative expression. Sarah teaches elementary and middle school at Chiaravalle Montessori’s “DaVinci Studio” Makerspace. In addition she is an active non-profit consultant and advisor. Currently she works with Ingenuity Inc. on the Creative Schools Fund and Government Affairs panel to support the expansion of Arts Education in Chicago Public Schools. She leads the Evanston Arts Education Coalition where she advocates for arts infrastructure in D65 schools. Sarah served as PTA President at Lincoln School, as a board member of Foundation 65, and the Chicago Public Art Group. Sarah has contributed on staff and with the Advisory Board at Open Studio Project since 2000.
Daria Van Engelen, Treasurer, has a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam in Amsterdam, Netherlands and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Skidmore College in New York. She is a Business Development and Project Manager professional in the transportation industry focusing on improving mobility and economic development for all. In her professional career, she has managed large projects worth over $400MM in revenue with profit and loss responsibilities with state and local government agencies including the City of Chicago and State of Illinois and currently works with the Chicago Transportation Authority in bringing mobility to life through special projects and technology. Privately, Daria resumed the Treasurer position at the King Arts School PTA in D65 and also ran their Fine HeARTs fundraiser. She is an active volunteer in the community with endeavors in school art projects, volunteering at ESCCA and organizations that support women in public service. She is an avid supporter of the arts and has a long history of music in her life having participated in many musical conferences and concerts for piano including Avery Fisher Hall (David Geffen Hall today), NY All State and Tang Museum events.
Evan Finamore, Community Outreach Coordinator. Evan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Art History. She worked for several years as both an exhibit developer and exhibit and program consultant for Chicago Children’s Museum. She also worked as an exhibit and program evaluator for two independent evaluation firms in Chicago conducting qualitative data analysis in a variety of museums around the country. She has recently completed a certification in arts management and dedicates much of her free time to volunteering in the community, particularly when there is an opportunity to lend her creative or artistic skills to a good cause. She has served on the board of Parent Day Out and Cherry Preschool and the SpringBoard of Evanston Arts Center. She is currently on the board of Foundation 65 having served as chair of the Marketing Committee, as a member of the Programs Committee, and as lead for the foundation’s arts task force.
Geeta Maker-Clark, Community Relations. Geeta Maker-Clark is a physician board certified in both family medicine and Integrative Medicine. She has a NorthShore Medical Group integrative practice in Evanston that focuses on the therapeutic and preventative use of food as medicine. Her integrative practice also utilizes herbs, botanicals, mind body therapies alongside allopathic medicine. She has always held the belief that any meaningful healing must involve the mind, body and spirit, and that whenever possible the most natural and least invasive intervention serves the highest good of the person. She has pursued study with traditional healers, midwives, herbalists and energy healers in many countries around the world.
She is a graduate of the University of Arizona Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Andrew Weil, and travelled with him to Cuba to study the system of natural medicine that has been in place there for many years.
She lectures nationally on plant based diets and integrative health at medical conferences and to the public at farmers markets, festivals, community organizations and schools. Geeta is a clinical assistant professor at the Pritzker School of Medicine of University of Chicago, and co director of a new Culinary Medicine curriculum that teaches future doctors about clinical nutrition while cooking in a teaching kitchen with a chef. She and her students teach this class to 7th graders at the Montessori School of Englewood throughout the school year. Geeta has 3 children in Evanston schools, and serves on several boards committed to health and social justice, Natures Farm Camp, True Health Initiative and Brightwater Food Studies Council.
Baxter Swilley, Strategy & Public Relations. Baxter is a social entrepreneur and a 17-year political campaign veteran. He served as Midwest Political Director for John Edwards for President in 2004, Political Director for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and campaign manager for numerous state and local campaigns across the country. As a social entrepreneur Swilley launched grassroots initiatives to win Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. He envisioned and brokered a partnership between the Chicago Sun-Times and Presence Health Care to register thousands of low-income families for public health insurance. Swilley has lobbied on behalf of many small businesses, including taxicab fleet companies hoping to level the regulatory playing field between taxicab companies and ridesharing firms, such as Uber. As a business entrepreneur and strategic writer, Swilley helped launch a ride-hail app that rivaled Uber after he drafted a proposal that won a Chicago city government contract to dispatch all city wheelchair accessible vehicles. Now, Swilley is ramping up another startup company offering live language interpreters through a smartphone app for individuals and businesses who need interpreters on-demand.
As a public affairs and government relations consultant, Baxter has represented global and local, large and mid-sized companies including T-Mobile USA, the Chicago Metropolitan YMCA, Presence Health Care and Meade Electric Company.