Photo: Family Day at Lyric, 2019. Photo by Jaclyn Simpson

As Ingenuity enters this New Year, we are excited to share some innovations in our work.

Since 2013 and the launch of artlook®, Ingenuity and Chicago have become recognized as leaders in harnessing data and insights for social good, with partnerships in Houston, Jacksonville and Portland, to name a few.  We are firmly committed to expanding social good in a way that is smarter, more effective and more efficient.  It is for these reasons that Ingenuity is pleased to announce the establishment of a new public benefit corporation to house our data and insights work.

Launching formally in February 2022, Parliament will be a subsidiary of Ingenuity and serve as both a technology and consulting partner for funders, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, public officials, and advocates.  The goal is to multiply their impact for social good through collective intelligence within the arts, public education and beyond.  In return, our Ingenuity team will continue expanding our core data-driven mission of providing industry leading professional learning, advocating for expanded student access to the arts, and investing Creative Schools Fund grants throughout Chicago.

Ingenuity’s current Executive Director Paul Sznewajs will assume the role of CEO at Parliament, overseeing the company’s launch.  Paul has been Ingenuity’s ED since its inception, and the debt of gratitude we have for his vision and leadership is immeasurable.

Ingenuity Managing Director, Nicole Upton, will be promoted to Executive Director.  She brings more than 20 years’ experience in the arts education sector as a high school teacher, teaching artist, Director of Education for the Auditorium Theatre, and member of the CPS Department of Arts Education. For the past seven years she has grown in her leadership responsibilities at Ingenuity, and today Nicole is an accomplished sector leader who has the strength and vision to carry Ingenuity’s mission forward.

Courtney Cintrón will assume many of Nicole’s former responsibilities as Director, Partnerships and Learning at Ingenuity, bringing her Ingenuity tenure and work with ProjectArt Chicago and the Chicago Artists Coalition to the benefit of our many partners.

With this transition, we will also welcome change to our Board leadership in July 2022, when Kimberly Dowdell will take the helm as Ingenuity Board Chair.  Kimberly, Marketing Principal at HOK, has served on Ingenuity’s board since September 2019, most recently as Vice-Chair, and brings an incredible depth of experience and accolades, including serving as past president (2019-2020) of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects Council (NOMAC), which is the organization’s highest level of recognition. She has been honored by both Crain’s Chicago Business and Crain’s Detroit Business as a “40 Under 40.” We shared her personal experience on how transformative the arts can be in this profile earlier last year.

Kimberly replaces Francia Harrington, who has led the organization since its founding.  Under her leadership, the Creative Schools Fund was established and both the organization and board have grown exponentially across the decade of her tenure. We are forever grateful for her guidance, vision, and unwavering commitment to the children of Chicago Public Schools.

We are excited about the opportunity to redouble our efforts to serve the children in Chicago Public Schools with renewed focus. Our mission is not complete until all children in CPS have equitable access to the arts, and we firmly believe that these innovations in our work will help advance that mission even further.



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