Ingenuity has named Nicole Upton as its first Managing Director. In this newly established role, Upton will lead Ingenuity in its efforts to advance high quality arts education access in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). 

Upton brings nearly 20 years of experience working within Chicago’s arts sector to this new executive position. As Ingenuity’s Director of Partnerships and Professional Learning, Upton designed sector-wide collective impact initiatives and professional learning opportunities to solve both the immediate and long-term challenges of arts education access, quality, and equity in CPS. During her tenure, Ingenuity’s professional learning grew from approximately 10 learning opportunities a year to 20-40 Institutes, two Summits, and an annual Arts Education Conference that collectively reach more than 1,700 arts educators each year.

“Nicole’s vision sets her apart as a natural leader,” said Ingenuity Executive Director Paul Sznewajs. “There’s no substitute for firsthand experience, and Nicole’s extensive knowledge of the CPS arts education landscape and her deep commitment to arts education equity are invaluable.”

Before joining Ingenuity in 2014, she served in the CPS Department of Arts Education, where she collaborated with Ingenuity to help facilitate the creation of CPS’ first-ever Arts Education Plan and the Creative Schools Certification. Prior to working in CPS, Upton was the Senior Director of Education at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. 

“I have been deeply entwined with Ingenuity since its founding nearly 10 years ago,” Upton said. “I am thrilled to serve in this new role and collaborate with the sector to further deepen our collective impact in Chicago.”

Courtney Cintrón will assume the role of Manager of Ingenuity’s newly named Partnerships and Learning Department. Cintrón previously worked as Partner Engagement Specialist at Ingenuity, where she supported the development and execution of quality professional learning opportunities and resources for arts educators across Chicago.

Prior to her position at Ingenuity, Cintrón was the Program Director for ProjectArt Chicago, where she oversaw visual arts programs and projects for youth in partnership with the Chicago Public Library. She is also an active member of Chicago’s artist community and was a HATCH Curatorial Resident with Chicago Artists Coalition in 2019.

“I am thrilled to continue my work alongside the sector to strengthen a vision for community arts learning in Chicago,” Cintrón said. “In this new role, I look forward to building programs that are informed by and support the diverse lived experiences of our partner communities.”

To learn more about Ingenuity’s arts education initiatives, visit:


About Ingenuity
Ingenuity is a backbone arts education 501(c)(3) with core programs in data, advocacy, grant-making, and professional learning. The organization’s collective-impact approach to arts advocacy drives partnerships, insights, and investments in the arts for 350,000 students in Chicago Public Schools. A nationally-recognized arts advocacy leader, Ingenuity has advanced the most progress in CPS arts education in 40 years. Learn more at

Contact Us

Interested in learning more about what you read above or Ingenuity? Don't hesitate to reach out!

Contact Us