Nicole Upton joined Ingenuity from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Department of Arts Education where she oversaw projects, programs, and initiatives for CPS students, teachers, principals, and school community stakeholders.

Her focus areas included curriculum, instruction and assessment, professional development, partnership, strategic planning for the arts, and the CPS Arts Education Plan. At Ingenuity, Nicole develops sector-wide strategies to strengthen student learning in and through the arts. Currently, she works with both CPS and Chicago’s arts and cultural community to build capacity, strengthen leadership and create collaboration and knowledge sharing within and among organizations with the goals of bolstering existing arts programs and reducing arts deserts across CPS. Nicole focuses on professional learning for arts and cultural organizations through Ingenuity’s Institute series and supports the work of CPS Arts Liaisons. Programs and initiatives are designed with the support of her 20-member Strategic Advisory Panel. Prior to working at CPS, Nicole served as the Senior Director of Education at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University where she launched ArtsXChange, a collaborative professional development program for classroom teachers and directed Hands Together, Heart to Art, an arts-based summer camp for children who have experienced the death of a parent. Nicole holds a BA in Comprehensive Theatre Studies from Northern Illinois University and a MA in Educational Theatre from New York University. Contact Nicole regarding professional learning and leadership opportunities within the arts education sector, assistance in how to best partner with the Chicago Public Schools, or for support in promoting your arts education program to CPS.

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  • Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way.""
    —Twyla Tharp