Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Directors

Founder

Paul Abrahamson

The founding President of the Logan Square Chamber of Arts/Hairpin Art Center board, Paul…

Paul’s entire adult life has been focused and nurtured by dance, mostly ballet. He started dancing very late and was crazy fortunate to have brilliant teachers right from the beginning. That beginning has led to a 25-year professional career including dancing, teaching, choreography, and now, directing a ballet school. Paul started and ran a contemporary ballet company called The Moose Project in Pittsburgh for 5 years, and then founded The Chicago Ballet which has enjoyed a good, 5-year run. 

 

The founding President of the Logan Square Chamber of Arts/Hairpin Art Center board, Paul lives in the Portage Park neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side and is a devoted dog dad.

 

He likes Martha Graham’s quote: "The body says what words cannot" because he believes the most profound and deepest emotions can be best communicated through movement; words get in the way.

 

Board President

Norma Rios-Sierra

Today, making and teaching art through her studio, Mosaico Arte Chicago, is her main priority, but she also spends time volunteering on the boards of…

I have made things for as long as I can remember,” says Norma, “Art was always something that I loved and treasured.

 

A long-time Logan Square resident, Norma grew up in Chicago and was lucky enough to work summers at Gallery 37 and experience wonderful art programming through Marwen. She went on to study Art History at Columbia College Chicago, but did not consider art as a viable career until after her son was born – she had spent years working in banking and doing taxes. “I realized that I hated every minute of that. I had to make a change for my sake and for my sons.

 

So she made the change. Teaching and creating art in her home studio allowed Norma the flexibility to create her own schedule, so she could be available both to her son and also her community. In the five years since, she has taught at The Chicago Childrens Museum, the Macy's Flower Show, several CPS and suburban elementary and high schools and worked as an artist in residence at the DuPage Childrens Museum creating a mosaic mural for their Young Explorers exhibit. She also was invited to teach Sugar Skull classes as part of the Hairpin’s Dia de Muertos celebration in 2018

 

Today, making and teaching art through her studio, Mosaico Arte Chicago, is her main priority, but she also spends time volunteering on the boards of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and Logan Square Chamber of Arts / Hairpin Arts Center. Having grown up just down the street from the Hairpin, Norma feels a very close connection to the area and the neighbors.

 

Norma’s quote describes her path:

Cuando nada es seguro, todo es posible.

Board Secretary

Nia Easley

Raised in Bronzeville, Nia currently lives in Avondale/Logan Square. An artist working in mostly two-dimensional space, she makes art about places, histories, people…

Raised in Bronzeville, Nia currently lives in Avondale/Logan Square. An artist working in mostly two-dimensional space, she makes art about places, histories, people, and our relationships to each other, and also studies visual communication design.

 

Nia’s “day job” also is focused on the arts. An Administrative Coordinator in the Deans Office at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Nia has been working in art museums (The Walker Art Center / Art Institute of Chicago) and education since 2008. She also interfaces with various non-profits and foundations as an independent artist and designer and is excited to contribute as part of her role a new member of the Board of the Logan Square Chamber of Arts / Hairpin Arts Center.

 

Nia hopes to emulate the kind of generosity of spirit captured by this quote:

"I'm rooting for everybody black."

-Issa Rae

Board Treasurer

Rob Hymen

Hairpin Arts Center Staff

Executive Director

Gretchen Henninger

Having worn many hats throughout the years, Gretchen serves as the LSCA’s president, executive director, and grants writer…

A founding member of the board of directors for the Logan Square Chamber of Arts / Hairpin Arts Center, Gretchen has served as the organization’s president, executive director, and grants writer as well. Her personal arts background includes music, visual arts, and interior design. But it should come as no surprise that one of her favorite art mediums is collage. She has worn many different hats throughout her career:

For almost 40 years, Gretchen worked in finance as an Institutional, Municipal Bond Specialist. Her last position was as a Senior Vice President at LaSalle Bank – ABN-AMRO. She also has significant experience in training and development, having worked in job search, coaching, leadership, personal development, divorce mediation, conflict resolution, restorative justice training, and peace and social justice activism.

From a nonprofit management perspective, Gretchen also served the Board of Ordained Ministry for the United Methodist Church and the Center for Religion & Psychotherapy. She was a founder of Logan Square Neighbors for Justice and Peace, and Executive Director of Intimate Opera.

Gretchen has always loved the arts. She studied music, drama, sociology, and psychology early on and, after buying her Logan Square home, received an associate degree in interior design from Harrington Institute of Interior Design. She went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree from DePaul University in Design and Activism. Her favorite quote comes from the Hairpin Arts Center narrative:

“We believe in the power of the arts to transform and create a stronger more engaged society. Art enhances the human experience, advances critical thinking and self-awareness. The arts are the foundation of who we are as a culture.”

Community Outreach & Engagement

Daniel Pogorzelski

Dan has dreamed of bringing both the building and the surrounding community back to the vitality…

A champion of multiple arts and long-time supporter of Hairpin Arts Center, Dan plays guitar, dabbles in the visual arts, and is a published author, writer, and editor. He has worked in state government for 6 years and is the former Executive Director for the Greater Avondale Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Dan has been a co-organizer of both music festivals and film events.

 

As a life-long Chicagoan, he remembers when the Hairpin Arts Center first opened to the public. The Hairpin building has special significance for Dan: the terra-cotta decor over the entry door were originally in the now demolished Senkowski Bakery where Dan’s mother first worked when she immigrated to the United States from Poland.

While he is new to the Board, Dan has dreamed of bringing both the building and the surrounding community back to the vitality he remembers from his childhood. This quote sums up Dan’s approach:

 

“You can’t beat death

But you can beat death in life, sometimes. 

And the more often you learn to do it,

The more light there will be.

- Charles Bukowski, The Laughing Heart

Virtual programming

Lily Be

Lily has been a supporter of artists all over Chicago, from Beverly to the borders of Evanston, from the lakefront to O’Hare, attending literally thousands of…

Lily B is a Storyteller. Her art takes shape in a number of forms including live-literature, visual art, writing, acting, performing, and comedyA prolific creative, she has been involved in the arts since she was a teenager, when she opened and ran her own do-it-yourself art space in Tucson, AZ to support her young family. She also has worked as a caregiver and virtual event producer/tech engineer.

 

Lily has been a supporter of artists all over Chicago, from Beverly to the borders of Evanston, from the lakefront to O’Hare, attending literally thousands of shows and performances in support of our city’s people and causes. The Hairpin Arts Center, like the rest of Chicago, is a part of her spirit: in addition to being a member of the Board, she has performed here, taught here, laughed, cried, and fought here.

 

Lily lives by this quote: Do not allow perfection to be the enemy of progress. 

Multi-Arts and Youth Programming

Tracy Kostenbader

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Hairpin Arts Center

2810 North Milwaukee Avenue, 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60618-7981

HairpinArts@gmail.com | 773.661.6361


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Hairpin Arts Center

2810 North Milwaukee Avenue, 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60618-7981
HairpinArts@gmail.com

773.661.6361