Denise M. Powell stepped into her position as the new executive director of the Beverly Arts Center (BAC) on Aug. 1. Powell, who has served as board member since 2019, said, “I am thrilled, excited, and honored to accept this role
leading the talented and dedicated team of the Beverly Arts Center at a time of challenge and change.”
“As we emerge from a year like no other, Denise will reengage with the community, peer organizations and
institutions to position the Beverly Arts Center as a beacon for arts and entertainment in the community and broader Chicago area,” said Andrea Nance, BAC Board President.
Like most performing and visual arts institutions, the BAC was hit extremely hard by the covid-19 pandemic. After
canceling or significantly altering most of its programming and classes, the BAC experienced losses in staffing, revenue, and audience – at just the time the arts were needed most.
“Thanks to the extraordinary resiliency and creativity of the staff, the receipt of important emergency grant funding, and most importantly, the support of our community, the BAC is poised to emerge from the crisis stronger than ever, and ready to provide what we’re all craving – connection and the transformative power of the arts,” Powell said.
Since 2017, the BAC has been operating under a triumvirate leadership model with directors of artistic, development and operations co-leading the BAC with strategic oversight from the board. As the BAC navigates
today’s significant challenge of restabilizing a thriving Center, the board decided it’s time to resume executive leadership.
“With an executive director, the senior leaders of the staff will be better able to focus on what they do best, and the board will be able to perform its governance role,” Nance said. “This move positions the BAC for success and growth.”
Powell recently retired from her role as an Operations Director with Aon Corporation, where she was primarily
responsible for continuous process improvement and project management. She has worked with executive leadership to analyze workflows and processes used by various business units and led teams or managed projects to optimize those processes or create new ones.
Powell has over 40 years of experience in commercial insurance including 23 years in risk control and more than 20 years in management and operations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Media Communications and a certification in Change Management, and she is a retired Certified Safety Professional and a graduate of Aon’s Catalyst Americas Accelerated Leadership Program.
Additionally, Powell served as the governance co-chair and the vice chair of the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Lake County, and as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Chapter of the National African
American Insurance Association.
“I am excited to work with Denise and I know the staff will learn and grow from her vision and
expertise,” said Carly Bishop, BAC Artistic Director. “Denise’s leadership strength and commitment
to our mission will benefit the BAC in so many ways.”
“Having already collaborated with Denise on operational and policy projects, I know she will
excel in this new role, and I am excited to welcome her aboard,” said Dan Jacobson, BAC Operations Director.
The Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization serving the Chicago area with fine arts education and programs in dance, visual arts, music, film and theatre. For more information call 773-445-3838 or visit beverlyartcenter.org.