Green Festival Speakers
Laura Weathered is the Executive Director of the Near NorthWest Arts Council, an artist directed nonprofit organization. She is trained as a visual artist with MFA from University of Southern California. An artist/activist, she is dedicated to cooperative strategies that empower artistic activity as sustainable part of community development. Laura did post graduate work in Urban Development, at Spertus Institute concentrating on affordable housing. Laura participated in the Arts Entrepreneurs 2000 program with Bill Strickland of the Manchester Guild. Laura facilitates workshops in consensus decision making and cooperative organizing. A fine artist working in paint media, Laura applies creative skills to practical problems within a community context.Under her direction, NNWAC initiated the $3.2m development of the Acme Artists Community, permanent affordable work/live space. It is Chicago's first artist housing, designed, developed and owned by professional artists, offering a significant hedge against gentrification. The project demonstrates affordable housing from a consumers perspective, eliminating middle men yet offering artists substantial input on design and development.Laura is an active participant in research and cultural planning with the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs and Commissioner of the local special service area tax district serving Bucktown Wicker Park. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities, colleges and neighborhood design centers including: School of the Art Institute, the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College, DePaul University, Vanderbuilt University, Nashville Design Center, Toledo Art Space. Laura is a member of the Wicker Park Food Coop, advisor to the Dill Pickle Food Coop and she is an active consultant with new work/live projects.