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Lea Pinsky.
Lea Pinsky.

Lea Pinsky Named Inaugural Executive Director of Art Encounter

Art Encounter, a Chicago-based arts education organization, has appointed Lea Pinsky as its first-ever executive director. Pinsky has been a teaching artist with Art Encounter since 2002 and has served as its director of outreach and community programs since 2015. In her new leadership role, she will work with the board of directors and staff to implement the nonprofit’s strategic vision and carry out its mission of educating, empowering, and connecting people through the visual arts.  

Pinksy is the daughter of artist Joanna Pinsky, who cofounded the organization with Ellen Kamerling and Bonnie Hartenstein in 1978. The founders wanted to make art more accessible to the general public, which led them to design a program that brings people on tours to artists’ studios, galleries, and museums; hosts talks at underserved public schools and senior homes; and runs a community mural program. Pinksy is “innovative and accomplished, has deep insight into what makes Art Encounter unique and how to creatively lead this organization into the future,” said Gale Goldstick-Cohen, president of Art Encounter’s board of directors.

Prior to joining the organization, Pinsky served as founder and director of the city of Evanston’s Young Artist Program, co-manager of the Mile of Murals for the Rogers Park Business Alliance, and community schools resource coordinator for Columbia College Chicago. Commenting on her new role, Pinsky stated: “It is an honor to be chosen as Art Encounter’s first executive director. We have a lot of exciting projects on the docket. We have just rebranded our visual identity and launched a beautiful new logo; we are exploring new important art districts in our tour and travel programs; and we are developing more relationships and programs for communities who have less access to art. It is an exciting and vital time at Art Encounter.”