Inspire & Empower: Women Creating Change in Their Communities

Join us on Saturday, March 7, 11AM-1PM

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Heaven Gallery invites five women working toward positive change within their communities to speak about their respective projects. This group includes activists and community leaders paving the way for social change. The goal of this event is to inspire people to take initiative while raising awareness and celebrating the achievements of our speakers. We hope to encourage women to continue leading, smashing barriers, and doing what they love! Heaven Gallery is pleased to feature Madison Smith,Tania Cordova, Kamilah Rashied, Liz Jansen, and Tracy Kostenbader

Free Event

Coffee donated by La Colombe and pastries by Artemios. 

Kamilah Rashied is a producer, administrator, educator and interdisciplinary artist. She has worked from every angle of cultural production as an arts administrator with 17 years of experience in new program development, community based programming and civic minded audience engagement, contributing to the development of new and ongoing projects at many venerable arts and culture organizations in Chicago including: the Art Institute of Chicago, the School at the Art Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Illinois Humanities, Arts Alliance Illinois, Rebuild Foundation, OTV (Open Television), Young Chicago Authors, Victory Gardens Theater and Chicago Shakespeare Theater to name a few.

Madison Smith is a Chicago-based artist and independent programmer exploring ideas of intimacy, autobiography and collective care. Since graduating with a BFAAH (Bachelors of Fine Art and Art History) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017, she has worked to shape spaces that support creativity and interpersonal transformation. Smith has managed a diverse range of public programs in partnership with organizations such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Architecture Center, Evanston Art Center, Field Museum, Hyde Park Art Center, LATITUDE | Chicago, and Links Hall. Smith is a Co-Founder of Monarch Art and Wellness and Coordinator of Public Programs at the Chicago Architecture Center.

Tania Cordova is a member of LGTBQ Immigrant Rights Coalition and the Translatin@ Coalition. Tania is an Advocate, Community-Educator and Promotora for Human Rights, Equality, Liberation, universal healthcare and breaking the cycle of poverty, criminalization, and imprisonment in Trans-LGBQ and Immigrant communities. Tania is a part of current efforts in Illinois to reform name change legislation advocating for the public safety of transgender people by making the name change process accessible. In 2018, Tania formed SER El Cambio, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help transgender women being released from incarceration by providing access to resources for personal and spiritual growth, transformation and lifelong wellness. Through SER El Cambio she provides training and case management support to transgender immigrant women being detained and released from the Cibola immigrant prison in New Mexico in collaboration with the Casa Colibrí transformative justice house in Albuquerque. Her long-term vision is to operate a refuge house and transitional living organization for Trans Immigrant Women seeking asylum in the United States.

Liz has more than 12 years of nonprofit experience, having worked at large institutions and grassroots organizations. Based on her knowledge of the field, Liz helped design and introduce Women Unite! as a capacity-building consulting firm, identifying ways to best use the networks and talents of the Women Unite! community. Prior to joining Women Unite!, Liz served as Vice President of Development at Healthcare Alternative Systems (H.A.S.), a nonprofit that provides behavioral health services. In this role she managed all aspects of the organization’s fundraising strategy, increasing total annual dollars raised by 130%. She spent two years as a grant writer for Thresholds, which supports more than 15,000 individuals experiencing mental illness each year. In this role, she managed a portfolio of 50 foundations, organizations, and corporations, writing and developing proposals for Thresholds’ more than 30 programs. In addition to her time in the nonprofit sector, Liz spent six years in higher education working at Northwestern University in Alumni Relations & Development during their $5 billion dollar We Will campaign. For four years Liz was on the Board of Directors of Logan Square Neighborhood Association, helping ensure the organization’s fiscal health and strategic growth. She holds a BA in English Literature from North Park University and received her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University.
About Women Unite!: Women Unite! is a 100% women-operated nonprofit that provides capacity building and professional services for free or on a sliding scale. Services we offer clients include fundraising & communications, graphic design & fundraising, and professional training & development. Contact me to learn more about how we might be able to support your organization.

Tracy Kostenbader, a Logan Square resident for nearly 30 years, is a visual and social artist who co-founded AnySquared as an artist collaborative in 2010 to develop art projects with others in rejection of an elitist view of art. She has transformed her home studio to make space for other artists where people can interact and produce art together. Functioning on the basic premise of mutual aid and cooperation, has also built a unique organization with other artists and a space in Chicago where people come from all over the city to participate and build projects together. She’s been hosting AnySquared’s weekly artmaking studio days for the past decade and continues to mentor emerging artists to expand their ideas about how to create their work.

In AnySquared, she spearheads collaborations with her network of fellow artists and groups and brings people together through programming and exhibitions. Tracy’s philosophy is rooted in collaboration. Her history of work with social justice campaigns has a profound effect on her ideas as an artist. Tracy continues to support the quest for justice and encourages cooperation, and not competition, among people.