Who We Are

HCL STAFF

MISSI DAVIS

MISSI DAVIS

Managing Director

Missi Davis is a creative producer and arts manager who advances multi-faceted, non-traditional, cultural work that promotes and strengthens the intersection of the arts, social impact, and civic engagement. She brings close to 15 years of experience to HCL, having created and promoted hundreds of projects across multiple arts media; and a focus in strategic planning, business development, general management, event direction, and communications. Missi’s flagship project has been as the Producer of The Fly Honey Show, now grown into a Chicago institution with strong support and interconnection with its audience. She was a founding member of the Chicago multi-disciplinary arts organization The Inconvenience, serving as both Artistic and Executive Director; and General Manager for the launch of Hebru Brantley’s Nevermore Park. Her work also spans the cultural and commercial landscape, working with artists to create unique environments with lasting impact for the corporate field.

MISSI DAVIS

Managing Director

YOLANDA CESTA CURSACH MONTILLA

YOLANDA CESTA CURSACH MONTILLA

Artistic Director

Yolanda is an Independent Curator of contemporary theater, dance and music and has earned recognition for her leadership and insight during her recent tenures as Curator of Performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and service as panelist and advisor for various agencies. Her work is constitutionally defined by a sustained interest in the diversity of cultural practices in the US and abroad and commitment to equity. She is a nationally recognized knowledge leader about theater and dance artists in Ibero-Latin America, Northern and Southern Europe, and North and Central Africa. She has served as Chair of Programming and Structure of the Chicago Bodies of Work International Festival of Disability Arts and Culture and is a Facilitator for Forward Dialogues, a program for emerging artists at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (2017-2019); U.S. Curator and Tour Producer for Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America Program of the National Endowment for the Arts.

YOLANDA CESTA CURSACH MONTILLA

Artistic Director

Jakob Laukhuf

Jakob Laukhuf

Media Coordinator

Jakob is a writer, filmmaker, and sound designer currently attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Film student. He brings six years of programming experience to HCL's website management and maintenance. At SAIC, he works for the school’s SITE program, which hosts galleries and documents the work of students and alumni of the BFA program. In 2017, he produced his first short film, "ELSe," and is currently involved in many other film projects, both his own and his peers.

Jakob Laukhuf

Media Coordinator

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

KEVIN SIMMONS, Founder

KEVIN SIMMONS, Founder

Co-Chair

For more than a decade, Kevin Simmons has worked in Chicago and abroad as a program strategist, project designer, and consultant for diverse cultural, environmental, and philanthropic initiatives. A former AmeriCorps*VISTA member and Site Director for LIFT, he studied housing and education policy at Princeton University, Russian language and Slavic literature at the Nevsky Institute in St. Petersburg, holds a certificate in Conservation Finance from the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, and is an NAI-certified interpretive guide and naturalist. Institutions for which he has worked in development, communications, or program management capacities include the UNDP/Global Environment Facility, Audubon Society, ANAI, ArtBasel (Basel), and the BioMuseo, in collaboration Frank Gehry, Bruce Mau, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). He is a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and serves on the boards of Molly Shanahan / Mad Shak, Opera Omnia, is the Board Chair of Opera Cabal, and served for more than ten years on the board of Mother Jones.

KEVIN SIMMONS, Founder

Co-Chair

PETER TAUB

PETER TAUB

Co-Chair

Peter Taub is a curator and arts manager with over 30 years of experience in developing and producing artist-centered projects. Currently working on a project basis, he was the founding director of the performing arts program at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from 1996 – 2016. He steered its development as a leading presenter of multidisciplinary dance, theater and music, and established the MCA Stage New Works Initiative to support artists with creative residencies and commissions. He cofounded the Chicago Dancemakers Forum to support artistic exploration and advancement for Chicago-based choreographers, and as executive director of Randolph Street Gallery, he led its growth into a nationally recognized artist-run center.

PETER TAUB

Co-Chair

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

Secretary

Angelique Grandone is an arts manager focusing on contemporary circus on the stage and in the streets. With a background in theatre making and social justice, she draws upon skills acquired in a wide variety of settings including work as a performer, a doula, a health educator, a community organizer and a production manager. She currently works with the Chicago Park District as the Program and Event Coordinator for Theatre and Performing Arts and the Managing Director of Theater on the Lake Summer Theater Festival.

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

Secretary

Linnea Carlson

Linnea Carlson

Board

Linnea is the Front Office Manager for the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Over more than six years with the Four Seasons, she has worked Front Desk, Reservations, and Housekeeping at properties in Austin, Dallas, St. Louis, and Whistler, and helped open the property in Anguilla. Linnea started the Women in Leadership group at the Dallas property before bringing the initiative to Chicago. She has a B.A. from Carleton College, where she double majored in Economics and Art. There, her studio practice included woodworking and film photography. Today, Linnea continues to enjoy photography and exploring Chicago.

Linnea Carlson

Board

Janet Weiss

Janet Weiss

Board

Janet is a highly accomplished marketing and branding executive, with over twenty years of experience developing successful campaigns and strategies for cultural, art and entertainment organizations. Janet has extensive non-profit experience, including as the Head of Marketing for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences where she oversaw branding, ad creative, media planning, marketing partnerships, sponsorship, special events and digital/mobile and social media. During her tenure, Janet led an organization-wide rebranding of the Academy, launched the Academy's social and digital platforms, generated millions of dollars in new revenue streams and increased total Oscar® viewership. Prior to joining the Academy, Janet developed a national branding and corporate sponsorship program for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and their 200+ member zoos and aquariums throughout North America. Throughout her career, Janet has produced successful marketing campaigns for a wide range of programs and properties, across all consumer marketing channels. She is currently consulting for a number of media and entertainment clients, providing marketing strategy and business development. A native of Chicago, Janet studied filmmaking at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and began her career in film production before turning her attention to marketing. Janet recently relocated to her hometown, where she lives with her husband, who is a musician and composer.

Janet Weiss

Board

Izabella Redzisz

Izabella Redzisz

Board

Izabella is an attorney who also holds a certificate in Art and Museum Law from the DePaul University College of Law, where her studies focused particularly on authentication and repatriation. During her time at DePaul, Izabella wrote for and edited the Journal of Art, Technology, and Intellectual Property Law. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Film studies. Izabella co-owns Nightshade Floral Design, where she is able to exercise her creative side by designing floral arrangements for events all around the Chicago area.

Izabella Redzisz

Board

Gabriela Suarez

Gabriela Suarez

Board

Gabriela Suarez

Board

ARTISTIC ADVISORY COUNCIL

High Concept Labs’ Artistic Advisory Council (AAC) is composed of an experienced panel of arts practitioners, critics, writers, and thinkers who work with our staff to guide the artistic direction of our programs. The AAC is instrumental in the selection and growth of the Sponsored Artist Program, making HCL a prime resource for artists who lack the support structures of Chicago’s larger cultural institutions. Council members also recommend artists to the program, devise creative methods and partnerships, and support occasional large-scale creative projects. The AAC provides invaluable contributions in support of HCL’s mission to support working artists and audiences.

Majel Connery

Majel Connery

Music

Majel Connery is a vocalist, composer and musicologist. She holds a BA in music composition from Princeton University and a PhD in musicology from the University of Chicago. She moved in 2013 to the Bay Area where she accepted an Assistant Professorship in Musicology at the University of California Berkeley. As Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford University she commissioned and performed Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw’s “Contriving the Chimes” with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, staged by director Christopher Alden. As Mellon Visiting Artist at Wellesley College she commissioned and performed “Aeolus” by Rome- and Berlin Prize winner Ken Ueno. Delving recently into radio, she has written songs about porn, periods, and sad fish for Radiolab’s “Gonads” series, released in 2019 as a digital album on Bandcamp.

Majel Connery

Music

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

Theater, Performance

Angelique Grandone draws on a background in theatre making, contemporary circus, and social justice in her work as a performer, doula, health educator, community organizer, programmer and production manager. She is currently the Program and Event Coordinator for Theatre and Performing Arts and the Managing Director of Theater on the Lake Summer Theater Festival, both with the Chicago Park District. She holds a BA in Theater Arts from Bradley University.

ANGELIQUE GRANDONE

Theater, Performance

MARK JOSEPH JEFFERY

MARK JOSEPH JEFFERY

Performance

Mark Jeffery is a Chicago based performance/installation artist, curator and Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mark co - founded ATOM-r in 2012, a performance and technology group where he is a choreographer, director and performer in the company. He is the organizer of IN>TIME, a triannual performance festival presented by multiple venues in Chicago. Mark was a member of the former Goat Island Performance Group, from 1996 - 2009.

MARK JOSEPH JEFFERY

Performance

Meida Teresa McNeal

Meida Teresa McNeal

Performance

Meida Teresa McNeal is Director of Honey Pot Performance. She serves the Chicago Park District as Arts & Culture Manager, supporting community arts partnerships, youth arts, cultural stewardship, and civic engagement initiatives. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and an MFA in Choreography & Dance History from Ohio State University. She is the recipient of several awards including a Chicago Dancemakers Lab Award and a 3Arts Award in Dance. She has taught dance, community engaged arts, critical performance ethnography, and black diasporic cultural production at Northwestern University, Brown University, Governors State, and Columbia College Chicago. Positioned as an artist, scholar and administrator, she merges theory and practice into lived applications that cultivate dialogue, decolonize knowledge, and shift consciousness.

Meida Teresa McNeal

Performance

STEPHAN MOORE

STEPHAN MOORE

Music, Sound

Stephan Moore is a sound artist, designer, composer, improviser, coder, teacher, and curator based in Chicago. His creative work manifests as electronic studio compositions, improvisational outbursts, sound installations, scores for collaborative performances, algorithmic compositions, interactive art, and sound designs for unusual circumstances. He is the curator of sound art for the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, organizing annual exhibitions since 2014. He is also the president of Isobel Audio LLC, which builds and sells his Hemisphere loudspeakers. He was the music coordinator and touring sound engineer of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (2004-10), and has worked with Pauline Oliveros, Anthony McCall, and Animal Collective, among many others. He is a senior lecturer in the Sound Arts and Industries program at Northwestern University.

STEPHAN MOORE

Music, Sound

ZACHARY WHITTENBURG

ZACHARY WHITTENBURG

Dance

Zachary Whittenburg is from Colorado and has danced professionally with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BJM Danse Montréal, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre, now Charlotte Ballet. His subsequent freelance career in Chicago includes performing, teaching, and creating choreography for Lucky Plush Productions, Molly Shanahan / Mad Shak, DanceWorks Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Mordine & Co. Dance Theater, River North Dance Chicago, and Thodos Dance Chicago. During his tenure as Associate Director of Marketing and Communication at Hubbard Street he served on the Chicago Dancemakers Forum consortium. He has served as Communications and Engagement Director at Arts Alliance Illinois, and is founding board secretary emeritus for the Chicago Dance History Project. Whittenburg is a regular contributor to Dance Magazine, tweets @trailerpilot about contemporary culture, politics, and the performing arts, and is Director of Communications at the Chicago Architecture Center.

ZACHARY WHITTENBURG

Dance