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Marwen Names Alumna Akilah Halley Deputy Director [VIDEO]

Kennon Reinard, Senior Manager of Communications
312.374.2941 | kreinard@marwen.org



Marwen, Chicago’s tuition-free afterschool arts program for under-served youth, adds a new leadership role in its 30th anniversary year.


Akilah Halley, Deputy Director  Antonia Contro, President & CEO

From left: Akilah Halley, Antonia Contro


“Marwen’s story is my story; and that is an undeniable testament.” -- Akilah Halley


(Chicago, IL – March 7, 2017) Less than two years after renovating and expanding its arts campus, increasing the number and diversity of courses offered, and growing their student base, Chicago’s tuition-free afterschool arts program, Marwen, continues to grow by adding a new leadership role. Marwen is excited to announce that one of its own alumni, Akilah Halley, has been named Deputy Director. This new position, which will focus on several initiatives, including education, communications and marketing, alumni relations, strategic planning, and special projects, will start April 1, 2017.


With this new appointment, Marwen’s 23-year Executive Director, Antonia Contro, becomes President and CEO effective immediately.


“Akilah is the embodiment of the impact Marwen's programs can make on individuals, organizations, and the community,” said Contro. “Her appointment allows Marwen to confidently move into the next phase of expansion, growth, and development -- uniquely and seamlessly connecting the past with the future.”


“I am literally ecstatic to join the ranks of Marwen staff. While this is a new role for Marwen, as an alum it honestly feels like a euphoric homecoming,” said Akilah Halley. “Marwen’s relentless commitment to the needs of our students is the real driving force for me – especially during a time when the world sends many obstacles their way. Marwen’s momentum is strong and together our potential is boundless.”


In addition to growing leadership capacity, the organization is also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Halley will be tasked with ensuring that Marwen’s mission remains relevant and that the non-profit organization best serves the young people who need it most.


“It is a strategic time to add this senior position,” added James Hill III, Chair of Marwen’s Board of Directors. “Akilah is a person who can authentically represent the value of art and who can advocate for our students from the experience of being one.”


Hear more from Akilah Halley and Antonia Contro in this 3-minute announcement video.


About Marwen

Since 1987, Marwen has educated and inspired Chicago’s young people through visual arts. What began as one drawing course offered to four students quickly became a hidden treasure to a few hundred, and now is a prominent badge of honor for nearly 1,000 young people across the city. Now, in its 30th year, Marwen provides free art courses, college planning, and career development programs to Chicago’s under-served 6-12th graders from nearly 300 different schools throughout the city. For more information visit http://marwen.org



Hi-res photos of Akilah Halley, Antonia Contro, the Marwen building exterior and interior, and courses in action available upon request.


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