Our Staff 2020-02-25T11:45:40+00:00


Carrie Spitler – Executive Director


Carrie Spitler joined Snow City Arts in 2013 and has led the organization through strategic planning, strengthened assessment efforts, and increased fundraising capacity to fully support the mission.  She was selected through a competitive process for the University of Chicago’s inaugural cohort of the 2015 Chicago Leadership Academy and is a prior member of the Steering Committee of the Civic Knowledge Project’s Southside Arts and Humanities Network. Prior to joining Snow City Arts, Carrie served for 10 years as the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, a social justice and popular education literary arts organization, and as Publisher of the Journal of Ordinary Thought. From 1997 to 2002, she was the Director of Development at Access Living. Carrie holds a BS in Political Science from Central Michigan University, and a Certificate in Baking and Pastry from Kendall College.

Julia Perciasepe – Assistant Director of Development and Communications


Julia joined Snow City Arts as Development and Communications Associate in October of 2016. She is an avid cultural consumer with a Masters in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute and a B.A. in Art History from Wesleyan University. Most recently she worked for WBUR, Boston’s public radio station, in various capacities within the Syndication Department, the Marketing and Promotions Department and the Community Outreach Department. She has held administrative positions at a number of nonprofits including the Brooklyn Arts Council, The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and Documentary Educational Resources (DER). In addition to her nonprofit work, Julia has volunteered as co-host of Boston Neighborhood Network’s cable access television program “It’s All About Arts” and for the Festival do Rio while living in Brazil from 2014 to 2015.

Veronica Stein – Program Director


Veronica is an active member of the Chicago arts and non-profit communities, most recently having led teams at Youth Service Project and BUILD, with a focus on public arts programming and education justice. Her pedagogy investigates how learners may advocate for their own learning in contested spaces. Veronica has led workshops and training across Illinois around trauma-informed practices, creative placemaking, and early elementary restorative justice practices. Veronica is also a practicing artist whose work in multimedia and fiber arts confronts the complex intersections of space occupation as it relates to access. She has exhibited her works in museums and galleries in New York and Chicago. Veronica is a member of several grant writing organizations, including the Kentucky Foundation for Women, in her pursuit of transformational philanthropy. She received her Master of Arts in Art Education from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA in Photography, Film and Electronic Media from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Deirdre Harrison – Director of Development and Communications


Deirdre Harrison was thrilled to join Snow City Arts in February, 2020, directly from her role as Chief Operating Officer and before that Interim Development Director for GRAMMY award winning sextet Eighth Blackbird. Previously, she was the Director of Development for the MacArthur-funded shared advancement staff project Creative Partners, Director of Development and Communications for Rush Hour Concerts/Make Music Chicago through its merger with the International Music Foundation, and for several years Music Institute of Chicago’s first Director of Community Engagement. She is a member of the 2013 cohort of the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. Additional non-profit administration experience includes launching Global Citizenship Experience Lab School and work as Director of Admission and Financial Aid for Baker Demonstration School. Deirdre earned a double BA at Yale before completing her theater training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She is currently in the midst of earning her certificate at Northwestern Kellogg’s Center for Nonprofit Management. A dual American-Irish citizen, she worked in the UK, EU and US for many years as an actress, singer and director. Deirdre produces Chamber Music at Bethany with her former colleague, cellist Nick Photinos and pianist Yasuko Oura, and performs all over Chicagoland with her literacy chamber band, The Lucky Trikes, who are currently preparing to record their second album “How to Listen”.

Chinyere (Chi) Achebe – Program Manager


Chinyere is an educator, spiritual advisor, reiki practitioner, singer, poet, artist, and curator who uses art as an outlet for community building and self-awareness. Her background has afforded her a host of magical opportunities to serve marginalized communities, curate residencies, and contribute to strengthening art alliances. Chi, has presented workshops and facilitated speaking engagements for multiple organizations ranging in size and scope. Some notable attributes to her work are:  SWARM Residency Artist Curator, SWARM Outreach & Engagement Cultivator,Grinnell College Grant Recipient, Art Devour Gallery Director of Operations and Programming, Black Youth Project Healing & Safety Council Reiki Practitioner, Africa International House (African Festival of Arts) Junior Board Member.


Monica Acosta


Monica Acosta is a visual artist in residence at Central DuPage Hospital. She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with degrees in Interior Architecture and Fine Arts. In addition to being a teaching artist at Snow City Arts, Monica is also an art curator for American Indian Veterans Exhibits at The Trickster Gallery in Schaumburg. Her interest is in color science and theory. She is an active artist in the Chicagoland area working with water-soluble mediums. She has worked with the Field Museum, Trickster Gallery and The Filipino Historical Society, collaborating an exhibit about cross-generational identities titled, “We Are Family.” Her work, “Unveiled Through The Arts”, exhibited at the Trickster Gallery and was chosen to exhibit with the Illinois Secretary of State during Asian-American Heritage Month. As an art instructor, she teaches workshops in mindful creativity. Monica believes that art has the capacity to empower one to find their own authenticity.

Emmy Bean


Emmy Bean is a musician-in-residence at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and is a singer, theater artist and teacher living in Chicago. She performs frequently with Theatre Oobleck, Curious Theater Branch, and The Neo-Futurists. She writes songs and performs with Chris Schoen and T-Roy Martin in the trio 80 Foots Per Minute. Other performance work includes appearances at the Parlor in Philadelphia, Judson Church in New York City, Studio Theater in Washington DC, and Sandglass Theater in Putney, VT.  She has toured with Amanda Maddock’s play “Mrs. Wright’s Escape” and co-created the “Three Piggy Opera” at Links Hall in Chicago. Since 2008, she has worked as an Associate Curator at the Great Small Works International Toy Theater Festival in New York City. She holds an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a B.A. in Religion from Vassar College, with a concentration in Music and Culture.

Eric Elshtain


Eric Elshtain is a creative writer-in-residence at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. He has taught poetry and other subjects through the Poetry Center of Chicago’s Hands on Stanzas program, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the Better Boys Foundation. His poetry, reviews and interviews have been published in such journals as the Notre Dame Review, McSweeney’s, American Letters & Commentary, among many others.  His book, Here In Premonition, was published in 2006. His most recent book, This Thin Memory A-ha, was published by Verge Books. Additionally, Eric is the editor of the on-line poetry press Beard of Bees. He received his PhD in Poetry from the University of Chicago.

Dan Kerr-Hobert


Dan Kerr-Hobert is a Theatre Artist-In-Residence at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Rush University Children’s Hospital. He is an ensemble member of Blair Thomas and Company, former Artistic Director of Sans-culottes Theater and Manifest Theatre, and a regular collaborator with the Chicago Neofuturists. As a renowned director, deviser, performer, and puppet designer, his work has been seen throughout the United States at venues such as the MCA, the DIA, NJPAC, Steppenwolf, the Pritzker Pavilion, HERE Arts Center in New York, Dad’s Garage in Atlanta and The Actors Theatre of Louisville. Additionally, he has taught at The Theatre School at DePaul University and the Art Institute of Chicago. Dan is an alum of the Acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

John Lyons


John Lyons is a filmmaker-in-residence at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. John is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and a teaching artist, who has been making films with students in the Chicago area for over 10 years with various arts organizations. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and is also the Assistant Director of Technology and Administration at Marwen. When he’s not teaching, he enjoys hiking with his wife Jessica and discussing outer space with his daughters Catie and Annie.

Mikey Peterson


Mikey Peterson is a filmmaker-in-residence at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois. He is a video/audio artist and singer/songwriter who actively exhibits and performs at galleries, festivals and clubs internationally. His video work is also shown on the Paris/London-based satellite television channel, Art Television and the New York-based website, Videoart.net. Additionally, he teaches video/audio art, filmmaking, animation, and music to elementary and high school students at Marwen Foundation and Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education.

Kevin Smith


Kevin is a musician-in-residence at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Rush University Children’s Hospital, and is a guitarist, composer, and music educator from the Chicagoland area. He began studying classical guitar performance at the University of Georgia with John Sutherland before finishing his degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts under the instruction of Denis Azabagic. During this time, Kevin took first prize in the 2005 Society of American Musicians Competition and the 2006 D’Addario Classical Guitar Competition. Along with his classical and solo engagements, Kevin can be found performing and recording with a number of bands around Chicago, such as Gussied, Third Coast Percussion Ensemble, and Ami Saraiya and the Outcome. He has also recorded several studio albums with his band Cpt. Captain.

Allison Spicer


Allison Spicer is a visual artist in residence at Rush University Children’s Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital. She is an exhibiting 2D visual artist and art educator in Chicago. Her work delves into the documentation of time and space, social theory, and relationships. She works primarily in drawing, painting, and photography (manual and digital). Allison earned her B.A. in Political Science at the University of Michigan and her M.A. in Art Education at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been a teaching artist since 2002, developing her pedagogy at, the Rush Day School, Sherwood Academy Columbia College, Detroit and Chicago Public Schools, the Smart Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Marwen, Hyde Park Arts Center, and Street Level Youth Media. She is a certified Aesthetics Education instructor from the Lincoln Institute of Arts in New York. She also teaches children with emotional/behavorial disorders and autism at the Rush Day School. She is the first to pilot a visual arts education program on a pediatric psychiatry unit at Rush University Hospital. In 2013, Allison was awarded the Artigiana Artist Residency in Sicily, where she was granted her first international exhibition by the Italian Consulate.

Jonathan Stein


Jonathan Stein is Visual Artist-in-Residence at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Rush University Children’s Hospital. He is an abstract painter and printmaker, as well as being an art educator who has been working with Snow City Arts since 2007. He exhibits his own artwork at Thomas Masters Gallery in Chicago. Also, his artwork has been shown in galleries and exhibitions in New York, London, Miami, Chicago and throughout Illinois. He is an Illinois Arts Council grant recipient. As an educator Jonathan has also been working in the Kraft Artabounds Studio program at the Chicago Children’s Museum since 2004.

Lenny Zieben


Lenny Zieben is a musician-in-residence at Rush University Children’s Hospital and has worked at Snow City Arts since 2011. When not at Snow City, Lenny teaches children’s music classes, works as a sound engineer and composes music under the name Voluptuous Tusk. He is a graduate of DePaul University and has worked with kids at The Old Town School, Lincoln Park Cultural Center, Women’s Athletic Club and led recording workshops at Music Industry Workshop and Waukegan School District. Lenny has performed throughout the USA but mostly in Chicago, Minneapolis and Texas.