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People

LORELEI STEWART, DIRECTOR

Lorelei Stewart, Director of Gallery 400 since 2000, has organized over 40 exhibitions, including the Joyce Award-winning exhibition Edgar Arceneaux: The Alchemy of Comedy … Stupid (2006). In 2002 she initiated the acclaimed At the Edge: Innovative Art in Chicago series, a commissioning program that encouraged Chicago area artists’ experimental practices. She holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, a BA from Smith College, and a BFA from Corcoran College of Art and Design.

DENNY MWAURA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Denny Mwaura is the Assistant Director of Gallery 400, UIC. Exhibitions and public programs he has organized and supported include Young, Gifted and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art (2021), A Species of Theft (2022), and Crip* (2022) at Gallery 400; Malangatana: Mozambique Modern (2020) and Igshaan Adams: Desire Lines (2022) at the Art Institute of Chicago;  Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich: Speculative Archives (2021) and Wong Ping: Digital Fables (2021) at Conversations at the Edge. He received his MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was the 2021 recipient of the Schiff Foundation Fellowship for Critical Architectural Writing, an award granted by the Dept. of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago.

JESSICA HOUGH ART DESIGN CHICAGO RESEARCH FELLOW

Jessica Hough is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History and Mellon Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University. She focuses on the intersections of art, technology, and activism in the United States. Centering radical pedagogical praxes and queer theoretical approaches, her research explores creative practitioners’ appropriation of new technologies in projects of self-determination and world-building during the late twentieth century. She has held curatorial and programming positions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Berman Museum of Art, Artists Space, Electronic Arts Intermix, and the Smart Museum of Art. She received a Master’s in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA and BA in Cinema and Media Studies from Columbia University and the University of Chicago, respectively.

RACHEL DUKES, GRADUATE CURATORIAL STAFF MEMBER

Rachel Dukes is a first year Museum and Exhibition Studies graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Arkansas with minors in Spanish and African and African American Studies. Rachel’s work in arts administration and arts writing centers the history and culture of Black communities. She is passionate about anchoring her exploration of Black art and Black spaces in community and accessibility.

NORA JAMES, GRADUATE PROGRAMS STAFF MEMBER

Nora James is an MA student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying modern and contemporary art history. Her interests include disability studies, museum and exhibition development, and accessibility in cultural spaces. She has held positions in public programming, interpretation, and exhibition development at the Gund Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Most recently, she worked as the Museum Educator at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center in Cody, Wyoming, where she conducted research on disabled incarcerees in a WWII-era Japanese American incarceration camp. She holds a BA in art history and English from Kenyon College.

MAGDALENA DUMITRESCU, GRADUATE COMMUNICATIONS STAFF MEMBER

Magdalena Dumitrescu is a Museum and Exhibition Studies graduate student at the University of Illinois Chicago. They are interested in community-centric public art, placemaking and art intervention that centers delight and mutual aid, and creating sustainable practices and policies for maintaining meaningful inclusion and accessibility in art institutions. Their art practice focuses on contemporary folklore, phenomenology, and climate positivism. They have held positions in Public Programming and Community Collaboration at The Atlanta Contemporary, Administrative Assistance at the Ernest G Welch College of Art and Design. They hold a BA in Anthropology with a focus on applied cultural research, magna cum laude and a BA in Studio Art with a focus on drawing and painting, magna cum laude from Georgia State University.

The UIC Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Award Interns

LAURA LONDONO, CURATORIAL UNDERGRADUATE INTERN

Laura Londono is a BA Architectural student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a minor student of Museum and Exhibition Studies. Her interests include museum and exhibition development, accessibility in cultural spaces and integration of the Latino community, architecture, and design.

TAYVON KELLY, CURATORIAL UNDERGRADUATE INTERN

Tayvon Kelly is an undergraduate senior majoring in Art History with a minor in Museum and Exhibition Studies. Her interests include Black art with a specific focus in spiritual practices relating to Louisiana Voodoo, Hoodoo, and other African American folk practices. After graduation, she hopes to continue her studies and eventually become a professor in the Art History and Museum field. 

ALEXEE AITKEN PROGRAMS UNDERGRADUATE INTERN

Alexee Aitken is a BFA student studying Art Education. Their goal as an educator is to use art to build community. Alexee is also a Golden Apple Scholar, on track to teach at a school-of-need for five years post graduation.Alexee has worked as a Teen Council Intern at the Art Institute of Chicago, where students created new and unconventional gallery engagements for visitors. They’ve also interned at Enrich Chicago, One Summer Chicago, and After School Matters creating artworks for the south and west sides of the city.As a visual artist, Alexee creates traditional and digital illustrations through their lens as a Black, queer person. They explore Black femininity, familial relationships, and adolescent angst through painting and photography.

AZIZA MUHAMMAD ARCHIVES UNDERGRADUATE INTERN

Aziza Muhammad is a third year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in architectural studies. Her interests include art history, African American studies, interior design, architecture, and museum & exhibition. She is passionate about continuing her education in the arts.