Title and Organization:
Jane M. Saks is a creative collaborator, arts producer, writer and educator who has worked to challenge and champion issues of gender, sexuality, human rights, race and power within the worlds of arts and culture, politics and civil rights, academia and philanthropy. She is Founding President and Artistic Director of Project& (projectand.org). In collaboration with artists, Project& creates new models of cultural participation and experience with social impact. She works with artists including Lynn Nottage, Claire Chase, Lynsey Addario, Cheryl Pope, Hank Willis Thomas, Yance Ford, and Tania Bruguera. Previously, she was the founding Executive Director at the Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media where she created the award-winning Fellowship program, developing and launching works that went on to win Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur Genius Awards, Obie Awards and Guggenheims. She serves on boards including: Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago, LGBT Pride Action Tank, Trustee Nathan Cummings Foundation, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, US South Africa Constitutional Court Artworks and Architecture Committee, Radio Diaries as well as others. She is an invited lecturer at civic, cultural and educational institutions internationally, a visiting critic at Yale University, Regional Judge for the White House Fellows and will be a visiting Professor at Harvard University. She is a published poet and collaborates with artists including Kerry James Marshall, Jim Hodges, and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle. She has been the Creator, Author, Producer, Co-Producer, Creative Advisor and Series Producer on many original creative works in various media and art forms including “Sweet Tea: Gay Black Men of the South,” “MILKWEED,” “Congo: Women Portraits of War,”(which has traveled internationally to over 25 venues including the United Nations, New York and Geneva, the Nobel Peace Center, Sweden, Yale University, Connecticut and the US Senate as part of the hearings on Darfur and the DRC.), JOMAMA JONES, *RADIATE, the award winning international radio series with Chicago Public Media and NPR, “Gender, Human Rights, and Leadership.” Recent initiatives include, the creator and curator of “Working in America,” a multi-media initiative (working.org) including a traveling photo exhibition, a week long radio series airing on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” and online living archive, Your Working Story, inspired by Studs Terkel and his influential book, “Working” (1974), “Truth Booth” in collaboration with Cause Collective, “Just Yell, Poetry as Self-Defense” Youth Response to Violence in partnership with Cheryl Pope, “OUT/Let – The Reading Project,” in collaboration with Lynn Nottage and “PAN” in collaboration with Claire Chase and Marcos Balter. She has received awards including: Business and Professionals in the Public Interest, “40 Who Have Made a Difference Award,” the Inaugural Impact Award, Chicago Foundation for Women, Visionary Award from Rape Victims Advocates, BeyondMedia Justice Award, the Leppen Leadership Award from About Face Theatre, Pride Index Leadership Award recognizing her work with and support of the African American LGBT communities. She has been a fellow in the International Leadership Program National Arts Strategies, the Pilot Class of Leadership Fellows in the Arts, Stanford University, Leadership Greater Chicago, and an Inductee of the City of Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame. She’s a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and attended Rome University.