Meet the Team
Tamara Harkavy, CEO and Artist Director, founded ArtWorks in 1996. Since its launch as a job-training and employment program for talented teens, ArtWorks has become a leader in employing artists of all ages, creating public art and initiating innovation arts programming for the city of Cincinnati. Under her leadership, ArtWorks has employed more than 2,500 teens and over 700 professional artists to work on countless arts projects. Many of these works of art remain, in public and private venues, as testaments to the artistic talents of the participants. Tamara and her team were also the creative force behind both the 2000 and 2012 Big Pig Gig. Since 2007, the ArtWorks team has created 90 murals in 36 Cincinnati neighborhoods and 7 nearby cities. They are now working on several new initiatives, including Hero Design Company working with artists and children facing challenges to discover their super powers, and CO.STARTERS – a business development course for Creative Entrepreneurs. Ongoing work includes ArtWorks Murals and Queen City Art Racks – sculptural bike racks and a host of public art projects.
In 2010 ArtWorks was the winner of the City Livability Award, by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for its mural program. In 2010 Representative Steve Driehaus invited Tamara to deliver the keynote address at the 2010 Congressional Art Competition ceremonies in Washington D.C. ArtWorks has also been awarded three prestigious Post-Corbett Awards; the Ambassador Award from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, a Community Impact Award from the American Marketing Association, and recognition from Hillary Rodham Clinton for ArtWorks’ leadership and vision. In April ArtWorks was awarded the Star Award for Non-profit of the Year by the Over-the-Rhine Chamber.
Tamara, a 2007 Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year, serves on the board of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She was a trustee from 2007-2010 on the board of Tender Mercies, was a founding member of the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund. In 2012 and 2013 Tamara served as co-chair of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Pride event, raising money for the CSO and honoring the contributions of David Herriman and Michelle and Sara Vance Waddell respectively. She has also served as co-chair for two major event celebrating Israel’s 50th and 60th birthday’s for Cincinnati’s Jewish Federation and acts in an advisory capacity for many smaller arts organizations. She has recently joined the group, CEO’s for Cities. She holds a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. She is the mother of Jazz drummer (a graduate of University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music) Ben Sloan, and is married to artist and real estate guy, Matthew Kotlarczyk.
Chief Programming Officer
As Vice President of Programs and Operations, Colleen is responsible for project and partnership development, management and implementation of all ArtWorks programs. In this capacity, Colleen serves as a chief community outreach liaison for ArtWorks. Colleen has been instrumental in the growth, strategic positioning, organizational change and success of ArtWorks and its many programs in Public Art, Creative Enterprise, ArtRx. She has been directly involved in building strategic partnerships to produce the painting of 130+ public murals in 36 Cincinnati neighborhoods and in 6 nearby cities. These programs are helping create a more vibrant region and are a clear indicator that our communities and arts are thriving. The success of the mural program and its impact on Cincinnati was acknowledged by the U.S. Conference of Mayors Livability Award in 2010.
Colleen oversees all programs that transform people and place through investments in creativity at ArtWorks .Colleen leads a talented team of nine individuals who manage ArtWorks’ programming efforts to produce an average of 35 major projects, recruit and employ over 300 professional and youth artists, and train over 60 creative local businesses annually to transform the vibrancy of the Greater Cincinnati region.
Prior to her tenure at ArtWorks, Colleen graduated with a BA from Warren Wilson College where she customized a degree in Public and Social Art. Colleen continues to work as a consultant and volunteer to many community arts projects including CoSign, which enhances the economic activity in tri-state neighborhoods by pairing artists and designers with small businesses and professional sign fabricators to design and install unique handcrafted signage for local retailers. In 2014 she was awarded a Next Generation Leader Award and is a graduate of the EXCEL program of the Non-Profit Leadership Institute of Greater Cincinnati.
Chief Operating Officer
As Vice President of Finance and Administration, Lyle has ownership of financial planning and reporting, the pursuit of activities that lead to a more sustainable organization, and overall responsibility for HR, Risk, IT and the Finance and Accounting functions of ArtWorks. In this, capacity Lyle provides leadership for strategic direction setting, financial oversight and organizational effectiveness.
Lyle joined ArtWorks in 2016, bringing over two decades of corporate experience in strategic business planning, organizational leadership, financial analysis, technology management and procurement, to lead the continued growth and advancement of the ArtWorks organization. Lyle spent 10+ years at Dunnhumby in a variety of senior level positions within the finance and technology functions. He also served as Director of Finance at Trillium Health Care Products and spent over a decade at Procter & Gamble in multiple finance and technology positions.
Lyle is a proud graduate of the University of Cincinnati with bachelor degrees in finance and information systems. He lives in Hyde Park with his wife, Jen, and their two daughters, Caroline and Genevieve. Lyle enjoys the arts broadly, from the visual arts at our local museums and galleries to the performing arts at the many theaters in the city, and he has recently begun to explore his creative side, taking up sketching and painting in his spare time.
Managing Director of Programing
Marie has been on the ArtWorks team since May 2011. Starting off as the Development and Marketing Intern, Marie has traded hats and roles in multiple departments, coordinating events and sponsorships for Development, serving in Administration & Office Management, managing Programming projects like the Big Pig Gig: Do Re Wee, overseeing ArtWorks ArtRx department, and serving on the 2017 BLINK leadership team. In her current role as Managing Director of Programs, Marie blends her cross-departmental knowledge and expertise to lead the Programs department, overseeing project development and implementation. Marie graduated from Ohio Wesleyan with a BFA in Painting and a BA in Psychology, and lives in Cincinnati with her husband, son, cats, dog, snakes, and frogs.
Liz Miller was born and raised on the east side of Cincinnati in Anderson Township. With the exception of a short seven-month stint in Charleston, South Carolina, she has lived in Cincinnati her whole life and is a Cincinnati girl through and through. While completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati, Liz was also a member of the U.C. Women’s Soccer team from 2009 until her senior season in 2012. Shortly after graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Liz returned to U.C. to pursue a Master’s Degree in Art Education, as well as an undergraduate minor in Fine Arts and a K-12 Ohio teaching license in visual arts. During graduate school, Liz had the opportunity to intern with another local arts organization, Elementz, as a visual art instructor, and it was during this time that she developed her passion for public art and community engagement. Before Liz joined the ArtWorks team in the Spring of 2017, she participated in the 2015 ArtWorks “Ink Your Love” tattoo project and can often be spotted proudly displaying the “Corn-fed pig town” tattoo on her forearm. Liz currently resides in the neighborhood of Clifton, and spends her time outside of ArtWorks coaching 9-year old girls at a local soccer club, gardening, and seeing live music.
Linnea joined the ArtWorks team in December 2014. Prior to ArtWorks, Linnea was living in her home state to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She was also employed by the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota as a Collections Intern and Visitor Services Associate. Linnea is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Practice Art at the University of Indianapolis and will complete the program in August 2018. Her passion for the arts began as a young child using disposable cameras to document her all of experiences and surroundings. With age and exploration, she has immense pride and talent in working collaboratively with community members, artists, and youth to create public works of art with meaning and purpose. Linnea resides in Northern Kentucky with her husband, dog, and two cats.
Megan Rahill joined the ArtWorks staff in June 2014 as the Coordinator of ArtRx, the division of ArtWorks that is dedicated to promoting health and well-being through the healing power of art and art-making. Megan’s experience with project management and network of local nonprofits will be put to good use as she and the Director of ArtRx, Marie Elyse Krulewitch-Browne, work to expand the program and serve partners beyond the healthcare world. In her previous position as a Public Ally at Faces without Places, Megan worked with Cincinnati’s family emergency shelters to provide educational support and enrichment opportunities to children experiencing homelessness. She hopes to combine her knowledge of the economic issues faced by families and individuals in our community with her passion for the creative, to remove all kinds of barriers through the healing power of art. Megan has a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Earlham College.
A native Cincinnatian, Laura received a bachelor’s in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a certificate in Material Culture Studies. After college, worked in publishing in New York. In 2014, she moved back to Cincinnati to pursue a master’s degree in community planning from University of Cincinnati’s College of DAAP, where she studied urban design, creative placemaking and the power of public art. Prior to joining the ArtWorks team, Laura worked at LPK, a global brand consultancy. But cities are her true passion, and she is so excited to work for an organization that utilizes arts-based community development to move our city forward. When she’s not at work, Laura loves traveling, riding her bike and hanging out with her husband, Jake.
Managing Director of Development
Kate Farinacci joined ArtWorks from the Contemporary Arts Center, where she was the lead fundraiser for The 50, a donor group, which funded the opportunity to offer free admission. Kate has worked in development for nonprofit organizations such as United Way of Greater Cincinnati, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Cincinnati. She is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive. She started her nonprofit career as an intern with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center while studying History and Psychology at Northern Kentucky University.
Kate grew up dancing and later went on to teach dance, specializing in Hip Hop at several local dance studios. She still enjoys dancing around the house with her two daughters, Lucy and Ren. When Kate isn’t working, she is likely hanging out with her kids, going for a hike, taking in a museum or riding her bike.
Director of Development
Sarah joined the ArtWorks team from the Contemporary Arts Center and has been a long-time supporter of the arts in Cincinnati. As Director of Development, Sarah is responsible for shaping and executing fundraising strategies and fostering the connection between supporters of ArtWorks and the mission itself. Born in Cincinnati, she has spent a large part of the last 15 years traveling the world as a hobby, working as a flight attendant and living abroad doing volunteer development work for an organization that rescues and rehabilitates children from human trafficking. She has a true passion for bettering communities both near and far and is thrilled to be a part of the transformative power that ArtWorks holds in Cincinnati. In addition to her role with ArtWorks she is a jewelry designer, leader of a local women’s community group and owner to a grouchy little senior Chihuahua named Izzie.
Manager of Development
Daniel lives and works in OTR. As the ArtWorks Development Manager, Daniel is responsible for the organization’s grant portfolio. He is excited to work with Cincinnati youth and introduce them to meaningful opportunities in the arts. When not at the office, he likes to hang out with his best friend – a hound dog named Brady who lives in the apartment downstairs.
Deborah joined the ArtWorks team in February 2018 and brings with her a wealth of experience in fundraising, marketing, events, and administration for the arts. A native of the small town of Carthage, MO, Deborah earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at Truman State University, with minors in English and Psychology, in December 2015. Her passion for the arts and organizational skills led her to move to Cincinnati in fall 2016 to complete an MA/MBA in Arts Administration at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music and Lindner College of Business, which she will complete in April 2018. While in the program, she has served as a Graduate Assistant for the Arts Administration department and completed internships at concert:nova, Cincinnati Opera, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. She brings this array of experience in the Cincinnati arts community and fundraising knowledge to help facilitate the development initiatives of ArtWorks. In her spare time, Deborah enjoys exploring Cincinnati’s restaurant scene, cooking, watching movies, and attending arts performances.
Managing Director of Communications
Melissa Currence APR joined ArtWorks in August 2018 as Managing Director of Communications and Marketing. As a life-long Cincinnatian, she loves seeing the region transform from the energy of public art. Before joining the team, Currence was the senior digital marketing manager for the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the public relations specialist for Talbert House. She is the president of the Cincinnatus Association and serves on the board of directors for the League of Women Voters of the United States. Currence has an accreditation in public relations and is a certificated Salesforce administrator. She earned a bachelor’s of Political Science from Xavier University and a master’s of Journalism and Communication from the Ohio State University.
Kate is a Cincinnati based artist who creates work related to group and personal identities, interpersonal relationships and community networks. She toggles back and forth from design and fine art, but enjoys opening her practice to develop collaborative projects. She has a broad background. She began studying Fashion Design, and conceptually based artwork at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her MFA from the University of Cincinnati in Sculpture, and Social Practice Art. She has also lead instruction, and developed programming for the Contemporary Arts Center, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Public Schools, The University of Dayton, and The Art Institute of Chicago.
Catherine@ArtWorksCincinnati.org or call 513-333-3615
Catherine is passionate about the world of digital marketing and brings a diverse background in for-profit and non-profit strategies. Catherine graduated from Butler University with her degree in Strategic Communications and Digital Media Production in 2015.She is excited to expand her knowledge in multi-media communications while at ArtWorks. You may recognize her as the voice of ArtWorks’ social media accounts, be sure to follow @ArtWorksCincy! In her free time she enjoys traveling, eating, and experiencing everything her hometown has to offer. Catherine is an active member of the Junior League of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Butler Alumni Chapter, and the Cincinnati Kappa Alpha Theta Alumni Chapter.
Business Operations Manager
Francesca joined the ArtWorks team in April 2011. As the Business Operations Manager, she oversees the financial integrity of Artworks. This includes all financial reporting and maintenance. Francesca is also responsible for maintaining personnel records and payroll. She has been in the Cincinnati area since 1997, and is also involved with local theater programs. Francesca enjoys event/wedding planning, floral arranging and spending time with her family.
Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Sandra’s a University of Central Florida alum who just relocated to the Cincinnati area a few months ago to be closer to family. She left an administrative job at Macy’s for the Queen City and has since spent much of her time doing social media, writing and planning events for Women of Cincy. She is beyond excited to be joining the ArtWorks team!
Managing Director of Workforce Development
As Managing Director of Workforce Development, Sydney oversees the strategic direction and management of professional development initiatives, enrichment, and education for both youth and creative professionals. An East Coast transplant with a Midwestern heart, Sydney has dedicated her career to improving opportunity and outcomes for youth and communities. Prior to joining ArtWorks, Sydney was a Teach for America corps member in Milwaukee, WI. Her experience in the classroom then led her to Future 5, a youth development nonprofit organization in Stamford, CT, where she led fundraising strategy as Development Manager. Growing up, Sydney danced, played multiple instruments, and pursued photography, so it was a natural fit to join the ArtWorks team to combine her passions for meaningful education opportunities and the arts.
Sydney received her BA from the University of Michigan, where she double-majored in Screen Arts & Cultures and Anthropology, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Additionally, Sydney earned her MA in Education at Alverno College during her service with Teach for America.
In her spare time, Sydney enjoys hiking, ballroom dancing, and exploring restaurants in Over-the-Rhine.
Director of Creative Professional Workforce Development
Colleen O’Connor joined the ArtWorks team in September of 2013 as the Executive Assistant and Office Manager. She is responsible for managing all scheduling and correspondence for the CEO and Artistic Director; is the lead key staff contact for the communication and record keeping for the Board of Trustees; and is responsible for the organization and daily management of the ArtWorks office. Colleen holds a BFA in Photography from the University of Dayton and is completing course work towards her MA in Nonprofit Visual Arts Administration from New York University. Colleen has recently moved back from Brooklyn, NY, where she had been working in higher education and the arts. She is extremely passionate about public art, community engagement and creative placemaking, and has curated two recent exhibitions (2012) on the impact of digital technology on perception and society.
Director of Youth Workforce Development
Amy is a native of Cincinnati, currently living in Over-The-Rhine. Prior to joining the ArtWorks team, in 2014, Amy worked in the Admissions department of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where she graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Sculpture, in 2010. She is also a graduate of ArtWorks Co.Starters program where Pull Club Studio, a girl powered printmaking studio was born. Amy is passionate about public art, place making, and engaging young, emerging and student artists.