About Us



Threewalls was founded in 2003 to provide support and visibility for the visual arts community in Chicago. The founders wanted to encourage a greater awareness of Chicago’s art scene by inviting emerging professional artists to share in the city’s rich histories, resources and creative communities. Over the past thirteen years, Threewalls has been a center for artist-focused programing, critical writing, and direct support for artist projects.

Threewalls transitioned from a bricks-and-mortar gallery to an itinerant model in early 2016 in response to contemporary discourse about the intersections of art, social justice and community. We continue to support artists and collaborative projects, especially those that are best presented outside of traditional art spaces, thereby expanding the discourse around contemporary art presentation and exhibition, and breaking down walls to contemporary art that are firmly in place in so many communities.

Today, we host artists interested in working in and with diverse Chicago communities through our RaD Lab program, support interactive work by local and regional artists in Outside the Walls, and program salons and symposiums to generate open dialogue, the presentation of new ideas, and the publication of new writing. Threewalls partners with other organizations on exhibitions, publications, and education programs in an effort to broaden and contribute to the contemporary visual arts.


Threewalls fosters contemporary art practices that respond to lived experiences, encouraging connections beyond art.


Art connecting segregated communities,  people, and experiences together.


Collaboration: We value the practice of collaboration with our nonprofit peers, artists, community leaders, and others who are inspired to use art as a catalyst for change. We believe that without true collaboration, real change through the arts cannot happen.

Respect for Process: We believe that supporting process over time is integral to artistic and creative practices as well as relationship-building.

Risk: We are committed to providing an environment that embraces risk, with the understanding that this is where the most fruitful and successful art and relationships are born.

Celebrating Difference: We believe that it is our responsibility to reflect not only Chicago’s racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, but our society at large. In this vein, we believe that racial and ethnic inclusivity in addition to cultural equity are germane to our work.



Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Sabba Elahi

Natasha Gibson

Catherine McCarter
Communications Coordinator

Michael D. Moore
Propeller Fund Associate

Brett Swinney
Artist and Artistic Engagement Manager

Board Members

Executive Committee

Gary Metzner, President
Senior Vice President
Sotheby’s Midwest Chicago

Lisa Key, Vice President
Chief Development Officer
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Devin Mathews, Vice President 
Parker Gale Capital

Josh Rogers, Treasurer
Founder & CEO
Arete Wealth Management, LLC


Michael J. Davis

Patti Gilford
Art Advisor
Patti Gilford Fine Arts

Colin D. Lord
Founder and CEO
New Ivy Consultants

Oren Lund
Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Claire Pentecost 
Professor of Photography
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago