"I first met Debbie Venezia, a Naperville resident since 2012, when I joined the Naperville Art League where she served as executive director. Even though I had difficulties speaking English, she became my mentor and encouraged me with my artwork. Debbie always found ways to help and support the artists so that we could gain experience and grow professionally.
In 2017, Debbie was hired as the director of Arts DuPage, a county-wide arts council under the umbrella of the DuPage Foundation. In her role, she leads the effort to support, promote, and advocate for the arts by building connections within the arts and culture sector, stimulating community engagement, and providing capacity-building workshops to artists and arts leaders. Additionally, she maintains artsdupgage.org, an online guide to arts and entertainment, and facilitates an annual county-wide celebration of the arts.
Although she is no longer at the Naperville Art League, Debbie continues the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair, one of the top shows in the country. She also founded and currently directs the After Hours Film Society, a 1,200-plus member not-for-profit organization established in 1989. Debbie serves on several committees including DuPage Children Museum, DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau, and College of DuPage Motion Picture/Television professional advisory committee. In addition, she is a columnist for Positively Naperville.
I nominate her because she is an inspiring woman and a service leader with a kind heart who loves to share the beauty of the arts of the community. To know more about Arts DuPage: www.artsdupage.org "
Nominated by Marita Valdizan
Photo credit: MindiMonroe Productions