Christina Deaton DeMarea
Executive Director

Alex Benjamin
Director of Programs


Gretchen Burch, President
Mario Santiago,  First Vice President
J. Alexander Cestero,  Second Vice President
Thomas Teichgraeber,  Secretary
Andrew Lapp, Treasurer
Sally Metzler, PhD, Immediate Past President
Mark Arizmendi

Rebecca Beem
Wendy Betts
Richard Doermer
Ardena L. Flippin, MD
Anna Ganse
Michael Goode
Steven Goodwin

Kyle Mackey
Rebecca Makkai
Cherilyn G. Murer
Matt Olaveson
Julianna Tancredi
Eric Wassenaar
Bruce Williams

Contact Information

Luminarts Cultural Foundation

Union League Club‎ of Chicago

65 W Jackson Blvd

Chicago, IL 60604

phone: 312.435.5961



The Luminarts Cultural Foundation cultivates Chicago’s vibrant arts community by supporting exemplary young artists through its competitive programs that offer financial awards, artistic opportunities, and mentoring that bridge the gap between education and career.


visual-arts-home_ About Us_ web

Founded in 1949 as the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation (CAF), Luminarts Cultural Foundation was created by members of the Union League Club of Chicago as a separate, not-for-profit organization. Deeply rooted in the Union League Club of Chicago, Luminarts strengthens the cultural community of Chicago by upholding the club’s century-long tradition of advocating for the arts. Luminarts is dedicated to encouraging our city’s outstanding young artists so that their emerging talent might be heard in performance halls, read within libraries and homes, and exhibited in galleries, museums, and the hallowed walls of the Union League Club.

News & Events

Be sure to subscribe to our email list and receive updates regarding program announcements, Fellows, events, and the monthly Luminarts Letter!


Luminarts welcomes talented young artists of all social, economic and cultural backgrounds. As a young visual artist, musician, vocalist, or writer from the Chicago area, we invite and encourage you to compete for grants, creative opportunities, and to become Luminarts Fellows.

Non Discriminatory Statement and Commitment to Equity

Luminarts is committed to ensuring equity within its programs and welcomes applicants, artists, audience members, and supporters regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, class, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or citizenship status.

Luminarts works directly with artists, jurors, and attendees to make accommodations as needed and holds events at various spaces which are accessible. To request accommodations for Luminarts’ programs or events, please contact Leslie Haviland at or (312) 435-5961.

Luminarts Fellowship Opportunities

The Luminarts Fellowship includes programs in Visual Arts, Creative Writing, Classical Music, and Jazz. In order to be eligible to apply for the Fellowship Program applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30, live or reside within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop, and be currently enrolled in, or graduated from, a degree program, conservatory, or other professional artist development program.

Luminarts also offers extensive opportunities for Luminarts Fellows through Fellow Project Grants to support special residency opportunities, lectures, workshops, mentorship, and facilitated conversations that provide valuable insights into building a successful career in the arts and strengthening our community of participating artists.


Fellow Project Grants: Apply Here

Luminarts Fellows are encouraged to apply for funding of projects that break new ground artistically, professionally, and personally. While Project Grants aim to support a broad and diverse scope of career development opportunities for Fellows, Project Grant proposals are strongest when they demonstrate a significant and pivotal impact both on the individual Fellow and at the community level in the Chicago area. Applying for a project grant is a competitive process and not all applicants are necessarily funded.


Applications must be submitted in full by March 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM. Fellows will be notified on or before May 1, 2024 about the status of their application.

Apply Here

For questions about project grants click below or contact Alex Benjamin, Director of Programs, at or call (312) 435-5961.

Frequently Asked Questions


Ambassador Award

Luminarts Fellows are eligible to apply for $2,500 awards in support of being ambassadors for the Luminarts Cultural Foundation beyond the Chicago region.

The Luminarts Cultural Foundation will accept funding proposals from Luminarts Fellows who have significant projects (performances, exhibitions, readings, etc.) in major markets outside of the Chicago area whereby they will highlight the Luminarts Cultural Foundation’s support in tandem with their outstanding talent.

While the available funds should be of benefit to the Luminarts Fellow, a primary goal of this funding is to raise awareness of the Luminarts Cultural Foundation outside of the Chicago region. In accordance with this, awards will be distributed based on the following criteria:

Ambassador Guidelines

  • Location of the Luminarts Fellow’s project
  • Anticipated number in attendance at event
  • Anticipated marketing/media for the event
  • Luminarts prominence in event materials
  • Luminarts prominence in promotion and media
  • The use of social media to promote the project and the Luminarts Cultural Foundation and the potential number of people reached




Sponsored by Cherilyn G. Murer

Luminarts Fellows are invited, on a revolving basis, to two annual residency programs for 15 artists each: one at Ragdale Foundation Lake Forest, IL and one at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency in Saugatuck, MI. Each residency includes an artist stipend, mentorship, professional development, studio visits, meals and lodging, and unscheduled time to work on projects which residents may not otherwise have the time or resources to complete. Programming is paired with the opportunity to be in community with other Luminarts Fellows, and to connect with professional artists, staff members, and supporters.

Knowing that many residencies have historically been out of reach for artists of color, low income artists, and other marginalized identities due to location, cost, and systemic racism, we work to ensure that all of our Fellows have access to both residencies on a revolving basis.


Introducing the Chicago area’s most talented, emerging young artists. Join us in celebrating their exceptional creativity and work.



Save the Date!

Friday, October 18, 2024

The Arts Club of Chicago
201 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL

$1,000 Premier Tickets (2)
(includes 2 tickets, complimentary valet parking, and recognition in the event program)
$350 Standard Ticket (1)

Cocktail Attire

Event Co-Chairs
J. Alexander Cestero and Brian Walsh


Luminarts Cultural Foundation’s annual Next begins Now returns with a dazzling evening featuring Chicago’s next generation of artists, along with a cocktail reception and dinner. All proceeds support emerging artists with fellowships, project grants, and professional resources.

Please find sponsorship opportunities here.

Please contact Christina DeMarea, Executive Director, at or 312-282-2217, with questions or to pledge a sponsorship.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Presenting Sponsors

Thank you to Wintrust Bank for helping ...

Innovation Sponsors

J. Alexander Cestero & Brian Walsh

Sally Metzler, PhD, and George Dunea, MD



Union League Club of Chicago


Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago
Oxbow Logo_White_2018
Chicago Artists Coalition Logo


Hyde Park Art Center
Ryan Opera Center Logo_ web
Architecture Logo_ web__


11_Joffrey Logo-White
Ragdale Logo


Mooney Logo


The Luminarts Cultural Foundation provides grant funding to local organizations through developed core partnerships that align with Luminarts’ mission. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, letters of inquiry, or other unsolicited monetary requests.

If you have questions about Luminarts and its partnerships please contact


The Luminarts Cultural Foundation cultivates Chicago’s vibrant arts community by supporting exemplary young artists through its competitive programs that offer financial awards, artistic opportunities, and mentoring that bridge the gap between education and career.

Interested in making a gift to Luminarts?

  • To make an online contribution via credit card, please click here.
  • To make a gift over the phone, please call Alex Benjamin, Development Director, at (312) 692-2379.
  • To make a gift via check, please send your check, made out to “Luminarts Cultural Foundation” to:

Attn: Alex Benjamin
Development Director, Luminarts Cultural Foundation
65 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604-3598

Are you a member of the Union League Club of Chicago? If you are a Union League Club of Chicago Member and would like to use your ULC Member Number to make a contribution please contact Luminarts at (312) 435-5961 or to provide your ULC Member Number and contribution amount.

Questions or comments? Please contact Alex Benjamin, Development Director, at or (312) 692-2379.

Thank You to Our 2022 Donors

This list reflects gifts made between January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022. Luminarts sincerely apologizes for any omissions or spelling errors. Please contact Alex Benjamin, Director of Development, at (312) 692-2379 or with any corrections.

Visionaries $20,000+

Richard D. Doermer
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Mary and Lionel L. Go
Myrna W. Kaplan
Dr. Sally Metzler and George Dunea, MD
Cherilyn G. Murer
Robert and Penelope Steiner Family Foundation
Douglas K. Walker

Champions $10,000 – 19,999

James O. Berry
Robert G. Clark
Shawn and Jenni Clark
Tilden Cummings, Jr.
Roxanne Decyk and Dr. Lew Watts
Mike and Cheryl Del Campo
The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust
Hindman Auctions
Illinois Arts Council Agency
Thomas F. Karaba and Marsha Hoover
Martha Jahn Martin
Emily and Daniel North
Matt R. Olaveson and Adam G. Vitale
William E. Richards and North Star Family Office
Hunt R. Tackbary
Tawani Foundation

Partners $5,000 – 9,999

J. Alexander Cestero
CIBC Private Wealth Management
Sara Connell
Frank De Vincentis
Julia Doherty
Edward S. Sprague Foundation
Jason Kalajainen and Josh Shames
Gary F. Metzner
Jay A. Morton and Michael Phillips
Brian O’Dea
Thompson Coburn LLP

Benefactors $2,500 – 4,999

Eric and Karen Boyd
Gretchen A. Burch
Nick Cave
Sarah de Blasio
John and Connie Donnelly
Celine M. Fitzgerald
Dr. Ardena L. Flippin, MD
Scott and Edie Fortman
John R. Halligan Charitable Fund
Karen and Bob Jones
Kyle and Lindsay Mackey
Dan and Anita Mauro
John and Carol McKinnon
Leslie McMillan
Metropolitan Capital Bank and Trust
Alyssa Quinlan
Ann Ruscher
Temitope D. Sadiku and Aaron-Michael Sapp
Shade Family Foundation
Julianna and Tom Tancredi
Thomas and Linda Teichgraeber
U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management
Brian and Robin Velo
Eric D. Wassenaar
Mario Wilson

Members $1,000 – 2,499

Mara Mills Barker
William and Norma Beckemeier
Wendy J. Betts
The Blackbaud Giving Fund
Nick Cappelletti
Linton J. Childs
Dona DiCaro
Patricia Fors
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Keith A. Hebeisen
Linda J. Jakubs and William S. Wigoda
George L. Jewell
James F. Kinoshita and Merrillyn J. Kosier
New York Life
Kerry James Marshall and Cheryl Lynn Bruce
Dr. Sam Mikaelian
Eran Miller and Steven Smutny
Ken Norgan
Seaton Tinley Preston III
Bob and Nancy Russell
Richard Ryan
Joan M. Solbeck
Jane Stevens
Kay and Craig Tuber
Mark Tunney
David B. and Mary Whitehurst
Joseph and Kelly Wicklander
Bruce A. Williams

Patrons $500 – 999

Stacey Barrins
Bruce W. Breitweiser
Joanne Brooks
Elizabeth R. Carroll
Michael Edwards Simons
Dr. Lisa C. Freeman and Dr. Doug Rose
James R. Gillespie
Jeffrey Grogger
Karen B. Hagberg
David L. Hanson
Brian and Mary Herbstritt
TJ Johnsrud
Elizabeth Kallenbach
Emily and Robert Kappers
Robert D. Kreisman
John F. Lemker, Jr.
Judge Benjamin S. Mackoff and Carol Mackoff
Jerry Manne
Heather McDermott
Kathryne E. Miecyjak
Elvia Moreno
Corinne S. Morrissey
Mr. and Mrs. William J. Nissen
Gregg Peck
Lynne Thomsen Rinkoski and Timothy R. Rinkoski
Chauncey H. Robinson
Stephen J. Schlegel
Hugh J. Schwartzberg
Ronald Seliga
Lisa Shade
Beverly Sneddon
Ellen Soren
Joan Steel
Elissa Tenny
Clark L. Wagner
I.B. Weil
Nathan White

Supporters $250 – 499

Rich P. Beem
James B. Begley
Bobbye Cochran
Mark W. Coe
Terri D’Ancona
Cynthia L. Doloughty
William C. Glynn
Richard L. Handley
Jessica Jagielnik
Stephen Joyce, Jr.
Paul Kassel
Anna Kunz
Irene Kwasny
Ronald G. Lindenberg
Allen J. Lynch
Evgueni Minev
James J. Morgan
Frank and Mary Ellen Niederman
Thomas F. and Judi J. Olenick
Bradley Renner and Robert Parris
Richard Doermer and Caitlin McNabb Family Foundation
Ann Saltz
Elisabeth Schmidt
Earl Smith
Joan L. Stansberry
Taylor Stein
Claudia Tellez
Andrea Vitale
Dillon Wallace
Jim Zarosly

Advocates $150 – 249

Michael W. Franke
Jo Ann C. Grate
Thomas M. Hazlett
Mary Herrmann
Elizabeth Jazwiec
Andrew W. Levenfeld
Dan Novak
Elaine E. Olson
Mark H. Prince
Richard L. Rundle
John W. Schladweiler
Karen A. Schlueter
Jeffrey and Elizabeth Sharp
Peggy Swartchild
Stephen P. Thomas
Dr. Sandra L. Williams
Richard D. Yant
Keith E. Yavitt