The Des Plaines Arts Council was founded in 1987 to promote involvement and appreciation of the arts. It is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization which operates as an umbrella group for many community arts organizations and events including the Summer Concert Series in Lake Park, the Community Mural Project, Lake/Winter Wonderland, Family Fest and The Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce After Hours program.
The Des Plaines Arts Council has made a special effort to encourage young people to pursue their creative talents by awarding scholarships. Each year the Council provides up to $6000 in scholarships to students from 4th grade through High School, and since 1987 has given over $60,000 in arts scholarships.
The Des Plaines Arts Council also publishes and distributes the Des Plaines Arts Calendar three times a year. This publication serves as an unique source of information for all arts events in the community including programs hosted by the City of Des Plaines, the Des Plaines Art Guild, the Des Plaines Camera Club, the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Des Plaines Park District, the Des Plaines Public Library, the Des Plaines Garden Club, the Des Plaines History Center, the Des Plaines Senior Center, the Fine Arts Departments of Maine East and Maine West, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Oakton Community College and many more arts providers and supporters.
Board of Directors
Will Soderberg, President
Will has been a member of the board since 2014. He obtained his MFA in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Rhonda Popko, Vice President
Rhonda Popko has been an artist, art teacher and instigator of public art projects in Des Plaines and other cities for over 30 years. She is the recipient of the Illinois Humanities Council’s Studs Terkel Award for her commitment to the support of community arts programs. In addition to serving on the Board of the Arts Council, she is the President of the Des Plaines Art Guild. www.dpag.org
Linda Traina, Secretary
Linda Traina is a graduate of U of I at Urbana/Champaign who is retired Superintendent of Recreation at the Des Plaines Park District. Linda has been an active member of the Des Plaines Arts Council since 2002 and President 2007 to 2016. Although Linda is not an artist, she has a great appreciation and love for all elements of the arts.
Philip Mohr, Treasurer
Philip is the Executive Director of the Des Plaines History Center, and the Curator for the History Center since 2013. He has a BA in History, a MA in History, plus an MA in Historical Administration. Philip has given presentations on different topics of history at conferences around Illinois. He represents the History Center on the Des Plaines Arts Council.
Jo Bonell is the Director of the Des Plaines Public Library. She is a former actor and writer and continues to pen incredibly bad musical parodies under the nom de plume Joyce Bonelli. Events at the library can always be found at http://dppl.org/calendar.
Donna has been a member of the board since 1998, originally representing the City of Des Plaines. She has served as president and treasurer. Her background is in theatre and she holds a degree in acting and directing. Donna believes strongly in the arts as an economic development tool, making the community a vibrant place to live and do business.
Don has been a member of the Arts Council board since its beginnings in 1987. He has served as Co-President, Vice President and in many other positions. He is passionate about the arts in the community, currently serves as Senior Center representative and is the Council’s most active cheerleader!
Stan is a professional photographer and a member of the Des Plaines Art Guild, and he represents the Art Guild on the Des Plaines Arts Council. He has recently volunteered to update the Arts Council Facebook page.
Judy is a Professor of Art and Graphic Design and Coordinator of Photography at Oakton Community College. She represents Oakton Community College on the Des Plaines Arts Council.
Saran has been a business administrator and customer service specialist in retail concerning the arts. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Des Plaines Arts Council and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra for many years. Although no longer a member of the NSO Board of Directors, Saran continues to volunteer on concert days, running the box office for the NSO.
Diane, a retired elementary teacher, is a violinist with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, and serves as the Office Director, managing the ongoing operations of the orchestra. As a NSO Board Member for 26 years, she was both the secretary and President of the NSO board. In 2007 she was named ‘Board President of the Year’ by the Illinois Council of Orchestras. After joining the Des Plaines Arts Council, Diane served as Secretary of the DPAC from 2007-2016.
Nancy taught for 39 years 15 of which she was a full time Art instructor. Since 1994, Nancy has been a member of the Saints (volunteers for the arts). She has helped promote Big Noise Theatre in Des Plaines and has volunteered at over 60 live theaters in the Chicago Area. She represents Big Noise Theater Company on the Des Plaines Arts Council.
Jennifer is the Fine Arts Chair at Maine West High School. She represents District 207 on the Des Plaines Arts Council.
In Chris’s work at the Des Plaines Public Library, she participates in collection development and plan programs for adults, including cultural, arts and film programs. As the Programming Librarian, Chris seeks to establish relationships with other cultural organizations in the community. She represents the Des Plaines Public Library on the Des Plaines Arts Council. dppl.org
Nancy is the Cultural Arts Director for the Des Plaines Park District. She produces the Des Plaines Arts Council’s Newsletter, and represents the Des Plaines Park District on the Des Plaines Arts Council.