Carolina Garcia Jayaram takes over as CEO of United States Artists in February.
After more than three years as executive director of the Chicago Artists Coalition, Carolina Garcia Jayaram was recently named CEO for United States Artists, a nationwide organization that strives to invest in the country’s artists and reinforce the importance of art.
“[I plan] to expand USA’s fellowship program to have even greater impact on both artists’ and their communities’ lives,” Jayaram says. She’ll also have the opportunity to put a greater national focus on Chicago’s art community, especially with the help of USA board member Jack Guthman, a renowned local art enthusiast and collector. We spoke with Jayaram just a few weeks before she officially takes over as CEO.
What stands out to you about Chicago’s art community compared to other cities around the country? CAROLINA GARCIA JAYARAM: Chicago's artists are incredibly dynamic in that they practice across disciplines, are entrepreneurial, collaborative, civic-minded, and profoundly talented. That, coupled with a community of advocates, educators, audiences, and philanthropists who rally around and support those artists creates an ecosystem unlike any other I've worked in before.
Who are some of your favorite artists? CGJ: Here in Chicago, I'm a big fan of many visual artists including Luftwerk, Jenny Kendler, Andrew Holmquist, and Jordan Martins. I have several favorites across the disciplines as well but would cite great organizations like Links Hall, Constellation, Hyde Park Art Center, the Poetry Center, the MCA, Pitchfork Music Festival, and Marwen—so many who have been partners, inspirations, and collaborators.
What have you learned since leading the Chicago Artists Coalition that will help as you move to United States Artists? CGJ: I've learned the importance of being flexible and unafraid to take risks, to take criticism, to evolve, and to be true to ourselves as an organization.