Art Encounter announced the addition of four new board members to its Board of Directors, Meleika Gardner, Gail Kahn, Carrie Kane and Ahadi White.
Meleika Gardner comes with an entertainment background and a family deep in the art community (artist Fran Joy of Public Art, the Evanston Art Center Exhibition Committee, two terms on the Art Council, and Ra Joy, recently appointed Chief of Staff for the National Endowment of The Arts). As a young woman, she left Evanston for Atlanta, where she began working for the r&b hip hop label LaFace Records, touring the country as a dancer and working with such music producing legends as Dallas Austin. She later ventured to Los Angeles, landing a job with tv/film legend Norman Lear at Concord Music Group in Beverly Hills. She then began freelance casting for indie films in Los Angeles before returning to Evanston. Meleika recently received the Community Leadership Person of The Year award in 2021 from the Evanston Chamber of Commerce for her community engagement work with the social media video platform Evanston Live TV and co-authoring two education bills with State Representative LaShawn K. Ford that were passed March 8, 2021 by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
Gail has a B.S. from the University of Illinois and a B.S. in nursing form Northwestern. She worked as a surgical nurse for many years, but her true passion has always been art in any form. In addition to taking hands-on classes and attending lectures, she has explored flower arranging, embroidery, wheel throwing, and just about every other media, including interior design in her own home. She says that her best success is finding Art Encounter! “It has allowed me to be with people that are also compassionate about art in all its various forms, whether on trip gallery experiences or docent lectures. And I have the opportunity to fund programs those who would also like to give it a try.” She has a grown son and a dog that helps fill her days.
Beginning her career in the fashion industry in Los Angeles, Carrie worked as a fabric buyer for the couture designer, Richard Tyler. Later she accepted licensing roles at Guess? Incorporated and then at The Walt Disney Company. Upon returning to her hometown of Chicago, Carrie focused her efforts on creating and operating an award-winning women’s designer boutique called Chalk with locations on the North Shore. Chalk allowed her to integrate her love of fashion, styling, merchandising and interiors. Most recently, she has opened Hudson Grace, which is a unique purveyor committed to home decor, art and furniture.
Ahadi was raised in Peoria, Illinois. She graduated from Bradley University with a BS in sociology in 1968, and lived in northern California from 1968-1972. She retired from AT&T in 2011 to become a Connoisseur of Leisure and later a YouTube taught artist. She has a 29-year-old daughter.