Ra Joy is a civic entrepreneur who views community and economic development through an arts and culture lens. As Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois, a statewide arts advocacy network, Ra sets and implements the organization’s strategic goals, manages its operations, and serves as the principal spokesperson.
Prior to joining Arts Alliance Illinois in 2007, Ra served as a senior aide to U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, specializing in community and economic development issues. Ra was a fellow in the Leadership Greater Chicago’s class of 2005 and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.
Known for promoting cross-sector collaboration and civic engagement, Ra serves on numerous advisory boards and commissions at the local, state, and federal level. In October of 2011, Ra was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve as a member of the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council. In March 2013, Ra was tapped by former Governor Pat Quinn to launch the Illinois Creative Economy Initiative, a statewide effort that seeks to leverage Illinois’ creative assets to grow jobs, strengthen the workforce, and build more vibrant communities.