Michelle T. Boone


Poetry Foundation


Americans for the Arts
Graham Foundation
Chicago Architecture Biennial


Cultural Institution

Member since:


Membership Type:


Michelle T. Boone is the President of the Poetry Foundation.

Previously, in 2011 Michelle was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). During her tenure, she led a team of more than 80 full-time employees to produce and present more than 2,000 programs, festivals and special events annually; supervised the management of the historic Chicago Cultural Center; led the process for a new Chicago Cultural Plan, released in 2012; and launched the first Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015. Prior to that, Michelle was a senior program officer at the Joyce Foundation (2004–2011) overseeing the culture portfolio and distributing more than $2 million annually in grants supporting nonprofit arts organizations in six major Midwest cities.

Her professional career includes work in television, film and the recording industries, and she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa. Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and a master’s degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University, Bloomington. Boone is the recipient of multiple honors and awards including being named a “Chicagoan of the Year” by Chicago Tribune in 2015. She currently serves on the boards of Americans for the Arts; Arts Alliance Illinois (vice chair); The Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago Architecture Biennial; the Graham Foundation (secretary); and the Old Town School of Folk Music. She is a member of The Chicago Network and serves on the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago.