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Lisa DiFranza
2021 Fellowship Award Recipient






Lisa DiFranza was raised in New York City, in a family of artists. She remembers watching her dad sketch characters and scenes in their neighborhood, and her parents encouraging her to create her own artistic expressions.

Professionally, Lisa’s arts background is interdisciplinary. Her theater work spans multiple settings. She has served as Artistic Director of The Children’s Theater of Maine, Literary Manager at Portland Stage Company, and as a director of numerous productions in Maine, Chicago, New York and Iowa. As an educator, Lisa taught students in visual and performing arts at Columbia College Chicago, was the Founding Director of The Arts Academy, an innovative public high school arts program in Portland, Maine, and worked for five years on the production faculty of the Juilliard School Drama Division. In Chicago, Lisa created The Living News Project – a three year journalistic theater collaboration about homelessness in Chicago, supported by the City of Chicago, Illinois Humanities Council and aired on CAN-TV. Lisa has worked as a consultant to successfully guide arts organizations through major transitions.  Most recently she served as Cultural Curator at Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota, Florida.

In March 2020, when the Covid-19 global health crisis began, Lisa was laid off from her job. In quarantine, she returned to her artistic roots and started a daily painting project. The images she created are a diary of sorts, reflecting internal thoughts and dreams, daily surroundings, and the larger American political landscape, during the pandemic. This work can be seen in her on line gallery:

Lisa believes that the arts are essential to build, sustain and grow thriving communities.  She and her partner live and create in Downtown Bradenton, Florida.