Activating Heritage 2023 – March 6



Katia Marzolf Borione is a born and raised Chicago kid who is a first generation American of Viking descent. Katia is a K-12 CPS educated student, a former ballerina, and a Butler University graduate with a B.A. in Dance Education & Pedagogy.

Katia began her Dance Teaching Artist career with the Chicago Park District in 1996 and after leaving the Parks in 2002 she taught dance with the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, the Wilmette Park District, Dancercise Kids of Fun Kids, Inc., and then spent 14 years at Alphonsus Academy & Center for the Arts Elementary School. There she pioneered and developed the Dance Arts Integration program and curriculum as the Dance Teaching Artist-in-Residence and as then supported bringing Arts into the classroom as the Director of Arts, Culture & Integration. From 2017-2020 Katia worked with Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, in Residence at Northeastern Illinois University, as their Education and Outreach Director before joining Communities In Schools of Chicago in May 2020.

CIS of Chicago has provided Katia the opportunity to fully achieve her personal mission to bring the Arts to as many CPS students as possible. As a CPS Arts Magnet school student, she experienced first-hand how the arts impacted her and her classmates. As a Teaching Artist she was able to provide a safe and creative space for self-expression and student voice to her many students. Katia is proud to call CIS of Chicago her professional family and looks forward to continuing being #AllinforKids.

Ahmad Bracey is the Manager of Learning School and Youth Communities Programming for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA). Ahmad is a native of Chicago’s Bronzeville community. He received his B.A. from Chicago State University in 2010 majoring in Biology and Philosophy, with a research focus on medical access in African American communities.

In addition to managing a suite of programs in the MCA’s learning department he teaches photography with Early Exposures.

Ahmad had specialized in documenting, through photographs and essays,  elements of Chicago life, including urban framing, pedicabbing, and landmark restoration.

Briana Thomas is the Programs Associate at the Abrahamic Center for Cultural Education (a core member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance). She wears many hats including developing exhibition content, facilitating community programs (children and adults), liaising with visitor artists, and other responsibilities. Her previous experience in the nonprofit space includes her tenure as the Financial Empowerment Coordinator at Sharing Life Center, cultural and linguistic education, as well as engaging with the public at the Dallas Arboretum. Her past professional experience has remained rooted in marginalized communities. It is their needs, discourse, and histories that she has routinely been tasked with protecting and showcasing in the face of poor infrastructure, and willing ignorance. Creating safe spaces is an ancestral practice she has inherited.

Moderator: Cairo Dye – Chicago Architecture Center