Every day the world changes and we race to keep up. This unexpected and sudden Pandemic changes us, for the better, I believe.
It draws us closer to our family, our community, our mission, our priorities. It helps us see clearly what is important.
I am steadfast in my commitment to seeing us continue to be leaders in the research and cure of RCVL.
In this dark moment, Illumination will continue to shine its light, and we encourage you to brightly illuminate your passions.
Every 2 weeks, we will create a newsletter, Open Flame, to keep you informed on our team, event, and ambitions.
Thank you for being my friend, companion and supporter.
I am the Director of Public Engagement and chief fundraiser for Illumination and the Clayco Foundation.
I have dedicated my life to fundraising for political candidates, having had early experience in her career with then-Senator Obama as a finance director for his presidential campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. Since then, I have worked for various political candidates but mostly retired from campaign work in 2012.
I collaboratively guarantee that Clayco remains responsible and compassionate to the citizens of the world. In my 4 years as an Illumination author, I have helped raise 4.5 million dollars for research to cure RCVL.
I live in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village with my partner, Bo, and my dog, Waffles, where we are big fans of Happy Camper Pizza delivery!
The Greater Chicago Food Depository and Urban Initiatives are two local causes that I count as personal favorites.
Illumination is one of my favorite events of the year; both to participate in as an artist, and to attend as a guest. It is joyous, surprising, and intimate (no small feat in a space of over 1,000 partying guests), and the heart of it is generous and thoughtful. They give such liberty to the artists and their vision, that the art that is created is truly awe inspiring and one of a kind. The entire event feels like a treasure hunt for experiences; a quiet ritual with a performer that makes you forget the chaos outside, a miniature honey jar filled with a golden cocktail produced by a glowing figure, a scroll with a prompt thrust into your hand by a performer who immediately vanishes into the crowd. It is magical and thrilling, and it is a joy to be a part of.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Gillanders became fascinated with food at a young age. He spent much of his childhood in the kitchen alongside his Filipino grandmother and enjoyed observing and helping prepare authentic home dishes like lumpia.
At the age of 15, he participated in a summer program at the Culinary Arts Institute of Los Angeles that his mother insisted he try. It was after his first culinary class that Stephen discovered his love for cooking and knew he was meant to become a chef.
Gillanders attended culinary school in Los Angeles, then went on to receive his B.S. in Culinary Arts Management at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. As a student at UNLV, Gillanders won the national title of San Pellegrino’s “Almost Famous Chef” competition and was later offered the position of sous chef at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime.
He opened Jean-Georges’ second Las Vegas restaurant as executive sous chef and after two years, Gillanders traveled expansively throughout Asia and Europe to broaden his culinary repertoire.
He returned to the U.S., this time settling in New York City, to become the Corporate Executive Chef of the Jean-Georges Management Corporation. During his tenure as corporate executive chef, Gillanders opened 9 restaurants, foreign and domestic, and was responsible for the seven New York restaurants within the Jean-Georges empire.
In 2016, Chef Gillanders joined Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ INTRO for a 3-month chef-in-residence position, which then turned into a permanent role as Chef/Partner. He quickly built a following in Chicago and opened his first solo restaurant, s.k.y., in fall of 2018. S.k.y. continues to receive critical acclaim both locally and beyond, including “Best New Restaurant” by Chicago Magazine. And Gillander’s favorite dish? “Our lobster dumplings with jade butter and herbs are definitely a favorite item among our guests.”
Lucy Slivinski is a critically acclaimed sculptor and installation artist based in Chicago. Slivinski holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from Northern Illinois University. She has utilized salvaged materials in her practice for over 30 years.
Slivinski has exhibited her work in Miami at Art Basel, Fusion MIA and SCOPE fairs and all over the world, having had numerous one-person exhibitions in New York City, Chicago, Bordeaux, France, Havana, Cuba and Reading, PA to name a few.
Lucy has several commissioned public art installations throughout Chicago, including the Logan Skate Park, “Hedgerow” in Grant Park, “Natural Rhythm” in Saint Cloud, MN and “Ancestoral Throne” in Bordeaux, France.
Slivinski has also incorporated salvaged materials in several collections of sculptural lighting that she has designed and fabricated. In the fall of 2012, CS Interiors Magazine named Slivinski “Best Lighting Designer” in Chicago. She has work in many private and public collections such as Capital Investments Collection in Chicago, The Longhouse Collection in New York, Chicago, Bolingbrook, IL and St. Cloud, MN. Lucy’s work has been written about in Art in America, The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Chicago Interiors, and Luxe Magazine.