Shawna Flanigan, Director of Arts Education, oversees COCA’s multidisciplinary and emerging education programming. In this position, she develops and manages COCA’s Summer Arts Camp programs, Art & Design, Culinary, Circus, and Community programs. She also curates COCA’s Millstone Gallery. Shawna enjoys working on innovation initiatives, developing new opportunities for COCA, and has played a key role in the development of the five-year plan. She works closely with teaching artists in onboarding, professional development, and coaching to ensure that they are fully prepared to lead COCA classes. Shawna has presented at four national arts education conferences on behalf of COCA and served on several panels. Over the years, she has been engaged in every area of COCA programming and led two major community initiatives, including the initial committee work that resulted in COCAedu’s Arts Integration Programs and the curriculum development for COCAbiz. Shawna is currently on the adjunct faculty at East Central College.
Prior to joining COCA in 2001, Shawna served as the Children’s Theatre Director at Theatre of Western Springs and as an adjunct faculty member at both DePaul University and Barat College. She has worked as a director, assistant director, and dramaturg at theatres across the country, including Steppenwolf, Arena Stage, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, The Group Theatre, and Goodman Theatre. Shawna earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies from Knox College and Master of Fine Arts in Directing from DePaul University.