Alison Cuddy named artistic director of Chicago Humanities Festival

Alison Cuddy

Alison Cuddy, former arts and culture reporter at Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, was promoted Thursday to artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Effective August 1, she’ll move up from associate artistic director of the civic institution known for its year-round gatherings of some of the world's “most exciting thinkers, artists and performers” and celebrations of ideas. Cuddy joined the organization as program director in 2014.

“I’ve always been impressed by Alison’s intelligence, wit, and, above all else, her passion for Chicago and its civic and cultural communities,” executive director Phillip Bahar said in a statement. “I’m excited to see where Alison takes us, now that she’s entrusted with providing the artistic vision for one of the city’s great cultural institutions.”

In her new role, Cuddy succeeds Jonathan Elmer, who stepped down to return to Indiana University, where he is professor of English and director of the College Arts and Humanities Institute.

Calling the Chicago Humanities Festival “a truly dynamic and innovative organization,” Cuddy said: “I’m eager to continue working with the entire CHF staff to build on our current successes and move forward into an exciting future driven by programming that is both challenging and fun, and welcoming to all.”

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Concordia University, Cuddy moved to Chicago in 1999 and joined WBEZ in 2001. At the station, she helped launch the nationally syndicated “Odyssey” and served as senior producer of “Chicago Matters.” She hosted the flagship morning news magazine “Eight Forty-Eight” from 2007 to 2012.