Jayaram, Carolina

Energetic and unflagging arts advocate Carolina Jayaram reminds artists that they posses truly unique skill sets, and that they really can be the leaders of their own careers.

“I’ve found that some artists want to remain isolated, and that’s what works for them. And that’s okay. But I find that artists who are able to come out a little bit and either socialize and engage with the public or engage with their piers, their work tends to get pushed to new boundaries. And I think it’s important to put yourself out there in that way and make yourself a little bit vulnerable.”

Carolina Jayaram is the Chief Executive Director of the grant-making and art advocacy nonprofit United States Artists (USA). Jayaram was born in Spain to Cuban parents and moved to the United States at the age of three, where she was primarily raised in South Florida. She graduated from The New School in New York City in 1999 with a B.A. in literature and creative writing. After brief stints as a food writer, for which Jayaram earned a culinary degree, and as a program organizer for The University of Texas-Pan American University Writing Center, Jayaram returned to Florida in 2002. She began studying at the University of Miami School of Law, and as a student she co-founded LegalArt, a nonprofit offering legal aid and professional development assistance to artists in exchange for artwork. Jayaram graduated and remained Executive Director of the organization through 2008. She subsequently moved to Chicago and spent a year as an arts education advocate for Arts Alliance Illinois, before taking the position of Executive Director at Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC). At the same time she joined the Board of Cannonball, the organization that LegalArt evolved had into. Jayaram spent nearly five years reviving CAC, growing it from an in-debt organization to one with an annual budget of nearly a million dollars. In February of 2014 she left CAC to become Chief Executive Director of United States Artists. Under her direction the organization relocated from Los Angeles to its present headquarters in Chicago