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President/CEO Anne Spanler Hollenbeck
Anne Hollenbeck


Anne Hollenbeck graduated from NIU and later earned a master’s degree from the School of the Art Institute. She taught art and second grade elementary education in the Chicago Public School system.  Now retired, she has been volunteering at Lurie Children’s Hospital since 2012 facilitating arts and crafts with young patients.  This is where she observed the need for meaningful art activities to engage teen in-patients.

Margaret Peterson

Vice President


Margaret Peterson’s art education includes MA degrees from the U of MN and at U of I Champaign. She expanded her horizons with an additional degree in professional writing from DePaul. Margaret began her career as a successful high school art teacher in Breckinridge MN. then moved to Illinois to teach visual arts at Conant and York high schools. Now Ms. Peterson uses her knowledge of design and color in her work as an fashion sales representative in Burr Ridge.

Karen Cohler

Board Member


Karen Cohler graduated from Roosevelt University with a BFA and continued her education at the Art Institute of Chicago.  She taught art in the Chicago Public Schools for 20  years and was an Administrator for the WPA mural project system-wide. Ms. Cohler has been on the Museum of Contemporary Art Northside Affiliates Board for more than three decades. 

During the 2016 convention of the National Art Education Association in Chicago, two retired art teachers decided to start a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a specialized backpack filled with quality art materials, self-directed project books, and a website for long-term hospitalized teens.

Art Helps Heal is recognized by the United States Treasury Department of Internal Revenue as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization as well as a private non-operating foundation.

Shirley Forpe


Shirley Forpe earned a Master of Art from NIU.  During her career as an art teacher and department chair in High School District 211 she wrote curriculum and insti-tuted a chapter of the National Art Honor Society. She has been awarded the Power of Art Award by the Rauschenberg Foundation in Washington D.C.


Since her retirement Ms. Forpe worked as a supervisor of student teachers at Columbia College in Chicago and as a forensic sketch artist with the Palatine Police Department. Presently, Shirley is on staff with the Palatine Opportunity Center’s Community School teaching art to 7th and 8th graders in an after school program.

Judy Hanlon

Board Member


Judith Hanlon graduated Bradley University and received a Master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. She spent her career teaching advanced placement art classes in painting, drawing, and photography in Township High School District 211 at James B. Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.


Ms. Hanlon is an active member of other charities including the Open Door Clinic providing healthcare education in the Elgin, Illinois area and the Fideliters Club providing food for children also in the Elgin community. 

Sue Lange

Board Member


Susan Lange OTR/L graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and received her education and certification in Occupational Therapy at University of Illinois Chicago. She brings her extensive knowledge and understanding of young people with disabilities to Art Helps Heal.


Ms. Langes medical background will greatly benefit the organization's introduction of visual art to youth with disabilities who are often hospitalized for long periods of time. 

Carol Black

Board Member


Carol Black is a versatile artist and educator from Toronto. She obtained a BA in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and later earned a BEd from the Ontario College of Education. Carol taught art at Riverdale Collegiate Institute while also pursuing her own artistic development. Her passion for art led her to travel extensively throughout Europe and the US, immersing herself in architecture and various art forms. She furthered her education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, exploring metalwork, drawing, painting, weaving, and pottery.


Carol has worked in audio visual studios, managing accounts for food advertising and collaborating with clients and graphic artists. Seeking to combine her artistic talents with her love for food, she attended Peter Kump's Cooking School in NYC, ultimately working as a food stylist for many years.


Throughout her journey, Carol has always believed in the therapeutic power of creativity, emphasizing that anyone can benefit from it. She views creative thinking as a transformative experience that takes the mind to new places, regardless of artistic talent.

Secretary/Treasurer Shirley Forpe
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