Tom Tresser is a consultant, producer, educator and trainer works with individuals, companies and communities to leverage and amplify their creative assets in order to solve problems, create economic value and trigger civic engagement. In 2007 he designed and produced training programs for the provincial government of Saskatchewan on how to use the arts and creativity for local economic development. In the early 1990's he was director of cultural development at Peoples Housing, in north Rogers Park, Chicago, where he created a community arts program that blended the arts, education and micro-enterprise.
Tom has acted in some 40 shows and produced over 100 plays, special events, festivals and community programs. He was an arts activist, having organized support for pro-arts candidates and developed a cultural policy think tank at Roosevelt University in the early 1990’s, where he taught “Arts & Public Policy.” In 2003 he was appointed Visiting Fellow in Arts and Culture at the DePaul University College of Commerce’s Ryan Center for Creativity and Innovation. Tom was elected to the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School’s Local School Council and served from 2004 to 2006. He was a co-founder of Protect Our Parks, that stopped the privatization of public space in Chicago. He was a lead organizer for No Games Chicago, an all-volunteer grassroots effort that successfully opposed Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid. He has taught workshops on “The Politics of Creativity – A Call To Service” for arts service organizations in six states. He has taught a number of classes on art, creativity and civic engagement for Loyola University, School of the Art Institute, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and DePaul University.
Tom also consults with arts organizations on strategic planning, audience development and peer-to-peer marketing. Tom has published a web-based project, “America Needs You!” – about the need for artists to get involved in politics. Tom was the Green Party candidate for the position of President of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County in November 2010. Tom just finished teaching “Got Creativity? Strategies & Tools for the Next Economy” (IIT Stuart School of Business), “Introduction to the Creative Economy” (online for Project Polymath), and “Acting Up – Using Theater & Technology for Social Change” (online for DePaul University’s School for New Learning).