Leadership Transition at Art Impact Project Is Underway

Art Impact Project, a Lake County based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellness of teens and adults through artistic expression, has just made a major change to its leadership. Artist Vickie Marasco, who founded the organization in 2014, is stepping down as executive director. Liz Fales, who has a long career in non-profit management and development, is taking over that leadership role. Ms. Marasco, a resident of Lake Forest, will continue to play an active role as a board member and program volunteer.

"I founded Art Impact Project nine years ago, as a result of my then teen son, who was in high school, becoming addicted to drugs," said Ms. Marasco. "I observed that the teens in his intensive outpatient program were not able to express their feelings and emotions as to why they were hurting themselves with drugs. I asked the facility if I could use my art background to try out an idea to help their program. I wanted to use artmaking as a tool in the group settings to allow the kids to open up and express themselves in a safe environment."

"It worked," continued Ms. Marasco. "We realized the power of the model and quickly expanded its mission to serve adults, as well as a variety of adolescents, dealing with mental, behavioral, and emotional wellness concerns."

Art Impact Project programming is facilitated in partnership with other organizations, including schools, social service agencies and justice institutions. It is modelled to enhance the existing programming and/or curriculum of the partners. This past year, Art Impact Project provided supportive services to approximately 1,675 people. The programs are implemented by staff and a dedicated group of specially trained volunteers. The success of the organization has generated increasing requests for new partnerships and a need for more trained volunteers.

Liz Fales, the new CEO, is experienced in non-profit leadership, community outreach and fundraising. With a B.A. from Michigan State University and a M.A. from Loyola University Chicago, Ms. Fales has worked with several non-profits in Lake County, including A Safe Place, CASA Lake County and the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center, as well as with other organizations in Illinois and Missouri. She lives with her family in Lindenhurst.

"I am so grateful to join this innovative and impactful organization in Lake County, where I grew up and am now raising my own children," said Ms. Fales. "Particularly for those in our community who have experienced trauma and abuse, Art Impact Project offers unique and supportive programming that is not readily accessible elsewhere. Through artmaking, we collaborate with community organizations and critical institutions to promote healing, create connections and bolster resiliency among the adolescents and adults we support. As we emerge from the Covid pandemic, our services are in high demand as an avenue to bring people together, reduce feelings of isolation and build empathy for one another."

Any adult interested in working with Art Impact Project, please contact More information about Art Impact Project can be found online at

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