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2020 40 Under 40: Nicole Chilton, 39

Director of Marketing & Development, Springfield Regional Arts Council

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Supporting the arts, both personally and professionally, has been at the center of Nicole Chilton’s passion. During her first year as director of marketing and development with Springfield Regional Arts Council in 2018, she streamlined the organization’s membership process and more than doubled its income in the process. Her professional arts connection began in 2005, when she co-founded Springfield’s independent art house theater Moxie Cinema with her husband, Dan Chilton. The couple ran the business for several years before selling it in 2010. Chilton also is close to achieving a childhood dream of becoming a published author and artist, as she has an illustrated book about dream symbols slated for release in 2021.

What about your job would shock people? The economic impact of the arts. In 2017, it brought in $26.9 million in revenue for Springfield. Students who experience arts education and curriculum have better test scores, are more likely to graduate high school and are more valuable employees.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? A mentor, Dr. Tedd Hamaker, always said to “practice excellence.”

Have you ever met a celebrity? Leonardo DiCaprio, at the Tate Modern art museum in London. I stood next to him looking at a sculpture, made sure my shoulder touched his and walked away. Just so I could say that I’ve “rubbed shoulders with Leo.”

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