Pivot Arts is growing rapidly and we are thrilled to have new additions to our company. John Burks of @properties recently joined our board, Jo Cattell is the newest member of our artistic council, and Danielle Gennaoui joins as Marketing Manager for the festival. Read more about all of them below and on our About Pivot Arts page.

JE: Danielle and Jo, we’re so excited that you’ve joined Pivot Arts. Thanks for taking the time to chat today. Danielle, you have a unique background as a circus performer, what are some life lessons learned while working as an Aerialist?

DG: Circus has definitely taught me that self-discipline and dedication are unbelievably important in an artistic field. The same goes for theatre. Keep finding new inspiration. Keep pushing yourself past your comfort zone. Keep challenging yourself and the opportunities will come when the time is right. Also, 99% of the time, the most satisfying and innovative work comes from working as an ensemble.

JE: Jo, you’re originally from England — what are some of the major differences between how performance is produced in the U.K. vs. the U.S.?

JC: The most noticeable difference is the amount of available funding – when I left the UK, the arts were fairly well supported through the Arts Council of England and other government agencies. The National Lottery actually helped fund the arts too. In the US, there are a lot more readings and staged readings of work and playwrights going from one company to another developing a piece of work. In the UK, it seemed that if a theatre wanted to develop the work then the work would get a production.

JE: What initially attracted you to Pivot Arts?

JC: The interest in multi-discipline work.

DG: Pivot’s dedication to innovative performances and community outreach.

JE: What are you reading now?

JC: Feast of Fools by Henryk Skwarczynski, Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, Accardo The Genuine Godfather by William F. Roemer, Jr, Dare to Disappoint by Ozge Samana… And always a bunch of plays…

DG: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, a few plays, and I always keep a copy of Shel Silverstein nearby.

JE: What’s the best advice your mother ever gave you?

JC: To judge a person by their actions not by their words.

DG: To always look for the good in people. When I was little, if I ever used the word “hate” my mother would tell me “You don’t hate the person, you hate what they’re doing. Be patient. There is always kindness somewhere. Focus on that instead.” I still live by those words.

John Burks joined @properties after a successful stint in leasing and residential real estate, earning “Agent of the Year” at his former brokerage. From Michigan originally, John has lived in Chicago for over 11 years, with 8 of those years spent in the Bucktown and Wicker Park. John graduated from the Albion College with a B.S. in Economics and Business, double majoring in Communications. He moved to Chicago in 2003, working as an IT Project Manager at AT&T for over 4 years.

After spending a year in software sales, John left the corporate world to become the founder and creative director of Artist Central Exchange, a multi-use art and event space in Andersonville.  John also produced Searching for Venice, an independent film currently in post-production. With these creative and ambitious endeavors, John relied on his organization skills and attention to detail, which continue to influence his approach to real estate.