Tom Tresser is an educator, organizer, creativity champion, public defender and fighter of privatization. He has doing civic engagement and grassroots democracy efforts for over 40 years. His first voter registration campaign was in 1972.
Tom has acted in some 40 shows and produced over 100 plays, special events, festivals and community programs. 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 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, a neighborhood effort to stop the privatization of public space in Chicago. He was a lead organizer for No Games Chicago, an all-volunteer grassroots effort that 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 teaches 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 has published a web-based project, “America Needs You!” – about the need for artists to get involved in politics. He is a member of the Chicago Public Radio Community Advisory Council.
Tom was the Green Party candidate for the position of President of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County in November 2010 election. Tom is currently working on establishing a new civic project, The CivicLab, a space where activists, educators, coders and designers meet to collaborate, teach, and build tools for civic engagement. He is the lead organizer for the TIF Illumination Project that is investigating and explaining the impacts of Tax Increment Financing districts on a ward-by-ward basis. He is also currently consulting with the Rockford Housing Authority on a local economic development program that combines the arts and creative enterprise.
Email: tom at tresser dot com