J. Messina named Executive Director of NCI Artworks


PERU – North Central Illinois Artworks has named Julia Messina as its Executive Director. Messina has been an active supporter of NCI Artworks since its inception in 2011. She has been a strong advocate for the arts culture both locally and internationally.

Writer, certified translator, editor, web content developer, Messina has been a featured contributor and content provider for cultural and business publications for the past 30 years. Messina has translated from Italian to English for the US military, the Italian judicial system, and international businesses throughout the world. She managed the e-commerce and retail websites for Starved Rock Lodge & Marketplace in Utica, and as the Community Liaison for the Illinois Department of Transportation, District 3, Messina coordinated, developed, and assisted municipalities with projects and initiatives related to transportation and economic development. In addition to acting as the managing editor of a series of newsletters in both the public and private sectors, she has been published nationally and internationally and owned businesses in the Illinois Valley. 

NCI Artworks Board President, Shannon Benac Argubright, stated, “We are delighted to welcome this warm, enthusiastic arts advocate into the Executive Director role. Our future is bright with Julia on board to lead with finesse, creativity, and arts savvy.”

“I appreciate the NCI Artworks Board’s confidence in me and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to carry on the important work of this great arts advocacy organization,” said Messina. “I’m especially grateful for the guidance of former NCI Artworks Executive Directors, particularly Chris Coughlin, whose tireless work over the past decade has built NCI Artworks into a strong and effective arts advocacy organization for LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam counties.”

As executive director, Messina will work closely with NCI Artworks volunteers, local schools, and the local arts community to ensure that the organization continues to serve as a coordinating organization to promote visual and performing arts opportunities for the region. In addition to working on the Silo Pathways public art project, one of Messina’s first acts as executive director will be to oversee the 5th annual Mad Hatter’s Ball at the Auditorium Ballroom on First Street in LaSalle on Nov. 19, an event that recognizes outstanding local young artists and performers.