Nora Gainer is the Director of Partnerships and Tourism at the Art Institute Chicago. She cultivates creative partnerships throughout the city of Chicago and Illinois—reinforcing the museum’s role as an integral part of the daily fabric of our city’s life.
Nora’s work reaches tourists and locals alike, ensuring that the Art Institute remains the top destination in Chicago for visitors from around the world. In overseeing the museum’s strategic planning and relationships for civic, cultural and tourism partners, her leadership has grown tourism program revenue by 1,000% in the past five years. Other significant achievements include development of the museum’s China Ready program as well as creation of the innovative Project Windows, which increases visibility of significant Art Institute exhibitions with key retail partners throughout the city.
An avid supporter of local agriculture and sustainability, Nora and her husband Ferdia Doherty co-launched the restaurant group Farmheads, with the mission of offering affordable, approachable Midwestern fare based on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. Since opening their doors to Farmhouse Chicago in 2011, they have grown to four locations, including Farmhouse Evanston, Farm Bar in Lakeview and Farm Bar Edgewater – all with a shared vision of utilizing the bounty available within a four-state footprint of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Nora graduated from the University of Illinois where a year in Italy inspired a life-long love affair with all things Italian. While a farm in Italy is on the horizon, for now, she calls Lincoln Park home with Ferdia and their three young children. They are a Chicago Public Schools family and avid consumers of our incredible local libraries and parks.