elisabeth dunbar





Professional Experience


Owner & Chief Curator

Yellow Elephant Gallery  March 2018 – Present                                                                                           Kankakee, Illinois

Yellow Elephant Gallery brings art, design, fine gifts, and intimate event space together in one location in downtown Kankakee, Illinois. Home to a wide range of artists and artistic styles and one of the most talked about galleries in the area, Yellow Elephant Gallery was founded on the belief that art brings joy, beauty, and creativity into peoples' lives and therefore should be attainable for all. 


Director of Preservation, Marketing and Operations

Carlile Architects LLC    October 2015 – July 2018                                                                                          Kankakee, Illinois

Preservationist, business development, and marketing for full-service architecture and design firm. Historic preservation lead on restoration projects including National Register Historic District and Building nominations and surveys. 


County Board Member

Kankakee County Administration    Elected November 2016                                                                        Kankakee, Illinois

County Board member representing the 13th District for Kankakee County. 

Communications Consultant

Landmarks Illinois    September 2015 – May 2016                                                                                             Chicago, Illinois

Communications management, for statewide historic preservation organization. Project management for new website development and implementation. Assisted in planning and execution of annual fundraising benefit raising over $700,000, including acting as primary media contact for national, regional and local markets.

Consultant | Deputy Director

Lincoln Park Conservancy     September 2014 – September 2015                                                                  Chicago, Illinois

Responsible for daily operations of non-profit organization that restores and co-manages sites within Chicago's Lincoln Park. Major gift fundraising, annual giving strategy and implementation, membership development, grant writing, program management and volunteer management.

Director, Mies van der Rohe Society; Assistant Director, Affinity Giving

Illinois Institute of Technology     October 2012 – September 2014                                                              Chicago, Illinois

Responsible for fundraising, event planning, marketing, social media, and board management. Member of Institutional Advancement team responsible for $250 million university campaign. Development and support of volunteer alumni affinity groups to engage in fundraising and recruitment, and management of reunion class gift campaigns within annual giving program.


Executive Director & Curator

B. Harley Bradley House by Frank Lloyd Wright     January 2010 – June 2013                                         Kankakee, Illinois

Founding President and Executive Director of historic house museum non-profit organization. Negotiated purchase of property and managed major gifts and prospect research. Created organizational structure, initiated membership program, established successful retail sales business, designed volunteer program and recruited over 60 volunteers in the first year. Initiated tour and education program in concert with local schools. Nearly 8,000 visitors in the first year.


Executive Director

Grundy Livingston Kankakee Workforce Board     May 2003 – January 2011                                           Kankakee, Illinois

Management of more than $4 million in Federal workforce and economic development programs annually. Oversight of regional workforce development, economic initiatives and strategic planning, coordinated public and private sector participation in policy development and built strategic partnerships among business, government, and private sector partners.


Resource Development Director

Kankakee Community College     February 1999 – May 2003                                                                       Kankakee, Illinois

Institutional Advancement team member, assisted in creating alumni association, planned giving program, and endowed scholarship funds. Key capital campaign personnel. Managed and marketed Federal grant programs in excess of $2 million annually. Wrote and received grants from Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities.



Architectural History




Business Development



Media & Public Relations             

Architectural Photography        Membership Development

Non-profit Management

Board Leadership


Licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker 475.166475




State University of New York College at Oswego

Bachelor of Arts (BA), Architectural & Women's History