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Malik Gillani

Founding Executive Director, Silk Road Rising
Chicago, IL

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Malik is an expert on Muslim representation through the arts, and using art as a tool for social impact.


Malik Gillani is Founding Executive Director of Silk Road Rising, a theatre company located in downtown Chicago dedicated to presenting plays written by individuals of Asian and Middle Eastern descent. He brings extensive experience in producing, management, and business development to the position. Malik is a recognized leader in the creation of innovative arts programming that expands artistic access. Most notably, he conceived of and developed a model for creating online video plays which are now being accessed across the globe. Gillani developed the community engagement and audience building strategies around a 5-year new play development / civic engagement project, “Mosque Alert.” Gillani also conceived of and established an arts integrated education program, EPIC (Empathic Playwriting Intensive Course), which is being delivered across Chicago Public Schools system.

Gillani earned a BA from St. John's College. He is a Kellogg Executive Scholar (Northwestern University) and has received a Masters in Non-Profit Administration from North Park University. Gillani has been a volunteer grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, and the City of Chicago’s CityArts Program. He has presented papers at conferences on arts leadership, innovation in the arts, and infusing arts practices into community organizing. Gillani is the recipient of the Chicago Community Trust Fellowship Award, IBM Business and Technology Leadership Award and was honored by Changing Worlds for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts.


  • Arts & Culture

Issue Areas

Arts, Civic Engagement, LGBTQ