Why PR?

“Why not? What other job allows you to actually make news, and not just read about it afterwards?”

Fun Fact

Once, when an actor failed to show as scheduled, Jay was forced to don a client’s “Where the Wild Things Are” monster costume, and dance on top of a dugout at U.S. Cellular Field in front of a stadium full of White Sox fans.

Jay Kelly

Vice President

Jay leads the Arts and Culture practice for LCWA. He has a well-established niche in Chicago’s theater, music and dance communities, but his background runs the gamut, encompassing new product introductions, brand positioning, internal and external communications, special events, trade media relations, social networking, and street marketing.

Job Highlights

  • Launching the inaugural 2015 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival with a PR campaign that netted 14,000 “butts in seats” and nearly 200 million impressions
  • Representing the Paramount Theatre in Aurora since the inception of its Broadway Subscription series in 2011, which has grown from 700 to 26,000 subscribers in just four years
  • Fronting a Lions Club caravan of 13 used emergency vehicles, stocked with food, medical supplies and 10,000 pairs of used eyeglasses, on a two-week, 3,200-mile journey from Indianapolis to Guatemala

Before LCWA

Jay was Director of Marketing and PR for Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago’s top producer of new work. Before joining Victory Gardens full-time, Jay managed the theater’s PR campaign for 11 years via his own boutique agency, Off Loop PR. Other Off Loop clients included the League of Chicago Theatres, Lookingglass Theatre, Court Theatre, Video Arts (“The John Cleese Training Company”), the International Housewares Association, and special projects for LCWA.


Jay was an adjunct professor at the DePaul Theatre School for three years, where he taught marketing as part of the Performing Arts Management undergraduate curriculum. He has served on the Advisory Committee of Chicago’s Arts Engagement Exchange, a network to build local arts audiences sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust, the Wallace Foundation and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Similarly, Jay has shared his expertise with smaller, non-profit arts organizations at workshops sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the League of Chicago Theaters.


Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Jay graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.