Lynn Osmond assumed the position of President and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) in 1996. Over the past year she has led the creation and introduction of the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), a new 20,000 square foot home that moves Chicago architecture to the center of the city's cultural conversation. The introduction of the CAC included a rebranding of the organization as the CAC.
Osmond is responsible for overseeing the CAC's comprehensive program of architecture tours, exhibitions, public programs and youth education. Under Osmond's leadership, CAC has realized 400% growth in revenue and is consistently ranked among the top 10 Chicago cultural institutions. Today CAF serves more than 680,000 people each year.
During Osmond's tenure, the CAC has expanded its docent tour program which now has 450 volunteers that give 85 different tours, totaling more than 7,000 tour departures annually and recognized internationally as one of the leading programs of its kind. Osmond initiated Open House Chicago, a free citywide annual architecture festival that attracts 100,000 people annually; and spearheaded the launch of the Association of Architecture Organizations that now has 160 international members.
In August 2018, the CAC inaugurated a new set of exhibits. The Chicago Gallery tells how the city became the "first city of modern architecture" and is built around the expanded scale model of the City of Chicago brought to life with a film, projection mapping and interactive kiosks for visitors to explore. The Skyscraper Gallery features supersized models from Chicago and around the world to help visitors discover the innovations that enable architects to build ever higher.
CAC reaches more than 44,000 students in 2017 through its youth education programs. In 2017, CAC published No Small Plans, a graphic novel that is the centerpiece of a civic engagement program with Chicago students. 30,000 copies will be given to Chicago student over the next five years. Other education initiatives include three curricular resources for K-12 teachers and students-Schoolyards to Skylines (K-8), The Architecture Handbook (high school) and DiscoverDesign.org, a digital learning program-that are all used throughout the county, all of which have been recognized with an AIA Honor Award.
In recognition of CAC's contributions over the years, CAC received the 2017 John Baird Award for Stewardship in recognition of No Small Plans and also in recognition of CAC's 50th anniversary and Meet Your City initiative. The American Architectural Foundation presented CAC with its 2014 Keystone Award that honors an individual or organization from outside the field of architecture for exemplary leadership that has increased the value of architecture and design in our culture. In 2014 Osmond received the Design Futures Council Honors as Senior Fellow award; and was recognized as an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects in 2005. In 2002, she was awarded the Paul Berger Arts Entrepreneurship Award presented by Columbia College, and in 2009 she received the Chicago Woman Achievement Award from Chicago Real Estate Women (CREW).
Since opening its doors to the public in September 2018, the CAC has received the 2019 "Business Impact of the Year" award from The Magnificent Mile Association; the 2018 "Best New Attraction" award from Friends of Downtown; and Osmond was awarded the 2018 AIA Illinois Richard Nickel Award for (non-architect) citizens who lift up architecture and the profession.
Osmond serves on the boards of Choose Chicago, the Magnificent Mile and the International Women's Forum. She is a member of the Commercial Club, the Chicago Network, the Economic Club of Chicago, among others. Osmond holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Queens University, Ontario, Canada. She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and a graduate of the Advanced Executive Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.