Our Team

Hilary Jay

Founding Director // hilary@designphiladelphia.org

Hilary Jay is a curator, design journalist, entrepreneur, and adopted Philadelphian. As the Director of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and Founding Director of DesignPhiladelphia, she spreads the gospel of design by creating accessible city-wide programming.

Hilary first entered the design world as a maker. In the glorious 80s, she co-founded Maximal Art with John Wind, an international costume jewelry, watch, and home furnishings company. The handmade work can be found in the permanent collection of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, the Swarovski collection of 20th-century jewels, and on the bodies and in the homes of some seriously stylish people worldwide.

Hilary moved into journalism in the 90s. In her writing and editorial work, she explored how and why design influences the way we live, work, and play (much as she does now through DesignPhiladelphia). For a decade, she worked as a writer and editor with The Philadelphia InquirerArt & AntiquesI.D., Modernism, and Metropolitan Home, among others.

As a curator, Hilary takes design and makes it experiential and easy for people to interact with. Before moving to UArts in 2010, she founded The Design Center at Philadelphia University, where she curated numerous ground-breaking exhibitions including What Is Design Today? and Lace in Translation.

Today, Hilary lives and works in Center City Philadelphia. On her walk to the office, she finds that the city has four natural advantages: variety, convenience, discovery, and opportunity, and that everything should be done to protect these advantages. Everything.

“Design is a thread running through everything.” Quotable Hilary-ism.

Nova Harris

Programming Manager // nova@designphiladelphia.org

Nova has a solid background in project management, brand management, and social media marketing. As the former creative director of Provenance Architecturals, a Philadephia-based architectural salvage and design/build company, she spent three years designing and styling both their store and online retail environments, producing marketing materials and catalogs, and acting as a specialty buyer/design consultant to various hospitality and residential projects. When not working at DesignPhiladephia, she can be found restoring antique Victorian and encaustic tiles, reinventing furniture, and handcrafting custom surfaces using reclaimed materials. Some of her surface designs are featured in the interiors of Red Owl Tavern at Hotel Monaco and Town Hall Coffee at the Ben Franklin Hotel.

Nova graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Visual Studies and has a strong foundation in architecture and design history. Prior to her work in the design field, she was a special education advocate and case manager for children with disabilities in Berks and Schuylkill counties. She currently lives in the Cedar Park section of West Philadelphia.

Maureen M. Ferguson

Project Manager // mmferguson1@gmail.com

Maureen Ferguson is a communications consultant, with an emphasis on project management. As the former operating partner of the Philadelphia-based Du Jour restaurant group, she possesses hands-on understanding of entrepreneurship and operations, where she grew the business to include multiple locations as well as a catering company. Ferguson sold the business in 2011. Today, she works with notable clients such as Big Red Hospitality Group, The Philadelphia Orchestra, DesignPhiladelphia, Woodmere Art Museum, the Chestnut Hill Business Association, GPTMC, and St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children. Prior to the decade she spent in hospitality, she worked in public relations and communications for companies including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Aqua America.

Ferguson is on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre and has a BA in English Literature from Saint Joseph’s University. She lives in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia.