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Jazz Institute names Heather Ireland Robinson New Executive Director

Heather Ireland Robinson the new Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago

The Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Heather Ireland Robinson will join the organization as its new Executive Director effective March 1, 2018. Ireland Robinson brings a wealth of nonprofit experience as well as knowledge of Chicago’s jazz scene and the Jazz Institute, in particular, having worked as its Education and Community Coordinator from 2002 - 2004. Ireland Robinson helped develop the foundation for what has become the Jazz Links Education and Artist Development programs which connect teachers and students to Chicago’s jazz legacy.

Ireland Robinson’s previous tenures at the Beverly Arts Center, Southside Community Arts Center, Marwen and Gallery 37 represent a career steeped in building community through the arts. She is recognized as a thoughtful and creative leader who has contributed to increasing access to the artistic experience for communities across the city.

“We are excited about what Heather will bring to the organization and we're looking forward to having her as part of the Jazz Institute of Chicago team,” said David Helverson, President of the Jazz Institute of Chicago Board of Directors and leader of the executive search committee. “Her previous experience with the organization gives her a unique perspective and will allow her to get up to speed quickly. It also plays an important role in her ability to look forward and effectively position the organization for continued success in the future.”

Current Executive Director Lauren Deutsch will be stepping down after 21 years of successful leadership; building the organization’s budget and infrastructure and developing programs like the JazzCity concert series, Made in Chicago both here and in Poland, and in partnership with the CPS band directors, the organization’s education initiatives. She will retire from her Executive Director role to take on the new position of Director of Artistic Collaborations, focusing her efforts on long-range artistic planning and cultivating collaborations with artists and cultural organizations.

Deutsch expressed her views on the impending transition. “I’m thrilled about what Heather Ireland Robinson will bring to the organization. She represents a continuum of the stewardship of the Jazz Institute’s mission. And as we approach our 50th year it signals our ability to welcome fresh perspectives that will carry the organization forward for the next half-century.”

Ireland Robinson looks forward to the challenges leading a growing arts organization presents. “I am truly excited about this new opportunity. The organization has grown by leaps and bounds since my time there and I am looking forward to continuing that growth,” she expressed. “The Jazz Institute is a pillar of Chicago’s arts scene and gives life to communities, youth and musicians by promoting and nurturing jazz in this great city of ours.”

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