See Chicago Dance Executive Director Heather Hartley Moves On With Trillium Arts

Heather Hartley (Photo Cheryl Mann)

(Chicago) – See Chicago Dance (SCD), the Chicago dance industry’s nonprofit service organization, announces that Executive Director Heather Hartley is resigning from her position, effective May 10, 2019.

Hartley will relocate to North Carolina to provide greater care for her mother and focus on her family. She stated, “It has been my pleasure and privilege to work in Chicago’s vibrant dance community for the last 20 years. As leader of See Chicago Dance, I have loved fostering this creative and resilient industry to grow and become more deeply connected. Chicago dance will always be part of my artistic family no matter where I go in the future.” Joining Hartley is her husband, Phil Reynolds, executive director of Dance for Life Chicago through May 31, 2019. Together, they will develop their nonprofit organization, Trillium Arts, in the Asheville, North Carolina vicinity.

During Hartley’s successful seven-year tenure, SCD has substantially built and expanded its programs and services to promote and advocate for Chicago’s growing dance industry. SCD’s achievements under Hartley’s leadership include tripled growth in the organization’s revenue and membership program; the creation of new public programs, such as Chicago Dance Month and Moving Dialogs, resulting in 50 new partnerships with arts, cultural, civic, and business entities; the launch and expansion of the organization’s annual Gala and award ceremony; and tremendous growth in the organization’s flagship website,, which provides free promotions for 600+ companies, venues, studios, and presenters and has generated more than $950,000 for companies participating in its discount ticket sales program.

Heather Hartley, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and See Chicago Dance Board President Michael McStraw at the See Chicago Dance Gala in September 2018 (photo Philip Thomas)

SCD Board President Michael McStraw said, “Heather’s exceptional leadership has been marked by ceaseless passion for our multifaceted Chicago dance community; commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion across the sector within staffing/budget constraints; and nonstop juggling of competing tactical and strategic demands. Without equivocation, I can state that both the dance community and the city of Chicago are stronger for her leadership and commitment. Heather will be missed greatly.”

The SCD board of directors is assembling a search committee, consisting of board members and dance community leaders. Further, the board intends to appoint an interim executive director to manage the organization through this transitional phase.

See Chicago Dance launches the seventh annual Chicago Dance Month on April 1 with a free performance at the Chicago Cultural Center, followed by more than 70 performances, classes, and events, many free or deeply discounted, throughout the month of April. More information is available at

See Chicago Dance is a dance service organization with a mission to advocate for the dance field and strengthen a diverse range of dance organizations and artists through services and programs that build and engage audiences. SCD provides Chicago dance organizations and artists with increased visibility, expansive resources, and forums to showcase and share their talents. Its flagship program, the audience development website, drives ticket sales and has grown to become the most comprehensive source of information on dance in Chicago, offering feature stories and reviews, discount ticket offers, and in-depth information on more than 200 dance companies and organizations.

SCD also hosts professional development workshops for artists, convenes the dance industry quarterly for networking and shared learning opportunities, and hosts numerous events, artist discussions, and showings to educate and inform the public about Chicago’s vibrant and diverse dance scene. See Chicago Dance was founded in 2006, as the nonprofit Audience Architects, by Carol Fox and Niki Morrison.

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