A Fond Farewell

Deirdre Harrison

It’s time to fly for Deirdre Harrison, Eighth Blackbird’s chief operating officer. Deirdre will serve as development director of Snow City Arts, a nationally-recognized nonprofit that provides superb, school credit-earning art education to hospitalized youth in four Chicagoland hospitals.

Deirdre came to Eighth Blackbird through Creative Partners, a MacArthur Foundation-funded shared staffing project. We invited her to stay on as development director and quickly promoted her to chief operating officer.  Deirdre is most proud of supporting the development of a Blackbird Creative Lab alumni culture and reconnecting Eighth Blackbird to its Chicago homebase.  She is also gratified to have shepherded a significant uptick in Eighth Blackbird’s local programming, including free and accessible gigs through the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks initiative, Make Music Chicago, Rush Hour Concerts, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Art Institute of Chicago, City Winery, Ace Hotel, and Steppenwolf, as well as the sextet’s debuts on Live from Here with Chris Thile from Symphony Center last year and at Navy Pier’s inaugural Winter Music Series coming up on February 20. This is the first of several events she helped steward for the Year of Chicago Music, including Eighth Blackbird’s upcoming release of Gordon/Lang/Wolfe’s 2008 singing in the dead of night on Cedille Records and the world premiere of a new work by Viet Cuong for Eighth Blackbird and the US Navy Band at the Midwest Conference. 

Deirdre Harrison in a meeting with Eighth Blackbird and collaborators
Deirdre Harrison moderates a panel on curation for Blackbird Creative Lab alumni.  Seated left to right: panelists Susy Bielak, Seth Boustead, and Kate Dumbleton.

According to Deirdre, “It has been an adventure to serve such extraordinary artists, staff and interns, funders, managers, and board during such a transformative time. I doubt I’ll ever have such a gorgeous office soundscape again! I hope to see you all at Navy Pier next week or wherever one or more of the ’Birds might be making music in the future!”

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