From her earliest class at Tanner Dance as a two-year-old, Utah native Chloe Jones knew she loved dancing. Studying dance through high school at Rowland Hall and Ballet West Academy, she moved to Connecticut where she majored in Dance and Hispanic Literatures & Cultures at Wesleyan University.
Jones returned to Utah at the end of October to take up her new post as Executive Director of UtahPresents and Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement in the College of Fine Arts. For Jones, it’s the homecoming of her dreams. “I grew up in Salt Lake City and have maintained a close connection to Utah since moving away,” she said. “SLC’s landscape and creative community offer one of the most compelling combinations anywhere, and I look forward to both drawing from and contributing to that wellspring of inspiration.”
Jones most recently served as Executive Director of The Yard, a creation and performance platform on Martha’s Vineyard that supports diverse, contemporary dance-makers and related artists. Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic as the leader of an arts nonprofit wasn’t easy, but Jones guided the organization through the challenges to ultimately reset their finances and create an operating surplus and healthy reserve.
Leading The Yard through the pandemic “taught me about flexibility and resiliency,” she said. “It taught me about patience and perspective. The truth is we never know what will happen, making leadership as much about how one shows up in the present as how one envisions the future.”
Showing up at UtahPresents in a time of ongoing COVID recovery in the arts industry, Jones brings a vision of deepening connections with local communities. For Jones, this is an opportunity to further the reach of UtahPresents’ mission of exploring and enriching the human experience through the lens of creativity and the arts. This includes reaching across disciplines, finding avenues to connect artists with scientists, medical professionals, business leaders, community groups, and others to engage collaboratively with the pressing issues of our time.
“Strengthening and initiating new partnerships across and beyond the University of Utah campus, with colleagues in the arts and other fields, will be a primary strategy,” Jones said. “I’m committed to having multiple strategies for ensuring the programming at UtahPresents continues to engage critically and creatively with contemporary issues. Through partnerships, we can broaden and deepen the impact of UtahPresents’ programming and highlight ways the arts intersect with different disciplines, different community concerns, and different realms of change-making.”
In her dual role as Executive Director of UtahPresents and Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement in the College of Fine Arts, Jones will look to build the influence of the arts across academic disciplines on campus, programming artists who are pushing the boundaries of their art forms.
“The momentum generated in the last few years by UtahPresents is going to be well fueled by the talents and experience Chloe will bring to this role,” said John Scheib, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Associate Vice President for the Arts at the U, in an announcement about her appointment. “We’re thrilled to have her at the helm.”
For Jones, joining the University of Utah and UtahPresents combines her leadership experience, her passion for the arts, and her love of Utah’s landscape, bringing her experiences full circle.
“I was drawn back to Utah by this opportunity at UtahPresents and the College of Fine Arts,” Jones said. “Utah’s landscape feels like home in a way nowhere else has. It is comforting in the way home is yet full of surprise, both deeply familiar and constantly astonishing. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to do what I love in one of the places I love most.”