June 29, 2016, By Markeshia Ricks- "After seven years in the thick of hard-fought efforts to calm his neighborhood's streets and build up its culture and businesses, Chris Heitmann is handing over the reins of the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance and heading west. Friday is his official last day as a paid employee, though he will be around for about three weeks to assist his interim successor, Lizzy Donius, who was hired earlier this year as the events and volunteer coordinator after a five-year stint as the community programs manager for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. (Heitmann is not-so-secretly rooting for Donius to be his permanent successor, but that decision is up to the alliance's board of directors.) Heitman's not leaving because he's given up on Westville. In fact, one might say he's leaving on top, with several of those efforts - such as traffic calming on Whalley Avenue and Valley Street - on the cusp of bearing fruit. He’s moving on because his wife, Cyra Levenson, was recently appointed the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new director of education and academic affairs. Since 2006, Levenson served as the curator of Education and Academic Outreach at the Yale Center for British Art. So the family, which includes two daughters, is moving to Ohio. Heitmann said the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the top five of its kind in the country in terms of not only its collection but also its endowment. The family felt it couldn’t turn down that opportunity, even though it means leaving the neighborhood where Levenson grew up and where Heitmann has helped build so much community for seven years, from a thriving cultural life to a campaigns for safer streets. "We’re very much rooted here,” Heitmann said. “Our family is here. I live a very place based existence. Everything I do is here...." Click HERE to read full article


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