Barry Dolins professionally served the public sector as educator, arts presenter, and public servant. Mr. Dolins also worked in the music business as a record and radio producer. His love for the blues began as a teenager working the Maxwell Street market as a teenager and was dedicated to presenting an authentic vision of the Chicago Blues tradition in all he did from the classroom to a festival location.
Mr. Dolins' first blues experience was at the Maxwell Street market where he was introduced to the lives of Pork Chop Hines and Blind Jim Brewer to name a few. His experiences also brought him in contact with the recorded music of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Gene Ammons, Duke Pearson, and many other blues and jazz greats via the sounds playing from the back of Rev. Johnnie Johnson’s station wagon where much of the music was played to entice the potential consumers on the street. Retail provided a unique perspective in the buying habits of the public and an inside look at the commercial aspect of the record industry while serving as special products buyer at hear Here Records in Evanston, Il.
This experience motivated Mr. Dolins to investigate the roots of Chicago’s musical heritage. As a graduate student at DePaul University, he completed his Master’s degree in history where he wrote his thesis titled House party Piano: an Underground Music in Chicago, 1913-1928. As an educator, Mr. Dolins taught middle school, high school, and adult education at Loyola University. He also helped found The Sirens records with his brother Steven. Mr. Dolins continued his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania studying Folklore and Folklife.
Returning to Chicago Mr. Dolins was granted an Illinois Arts grant to create a series of blues festivals. This program gave him the opportunity to work for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events in 1984. Here he developed the Chicago Blues Festival into an internationally known festival as well as develop a Neighborhood Festival program that serves all communities in Chicago. While working for the city Mr. Dolins returned to academia and taught presenting and producing events for the Arts Management Department at Columbia College of Chicago.
Since Mr. Dolins' retirement as Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events in 2010, he has been teaching a History of Rock and Roll and Blues and Jazz Appreciation class as an adjunct professor at Dominican University in River Forest, Il. During his retirement he has also created a Chicago Blues tour of city blues landmarks, a blues series at the Old Town School of Folk Music, traveled to Shanghai, China for the World Expo, Aomori, Japan to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Japan Blues Festival he created as well as Prague Czech Republic and Cognac, France to present blues programs.