HomeNews & EventsArts Midwest President Honored with Prestigious Award at 2019 APAP

Arts Midwest President Honored with Prestigious Award at 2019 APAP


David Fraher hugs Cathy Zimmerman on the stage at the APAP Award Ceremony. Photo by Billy Keefe.

NEW YORK CITY (January 7, 2019) – Today, in recognition of supporting the arts presenting field for over 35 years, Arts Midwest CEO and President David Fraher was awarded the 2019 Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for Exemplary Service to the Field of Professional Presenting at the APAP Conference. The award was particularly well-timed, as it was presented to Fraher on his birthday.

The Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award is presented to an individual whose outstanding service, creative thinking and leadership have a significant impact on the profession of presenting or on the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. This award honors Fan Taylor for her many contributions to the field of presenting. Taylor was instrumental in the development of what was then called the Association of College and University Concert Managers. She served as APAP’s first secretary-treasurer and eventually as the first executive director.

“This individual has served the presenting community for more than 35 years as a leader whose visionary and creative spirit has benefited artists, arts organizations, and audiences nationally and internationally,” said Cathy Zimmerman, a 2018 Fan Taylor awardee, to a packed dining hall during APAP’s annual award luncheon at the Hilton Midtown in New York City.

While describing the factors that contributed to the selection as the recipient of this year’s award, Zimmerman presented an impressive list of Fraher’s accomplishments.

Under Fraher’s leadership, Arts Midwest has awarded over 9,500 grants totaling over $23 million dollars to over 2,000 presenting organizations in close to 700 Midwest communities while also producing an annual conference that attracts over 1,000 arts presenting professionals to bolster their work and deepen their connections.

Fraher developed a strong partnership with the NEA, leading four of its national initiatives over the last 15+ years, including Shakespeare in American Communities, The NEA Big Read, Big Read Films, and NEA Jazz Masters Live. Through careful administration and critical oversight, at least one of these programs has served residents in each congressional district in the United States, thereby demonstrating the demand for and capacity of the arts to legislators and policymakers across the country.

As a result of his commitment to international programming, Arts Midwest communities (some with populations less than 2000 people) have had the life-changing experience of interacting and engaging in meaningful conversations and creative experiences with artists from a variety of countries and cultures including Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Israel, China, Japan, Quebec, Somalia, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Inner Mongolia.

In 2007, he received the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ Gary Young Award for contributions to public support for the arts. In 2008, he received the National Endowment for the Arts Chairman’s Medal for distinguished service to the agency. In April 2014, Fraher became the second American ever to receive the Cultural Exchange Contribution Award presented by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China for his efforts promoting mutual understanding between Chinese people and people around the world.

Zimmerman closed her remarks stating, “As David transitions from his role at Arts Midwest later this year he will be leaving a legacy that will be felt for many more years to come. He has a mantra for his staff to “be curious.” It’s that curiosity that has made our field a better and richer place and we thank you David, for leading us in that journey.”