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The David Fraher Fund for Innovation

In 2019, Arts Midwest established the David Fraher Fund for Innovation in honor of former President & CEO David Fraher.

This Fund recognizes and celebrates David’s legacy of curiosity by creating a space for Arts Midwest to pursue a question that was at the forefront of his career: What if we tried something different?

Rooted in the belief that artists and organizations thrive when they are given the space to think big and test new ways of working with their communities, the David Fraher Fund for Innovation was created to offer a source of courage funding to seed new projects and new ideas. It invites our field to reimagine how we work together to ensure the Midwest continues to be a place where arts and culture thrive. And it creates space to take risks, learn from them, and pivot along the way.

About David J. Fraher


Arts Midwest President Emeritus David J. Fraher

David J. Fraher served as Arts Midwest’s founding president and CEO from 1983 until August of 2019. During that time, David guided Arts Midwest to its current position as a major force in the U.S. arts and culture landscape, with creative programs and services reaching close to one million individuals each year in communities across the Midwest, the nation, and the world.

At the helm of Arts Midwest, David designed and oversaw an array of programs that have had a lasting impact on the region’s cultural landscape. These include efforts to foster cultural exchange between the Midwest and more than three dozen nations around the world; support communities across our nine-state region in celebrating, exploring, and enjoying performing arts residencies and visual arts exhibitions; and develop leadership initiatives that have since strengthened arts organizations and our region’s cultural infrastructure for decades. His vision was for a region that had lasting access to creativity, and he approached all of his work with curiosity and collaboration.

That compelling vision, and David’s unprecedented leadership, have been recognized nationally and internationally, with awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Assembly for State Arts Agencies, the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, among others.

As Dana Gioia, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts reflected, “David’s career at Arts Midwest measurably changed American culture for the better.” Arts Midwest is honored to celebrate David’s legacy and to continue to bring his visionary work to communities across our region.

Our thanks

We wish to extend our gratitude to the friends, colleagues, and leaders across our community who have invested in this Fund.


Leaders ($1-$999)


Dean Amhaus
Julie Amsberry
Emily Anderson and Danaca Booth
Mr. Larry Baill and Susan Colby
Mr. Jordan Bandy
Lemuel Bardeguez
Marc Baylin
Jodi Beach and Jim McDowell
Ragnar Berthling
Anne Black
Brian and Kaija Bonde
Larry and Faye Brandstetter
Ruth Brennan
Chelsea Brown and Brandon Herz
Joi A. Brown
Ann Brusky
Ken Carlson and Lara Roberts
Susan Chalmers Gauvin
Tony L. Chauveaux
Libby Chiu
Nina Clark
Donna Collins
Liz Crabtree
Joshua Davis-Ruperto
Edward Dickey
Shantel Dow
Darlene Dulitz
Kat Duvic
Susan Feder and Todd Gordon
Marlene Feldman
Gerry Foley
Luanne Fondell
Claire Frederick
Alison Mara Friedman
Ms. Jeannette Gardner
Judy Gaviser
Margaret Genovese
Tanya MB Gertz
Teresa Glasgow
Karen and Norman Goeschko
Dave Haist
Alex Hargis, dedicated to Gracie girl, Evie cat and Lucasaurus
Nancy Harold
Steve Heath
Cynthia Hellen
Janet Herman Barlow
Craig Howe
Craig Howe, in memory of Philip Allen
Juro and Hatsue Inomata
Yumi Inomata and Karl H. Nilsson
Linda E. Johnson
Brenda Lee Johnston
Joshua Kane
Sylvia Kaufman
Bob and Fay Kay
Grace Kelmer
Margot H. Knight
Jeff Laramie – SRO Artists Inc
Sherri Leathers
Irene Lee – The Mystical Arts of Tibet
Patti Hannah Liberatore
Lynn Lucius
Sheila and Joe Markley
Lee Marks
Dayna Martinez
Kymm and Ivan Martinez
Sarah McCarthy
Peg McDonald
Patricia McIlvenna
Colleen McLaughlin
Bill Mease and Mary Thorpe-Mease
Charlotte Michalski
Tod Minnich
Bonnie Morris and Dean Holzman
Ms. Daniela Muller
Donald Pastor and Mr. David Goldstein
Joe Patti
Ashleigh Penrod
Adam Perry
Rhoda Pierce
Steve and Arlene Pine
Bea Premack
Mollie Quinlan-Hayes
Angela Ramey
Kirk Randolph
Dan Nordby and Barbara Rawley
Kyle Ridout
Betsy Roder
Sharon Rodning Bash
Leslie B. Rodriguez
Eric R. Rogers
Anne Romens and Christopher Hill
Jennifer Ross
Shirley Roumagoux-Madigan
Abby and Orie Rutchick
Tania Salazar Maestri
Mukta Sathe
Mary Margaret Schoenfeld and David Low
Joel Snyder
Beth Strachan
Kitty Strauss and Dick Rosenthal
Anna Thompson
Brian Tiemann
Robin Tryloff
George and Maria Tzougros
Angela and Grant Urbanz
Diane Veale, in honor of LuCille V. Tack
Michael Louis Vinson
Jan Virgin
Stanley Wai and Gayle Jorgens
Matthew Wallace
Jim Weiner
Paul and Joan Wernick
Alexis Wesling
Todd Wetzel
Kyoko Yoshida

Catalysts ($1,000-$4,999)


Rebecca Biderman
Sandra Clark
Leni De Mik
Ken and Penny Fischer
Matthew Harris
Wayne Lawson
Mary Pickard
Omari Rush
Gregory Volan and Katarina Toparov
Janine Webb

Innovators ($5,000-$9,999)


Emily Maltz and Jean-Michel Artigaud, in memory of Colleen McLaughlin
Jane and John Rasmussen

Visionaries ($10,000+)


Flávia Bastos and Larry Huston
Peter Capell
Loann Crane
David Fraher
Barbara S. Robinson