In 2015 Julie Baker gathered a select group of visionaries to create The Innovation Fund. The purpose of this fund was to expand The Center’s ability to take artistic risks and produce newer works. Through the Innovation Fund The Center has provided a stage for new programming opportunities and a laboratory for collaborations that explore diversity, innovation and community. It is place where multicultural work is introduced in order to educate our audiences, where new artistic experiences are brought to the community, and it provides an incubator for new ideas and artistry.
Some of the work made possible by the Innovation Fund include Shanghai Acrobats, A Literature to Life Presentation of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, The National Russian Ballet, Black Violin which incorporated a collaboration with Music in the Mountain’s Youth Orchestra and Rhiannon Giddens, a Grammy-winning country, blues and old-time music singer and musician.
The Center for the Arts has flourished under the leadership of Julie Baker and we are grateful for her accomplishments during her tenure as Executive Director. In Fall of 2017 The Center received a generous match of $15,000 from Dan and Joanne Castles and Telestream to help us grow this valuable fund. Our goal is for the fund to reach $100,000 by 2019.
In addition, in honor of Julie Baker’s leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, risk taking, The Board and The Staff has renamed this important initiative, The Julie Baker Innovation Fund.