Tacoma Arts Live, Tacoma
David Fischer’s professional background in the arts began as a professional theater artist in 1977. His degrees in theater and film (BA, MFA) and his career path have allowed him to become deeply invested in the arts through theatre production, performing arts presenting, arts management, fundraising, advocacy, teaching, and urban design. He has worked as Producing Artistic Director for Tacoma Little Theatre, Executive Director of the Pierce County Arts Commission, Deputy Executive Director of Tacoma Arts Live, and prior to returning to Tacoma, as Executive Director of The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts (formerly the Luther Burbank Center) in Santa Rosa, California. Fischer reorganized the non-profit , Wells Fargo Center, including its staff, fundraising, capital investment, endowment growth, Board and volunteer achievement, and programmatic impact on the community resulting in annual operational revenue growth of 125% and an improvement to the balance sheet of $14 million in 5-1/2 years.
During the past seven years, serving as Executive Director of Tacoma’s non-profit performing arts center, Tacoma Arts Live, Fischer has transformed the organization to focus on strengthening the core infrastructure resulting in increased relevance and service to the community. During the period of the national recession, additional results have included:
- Growth of the annual budget from $2.2 million to $5 million annually – including a tripling of ticket sales and charitable contributions;
- Growth and depth of impact in education, now serving 51,000 students and teachers in four counties – the largest, most in-depth program of its kind in the State of Washington;
- Deep improvement in overall governance by increasing the Board’s leadership in strategic planning and financial impact – growing from an average annual Board impact of $2,200 to more than $17,000;
- Elimination of long-term debt and significant increasing of reserves.
From 1985 to 1990, Fischer worked as Studio Coordinator for the world renowned Urban Planner and Architect, Lawrence Halprin. During Fischer’s tenure, he supported Mr. Halprin in designing the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC, the Haas Promenade with the United Nations overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, the master plan for the I.M. Pei Tower in Los Angeles, and the master plan for Alcatraz in San Francisco, among others.
Fischer’s leadership as a volunteer has benefited many constituents throughout the nation through his service to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Park Service, Americans for the Arts, various chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus, schools, as well as city, county, and state governments.
In September of 2013, Fischer was awarded the Distinguished Service Award (last awarded in 1992) by the Western Arts Alliance for his work in advancing performing arts centers in the Western United States. Fischer currently serves on the Advisory Board for the UW Tacoma School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, is a founding member of CODA, the Western Arts Alliance Advisory Board, and is co-chair of the Cultural Access Washington, a state-wide organization lobbying to create a new arts, heritage and science agency to pool funding support from public tax sources.