Leadership

David Fischer’s professional background in the arts began as a professional theater artist in 1977. His degrees in theater and film (BA, MFA), combined with his Leadership Certificate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, furthered by his work experience, have allowed him to become deeply invested in the arts through theater production, performing arts presenting, arts management, fundraising, advocacy, teaching, and urban design. Previously, he has worked as:

  • Producing Artistic Director for Tacoma Little Theatre
  • Executive Director of the Pierce County Arts Commission
  • Deputy Executive Director of Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
  • Executive Director of the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa, California

Fischer reorganized the Luther Burbank Center, including its staff, fundraising, capital investment, endowment growth, governance, and programmatic impact resulting in an improvement to the balance sheet of $14 million in 5.5 years, and the creation of a new community hospital adjacent to the arts campus.

Since 2006, Fischer has served as Executive Director of Tacoma’s non-profit performing arts center, Tacoma Arts Live, working to transform the organization to focus on strengthening its service to the community, particularly in:

  • Education through the arts,
  • DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and access)
  • Historic facility improvements and preservation
  • Economic development for Pierce County
  • Professional theater production
  • Advocacy for public funding of arts, heritage and science non-profits

In 2019, Tacoma Arts Live commissioned an outside consultant to independently assess more than a decade of service by Tacoma Arts Live and found the non-profit to be leading the field of performing arts and education-through-the arts both regionally and nationally, including:

  • Diverse programs for the broadest spectrum of community
  • Initiation of new programs in the performing arts
  • Growth and depth of impact in education, now serving 50,000 students and teachers in four counties – the largest, most in-depth program of its kind in the State of Washington and a leader nationally
  • Service to the greater performing arts sector regionally through significant partnerships
  • $22 million in major capital improvements through public/private investments
  • Deep improvement in overall governance by increasing the Board’s leadership in strategic planning and financial impact
  • Growth of the annual budget from $2.1 million to $6.6 million annually – including a tripling of ticket sales
  • Elimination of long-term debt and significant increase of reserve funds
  • Negotiated the substantial gifting of the historic Tacoma Armory to Tacoma Arts Live

Additional work history and volunteer leadership:

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 his design work for 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 other projects.

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, universities, as well as city, county, and state governments.

In 2019, Fischer was honored by the Historical Society of Tacoma for historic preservation and by Tacoma’s Chamber of Commerce with the Art Popham award as a major catalyst for improvements to downtown Tacoma. 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. He has twice been awarded the AMOCAT award for arts impact by the City of Tacoma’s Arts Commission. 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 immediate-past co-chair of Cultural Access Washington, a state-wide cultural advocacy organization supporting heritage and science agencies. In 2018, Fischer co-led a successful ballot measure to allow one-tenth of one percent of sales tax funding (One penny on $10) in support of Heritage, Science, and Arts non-profits, thus expanding free programs for the residents of Tacoma. This established Tacoma Creates, and was passed by one of the highest voter approvals in City history, with a 72% “yes” vote, and a plurality in every one of Tacoma’s 103 voter precincts.

  • Brian Bergren – President
  • Alison Beason – Vice President
  • Stacey Guadnola, CAP – Secretary
  • Dave Harmon – Treasurer
  • Romina Barrett
  • Maria Tania Becerra B. Weingarden
  • Christina Blocker
  • Holly Bocchi
  • Jon Bowser
  • Marty Campbell
  • Dana Carlisle
  • Marce Edwards Olson
  • Maia Espinoza
  • Leslie Harbaugh
  • Vanessa Jones
  • Ron Klein
  • Lisa Kremer
  • Bret Maddox
  • Rosheida Meyers
  • Amanda Nathan
  • Stephanie Nicklaus
  • Alisa O’Hanlon
  • Jill Purdy
  • Tim Rhee
  • Ron Swarner
  • Diamatris Winston
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