The HACA fosters integration, friendship and collaboration between people of Hungarian and Central/Eastern European descent in the Greater Houston Area.
Richard Graber, Interim Director
Richard Graber hails from Cleveland, Ohio, and is the son of Hungarian immigrants who came to the U.S. in 1956. Richard learned a great deal from his father, a welder by trade, who built a successful business in the steel manufacturing and custom fabrication industry. Richard is a small business owner, performer, arts administrator, grant specialist, real estate investor, volunteer, and author. A graduate of the Ohio State University, Graber garnered recognition in critically acclaimed productions throughout the years. In 1994, Richard launched the Csárdás Dance Company in Cleveland, Ohio and served as its director for 12 years.
Upon moving to Houston, Texas, in 2005, Graber was Grants Specialist and later oversaw Communications & Events for AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc.
In January 2008, Graber joined the City of Houston’s municipal arts agency, the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), as Senior Project Manager. He oversaw numerous programs and special projects, including Leveraging Investment in Creativity and served as the Houston liaison for the National Arts Marketing Project conference, a national program of the Washington D.C – based arts advocacy organization, Americans for the Arts.
While at HAA, Graber spearheaded the formation of the Programs & Services Department in 2009 and launched both the Arts Database Management Program – a list coop for arts organizations, and the Business Volunteers for the Arts program as well as overseeing the formation of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Houston. From 2014-18, Graber was asked to serve as Director of the Grants and Capacity Building and was responsible for the distribution of over $4MM of Hotel Occupancy Tax funds to over 200 arts organizations and individual artists in the form of general operating, project, and innovation grants as well as an arts incubator program at the agency. Graber also oversaw the implementation of the agency’s revamped new grants program in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and was also responsible for the agency largest grant to date from the Houston Endowment.
Richard has served on grant review panels for cities of Houston, San Antonio, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and Austin and assisted the Mayor of the City of Pearland, Texas, with visioning and strategic planning through ad-hoc committee leading to the formation of the Pearland Alliance for Arts & Culture. In 2015, Graber authored a retrospective book on his dance company, Csárdás, with the support of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation.
In 2019, Graber joined Mental Health America of Greater Houston, Inc., as Grants Specialist and was responsible for the agency’s grant-seeking/managing endeavors where he crafted 50 grant proposals annually realizing over $1MM each year until 2022, when he joined Vita Living, Inc., an organization that serves the IDD community, as its Chief Development Officer.