Joan Harris

Arts Patron


Joan Harris is recognized for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country. Her decades of leadership and generosity have enriched our cultural life and helped countless artists, dancers, singers, and musicians bring their talents to center stage.

Joan Harris currently serves as the president and past  chairman of the Irving Harris Foundation, through which she has helped to strengthen new initiatives such as MusicNow at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Cultural Policy Program at the University of Chicago. She serves as president, chair, director, or trustee of many Chicago and national cultural organizations(including the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Juilliard School, Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and is a member of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board. Past positions include commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Chicago, trustee of the National Institute for Music Theater, president of the Chicago Opera Theater, president of the Illinois Arts Alliance, and chairman of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.

Joan Harris receiving the National Medal of Arts from Barack Obama

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to arts patron Joan Harris in a White House ceremony on July 28, 2014. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino.
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