RABER UMPHENOUR (b. 1984 Lexington, Kentucky / resides Boston, MA) is a filmmaker, director, and artist community leader focused on building cultural districts, developing affordable artist live-work housing, and creating new arts institutions and permanent collections for underappreciated mediums. He holds a BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts.
While living in an artist building that was unexpectedly put on the market for sale, Raber co-founded a community based non-profit, Midway Artist Collective, raising over $1.1 million as a deposit payment in 14 business days, and quickly securing an additional $19 million in financing to purchase the building outright.
This secured a quarter million sq. ft. live-work building that would be affordable for artists in perpetuity, in downtown Boston a short distance from South Station in the Fort Point neighborhood.
The 89 studios of artist-occupied live-work housing is a unique rental property, allowing emerging artists a place to stay and work in Boston and inviting artists from around the world to come to Boston, supporting the free flow of ideas between disciplines and generations. The project is an example of community sustainability, innovative financing, artist control, and hybrid public-private partnerships to sustain culture. Midway is entirely financially sustainable as the largest affordable live-work building in Boston.
Using the successful model pioneered at Midway, Raber is spearheading new artist housing projects, with plans to develop 250 more live-work studios of artist housing in Fort Point over the next decade, with both integrated and discrete workspace and cultural space.
Raber is also the founder of the Museum of Scenographic Design (MOSDO), a collection of stage designs for Opera, Film and Theatre. He uses the power of cinema and narrative storytelling as an adjunct to preservation in his documentary biography, PAYNEâ€™S GREY DESIGNER, The Life & Work of Franco Colavecchia , with screenings at USITT, UCSD, SUNY Purchase, Wake Forest, BU, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Wellesley College, and RISD. He has been a guest critic at Harvard, BU, the Boston Architectural College, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He also serves on the board of directors of the Fort Point Arts Community, the City of Boston Artist Certification panel, amongst others. In 2016, he was a SPARK IMPACT Award finalist from the City of Boston.