Clare Cooke, the namesake of this fund, has worked as a performer, choreographer, and
director for the Marion Palace Theatre since 1977, directing Christmas at the Palace and numerous community theater productions and junior musicals for many years, including The Wizard of Oz, The Will Rogers Follies, Annie, Oliver!, The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, Hairspray, and Oklahoma!
She has choreographed musicals and show choirs at Marion Harding and River Valley high schools and Ohio Wesleyan University and directed at Ohio State University at Marion. She is a 2009 inductee into Harding High School’s Hall of Distinguished Graduates for her contributions to the performing arts.
The Clare Cooke Performing Arts Scholarship Fund, created in 2012 through gifts from nearly 100 friends and family members, recognizes her outstanding contributions to the performing arts community and quality of life in Marion.
The Cooke Fund awards scholarships to Marion County high school seniors and graduates pursuing an education in the performing arts. Recipients are high school seniors who rank in the top 50th percentile of their graduating class or graduates with a college GPA of at least 2.5.