Judy Frater is Founder Director of Somaiya Kala Vidya, an institute of education for artisans. She has lived in Kutch, working with artisans, for 28 years. During this time she Co-founded and operated Kala Raksha Trust, and established the Kala Raksha Textile Museum. In 2003, for her concept of design education for artisans, Ms. Frater was awarded an Ashoka Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. She founded Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, the first design school for traditional artisans, and under her eight- year tenure as director, the program received international recognition for its unique and successful approach. Frater received the Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education in 2009, the Crafts Council of India Kamla award in 2010, and the George B. Walter’36 Service to Society Award from Lawrence University in 2014.
In 2014 she joined Somaiya group, to take design for artisans from a program to an institute and reach its full potential.
Ms. Frater is author of Threads of Identity: Embroidery and Adornment of the Nomadic Rabaris, recipient of the Costume Society of America’s Milla Davenport award. Before residing in India, she was Associate Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections at the Textile Museum, in Washington, DC.