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As a businessman and patron of the arts, Jim Thrush worked tirelessly behind the scenes to support nearly a dozen arts organizations. He was instrumental in the expansion of the Peoria Ballet and a driving force behind several local history websites. Through his purchase and preservation of the historic Prairie Building, he supported the arts community by hosting numerous fundraisers for the Peoria Ballet, Opera Illinois, Peoria Symphony Orchestra and more. His building was also the home of Prairie Folklore Theater and the Prairie Life Series, a celebration of art, poetry, history and ecology.

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