SOLD-OUT ALERT!: 2017 Obelisk Award Luncheon

Business Council for the Arts Katherine Wagner just sent some good news and some not-so-good news. First, let’s get the not-so-good news over with. If you were waiting until the last minute to get your spot at the Obelisk Award Luncheon, you waited too long and you’re out of luck.

2017 Obelisk Award (File photo)

Now for the good news: The November 15th lunch at Belo Mansion is sold out.  

But you were really hankering to be part of the occasion, you know better than anyone that Katherine could find one more place if the check is written with the right amount. Wink, wink.

Grovel Alert: Obelisk Award Luncheon

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

Co-Chairs Thai-Ian Tran and Steve Roth just sent word that the Business Council for the Art’s Obelisk Award Luncheon at the Belo on Wednesday, November 15, is just a couple of tables away from being sold out.

In addition to having Nasher Haemisegger Fellow for the National Center for Arts Research and former Brooklyn Academy of Music President Karen Brooks Hopkins as keynote speaker, this year’s event is honoring the following:

2017 Obelisk Award (File photo)

  • The Arts Partnership Award recognizes businesses that have provided sustained support to an arts/cultural organization for three or more years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Target nominated by Nasher Sculpture Center.
    • Medium Business (between 50 and 500 employees locally) — Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Richardson nominated by AIR (Arts Incubator of Richardson).
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — Angelika Film Center – Dallas nominated by Video Association of Dallas
  • The New Initiatives Award recognizes businesses for supporting an innovative arts/cultural program created within the past three years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Corgan nominated by Creative Arts Center
    • Medium Business (between 50-500 employees locally) — West Village nominated by: Dallas Film Society
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — C.C. Communications, LLC nominated by Esta Raza No Se Raja
  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award is given to recognize one outstanding nonprofit organization for a project or program that has enhanced the community through partnership with a business. — The Cliburn nominated by The Arts Council of Fort Worth/Neiman Marcus
  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award recognizes long-term leadership and commitment to arts/culture by a business executive (president, CEO, partner). — Nancy Carlson nominated by TACA
  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award recognizes an arts leader who has consistently demonstrated vision, impact, innovation, and successful alignment with business and community partners throughout their tenure. — Keith Cerny nominated by Deutsche Bank Trust Co., NA/ Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.
  • The Arts Education Award recognizes one outstanding business for its support of arts education programs. — Neiman Marcus Group nominated by Big Thought and Dallas Black Dance Theater
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing lifetime advancement of the arts. — Ask Me About Art/Gail Sachson nominated by Carolyn Brown Photography
  • The Community Champion Award recognizing community arts advancement — Kathy Litinas nominated by Allen Arts Alliance

Remaining tickets are available here.

* Photo provided by Business Council for the Arts

Jade Ball Was Highlighted By Beijing Opera Singer Lucy Xu, Artist-Filled Hutongs, Delayed Dishes And Dancing Dragons In The Driveway

As locals and tourists in shorts, T-shirts and sneakers walked by Belo Mansion on Saturday, October 7, something seemed a little amiss. Perhaps it was the sound of drums, but more likely it was the dragons.

At times there were two Chinese dragons vying with the valet parkers in the driveway for the arrival of black-tie guests. At other times it was an elongated dragon dancing and entertaining the already-settled guests looking down from the windows upstairs in the Pavilion. The dragons, the drums and the 350 guests were all there to celebrate the inaugural Jade Ball benefiting the Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Phillip Chen

Once past the check-in, the Mansion and hallways surrounding the ballroom had been turned in to hutongs filled with artist Danqing Coldwell, calligrapher Carle Shi, tea master Phillip Chen and fortune teller Iris Quachs.

Robert Weatherly, Amy Lewis Hofland, Lynn McBee and Trammell S. Crow

Event Chair Robert Weatherly and Honorary Chair Lynn McBee were hustling through the crowd, fulfilling the demands of photographers.

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer-Freling

Paul Christopher Yanez and Lauren Embrey

Linda and Steve Ivy

Kristen Gibbins and Stacie Adams

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer Freling were reporting that they were past the newlywed-year marker… Following the fundraiser’s title, jade was indeed the color of the night — Linda Ivy’s jade necklace and matching earrings with jade-colored stole, Kristen Gibbins‘ earrings, Nikki Webb‘s necklace, Gay Donnell‘s and Angela Nash‘s jade-colored gowns, and Billy Martin Jr.‘s tie highlighted with deep-green leaves. Getting into the Asian ensemble category were Mimi Sterling in a gray kimono with fan, Lauren Embrey in a rose-red lace qipao, Trammell S. Crow in traditional Chinese formal black jacket and Koshi Dhingra in a red sari highlighted with sky-blue flower appliques.

Crayton and Nikki Webb and Angela Nash and Billy Martin Jr

Just as the place was going to bust with guests, the doors to the ballroom opened with a splendiferous array of tables surrounding a stage with a backdrop of bamboo topped with colorful lanterns.

While it took some time for the guests to take their places, there were no pre-sets. Instead of salads, they found charger plates, silverware, water and wine glasses and chopsticks, of course. Crow Collection Executive Director Amy Lewis Hofland got their attention plinging chimes. In describing the growth of the Asian community in North Texas, Amy told how when she had graduated from Plano High School, only 1% of the students were Asian Americans. Today the figure stands at 30%.

In the meantime, servers provided plates with three dumplings — pork with ginger soy, chicken with dragon chili and mushroom with sesame yuzu. Not wanting to seem unworldly, most guests proved their dexterity by using their chopsticks to devour the trio.

Lucy Xu

Instead of being immediately removed, the dumpling-less plates stayed put while beautifully attired Beijing Opera singer Lucy Xu sang “Drunken Beauty,” accompanied by the Dallas HuaYun Chinese Orchestra.

Eventually, the dumpling dishes were removed and water glasses were filled nonstop. A floor monitor walked between the table looking satisfied. Plates of Hong Kong style short ribs on purple and russet potato taro root mash and wok fired Yu Choy with sweet carrots slowly made their way to the tables. Most guests found themselves resorting to the silverware to cut into the short ribs and saw into the carrots.

Lucy Xu

Chair Robert and Honorary Chair Lynn were invited to the stage by Crow Collection Media Relations person Stacie Adams. Graciously they thanked the Crow family for expanding Dallas’ appreciation of the cultures on display and programs available at the museum. Between the eloquent acknowledgments by Robert and Lynn and the live auction was Lucy Xu in yet another fabulous costume to perform “Farewell My Concubine” after a slight delay, due to one of the HuaYun Orchestra members having to tune up.  

While Lucy’s performance was beautiful, the action tableside was still spotty. At one table, all the entrée plates had been removed except for one. Even after dessert plates—with vanilla cake with matcha cream frosting, red plum drizzle and mooncake with red bean —had been placed, the empty entrée plate stayed as if anchored to the table. The guest in possession of the lone entrée plate told the other guests to proceed with their desserts. Despite his offer, no one lifted a fork until the situation was updated.

Katherine Rigdon

It was now 9:30 p.m. and Heritage Auctioneer Katherine Rigdon took the stage, searching the room for bids like a bird dog on the hunt. She claimed there was $2,500 hiding out there. At one point she hooded her eyes and looked to the far reaches of the room trying to discover a $45,000 bid. Oops! Make that a $4,500 bid. After a couple of packages were paddled in at low four-figure numbers, Chef Kent Rathbun arrived on stage, taking the mic and rallying the bids. His package of a dinner for 20 at the Crow Museum popped up the bidding to $10,000. Things were definitely perking up. Kent then continued his campaign, offering an event at the Rathbun homestead for a dinner, a cooking or whatever for ten. That surprise package hauled in a nifty $7,000 from Nick Even.

After the final bid was tallied, the crowd adjourned for more fortunes to be told and artwork to be created.  

For more pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Jade Ball

It’s not every day that dragons dance merrily in the driveway of Belo Mansion, or that Chinese Opera singer Lucy Xu sings “Farewell My Concubine” in the Pavilion. But those were just a couple of the sights and sounds that took place at the Crow Collection of Asian Art’s Jade Ball on Saturday, October 7.

Lucy Xu

Lynn McBee and Robert Weatherly

Gala Chair Robert Weatherly and Honorary Chair Lynn McBee arranged for a hutong of Chinese artists, tea masters and fortune tellers to the delight of the 350 black-tie guests before entering the ballroom for a seated dinner complete with chopsticks and a live auction that had auctioneer Katherine Rigdon searching for bids.

Phillip Chen

Katherine Rigdon

While the post is being prepared, check out the pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Despite Rain Clouds In The Area, Business Council For The Art’s Obelisk Award Luncheon VIPs Were High And Dry At The Mayfair’s Sky Room

Kevin Hurst and Jeff Byron

High above Turtle Creek in the Mayfair’s Sky Room, the Obelisk Award Luncheon sponsors, honorees, nominators and Business Council for the Arts board members had a spectacular view of the rain clouds creeping into the area as they gathered on the evening of Wednesday, September 27. While the rest of the world slammed on the brakes and waited for the green light, these art-loving types sipped beverages and sampled pass-arounds.

Thanks to Neiman’s Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst, the event was to thank a covey of sponsors, honoree and those who had nominated the candidates like Lee and Sarah Papert, Dotti Reeder, Jennifer and Keith Cerny, Mark Solomon, Lynne and Eddie Reyes, Diana Pollak and Mark Solomon.

Dotti Reeder

Keith and Jennifer Cerny

Looking like he had just returned from a weekend yacht stay in the Mediterranean, Jeff Byron arrived midway into the room. He admitted that since his retirement from NM, he hadn’t worn a tie. In fact, he had discovered that the family Scottish terrier, Hayden, was a snoozer during the day instead of anxiously awaiting his return.

Nasher Sculpture Center Jeremy Strick was smiling over the announcement of the Nasher Prize Laureate the week before at The Warehouse. But he added, “Now the real work is ahead.”

2017 Obelisk Award

As the rain clouds delivered their wet stuff on the glistening streets below, sculptor Jim Bowman‘s newest version of the Obelisk Award was revealed that will be presented to the following:

  • The Arts Partnership Award recognizes businesses that have provided sustained support to an arts/cultural organization for three or more years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Target
    • Medium Business (between 50 and 500 employees locally) — Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Richardson
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — Angelika Film Center – Dallas
  • The New Initiatives Award recognizes businesses for supporting an innovative arts/cultural program created within the past three years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Corgan
    • Medium Business (between 50-500 employees locally) — West Village
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — C.C. Communications, LLC
  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award is given to recognize one outstanding nonprofit organization for a project or program that has enhanced the community through partnership with a business. — The Cliburn
  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award recognizes long-term leadership and commitment to arts/culture by a business executive (president, CEO, partner). — Nancy Carlson
  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award recognizes an arts leader who has consistently demonstrated vision, impact, innovation, and successful alignment with business and community partners throughout their tenure. — Keith Cerny nominated by Deutsche Bank Trust Co., NA/ Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.
  • The Arts Education Award recognizes one outstanding business for its support of arts education programs. — Neiman Marcus Group
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing lifetime advancement of the arts. — Ask Me About Art/Gail Sachson
  • The Community Champion Award recognizing community arts advancement — Kathy Litinas.

Katherine Wagner

Steve Roth

Minutes after BCA Founder’s Chair Nancy Nasher arrived, Business Council for the Arts CEO Katherine Wagner and Obelisk Luncheon Co-Chair Steve Roth announced that plans were heading forward for the fundraising event at the Belo with Dallas Symphony Orchestra principle trumpet Ryan Anthony.

Niki and Ryan Anthony

Nancy Nasher and Gail Sachson

Looking at the crowd of art lovers and supporters, Nancy, who admits to being basically shy, said with a smile that she felt right at home. After all, these were people like Gail Sachson, and they were like family.

JUST IN: 2017 Obelisk Award Recipients And Keynote Speaker Announced For Business Council For The Arts Fundraising Luncheon

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

Obelisk Award Luncheon Co-Chairs Thai-Ian Tran and Steve Roth have just announced the luncheon keynote speaker and the recipients of the 2017 Obelisk Awards that is annually presented by Business Council For The Arts.

Addressing the group of art lovers will be Nasher Haemisegger Fellow for the National Center for Arts Research and former Brooklyn Academy of Music President Karen Brooks Hopkins.

As for the Obelisk Awardees, this year’s collection of outstanding art supporters are:  

  • The Arts Partnership Award recognizes businesses that have provided sustained support to an arts/cultural organization for three or more years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Target nominated by Nasher Sculpture Center.
    • Medium Business (between 50 and 500 employees locally) — Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Richardson nominated by AIR (Arts Incubator of Richardson).
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — Angelika Film Center – Dallas nominated by Video Association of Dallas
  • The New Initiatives Award recognizes businesses for supporting an innovative arts/cultural program created within the past three years.
    • Large Business (more than 500 employees locally) — Corgan nominated by Creative Arts Center
    • Medium Business (between 50-500 employees locally) — West Village nominated by: Dallas Film Society
    • Small Business (fewer than 50 employees locally) — C.C. Communications, LLC nominated by Esta Raza No Se Raja

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Keith Cerny (File photo)

  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award is given to recognize one outstanding nonprofit organization for a project or program that has enhanced the community through partnership with a business. — The Cliburn nominated by The Arts Council of Fort Worth/Neiman Marcus
  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award recognizes long-term leadership and commitment to arts/culture by a business executive (president, CEO, partner). — Nancy Carlson nominated by TACA
  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award recognizes an arts leader who has consistently demonstrated vision, impact, innovation, and successful alignment with business and community partners throughout their tenure. — Keith Cerny nominated by Deutsche Bank Trust Co., NA/ Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.
  • The Arts Education Award recognizes one outstanding business for its support of arts education programs. — Neiman Marcus Group nominated by Big Thought and Dallas Black Dance Theater
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing lifetime advancement of the arts. — Ask Me About Art/Gail Sachson nominated by Carolyn Brown Photography
  • The Community Champion Award recognizing community arts advancement — Kathy Litinas nominated by Allen Arts Alliance

According to Business Council For The Arts CEO Katherine Wagner, “This year’s Obelisk honorees reflect the significant growth of the arts regionally – a fact underscored in our recent economic impact study, showing that the nonprofit arts and culture sector has now reached an impact of $1.5 billion annually in North Texas.”

Katherine Wagner (File photo)

Mary Anne Alhadeff (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

The awards will be presented on Wednesday, November 15, at Belo Mansion with returnees KERA President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff as emcee and Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Ryan Anthony onstage.

Tickets start at $150 and are available here!

* Photo provided by Business Council For The Arts

TACA Custom Auction Gala’s Celebration Of 50 Years Of Funding The Arts “Tranformed” Into A Glistening Affair

The TACA Custom Auction Gala celebrating the art funding organization’s 50th anniversary was a time to glisten and shine. And on Friday, September 8, the first black-tie gala of the 2017 fall/winter fundraising season did just that. Only it wasn’t exactly for the reason some might have predicted.

Unlike years past, when it was held entirely inside the legendary Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, the guests discovered as they drove up to the auto courtyard that the gala had taken up more real estate. A large, see-thru tent complete with overhead lights and greenery, bars and a black stage surrounded by tables and chairs had been erected in the courtyard adjacent to the august hotel. Here the cocktail reception would be held, followed by the evening’s program. As for dinner, guests would saunter into the Mansion to dine and wine.

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Linda and Bill Custard

Robyn Flatt and Wilson Tarver

Don and Carol Glendenning

TACA Custom Auction Gala Co-Chairs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing reported that they were planning on wedding in summer 2018…Breast cancer survivor Linda Custard topped off in snow white hair reported that husband Bill Custard had teased her the year before that, for the first time, he had more hair than she did…Dallas Children’s Theater’s Robyn Flatt was thrilled about the theater’s new mega-sign lighting that took place on Wednesday, August 30. She also added that ticket sales for the annual Cabaret were going briskly…. After checking in outside the tent, guests like Carol and Don Glendenning, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Laura and Dennis Moon, Lynn and Allan McBee, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Katherine Wynne and John Baer, Jan Barboglio, Barbara and Steve Durham, Stacie and Steve Adams and Mimi and Rich Sterling ambled on in for drinks and the evening’s festivities.

John Baer, Katherine Wynne and Laura and Dennis Moon

Jessica Chandler

Diane and Hal Brierley

When Dallas Theater Center Associate Artistic Director Joel Ferrell called the beautiful people to start the program, the veteran high rollers discovered that things had changed from the past. Instead of having front-row tables reserved for them to raise their bid paddles, it was a first-come, first-sit situation.

Then, as the body count for the sold-out event climbed past 275, the glamorous joint started getting pretty cozy. Thankfully it wasn’t a simmering August heat wave, and the  September evening’s outdoor temperature was still lingering in the upper 70’s. Still, the couple of occasionally open tent doors weren’t letting in much of a breeze. Like Ashley Wilkes, tuxedoed men in white buttoned-up shirts with ties smiled bravely, as their lady friends fanned themselves with their bid paddles like Scarlett O’Hara on the porch of Tara. It wasn’t a question of the portable A/C units not working up to snuff. Someone said there was an A/C unit trying its best in the back of the tent. But like the Titanic lifeboat count, there just weren’t enough of the little blowhards to meet the need as the festivities continued.

Joel got things started by introducing the evening’s Co-Chairs/lovebugs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing. The former Mansion/current Ritz chef with headset in place kicked things off welcoming the group. But when Wanda tried to provide an added welcome, her handheld mic proved to be a silent stick. Panic on the sidelines kicked in, and event planner Randi Steinhart scrambled on stage handing Wanda another handheld mic. It proved to be suffering from the same “Silent Sam” ailment as the other mic. Giggles arose among the guests. After repeated exchanges of dead mics with similar results and pleading looks at the production table with no results, the laughter had been replaced with awkward smiles. Trooper Wanda saved the situation by simply talking into Dean’s headset.

Celebration

With a working mic in hand, TACA Chair Donna Wilhelm introduced “Celebration,” a dance commissioned by TACA to celebrate TACA’s 50th anniversary and performed by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Bruce Wood Dance, and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. Things were heating up. Now bid paddles were fanning at full pace, as the dancers performed flawlessly. But the icy cocktails were starting to wear off, and the body-heat temperatures table-side were rising.

Donna Wilhelm

Michelle Thomas

Katherine Bull and Jan Barboglio

Instead of going straight to the live auction, Donna returned to the stage and told of her roots in funding the New Works Fund going back to her childhood as the daughter of Polish immigrants. She was followed by incoming TACA Chair Michelle Thomas, who reported, “Did you know?” about TACA. On the front row was one of TACA’s original members Katherine Bull, who could have read chapter and verse about the days of Jane Murchison (Haber), Evelyn Lambert, Virginia Nick and the ladies getting together to raise funds for a new art group — Dallas Theater Center. But there was no mention of them or the TACA roots on this night.

The paddles kept paddling the air like a metronome at presto speed to fight off the feel of perspiration.

Louis Murad and Cyndi Phelps

Finally, it was time for auctioneer Louis Murad to lead the live auction. His aim, he’d said, was to haul in about $250,000. He said it was not going to be a repeat of the 2015 TACA Custom Auction Gala, when he had conducted the lackluster TACA auction in the cool Mansion Promenade. But as starting time neared, some, who knew they weren’t “players” or were starting to succumb to the heat, headed into the cool confines of the Mansion.

Auction sign holder

As Louis hopped on stage, he looked at the crowd of beauts and still felt confident. Two 21st century Austin Powers lovelies walked the stage like boxing ring girls holding signs designating the package for the crowd that was starting to look like a formally attired hot-yoga class. Flutes that had held champagne were drained. Makeup was starting to show premature signs of melting. Slender gals in gowns, who had stilettoed their way over the cobblestone courtyard, were now leaning against the tent’s walls, looking like wilted daisies. One woman at a front-row table stood. Louis asked if she was rising to bid. No, she was headed to the bar for a couple of drinks for friends. Items that had been described as “priceless,” were barely hitting the five-figure neighborhood.

Thanks to Diane and Hal Brierley, the evening’s bidding venture wasn’t a total loss, with their taking home dinner with Dean Fearing and Cowboy greats (Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith) for $32,500. Alas, Louis’ goal of a quarter of a million bucks didn’t hit its target. Including the post-auction, shout-out for funds, the evening’s take wasn’t too much more than $100,000.

One person commented, “Too sober. Too hot. This group is ready for church.”

As crass as this comment was, it was a Reader’s Digest critique. Usually, most fundraisers have the live auction preceded by a cocktail party and a well-quenched dinner. The true experts in the live auction world know that you don’t want the guests to be “too happy” that they don’t have the day-after blues. But you do want them to be lulled into feeling the lift of the paddles is painless. Not the case here. Between the heat and the grumbling tummies, these celebrants wanted to get out of the tent and onto dinner inside the air-conditioned Mansion.

According to one TACA organizer, the thinking was that people wanted the dinner to follow the live auction, so they could settle back and linger, as opposed to hustling to the auction. They also felt that the dance performance would rally the paddles into a frenzy high.

But this POA turned into a perfect storm for Monday morning quarterbacking. Had they held the live auction in the Mansion ballroom, the heat factor would not have kicked in. Had they held the live auction after the seated dinner, there would have been a more festive lifting of the paddles. Had the auction items been curated by a true luxury team like the 2017 Art Ball’s Jennifer Karol and Rajan Patel instead of parceling some items out to out-of-state AmFund, the paddles might have waved like the flags on the Fourth of July. Had the annual farm-to-table package been part of the lineup, even the poorest of the rich crowd would have had paddled up.

Editor’s comment: As the new regime of TACA gets underway for the next 50 years, it appears to still be a project in development. But on this night the celebration of TACA’s 50th anniversary wasn’t quite the bravo production that some had hoped for. MIA were some longtime TACA supporters. According to one source, past TACA chairs had been invited to join the host committee. When one “past TACA co-chair” had received the invite, she responded, “My husband and I don’t support the arts. We’ve never been to a TACA event, so I doubt we’ve ever chaired one.”

Organizers intimated that this would be the last TACA live auction. Perhaps it’s just as well, since the 2017 TACA Custom Auction Gala went out with a whimper, and not a bang.

Americans For The Arts Study Provides Numbers And Facts About North Texas Arts Community’s Economic Impact Using The B-Word

There are those who scoff at the economic muscle of the nonprofit sector. Perhaps it is because they think back to their days when they equated nonprofits with saving pennies for Savings Bonds. However, the nonprofit organizations have become powerhouses of businesses that translate into more than supporting and growing communities. They also provide big bucks across the board.

On Wednesday, June 28, at the Dallas City Performance Hall, the Business Council for the Arts, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Dallas Arts District provided numbers and facts that the arts of North Texas alone “generated $1,473,366,015 in annual economic activity.” Check that number again. In addition to the dollars, it also supported 52,848 full-time equivalent jobs and generated $167.2M in local and state government revenues.

The trio didn’t just pull those numbers of their proverbial hats. An “exhaustive national economic impact study, Arts and Economic Prosperity 5,” was conducted by the Americans for the Arts with the Business Council for the Arts gathering the research in this region. The study is conducted to “examine cities, counties and states nationwide every five years. This year, for a regional perspective, six North Texas cities and cultural districts participated with Business Council for the Arts, demonstrating the reach and impact of arts and culture in neighborhoods and communities across the region.”

Katherine Wagner (File photo)

According to Business Council for the Arts CEO Katherine Wagner, “This study shows, in power numbers, just what a critical role arts and culture also play in keeping our national, state and local economies vibrant and growing. Reflecting our population and business growth, our region is now the third largest arts economy in the nation.”

Highlights from the study included the following:

North Texas Highlights

  • The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA came in third, measured against other multi-county regions in the country.
  • The economic impact of arts and culture organizations in North Texas more than tripled between the previously published study in 2012 and the current study – from $428,512,328 to $1,473,366,015.
  • In the region, the nonprofit arts and culture sector equated to 52,848 FTE jobs supported, translating into $1.3 billion in annual salaries.
  • North Texas cultural audience attendance numbers totaled 13,970,000 in 2015, contributing $473,856,433 to the economy.

City of Dallas Highlights

The study found that the City of Dallas, which also participated in the 2010 study, is seeing robust returns from its annual and long-term investment in the arts, including triple-digit growth in economic impact, jobs and audiences, as well as generating even more revenue for state and local government. In FY 2015:

  • Total economic activity tied to Dallas arts and culture was $891 million, up from the $321 million in the 2010 study – a 2.8-fold increase.
  • Dallas arts organizations and audiences supported 33,554 jobs, a nearly 3-fold increase over data collected in 2010.
  • Dallas arts and culture generated revenue of $97 million to local and state governments.

Dallas Arts District Highlights

  • The economic activity of the Dallas Arts District alone has tripled in five years, going from $128.6 million to $395.8 million.
  • The revenue generated for local government from Dallas Arts District arts organizations and audiences was $19 million in 2015.
  • 14,932 jobs are supported by Dallas Arts District arts organizations and audiences.

According to Americans for the Arts President/CEO Robert L. Lynch, “This study demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation. A vibrant arts and culture industry helps local businesses thrive and helps local communities become stronger and healthier places to live. Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

While these numbers and results are staggering, they are also just a snapshot of one sector within the incredible North Texas nonprofit world.

 

TACA Custom Auction Item #1 — Around The World With Rosewood

Back in 1966 when the late Jane Murchison (Haber), Evelyn Lambert, Virginia Nick and Betty Black Guiberson were trying to raise money for the Dallas Theater Center, they planted the seeds for TACA. To accomplish the fundraising, they held an auction — “it consisted, essentially, of four booths selling exotic food, one at each corner of the brand-new NorthPark center, and a write-in auction in front of Jas. K. Wilson.” By 1968 they had decided to try an auction on television, so they approached Channel 39. It turned out to be a combination of a mega-telethon and “Saturday Night Live” with local unknowns and well-knowns serving as hosts.

Legend has it that originally TACA stood for “TheAter Custom Auction” or “The Auction for Cultural Arts,” but the final representation is “The Arts Community Alliance.”

Over the years, TACA changed directions and expanding its beneficiaries and activities to include the Silver Cup Luncheon, Party on the Green and the TACA Custom Auction that eventually replaced the TV auction. It made sense. Afterall, the garnering of countless items, volunteers and sponsors for the TV auction required a heck of a lot of effort compared to the Custom Auction. This year the collection of TACA Custom Auction Gala items at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek will be limited to just six. Here is the first of the six that will be up for bid on Friday, September 8:

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #1 – Around The World With Rosewood*

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout would have had absolutely killed for this worldly excursion. Instead of schlepping around the world in 80 days, the winner of this live auction package will experience international luxury ala Rosewood style with a guest. Within 15 days, the twosome will fly American Airlines to the following five Rosewood properties for three-night stays:

Rosewood Phuket**

Rosewood Puebla**

Rosewood Washington**

Rosewood Little Dix Bay**

Rosewood London**

The only downside is that it’s going to spoil the twosome for future trips.

* Courtesy of Rosewood Hotels and American Airlines 
** Photo provided by TACA

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Obelisk Awards Luncheon

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

According to Parkland Health and Hospital System Senior Deputy General Counsel and 2017 Obelisk Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran,

I hope the Dallas community will make plans to join the Business Council for the Arts and us for the 29th Annual Obelisk Awards on Wednesday, November 15, at the Belo Mansion.  

The Obelisk Awards recognizes companies and leaders in business and the arts for their invaluable contributions supporting arts and culture in North Texas. We know this year’s recipients will be no exception and we look forward to announcing them soon.

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

The Obelisk Awards luncheon will include a reception, seated lunch and recognition of the 2017 award recipients. The keynote speaker for the event is Karen Brooks Hopkins, who currently serves as the Nasher Haemisegger Fellow for the National Center for Arts Research. She is the former president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Returning as Master of Ceremonies is North Texas Public Broadcasting President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff, which includes KERA Radio and Television, as well as KXT and affiliated programs. Returning to the Obelisk stage will be last year’s speaker Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra/founder of The Ryan Anthony Foundation.

Individual tickets are $150 each; sponsorships begin at $750.  For more information about the Obelisk Awards, visit http://ntbca.org/obelisk or contact Catherine Thompson, 972.991.8300, Ext. 601.

Business Council for the Arts (BCA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 as connector and convenor between businesses, municipalities, and arts and cultural organizations. For 29 years, Business Council for the Arts has advocated for business support of the arts, developed business leaders for nonprofit boards of directors; fostered employee creativity, engagement and creativity through the arts; guided strategic business support for the arts; and measured the economic impact of arts and culture in North Texas.

* Photo provided by Business Council for the Arts

 

Nancy Nasher And David Haemisegger Hosted A Reception For One Of The Late Ray Nasher’s Brainchild “Business Committee For The Arts”

When the late Ray Nasher dreamt up the idea of the North Texas business community partnering up with the visual and performing arts 28 years ago, the Business Committee for the Arts came to life. It was a glorious gathering of local executive and committee leaders like Jack Evans, Al Casey, Ted Enloe, Stan Richards, Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, Howard Hallam, Richard Marcus, Henry S. Miller Jr., Burl Osborne, Liener Temerlin and a host of others, who served as founding members.

Over the years, the organization’s name changed to Business Council for the Arts and Ray’s daughter, Nancy Nasher, took up family support of the program.

Larry Glasgow

Kevin Hurst

On Thursday, May 25, Nancy and her husband David Haemisegger hosted a party at the Nasher Sculpture Center for BCA supporters like Kevin Hurst, Sarah and Dallas Film Society CEO/President Lee Papert, Dotti Reeder, BCA Chair Larry Glasgow and BCA CEO Katherine Wagner. While David was surrounded three deep in the garden by well-wishers, Nancy was greeting guests in the Center. Upon seeing Dallas Symphony Orchestra trumpeter Ryan Anthony, the petite Nancy smiled like a firefly. It was with good reason. Seems that the week of Cancer Blows benefiting Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation through The Ryan Anthony Foundation, Ryan had had a relapse of his multiple myeloma.

Ryan Anthony, Nancy Nasher and Jonathan Martin

Nancy and David had been the honorary co-chairs for the May 8-10 gathering of world-renowned horn players.

But as Ryan told Nancy, due to funding and research, more developments had taken place to treat the deadly disease.

As Nancy, Ryan and his wife Niki Anthony and Dallas Symphony Orchestra CEO/President Jonathan Martin toured the Roni Horn glass sculpture exhibition, an onlooker commented, “Nancy looks so at ease and comfortable.” Perhaps it’s due to her feeling right at home filling Ray’s shoes.

Less than three weeks later Jonathan announced his taking a job in a Cincinnati, and Lee’s leaving the Dallas Film Society.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: First Sight/First Night

According to First Sight/First Night Co-Chairs Dianne B. and Mark H. LaRoe,

Dianne and Mark LaRoe (File photo)

Two of the most captivating fundraisers of the fall are First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon and First Night Pre-Performance Dinner and After Party, The Dallas Opera’s season kick-off events. Important revenue is raised and awareness is gained for the company’s splendid 2017-2018 programming. The festivities surround the opening night of the opera “Samson and Dalila” by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Many North Texas patrons are aware of The Dallas Opera’s world class opera productions, but may not be familiar with all of its activities. More than 87,000 people were reached last year with the non-profit arts organization’s traditional and non-traditional formats. Family Programs, free simulcasts, student dress rehearsals and matinees, school presentations, opera camp, and performances at community partners all help to attract and serve patrons of every background, educational level, and ethnicity.

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher

We have long recognized The Dallas Opera as a top notch arts organization presenting magnificent opera productions, and as a company that does tremendous work serving our community with its comprehensive education and outreach programs. We are so pleased to chair the wonderful Season Opening celebrations and invite everyone to join us, take part in the fun, meet new people, and enjoy some quality entertainment! Our hope is that our participation will encourage new supporters of this great company. We are also thrilled that Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger are serving as honorary co-chairs of the events.

We believe our guests will be excited to experience the fashions by Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo that will grace the runway at First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon with NorthPark Center serving as presenting sponsor. The fete will take place on Thursday, October 19, at 11:00 a.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House and culinary master Wolfgang Puck will cater the gourmet luncheon. We know Rhonda Sargent Chambers, of RSC Productions, will produce a magnificent show for us! Lisa Cooley, her daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law Bela Cooley are co-chairs, so we’re expecting something exquisite! Sponsorships, tables which start at $7,500, and individual tickets at $500, are available.

Then on Friday, October 20, First Night presented by Deutsche Bank Wealth Management will be chaired by wonderful patrons Betty and Steve Suellentrop, in Sammons Park in front of the Winspear. We begin at 5:30 p.m. with a red carpet entrance and guests then flow into an elegant black-tie pre-performance dinner, which starts at 6:00 p.m. We hope everyone will enjoy the scrumptious epicurean specialties, also by Wolfgang Puck, in a beautifully adorned tent enhanced by the creative team of Jeffrey Horn and Larry Leathers.

After dinner we will head into the opening night performance of “Samson and Dalila” which begins at 8:00 p.m. The festivities continue following the opera at the After Party. The cast will join us to mix and mingle with guests, more delicious Puck noshes will be on hand, and everyone will dance the night away, reveling in anticipation of more of the incredible season to come! Sponsorships, tables which start at $10,000, and individual tickets at $1,000, are available. Please join us!”

For more information, please visit www.dallasopera.org/firstnight.

JUST IN: Wanda Gierhart And Dean Fearing To Co-Chair TACA 50th Anniversary Gala

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Former Neiman Marcus exec Wanda Gierhart and her fiancé/chef extraordinaire “Dean of Food” Fearing are quite a twosome. Back in 2014, their official joint-project debut was the TACA Custom Auction and what a night it was. The front row was filled with art-loving philanthropists with names like Carlson, Hobson and Brierley.

So, when Wanda, who is chairing TACA’s 50th anniversary year celebration, decided that she would roll up her silk sleeves and chair the black-tie TACA 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday, September 8, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, she sorta got nostalgic and brilliant. She drafted Dean to co-chair it with her.

As for the auction itself, don’t expect dozens of items up for bid. Word has it that it’s going to a very limited number and they’ll be very special.

BTW, the years that Wanda was in charge of curating the auction items were years that brought some very platinum paddles competing for the final bids. ‘Twas great sightseeing!

TACA Lexus Party On The Green Felt Right At Home In Its New Sammons Park Setting With Performers, Ice Carvings And Chefs Galore

Like a family realizing that perhaps they need to expand their residence, TACA organizers had determined that, as part of its year-long, 50th anniversary celebration, the annual  TACA Lexus Party On The Green needed a change. So, after years at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, they moved the outdoor fundraiser to Sammons Park in the AT&T Performing Arts District on Friday, May 12. It was nothing against the Mansion. After all, they were going to have the 50th Anniversary Gala at the Mansion on Friday, September 8.

With both the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner at the Arboretum and the Party On The Green taking place outdoors on the same night, Mother Nature was in a kindly state of mind and provided spectacular weather.

Tia Wynne, Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Katherine Wynne

POG Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne had orchestrated a beautiful setting with a backdrop of the very green grass shaded by grown-up trees. Giant lit white balloons hovered over each of the tented chef’s stations. Tabletops were gowned in TACA green and chairs wrapped with pashminas (some salmon-colored, others turquoise, still others emerald-green). An artist with a power saw sprayed ice chips as he carved “50” into two massive blocks of ice on a mini-stage. A ginormous lit balloon with Lexus TACA Party On the Green floated on the reflecting pool. Adirondack chairs were perfectly positioned on the lawn, with flawless views of the action in the pool.  

2017 Lexus TACA Party On the Green

Ice carver

Dawn Spalding

Dancers in reflecting pool

Of course, like any move to new surroundings, there were the expected “oops.” For instance, the PA seemed at times loud enough to be heard in Deep Ellum. Pleasant conversations required ramping up the vocal chords to compete with the myriad of announcements and actors and musicians.

At times, there seemed to be an overly aggressive push for the performing arts. While the dance in the pond was indeed captivating, the theatrical production on stage with Booker T. Washington as a backdrop was a smash … for those within eyesight. For those grazing near the Meyerson, it was a jumble of verbal clutter, just as it was at the last Silver Cup Luncheon.

Michael and Amy Meadows and Charmaine and George Tang

Hal and Diane Brierley

Chris Heinbaugh and Nannette and Tracy Fitz

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash and Merrick and Stuart Huckin

Even those little snafus couldn’t hold back the 700 or so art-loving guests, like Amy and Michael Meadows, Charmaine and George Tang, TACA President/Executive Director Wolford McCue with wife Cheryl McCue, Diane and Hal Brierley, Ron Corning, Chris Heinbaugh, Nannette and Tracy Fitz, Simona Beal with her posse (Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs and Matthew Wilson), WaterTower’s Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Dawn Spalding, Dean Driver, Holly Reed, Susan Arledge, Marsha Getto-Aikens, Rachel and John Michell, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and Alex Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash, Merrick and Stuart Huckin, Paige McDaniel with Joe B Clark and Leslie Crozier

Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs, Simona Beal and Matthew Wilson

Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz

Paige McDaniel and Joe B Clark

Lisa and Bill Ogle

Susan Arledge and Marsha Getto-Aikens

Snapshots of the scene included Mark Edgar giving a thumb’s-up for Chelsea Corner Chef Sara Griffin’s Road House Burger with truffle fries, which was getting a major top rating from many. Sara’s secret? She uses three types of meat… Rosewood Mansion’s Chef Nicolas Blouin‘s chocolate bar was a confectionary feast for the eyes and taste buds. Earlier in the day, Nicolas had been the one bright spot in a not-so-favorable review of the Mansion by the Dallas Morning News foodie Leslie Brenner…. Parigi Chef Janice Provost on her first outing at the POG decked out her tent with roses and cups set in faux grass filled with savory basil panna cotta with baby tomatoes and pesto… Sissy’s Chef Lisa Garza-Selcer was a bit frazzled during the VIP party, due to her late arrival. When asked how her baby was doing, the brunette replied, “I don’t know.” … Salum Chef Sader Matheis was subbing in for Chef Abraham Salum, who was in Lebanon with his father… Knife Chef John Tesar was all smiles over the sales of his new book, “Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home.” A recent signing at the Highland Dallas Hotel had drawn 200, John explained, and he was excited about expanding his Knife empire to Plano, San Francisco, and Denver…. Equally happy was Chef Dean Fearing with fiancée Wanda Gierhart, who is chairing TACA’s 50th anniversary, year-long celebration…  Laura Elcock reported that, earlier in the day, she’d had lunch with an old artist friend, who presented her with a portrait of Laura’s and husband Walter’s daughter… Michelle de Metz turned heads as she strolled past the tents with her leashed pooch.  

Nicolas Blouin

Nicolas Blouin dish

Lisa Garza-Selcer

John Tesar

Janice Provost

Janice Provost dish

Laura and Walter Elcock

Michelle de Metz

For more photos of the faces and food, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Lexus TACA Party On The Green

Tia Wynne, Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhardt

Katherine Wynne

Michael and Amy Meadows and Charmaine and George Tang

In celebrating its 50 years of supporting the performing arts, TACA has been undergoing some changes like expanding its fundraising efforts to include the visual arts. Another big change was its annual Lexus TACA Party On The Green that for ages has taken place at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Lisa Garza-Selcer

John Tesar

Janice Provost

Nicolas Blouin

But on Friday, May 12, the whole kit and caboodle was relocated to Sammons Park in the Arts District. Made perfect sense and resulted in success, with loads of the pretty peeps grazing from food station to food station and dancers, singers, actors and musicians performing throughout the night.

Dancers

While the post is being written, the photos are ready for you to check out at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery now!

JUST IN: JPMorgan Chase Exec Michelle Thomas To Chair TACA Board Starting January 1, 2018

It’s just been announced that JPMorgan Chase VP of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations Michelle Thomas will become TACA’s board chair. She will succeed current chair Donna Wilhelm on January 1, 2018, and will hold the position until December 31, 2019.

Michelle Thomas*

According to Donna, “We are thrilled that Michelle will chair the board of directors, and I know TACA will be in excellent hands with her at the helm. Michelle has a rare combination of leadership abilities, strategic insight and skills that will help elevate TACA and its mission of providing financial support and resources to the arts.”

Michelle is well-acquainted with both TACA and the importance of North Texas fundraising, having been “responsible for managing a multi-million dollar corporate giving budget for the Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma regions. She is also responsible for implementing the firm’s strategic approach to philanthropy, which is multifaceted and aims to address community needs in the local market.”

Having served on TACA’s board, Michelle has chaired the TACA Silver Cup Luncheon.

Michelle commented, “I am honored to lead TACA, which has focused on transforming lives through the arts for 50 years. With TACA expanding its grants to include the visual arts, as well as creating a social impact fund, it’s an exciting time to work with the other board members to help lead the organization to even greater heights.”

Her volunteer efforts have included serving on the Advisory Board of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Junior League of Dallas and the Kipp DFW Council, Board of Directors for the Methodist Health Foundation and the UT Southwestern Medical Foundation. 

The Dallas native’s collection of accolades include 2014 Minority Business Leader in the Dallas Business Journal and being the recipient of the 2015 Business and Civic Leader award from the Dallas Black Dance Theater, the 2015 Income Award from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the 2017 Heritage Award from the African American Museum.  Under her leadership, JPMorgan Chase was named Outstanding Corporation of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2015.

* Photo credit: James Edward

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight/First Night Plans Revealed With Dianne And Mark LaRoe At The Helm

While the queen bees may have flown to cooler places, the worker bees are hard at work churning out news.

The latest comes from The Dallas Opera about its annual fall two-day fundraiser — First Sight/First Night.

First, let’s get the basics down. The luncheon and fashion show will take place on Thursday, October 19, followed the next night [aka Friday, October 20] by First Night’s seated dinner, performance and after party. All of these activities will be taking place at the Winspear Opera House, but you already knew that.

Now about the who’s who involved in putting the festivities on, here goes:

Overseeing the whole two events will art-loving Dianne and Mark LaRoe, who chaired the 2016 TACA Custom Auction Gala, and, boy, have they been busy putting together their team.

Dianne and Mark LaRoe (File photo)

Nancy Nasher and David Haemisseger (File photo)

Serving as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, who have practically made the Performing Arts District their second home.

Lisa Cooley and Ciara Cooley (File photo)

Bela Cooley (File photo)

Steve and Betty Suellentrop (File photo)

Co-chairing the First Sight luncheon will be Lisa Cooley and her girls — daughter Ciara Cooley and new daughter-in-law Bela Cooley. Presented by NorthPark Center, the luncheon will be highlighted by fashions from NorthPark Center’s Salvatore Ferragamo.

As for the black-tie First Night, it will be presented by Deutsche Bank Wealth Management and will kick off for The Dallas Opera season with Betty and Steve Suellentrop serving as co-chairs. The evening will start at 5:30 p.m. with guests arriving via a red carpet for a cocktail party, having a gourmet dinner in a tent in Sammons Park and attending the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance of Camille Saint-Saëns‘ “Samson and Dalila.” For those with no curfew, there will be an after party.

Tickets are available here.

Business Council For The Arts Is Calling All Art Heroes For Obelisk Awards

Each year the Business Council for the Arts presents its Obelisk Awards at a luncheon to “honor businesses, business leaders, arts/cultural leaders and nonprofit organizations who have significantly advanced arts and culture in North Texas.”

Event Co-Chairs Thai-lan Tran and Steven Roth have just announced that nominations are now open.

Exactly what does it take to be a nominee? Here’s a breakdown of the requirements for your consideration:

For Businesses:

  • The New Initiatives Award recognizes businesses for supporting an innovative arts/cultural program created within the past three years. Awards are given to one large, medium and small business each.
  • The Arts Partnerships Award recognizes businesses that have provided sustained support to an arts/cultural organization for three or more years. Awards are given to one large, medium and small business each. A business may only win the Arts Partnership Award once every two years.
  • The Arts Education Award recognizes one outstanding business for its support of arts education programs.

For Individual Business Leaders:

  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award recognizes long-term leadership and commitment to arts/culture by a business executive (president, CEO, partner).
  • The Outstanding Leadership Arts Alumnus Award recognizes outstanding board leadership and commitment by a graduate of the Leadership Arts Institute.

For Individual Arts/Cultural Leaders:

  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award recognizes an arts leader who has consistently demonstrated vision, impact, innovation, and successful alignment with business and community partners throughout their tenure.

For Nonprofit Arts/Cultural Organizations:

  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award is given by Neiman Marcus to recognize one outstanding nonprofit organization for a project or program that has enhanced the community through partnership with a business.

Larry Glasgow (File photo)

According to BCA Board of Directors Chair Larry Glasgow, “For more than a quarter century, the Obelisk Awards have been the symbol of excellence recognizing support of the arts in our community.  Past recipients include visionaries who represent diverse industries, each one making a unique contribution to our cultural vibrancy and quality of life. With the exponential growth of the arts in North Texas, we believe that this year’s nominations will include long-time arts supporters as well as the new and innovative.”

The awardees will be celebrated at the 29th annual Obelisk Awards luncheon at Belo Mansion on Wednesday, November 15.

The deadline for nomination submissions is Wednesday, June 21. That’s less than a month away, so put on those thinking caps and make the world know about an art hero.  Here’s a link for the nomination form.

JUST IN: TACA To Undertake Three Major Initiatives Including The Funding For Both The Performing … And Visual Arts!

Back when TACA started, North Texas’ art community was pretty limited. The arts were largely contained at Fair Park with the opera and musicals taking place in the Music Hall and the visual arts at the Dallas Museum of Arts facility near the lagoon. The Fair Park band shell with its nighttime performances and flying insects created memorable moments for singers. The Dallas Theater Center’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Kalita Humphreys Theater along Turtle was considered the new hottie in the world of art.  

But that was way back when. As TACA celebrates its 50th anniversary, changes are definitely underway for TACA’s next 50 years to support the overwhelming wealth of art groups in North Texas.

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

This morning, TACA Chairman of the Board of Directors Donna Wilhelm sent a note to the stakeholders about three new initiatives for TACA.

Of the trio, the one that pops to the top of the list is “TACA Funding All Of The Arts In Dallas.” In the past, TACA has only provided funding for the performing arts. But in the future it will also support the visual arts. Before it kicks into place, the criteria for submitting grants requests will be developed and published toward the end of 2017. The deadline for the letters of intent will be Friday, February 1, 2018. The grants for both the visual and performing art groups will be presented in January 2019.

According to Donna, “For 50 years, TACA has funded the performing arts.  However our current Board of Directors has expansive vision—we will now add support of the visual arts. And we will foster arts experience that impacts social change in our North Texas community.”

The other two initiatives, are

  • “Social Impact Through The Arts” — TACA will establish “funds to foster the creation of new performing arts works and innovative performing arts residence programs” focusing on cultural and racial equity, cross-sector partnerships, arts education focusing on under-resourced communities, cross-cultural community collaboration and social change capacity building.
  • “Increased Vibrancy Of The Arts” — TACA will “lead a multi-year effort to empower and expand” the number of artists and arts organizations. The intention is two-fold:
    • To make the Dallas area a destination for performers, visual artists, musicians, writers, directors, backstage professionals, etc.
    • To create an environment that encourages the launch and nurturing of new arts organizations.

To achieve these goals, TACA will “develop a blueprint to learn and adapt strategies” that have been undertaken in other cities and “recreate the best of the best in Dallas, and enhance the impact through collaborative partnerships.”

Donna explained, “TACA is deeply committed to an expansive arts vibrancy in North Texas. We assure our donors, prospective donors and arts organizations that, for over half a century, we have established a grants review process that evaluates, selects and supports the very best organizations.  Every contributed dollar invested in TACA will indeed transform lives through the arts.”

Free Simulcast Of The Dallas Opera’s “Madame Butterfly” At The Star Saturday Night Thanks To The Dallas Foundation

How about a freebie Saturday night that’s a bit off the beaten track? The Dallas Opera’s Saturday evening performance of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” at the Winspear will be simulcast free at The Star in Frisco. You know you’ve been curious about the Cowboys new digs and the temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 70s.

Hui He*

While the performance starring soprano Hui He and tenor Gianluca Terranova will start at 7:30 p.m., the evening’s program at The Star will begin at 6 p.m. with KLUV’s Jody Dean and The Dallas Opera’s Education program Senior Manager Kristian Roberts.

And the timing is perfect! Just when you’ve totally run out of things to do with the kids during spring break, there will be such pre-performance activities as the Family Fun Zone from 5 to 7 p.m., trivia, behind-the-scenes interviews and a WB Classics presentation of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in “What’s Opera, Doc?

While online registration are already at capacity-load status, walk-ups will be welcomed.

Thank-you notes should be sent to The Dallas Foundation. Why? Because the Foundation is sponsoring the simulcast.

According to The Dallas Foundation President/CEO Mary Jalonick, “The Dallas Foundation has been proud to serve as the Founding Sponsor of The Dallas Opera’s simulcasts at AT&T Stadium since 2012, helping to provide families throughout our community the chance to experience world-class opera in this unique and relaxed setting. This year’s simulcast performance at The Star in Frisco, will offer audiences an opportunity to enjoy one of the most well-known operas in one of our area’s newest event venues.”

BTW, you might want to bring along some hankies for Un Bel Di Vedremo.”

* Photo credit: Karen Almond

A Passing: Fred Wiedemann

Dallas is filled with outstanding people. Some are above-the-fold making news frequently. Others are like delicious secrets, whose amazing life stories only come to light after their deaths. Fred Wiedemann was such a man. For those who had the opportunity to know him before his death on Friday, January 20, his 93 years of life were the stuff many just dream of.

Fred Wiedemann (File photo)

Born in New York City in 1923, he was raised on the West Coast in Hollywood. Just six months after Pearl Harbor he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, where he became a Japanese interpreter and excelled academically and in sports. Just months before his graduation in 1945, he met a fourth-generation Texan who would be the love of his life — Florence “Flo” Leachman. Following an assignment in Japan in 1947 he resigned his commission, moved to Dallas, married Flo at Highland Park United Methodist Church and undertook a 50-year career in the life insurance business.

In addition to helping establish the highly successful The Wiedemann and Johnson Companies, he was involved with the up-and-coming arts (the boards of Theater Three and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and chairman of the Dallas Civic Opera Guild) and education (chairman of the St. Marks School executive committee, trustee and chairman of the Southwest Outward Bound School and on the boards of the Colorado Outward Bound School and National Outward Bound) programs.

Fred’s passports were filled with stamps from Canada, Patagonia, Tasmania, Nepal, Chile, New Guinea, Costa Rica and Japan, to name just a few. His wanderlust knew no bounds and he was eager to share the experiences. And, those trips weren’t just bus tours of the local landmarks. No, with family and friends Fred would trek, kayak, camp and take adventures.

According to his family, “the greatest, most wonderful adventure was when Fred planned a 15-month sabbatical in Europe, living in Zurich, Switzerland, to celebrate his and Flo’s 20th wedding anniversary. Their three sons [Frederic, Harden and Jon] went to schools there, and Flo began her Jungian studies at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Together there, Fred and Flo continued pursuit of their life-long love of opera, especially Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Fred spent his time in Switzerland on the couch being analyzed, skiing, learning flamenco guitar, and writing, with the latter two endeavors being singularly unsuccessful (according to Fred). Nonetheless the Jungian analytical process provided him with a seismic shift of consciousness and a grounding that he valued very much for the rest of his life.”

And the Wiedemann boys followed their father’s love for living a far-from-the-mundane routine. For instance, after graduating from St. Marks, Jon went to Harvard, became a Calvin Klein model, married actress Isabella Rossellini, producing daughter/model/actress Elletra Wiedemann, and went on to become an executive with Microsoft.

For those lucky enough to have attended a get-together at the Wiedemanns’ Preston Hollow ranch-style home filled with Japanese art, one just never knew what to expect. It might include a visiting best-selling author, a world-renowned educator or an artist, whose fame was just in the incubation stage. Why, D Magazine considered Flo and Fred to be one of Dallas’ “Heavenly Hosts and Best Guests.”

In reviewing his nine decades, Fred “acknowledged that he had made his share of mistakes and had tried to learn from them, but that his life had vastly exceeded any expectations he might have had. He felt it had been one ‘helluva’ ride, and he was so very grateful to have been aboard.”

Fred’s life will be celebrated at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28, at Serenity House at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. Just imagine what wonderful stories will be shared.

JUST IN: Dallas Opera Board Of Directors Chair Holly Mayer To Receive 2017 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award

Holly Mayer (File photo)

For ages The Dallas Opera Board of Directors Chair Holly Mayer has been happily flying under the radar. But for those in the know, she has been the sweetheart of The Dallas Opera (DO). She has served on the DO’s board for 27 years, and what years they’ve been. From the DO’s being on the edge of ruin to its present glory days, she’s stayed the course as vice president of development from 2001 to 2014. Need proof?

According to The National Opera America Center, “During Ms. Mayer’s time as vice president of development, the company achieved a 50 percent increase in annual giving over a two-year period. She helped lead numerous multi-million-dollar fundraising campaigns, resulting in $20 million for the company’s endowment (more than doubling its size), $5.1 million for the construction of the company’s administrative offices and $3.1 million in honor of the company’s 50th anniversary, among other successes.”

But her low profile was unveiled to many unknowing types when she received the TACA Silver Cup in 2014 and was recognized as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals this past November.  

Fellow DO Board Member/Silver Cup Awardee John Cody described Holly this way: “Perhaps most impressive is Holly’s willingness to take on leadership roles during challenging times — evidence of her blend of optimism and tenacity. She is well-known for her ability to listen and to offer valuable insight, and can be counted on to apply the highest professional standards to all she endeavors. The trust she instills in others is evident in the number of times her colleagues are willing to say ‘yes’ when Holly asks them to join her.”

So, it should come as no surprise that Holly has just been named one of four recipients of the Opera America’s 2017 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards. Along with Carol Lazier of the San Diego Opera, R. Marsh Gibson of Opera Memphis and Jerry Clack of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Holly will be honored at a dinner in NYC on Friday, February 24.

The selection of the recipients is based on their displaying “a significant range of accomplishments, profound generosity and a deep devotion to promoting opera in their communities.”

Congrats to Holly and the DO for having her.

MYSweet2017Goals: Wolford McCue

Wolford McCue*

According to TACA President/Executive Director Wolford McCue,

“My goal along with TACA volunteers and staff is to gather an unprecedented amount of support for the unrestricted budgets of TACA-funded arts organizations, and to celebrate the work of each organization whose work is transforming the lives of Dallas area residents.”

* Photo provided by 
TACA

From An Olympian Gold Medalist To An Opera CEO, The Awards Of Excellence Celebrated A Wide Range Of Achievers

One of the favorite award luncheons of the fall season is the Dallas Historical Society‘s Awards for Excellence. Just the week before Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 17, the lovers of Dallas history and those who help make it all come true were at the Fairmont for the handing out of awards and the legendary A.C. Greene champagne toast. Here’s a report from the field:

The Board of Trustees of the Dallas Historical Society, with Honorary Co-Chairs Gail Thomas, PhD and Robert Hyer Thomas and co-chairs Veletta Forsythe Lill and Mary Suhm, welcomed over 650 attendees to the 35th Awards for Excellence (AFE) in Community Service luncheon on Thursday, November 17, at the Fairmont Dallas.

May Suhm, Amy Aldredge and Veletta Forsythe Lill*

As attendees arrived and took their seats, Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas welcomed everyone to the 35th annual celebration, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated generosity of spirit, civic leadership, and ability to encourage community-wide participation in a particular phase of the growth of the city. He then welcomed Reverend Richie Butler, senior pastor of St Paul United Methodist Church, for the invocation. 

Following the invocation, guests enjoyed a first course of spring pea and ham soup en croute with mint cream, followed by roasted chicken breast with demi glace served with old school stacked potatoes, arugula and carrot cardamom puree. Thomas returned to introduce Co-Chairs Veletta and Mary.

Bob and Gail Thomas*

Ms. Lill and Ms. Suhm expressed their gratitude to attendees, event sponsors and the luncheon committee for their support of this year’s Awards for Excellence, particularly Honorary Co-Chairs Gail Thomas and Robert Hyer Thomas. Applauding the couple’s many contributions to Dallas, including their long-standing support of the Dallas Historical Society, the co-chairs announced that two special books would be donated in the Thomas’ honor to the G.B. Dealey Library and Reading Room at the Hall of State: for Bob, Darwin Payne‘s “One Hundred Years On The Hilltop: The Centennial History of Southern Methodist University” and for Gail:  the late historian A. C. Greene‘s “A Town Called Cedar Springs” for creating the sense of community from the many former historic villages that now comprise Greater Dallas.

Dallas Historical Society Board of Trustees Chair Bill Helmbrecht then took the podium recognizing event co-chairs and honorary chairs as well as Amy Aldredge, the Dallas Historical Society’s recently appointed executive director. Additionally, he thanked Arrangements Chair Shannon Callewart, Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas, AFE Coordinator Louise Caldwell, Caro Stalcup and Staff Liaison Nora Lenhart for all the dedicated hours they put in to making the event a success.

He also shared the impact the Dallas Historical Society makes with its holdings of over three million archives and artifacts related to Dallas and Texas history, its exhibits and events, including two upcoming exhibits, “Polly Smith: A Texas Journey” and “Drawing Power: The Editorial Art of John Knott” and its education and public programs which reach approximately 20,000 area school students annually.

As dessert of caramel pecan cheesecake with salted caramel and Texas pecans was served, Stewart returned to recognize the 2016 Awards for Excellence in Community Service recipients.  Each recipient was presented with their award by co-chairs Lill and Suhm.  

Keith Cerny, Holly Mayer and Emmanuel Villaume*

Anita Martinez, Eliseo Garcia and Patricia Meadows*

Richard Stanford and Pat Mattingly*

Hugh Aynesworth and Pierce Allman*

2016 Awards for Excellence recipients:

    • Arts Leadership – Keith Cerny, general director and CEO of the Dallas Opera
    • Business – Leonard M. Riggs Jr. M.D., noted Dallas civic leader who began his career as an emergency physician, became chief of emergency medicine at Baylor University Medical Center, and later founded the precursor of EmCare, Inc.
    • Creative Arts – Eliseo Garcia, international multi-media sculptor
    • Education – Pat Mattingly, long-time educator and former 26-year director of The Lamplighter School
    • History – Hugh Aynesworth, award-winning journalist and writer
    • Humanities – Molly Bogen, retired 40-year director of Senior Source
    • Medical Research – Eric Olson, renowned molecular biologist specializing at UT Southwestern Medical Center
    • Philanthropy – Linda Perryman Evans, president and CEO of the Meadows Foundation
    • Sports Leadership – Michael Johnson, four-time Olympic gold medalist and eight-time World Championship gold medalist
    • Volunteer Community Leadership – Philip C. Henderson, architect and urban visionary and first president of the Friends of the Katy Trail
    • Volunteer Community Leadership – Frederick “Shad” Rowe, co-founder of GIBI Investment Symposium and advocate and board member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation
    • Jubilee History Maker – Margot Perot, community volunteer and philanthropist

Nancy Shelton and Molly Bogen*

David Dunnagan and Linda Perryman Evans*

Glenn Solomon, Louise Caldwell and Michael Johnson*

Shad Rowe and Willing Ryan*

Carol Montgomery and Margot Perot*

After the awards presentation, champagne was served to all attendees as well as recipients on stage. Stewart returned to the podium, with glass in hand, to conclude with the event’s traditional A.C. Greene toast:  “Would everyone who was born in Dallas, please stand up.  Would everyone who was born in Texas, please stand up. We toast the rest of you – who were smart enough to move here as fast as you could! Here! Here!”

The A.C. Greene toast*

As the event concluded, the Judy Moore Duo played the event’s signature song, “Big D” from the musical, “Most Happy Fella.”

Proceeds from the annual fundraiser support the Dallas Historical Society and its dedication to the preservation of Dallas and Texas history through its many programs, including educational outreach and public programs.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall