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.

Greg Patterson Takes A Final Bow As WaterTower Theatre Managing Director This Month

Change continues at WaterTower Theatre. It was just a year ago that the Addison-based Theatre’s Artistic Director Terry Martin left and a search commenced for a replacement. That search resulted in bringing on board Joanie Schultz, who made headlines with her first local production — “Hit The Wall.”

Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz (File photo)

Now word arrives that Managing Director Greg Patterson will be leaving the company at the end of the month, when his contract ends.

According to Greg, “I’ve so enjoyed my nearly 10 years here at WaterTower Theatre. My tenure at WaterTower Theatre has been the happiest time for me professionally. Over a year ago, when WTT was embarking on the search for a new Artistic Director, I committed myself to ensuring the transition from Terry Martin to Joanie Schultz would be as smooth and easy as possible, and to play a role in setting the Company on the right path going forward. I always knew that after that transition was completed, it would be time for me to look for new and exciting life adventures, and that time is now. I love WaterTower Theatre and all the donors, board, and staff who have made this Company so successful during my 9+ years of service. WTT has an exciting, bright future with Joanie at the helm and I couldn’t feel more pride and confidence in this great Company than I do at this point.”

In the meantime, “WaterTower Theatre’s Board of Directors has established a transition team comprised of the Executive Committee and Artistic Director Joanie Schultz to manage the theater’s operations until a new Managing Director is named.”

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Decorations Revealed Reflecting Maestro Jaap Van Zweden’s Farewell Celebration Season

Todd Fiscus and Adele Ichilian

Event guru Todd Fiscus had just returned from a break in Mexico. The weeks earlier had had him in Sonoma, Calif., and a ranch in Wyoming and everywhere but Mars. But thanks to NDA (non-disclosure agreements), all he could show for his handiwork was a tan.

Before presenting the sneak preview of the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala lookey-lookey on Tuesday, August 15, at the Meyerson Symphony Center, he did fess up to Culinaire Catering Director Adele Ichilian about the newest event trend — cellphone check-ins. Seems that folks who are hosting big-time weddings, birthdays, whatevers don’t want to be in the swamp of social media. As Todd put it, social media has become the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat.

To solve the problem, Todd has created cellphone cubbyholes like yesteryear’s hotel key cubicles. Guests hand over their phones before entering the event, receive a receipt for the phone, and pick it up when leaving the occasion. While the guest is partying, Todd has arranged for the cellphones to be charged up.

Made sense. Example: For wedding photographers trying to capture the “money shot” of the newlyweds having that first kiss, the main aisle has been filled with guests’ arms stretching out with cellphones to also capture the moment.

Jana Etheridge and Clay and Lisa Cooley

Michelle Miller Burns and Randy Wilhoit

But on this night, Todd was laid back in shorts at the Meyerson for the DSO Gala décor presentation for guests including Jana Etheridge, Randall Wilhoit and Katherine and Key Coker.

According to Todd, DSO interim CEO Michelle Miller Burns and  DSO Gala Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley, there were “still a few tables available” for the Saturday, September 16, Gala, which will launch Farewell Celebration Season for departing  DSO Music Director Jaap Van Zweden, who’s decamping to lead the New York Philharmonic.

Therefore the Gala at the Meyerson will have a sort of “grand finale” look and feel, Todd said, with cool emerald greens (from the table linens to the Elephant ears from Brazil!) and malachite reflected throughout.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala table setting

Joining Jaap and the DSO musicians will be the world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who is always a North Texas music lover’s favorite.

The concert will be preceded by a cocktail reception and seated dinner in the Renaissance Foyer with Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala After-Party seating

As for the much-anticipated after-party, by contrast, it will be a “fun, sexy version of an after-party,” all aquas and hot pinks with a DJ providing the music.  

Tickets for the season’s first formal gala range from concert-and-after-party tickets to full-blown Gala packages.

 

TACA Custom Auction Gala Item #6 — An Unforgettable Evening With The Dallas Cowboys And Dean Fearing

TACA Custom Auction Gala Co-Chair Wanda Gierhart has connections and great taste, don’t you know. She’s managed to get one of country’s best known culinary kings to come on board as part of this auction item. And adding some muscle to it, she’s scored some additional heavyweights for this delicious package that will be auctioned off by auctioneer Louis Murad on Friday, September 8, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

An Unforgettable Evening With The Dallas Cowboys And Dean Fearing* (Value: Priceless)

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Troy Aikman (File photo)

Daryl Johnston (File photo)

Emmitt Smith (File photo)

He’s known for many things. Dean Fearing has been cowboy boot-wearing chef at both the Mansion and now The Ritz Carlton. He’s part of “The Lost Coyote Band. He’s given loads of time and talent to countless area nonprofits. He’s TACA Custom Auction Gala co-chair. And he just happens to be engaged to his Co-Chair Wanda. Told you that Wanda had “connections and great taste.”

The winner of the sweet deal will have Dean having the time of his life creating a three-course Southwestern dinner in the winner’s home-sweet-home for a dozen folks.

As for those serving up the courses, Wanda and Dean tapped a trio of cowboys… well, former cowboys like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston. But don’t get your hopes up for a speedy meal. After all, selfies do slow things down when “the help” is this crew. Just imagine Troy throwing a platter to Daryl to hands off to Emmitt. Oops! Better keep the good china locked up in the pantry.

BTW, since the meal is based on the foursome’s availability, football season is likely to be out of the question.

*Courtesy of Dean Fearing, Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith

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 Gala Item #5 — Private Photoshoot In NYC With Internationally Celebrated Portrait Photographer Ruven Afanador

While others may share their selfies on Facebook, the winner of this TACA Custom Auction Gala package will be the social media envy. And this one that will up for bidding on Friday, September 8, will not only make the winner a timeless beaut but will be fun recalling the experience.

Private Photoshoot in NYC With Internationally Celebrated Portrait Photographer Ruven Afanador* (Value: Priceless)

Think of this auction item as the extreme opposite of a passport photo. The winner and a guest will be flown up to the Big Apple via American Airlines for an experience that the likes of Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Barak Obama, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Warren Beatty, Richard Branson, Jessica Lange, Bill Murray, Barbra Streisand and Julianne Moore have had — a portrait by world-renowned photographer Ruven Afanador. And the winner of this package can be among the stars of the universe in his collection!

Ruven Afanador photo**

Ruven Afanador photo**

Like other great photographic artists like Francesco Scavullo, Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon, Ruven’s unique style has set him at the top of the profession.

But before the first snap of the camera, the winner will be dolled up thanks to professional stylists to suit the lights and staging. Suggestion: Have the guest take a cellphone snap the winner with Ruven and the team to send back home.

Afterwards, there so much to see and do in NYC, but make time for dinner at Adella before heading for a two-night stay at Hotel Pierre. On the way home flight, decide the best place for the portrait to be displayed.

* Courtesy of Ruven Afanador, American Airlines, The Pierre Hotel and Adella 
**Photos provided TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Item #4 — My Name Is Bond. James Bond: A Shaken Not Stirred Sojourn

A favorite debate is which James Bond was best? Sean? Roger? Pierce? Daniel? This TACA Custom Auction Gala item will settle the argument. The best Bond will be the winner of this trip that even M would approve.

My Name Is Bond. James Bond: A Shaken Not Stirred Sojourn (Value: Priceless)

Swiss Alps*

There was ways to travel through Europe and there’s the Bond way. The winning bidder of this item won’t have to anything death defying like leap from a plane or survive a toppling building. They just have to be the last paddle standing. Their reward will nine days of checking out the locales of three Bond films (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “Moonraker” and “Casino Royale”) in the Alps, Venice and Monte Carlo where 007 wined, dined and tackled the bad guys and bedded the gals.

Monte Carlo*

And, of course, the excursion will include roundtrip airfare, four-star accommodations in three Bond hotels, zipping to Venice on “a supertrain” and then hopping on board a plane to the French Riviera.

* Photos provided by TACA

Attorneys Serving The Community’s 31st Annual Luncheon Scored A Summer Hit With Junior Players And “Hamilton”‘s Christopher Jackson

Inside the Hilton Anatole’s Carpenter Ballroom, organizers and VIP guests were starting to arrive before 11 a.m. on Friday, June 23. Even the most “been-there, done-that” boldfacer had a look of anticipation. In an adjacent room, fewer than a handful of chairs were set up for an interview with the keynote speaker for the Attorneys Serving the Community’s 31st Annual Luncheon benefiting Junior Players.

KERA reporter Hady Mawajdeh had all his equipment set up as Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning Christopher Jackson arrived. It was obvious from his height and demeanor why he had scored a Tony nomination for his portrayal of George Washington in “Hamilton.” As Chris settled back in the chair, he proved even more so with his articulate responses to Hady’s questions. Highlights included:

Christopher Jackson and Hady Mawajdeh

  • Junior Players — “They (children) have the distinct perspective of seeing the world as it should be perhaps and as is. Who better to hold up that mirror than the children, especially organizations like the Junior Players, where you’ve got kids from all over the economic spectrum and who are learning what it means to communicate with and express themselves? It’s an organization that can provide a palette for that. There is no higher pursuit in our society than giving kids the opportunity to experience something like that.”
  • The first role —“I grew up with middle-child syndrome. So, acting was pretty much my only way to garner any kind of attention in the house… I participated in every Sunday service every week. So getting up in front of people was never really something I had a hard time with. Pretty much I was the ham. [Laughter]”
  • Career — “A career in the arts is not for everyone. But I would say that 90% of what I get to do is to have fun with my friends. Who doesn’t want to do that for a living? But the same could be said about someone who works in social sciences or teachers or engineers or astronomers. Once you find that passion and a way to it, that’s it right there… For me, it’s as much the pursuit of what I don’t know as it is seeing the finished product on the show or in the song.”
  • Hip Hop — “Hip Hop rap is probably the best form of modern-day storytelling and maybe the latest great, pure American art form… But it depends on what part of the country you come from. Hip hop is very regionalized and that happened very, very quickly toward the end of the ’90s, where every market, every group wanted to have their own sound and created their own sound. The same could be said for rock; the same could be said for gospel music. It’s a testament to how big our country is. And it’s a testament to the different kinds of cultures within our society and there’s room for all of that.”
  • Hamilton — “You’d be amazed how many people have come up to me said, ‘I’m a little nervous about the rap.’ But it’s much like Shakespeare. If you’ve ever seen a Shakespeare play, the first five minutes you have no idea of what’s going on. You don’t know what anybody is saying. You’re not accustomed to people speaking in iambic pentameter. And yet in that first five minutes your ear gets attuned to it and off you go.”
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda — “Lin has been regarded as a modern-day Shakespeare in the way he uses verse to communicate the story and I honestly believe that it certainly descends from that.”
  • Sesame Street — “The idea of writing for ‘Sesame Street’ was a dream come true.”

Peter Altabef, Kara Altenbaumer-Price, Christopher Jackson, Jennifer Altabef, Rosaura Cruz Webb and Beth Bedell

Christopher Jackson and Kathleen LaValle

Michael Holmes, Sophia Holmes and Cathleen Holmes

With that the interview ended at 11:10 a.m., as one of the organizers said, “He’s got a long line out there.” They were speaking of the people lined up along the Carpenter Ballroom wall for the meet-and-greet. Without hesitation, Chris posed for a photo with Hady and headed straight to the sponsor backdrop. Chris accommodated one and all including Co-Chairs Beth Bedell and Kara Altenbaumer-Price, Honorary Co-Chairs Jennifer and Peter Altabef, Junior Players Executive Director Rosaura Cruz Webb, and Kathleen LaValle with autographs, cellphone snaps and chats. Ten-year-old Sophia Holmes’ twin sister, Addison Holmes, couldn’t attend, but Sophia had brought along a “Hamilton” book for Chris to sign. After seeing, “Hamilton” in NYC, Sophia fessed up that Chris’ George Washington was her favorite character.

At 11:30 the doors to the Grand Ballroom opened for nearly 1,000 guests including Ellen Magnis, Joanna Clark, Angie Kadesky. Shelly Slater arrived to be prepped for the onstage chat. Had she met him? No, but she had seen him on YouTube.

The Junior Players arrived and approached the production platform rapping, “Hamilton.”

Jeremy Coca in vest surrounded by Junior Players

, who had been in the first Junior Players musical production three years before when he was attending Booker T. Washington, reported that he had seen Chris in “The Heights.”

Rosaura Cruz-Webb told how the night before, when they were setting up for the luncheon, Chris had come down from his room and chatted and charmed them all.

As the guests started to take their seats, Junior Players one at a time popped up throughout the room performing. Seamlessly, they grabbed everyone’s attention that the program was underway. Chris watched with a smile of admiration at the young performers pulling off a perfect launch for the day’s affair.

At 12:06 Shelly welcomed the group and introduced Kara, who was joined by Beth in presenting the ASC Friend of the Community Award to the Hilton Anatole Senior Catering Sales Manager Catherine New, who has orchestrated many of the area’s major fundraisers.

Beth Bedell, Catherine New and Kara Altenbaumer-Price

Following Rosaura’s telling how Junior Players had turned around her life as a young person, a video was shown with the audio ramped up and the house lights so dim that one guest had to use her cellphone flashlight to find her way out of the ballroom.

Lisette Sandoval

As the video ended, a young woman who had been seated at the far end of the head table took her place at the podium. Her name was Lisette Sandoval and she told how it hadn’t been that long ago that she had felt her destiny was to get pregnant by 15 and drop out of school. Instead her brother directed her to Junior Players, where her life took a different road. Lisette admitted that at one point suicide had been an option. What dashed that thought was news that she had been picked for the cast of “Taming of the Shrew.” She is now going to college on a scholarship.

Lisette was followed by Honorary Co-Chair Peter Altabef and a video of Renee Elise Goldsberry, who had originally been slated to be the keynote speaker. When she had to pull out due to scheduling, Renee arranged for Chris to sub in.

Chris started off by admitting, “Good afternoon, my name is Christopher Jackson and I am not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on TV. I don’t know any lawyer jokes. None of that would surprise or astound you…. I am an artist. A profession that is historically a few rungs lower than a garbage collector, but if all the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players, I beg your patience and indulgence today. I want to sincerely thank ASC for having me here today. Thank you very much. The fact that I have been sweating since I sat down here might be an indication that I am more than a little intimidated being in a room full of people who are clearly smarter than I am.”

Using his own journey from his childhood in Cairo, Illinois, he told of the turning point in his childhood when a teacher handed him a text from “The Crucible,” and invited him to join the speech team. “I don’t what it was that made me said yes, except that perhaps I was so desperate to distinguish myself in some way or the other. I quickly realized that this acting thing was different. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t concerned with what didn’t work. I wasn’t consumed with what I didn’t have. I began to see the world from a character’s perspective and that helped me to develop my own perspective. It was terrifying and exhilarating and it changed my life forever.”

At the age of 17, he moved to New York City to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. In 1997, he was hired to be the understudy for Simba in “The Lion King,” just an hour before the first rehearsal.   

He claimed that if it hadn’t been for that “key”—when he received “The Crucible”—he’d probably be selling caskets in Cairo. Chris was serious. “True story. My family owns a funeral home.”

Chris then praised and encouraged support for the Junior Players for their 55 years of providing a key for thousands and thousands of children “to emerge from utter darkness and seeing an entire galaxy.”

Christopher Jackson

Leaving the podium, he was joined in chairs on stage with Shelly to discuss

  • Getting the role of George Washington — “Lin allowed his imagination to run wild and he saw these characters (in “Hamilton”) in a different way. Lin is one of my best friends in the whole world. I knew very early on that he was on to something because I thought he was crazy. The story is that we were doing a performance of ‘In the Heights,’ and during one of the numbers… he had just come back from vacation and he kinda looked over at me and said, ‘Got the next thing.’ Okay, great! I said, ‘What is it?’ (He said,) ‘It’s about the treasury secretary.’ A few days later, our director Tommy Kail approached me and said, G-dubs!’ I asked, ‘What does that mean?’ ‘George Washington… GW’ I thought, ‘Oh, great! We have shorthand. What does that mean?’ He said I was going to be George Washington. I said, ‘Great! I don’t know anything about George Washington. ‘
  • “Hamilton”’s first preview — “’Hamilton literally began at the White House. Lin was asked to perform a song about the American experience at the Evening of Poetry, Music and Spoken Word. This was in 2009 and he didn’t want to do something from ‘In the Heights.” He was just getting an idea of what ‘Hamilton’ was going to be, so he wrote what would become our opening number and he performed it. Everybody including President Obama looked at him like, ‘What is wrong with him?’”
  • Bro-hug with the President — It was years later when the cast of “Hamilton” was invited to perform at the White House that following the performance, President Obama gave Christopher a “bro hug.” As Christopher recalled, “Moments like that aren’t supposed to happen to a young boy from Cairo. My grandmother, who marched and was a union organizer and civil rights organizer and a black entrepreneur when it was definitely hard to be that in the South, raised me to understand that nothing was impossible… Always be aware of limitations so you can know how to get past them. She raised me to that moment, but she didn’t dream that moment for me.”
  • As a parent — “I’m really at the point where I’m trying to get my kids to pick their shoes up. I’m trying to get them to handle some light chores. I mean, I don’t want them to live like ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ but they can take the trash once in a while and wash their hair. My kids are Neanderthals. I can’t show them how to feel…but I can show them about justice. And I can teach them about inequality and equality. And I can teach them about respect — all the things that I was given and we were all given when it comes to just wake up in the morning, put your shoes, look people in the eye, be honest, look out for someone who has less than you, take up for the kid who is being bullied, stand up for the weaker one of us. It is all of those principles that I was given and try to live by….”

While summer heat may shoo locals to cooler places, the ASC’s 31st Annual luncheon made staying in North Texas seem like the coolest place in the world, thanks to Chris and the Junior Players.

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

 

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Tutu Chic Fashion Show And Luncheon

Marybeth Conlon and Heather LeClair (File photo)

According to By Tutu Chic Fashion Show and Luncheon Co-Chairs Marybeth Conlon and Heather LeClair,

Texas Ballet Theater (TBT) and Stanley Korshak are partnering to present the annual Tutu Chic Fashion Show and Luncheon. In a unique fashion show, ballet dancers from TBT will dance, leap, and strut the runway on Tuesday, November 28, at the Winspear Opera House.

Back by popular demand, this year’s featured designer is internationally acclaimed Naeem Kahn.

Texas Ballet Theater (File photo)

Tutu Chic is a primary fundraiser for Texas Ballet Theater on behalf of Artistic Director Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. and Executive Director Vanessa Logan.

As the only professional ballet company in our region, and the second oldest in Texas, the Art of Ballet, Access to Ballet and Education of Ballet are priorities for TBT. Your ticket purchase helps ensure we continue to enrich your community with artistic performances, quality dance training and unique outreach programs which offer free introductory ballet instruction to public school students.

If you have any questions regarding your reservation, please contact Development Manager Theresa Ireland-Daubs at 817.763.0207 ext. 111 or by email at [email protected]

Click here for more information.

“Spotlight Gala” Celebrated WaterTower Theatre’s 20th Anniversary By Staging A Gala With Live Auction, Dining And Entertainment, Of Course

WaterTower Theatre‘s annual Spotlight Gala on Saturday, June 3, had a lot to celebrate. In addition to its new Artistic Director Joanie Schultz, the event at the Marriott Quorum Hotel was honoring its past gala chairs as well as the theatre’s turning 20 years old. Longtime supporter Barbara Daseke chaired the evening with dinner, notables, a live auction and a whole bunch of entertainment. But then, what else would you expect from this theatre crowd? Here’s a report from the field:

Barbara Daseke*

WaterTower Theatre held its annual Spotlight Gala on Saturday, June 3, at the Marriott Quorum Hotel in Addison.  Following last year’s celebration of WaterTower Theatre’s 20th Anniversary, this year’s Gala, chaired by Barbara Daseke, honored all of the Company’s past Gala Chairs:  April Bosworth, Anita Braun, Laree Hulshoff, Corky Pledger, Debbie Staggs, Allie Theisen and Barbara Daseke. The Company also honored Liese and Michael Canterbury and Angie and James Canterbury for their family’s legacy and contributions over the years. 

The evening began with cocktails for all of the underwriters and VIP donors, hosted by Barbara Daseke.  Held in the Presidential Suite, the crowd swayed to the jazzy tunes of local favorite Jodi Crawford Wright, accompanied by Jordan Cleaver on cello. Celebrating over two decades of artistic excellence at WaterTower Theatre, guests arrived in a fashion flare ranging from black-tie to elegant summer cocktail wear. Guests at the VIP reception at 6 p.m. and the gala included Jennifer and Coley Clark, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Norma and Paul Shultz, Tom and Anita Braun, Karol Omlor, Jennifer Swift, Addison’s new Mayor Joe Chow and his lovely wife Chi Chi, Margo and Jim Keyes, Eileen and Neil Resnik and special guest of honor, Emmy-Award winning actress and playwright Regina Taylor. For many, this was their first time meeting WaterTower Theatre’s new Artistic Director Joanie Schultz, who attended with her husband, nationally renowned opera conductor Frank Milioto. Corporate sponsors for the 2017 Spotlight Gala included Slalom, Oncor, Frost Bank, and Goody Goody Liquor. 

Tom and Anita Braun, Karol Omlor and Jennifer Swift*

Margo and Jim Keyes*

Liese and Michael Canterbury*

Eileen and Neil Resnik*

The evening included entertainment by Max Hartman, singing tunes reminiscent of “Ole Blue Eyes” while newly elected Addison Mayor Joe Chow and a crowd of attendees danced to standards including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Route 66,” “Mack the Knife,” “Come Fly With Me,” and “New York, New York.”  WaterTower Theatre artists Janelle Lutz and Sarah Elizabeth Price sang tributes to the legendary Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli (characters they have played to high acclaim on DFW stages), as well as a trio with Kyle Igneczi to conclude the night.

The night included a live auction with auctioneer Kyle Igneczi (one of Dallas’ most beloved actors) including a theatre trip for two to Chicago with Artistic Director and Chicago native Joanie Schultz, and a luxury dinner for 10 at the Addison’s renowned Table 13.  The evening concluded with an exhilarating “Fund The Mission” where virtually everyone in attendance played the “runaround” game vying for a theatre trip for two to Toronto!

Underwriters included:

  • Executive Producer ($12,000) — Barbara and Don Daseke, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Janiece and Jimmy Niemann and Norma and Paul Shultz
  • The Producer ($6,000) — Rosalind and Mervyn Benjet, Liese and Michael Canterbury, Angie and James Canterbury and Larry McCallum
  • The Director ($3,000) — The Town of Addison, Frost Bank, April Bosworth, Goody Goody Liquor Inc., Stan Graner and Jim McBride, Rodney Hand / Addison Magazine, Mary Kay Inc., Robert Mayer Jr., Kathleen A. Messina and Gary W. Goodwin, Karol Omlor, Oncor/Grace Daniels, Gregory Patterson and Eileen and Neil Resnik
  • Valet parking underwritten by Slalom.
  • Patron Gift underwritten by Mary Kay Inc. and Addison Magazine
  • Cork Pull and Tabletop Wine sponsored Goody Goody Liquor, Inc.
  • VIP Patron and Underwriter’s party sponsored by the Marriott Quorum, Addison
  • Gala Signage provided by FASTSIGNS, Carrollton
  • Gala Program provided by AlphaGraphics, Carrollton 

Guests drove off with a special gift basket courtesy of Mary Kay and Addison Magazine.

* Photo provided by WaterTower Theatre

Guests Brave A Downpour To Meet The New Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debs At Stanley Korshak

The rainstorm had come quickly, drowning the roadways with swift-flowing water and snarling rush-hour traffic. But a little wet stuff couldn’t deter the hardy souls who braved the downpour to attend the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League‘s Announcement Party for its 2017-2018 debutantes at Stanley Korshak. One attending the Friday, June 2, event on the store’s top floor was Mark Averitt, who said, “There was lots of water in our neighborhood. So we just took the back roads.”

While upbeat music like “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones played over the Korshak sound system, guests like Bridey and Gerald Meinecke, Julie and Jeff Kupp, Jennifer and Mark Gunnin, Stephanie and Bennie Bray, Melissa Lewis and Carla and Jonathan Leffert chatted with friends both old and new. Sarah Jo and Mark Hardin were on hand for son Spencer Hardin, who is an honor guard officer. Second generation/former DSOL deb Denise Beutel, who had co-chaired the 1996 ball with her mother Nancy Duncan, was taking on a new role as a mother of a 2018 deb — Caroline Beutel.

Not far away, the event’s grand dame, Tincy Miller, was introduced to someone who called her a “legend.” Tincy just laughed. Someone else said that more than two-thirds of the 30-plus ’17-’18 debs had shown up. And everyone was about to find out. 

Prior to the formal walk down the runway, Heather Moore coached the debutantes and the honor guard.

Lori Routh, Crawford Brock and Mari Epperson*

First, though, Korshak’s Crawford Brock welcomed everyone before turning things over to Mari Epperson, this year’s DSOL president. This year will be the league’s 71st anniversary, Mari said—and the 32nd annual deb presentation.  Then it was time for some shout-outs from Lori Routh, chair of the Presentation Ball, which is always the league’s major fundraiser. And, what would the announcement party be without a history of the Dallas deb ball from Tincy? “We are creating memories and a Camelot experience for each of you,” she promised.

From the left: Caroline Downing, Ashton Gillespie, Ellie Allums, Olivia Lewis, Marielle Le Masters, Hayley Waring, Kay Hitzelberger and Madison Hassell*

From the left: (front row) Shy Anderson, Houstoun Waring and Diego Garcia; (back row) Lendon Hall, Duncan McFarlane, Austin Clinkscales and Spencer Hardin*

At that, golden-throated Stan Gardner presented the Assembly (Caroline Downing, Ashton Gillespie, Ellie Allums, Olivia Lewis, Marielle Le Masters, Hayley Waring, Kay Hitzelberger and Madison Hassell) and the Honor Guard (Shy Anderson, Houstoun Waring, Diego Garcia, Lendon Hall, Duncan McFarlane, Austin Clinkscales and Spencer Hardin).

He then plunged into the main attraction: this year’s deb roster itself. Escorted halfway down the aisle by members of the Honor Guard, the debs included Caroline Allday, Meika Bass, Caroline Beutel, Alexis Bray, Helena Burns, Megan Casey, Bronwyn Cordiak, Grace Gunnin, Hope Hyde, Emma Jenevein, Anna Marie Jourdanou, Katie Kupp, Catherine Leffert, Lane McCormick, Annabel McGill, Megan Meinecke, Kay Merritt, Caroline Morway, Madison Stuart.

Anna Marie Jordanou and Houstoun Waring*

Caroline Beutel and Spencer Hardin*

Caroline Allday*

Meika Bass*

Alexis Bray*

Helena Burns*

Megan Casey*

Catherine Leffert*

Megan Meinecke*

Caroline Morway*

Kendra Averitt*

From the left: (front row) Catherine Leffert, Madison Stuart, Jacqueline Reagor, Caroline Morway, Kay Merritt, Megan Meinecke and Annabel McGill; (middle row) Juliana Szuwalski, Katie Kupp, Anna Marie Jordanou, Emma Jenevein, Hope Hyde, Grace Gunnin, Bronwyn Cordiak and Lane McCormick; (back row) Alexis Bray, Helena Burns, Megan Casey, Caroline Beutel, Meika Bass and Caroline Allday*

As a gentle reminder, Kendra Averitt held a sign behind the seated guests reading, “Smile.”

The Korshak party marked the official start of the whirlwind DSOL deb season. It will culminate with the 32nd Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball, on Saturday, February 17, at the Meyerson.

* Photo credit: James French

MySweetCharity Opportunity: TACA 50th Anniversary Gala

Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing (File photo)

According to TACA 50th Anniversary Chair Wanda Gierhart,

Everyone chooses to have a 50th birthday celebration because it’s a milestone—a golden anniversary—and TACA has at least 50 reasons to have a party.

It is in this spirit that TACA has set Friday, September 8, for its 50th Anniversary Gala at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. I’ve recruited my fiancé, Chef Dean Fearing, to co-chair the celebration with me. The evening, the kick-off to Dallas’ black-tie season, will begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and music.

Directly following, we’ve asked TITAS’ Charles Santos and Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Bridget Moore to produce and direct an exclusive TACA-commissioned celebratory performance featuring dancers from several TACA’s grantees including Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance and Bruce Wood Dance Project.

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery*

Did you know that TACA brought the concept of the luxury live auction to Dallas when it was founded 50 years ago? This year’s auction, which follows the performance, promises to be our best ever. Those of you who know me know when it comes to auction packages, I don’t play around, so you can expect my “A”-game.

After the auction, guests will enjoy a delectable seated dinner throughout the Mansion’s many beautiful rooms. For a high level donor, the wine cellar will be available for an intimate dinner with your favorite people. Following dinner, there will be a lively after-party with music and dancing.

Since this will be the last gala of its type, we’re planning it to be extra special and lots of fun. To this end, we’ve described the attire as “black tie by decade – 1970 to present,” which will give our guests plenty of latitude to interpret their sartorial selections with the same creativity TACA brings to its work on behalf of the arts. Whether it’s a vintage Halston from the 1970s or a brand new creation by your favorite designer, you’ll look smashing on September 8.

TACA believes in the power of art to transform lives, and it has been unfaltering in its commitment to the arts for five decades. Our 50th anniversary gala is a celebration of the past as well as a commitment to the arts community for the next fifty years.

Joining me in planning this festive gala are the co-chairs, who are the entire TACA 50th Anniversary Committee members.

Tickets start at $500, and sponsorships are available. Contact Cassidy Pinkston  [email protected] or 214.520.3926, or visit  http://www.taca-arts.org/.

* Photo provided by TACA



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.

Guests Came From Near And Far For The Sweet Sounds At The Sapphire Gala For Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra

It takes more than talent to perform at such venues at the Meyerson. It takes money to fine tune that talent. So The Sapphire Gala under the leadership of Venise Stuart did just that for the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra on Sunday, May 18. Guests came from as far away as Colorado for the evening of dining, bidding and listening to young musicians at the Meyerson. Here’s a report from the field:

Through the ages, sapphires have been treasured for their sparkle, romance and beauty. The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) glittered with brilliance at the Sapphire Anniversary’s Spring Gala and Season Finale celebrating 45 years in the community. It was held on Sunday, May 21, at the Meyerson Symphony Center and is the only fundraising event for the youth orchestra.

Dallas Jazz Institute*

The shimmering Gala included a silent auction and buffet dinner with music featuring performers from the GDYO Jazz Institute. It was followed by a full concert of the top ensemble featuring guest violinist Chee-Yun, and ended with post-concert desserts.

Dolores Barzune, Venise Stuart, Larry Barzune and Larry Stuart*

Venise Stuart was extremely proud and honored to be chairing the Gala.

“The young talent the Metroplex has is amazing,” said Venise. “It takes a true passion and commitment from everyone involved to deliver the amazing experience you will have this evening. The GDYO is a hidden gem in the city and these young musicians soar under the direction of Maestro Rick Giangiulio.”

Cynthia and Brice Beaird*

Honorary Co-Chairs were Cynthia and Brice Beaird, longtime supporters of the Dallas community. Cynthia is a founding Partner/Executive VP with Allie Beth Allman and Associates. Brice is the owner of the Beaird Agency, Inc. and also a singer/songwriter. 

GDYO provides DFW’s most talented young musicians with high quality instruction, challenging repertoire and the opportunity to come together and perform at world class venues like the Meyerson Symphony Center. It was founded in 1972 by parents, educators, and members of the Dallas music community to provide music education and performance opportunities for youth with demonstrated musical ability. The program includes over 450 talented musicians, ages 8 to 18, performing in two full orchestras, three string orchestras, a wind ensemble, a flute choir, and eight jazz combos, and socializing with a diverse group of highly talented peers from more than 50 communities.

Sherwood Wagner and Marena Gault*

“Many GDYO alums continue to study music at schools like Julliard, Cleveland Conservatory and others,” said GDYO Board Member Sherwood Wagner. “Regardless of the path they choose for their career, the students receive a world class music education/performance experience and a lifelong appreciation for arts.” 

There are a few notable alumni of the orchestra. Cathy Hernandez, the recently appointed Executive Director of GDYO, has come full circle by having been a musician with the orchestra while in high school, and now many years later, she heads the organization. Another familiar alumna from the program is Denise McGovern, who is currently Vice President of Communications at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Cathy Hernandez and Don Nebhan*

Gerald and Dana Sampson*

Attendees included Marena Gault, Delores and Larry Barzune, Dana and Gerald Sampson, Norma and Don Stone, Heather and Jerry Moore, Doug Haloftis, Becky and Brad Todd and Sharon and Maurice Ballew.

Gerry and Dana Sampson moved to Colorado nearly two years ago, but flew back for the event. They were both wearing purple because Gerald is on the National Board of Alzheimer’s Association. Even his shoes were purple.

The proceeds from the evening will benefit the GDYO Scholarship Fund and the GDYO Tour Fund, allowing deserving students a chance to not only experience the GDYO Program, but to be further enriched by experiencing new cultures while traveling and preforming with their peers. Each year, young musicians in GDYO receive $20,000 in scholarships, and that number doubles in a tour year.

For more information:  www.gdyo.org

* Photo credit: Chuck Clark

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Klyde Warren Park

Tara Green*

According to Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green,

For the past four years, Dallas’ favorite greenspace, Klyde Warren Park, has provided more than 1,300 free programing and education activities for 1 million visitors each year and every summer the fun gets even bigger. Located in the heart of Dallas, directly between downtown and Uptown, Klyde Warren Park is the perfect place for a day of family fun. All activities at Klyde Warren Park are free thanks to our sponsors and private donations made to the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation.

In addition to the Children’s Park and several splash pads located throughout the park, here are a few activities that you and your family can take part in this summer:

 

  • Dallas Children’s Theater*

    Dallas Children’s Theater Activities (Every 3rdSaturday of the Month from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.) Ages: 4 and up — Bring your drama princess or prince to the Children’s Park for acting games and fun with the Dallas Children’s Theater. Children and their parents can learn acting techniques from Dallas Children’s Theater teachers and participate in mini-performances alongside other participants each session.

  • Kathryn’s Book Nook Summer Reading Club (First Sundays, July – August from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 3 – 10-years old — Hosted by local non-profit Kathryn’s Book Nook, Summer Reading Parties in the Children’s Park at Klyde Warren Park will make sure kids don’t fall into the all too familiar summer-reading slump. There will be read-alouds, games, crafts, giveaways, and performances. RSVPs are encouraged to ensure we have adequate supplies. RSVP by going tokathrynsbooknook.com.
  • Miss Kimberly*

    Music and Stories with Miss Kimberly (Every Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 0 – 4 years old — Bring the kiddos to a storytelling session in the park every Tuesday! Read along with Miss Kimberly as she features cute stories and fun tunes for little ones. Bubbles, parachutes and games round out this fun and engaging storytime. 

  • Imagination Playground (Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: Open to all ages —

    Imagination Playground*

    Play, create and let your kids’ imaginations soar at our Imagination Playground! Bring the kids to the park where they can build a new world every time they play using the larger-than-life Imagination Playground blocks. 

  • Family Art Activities with the Nasher Sculpture Museum (Every 4thSunday of the Month from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 3 and up — Experts from the Nasher Sculpture Center will offer family-friendly activities in the Dallas Morning News Reading and Games Room. Learn painting, sculpting and other unique art techniques during this free, interactive demo. Families are encouraged to make a whole day out of it and visit the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center after playing artist for the afternoon.
* Photos provided by Klyde Warren Park

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 Inaugural Jade Ball To Benefit The Crow Collection Of Asian Art With Robert Weatherly Chairing And Lynn McBee As Honorary Chair

There’s the Fur Ball, the Eye Ball and now there’s the Jade Ball. It was just announced that on Saturday, October 7, the Inaugural Jade Ball Gala will take place benefiting the Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Robert Weatherly (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Gala Chair Robert Weatherly and Honorary Chair Lynn McBee revealed that a black-tie, three-course dinner will take place at Belo Mansion for 400 complete with a grand entrance, signature cocktail, entertainment, networking and a live auction.

With summer vacation just kicking off, it’s a perfect time to check out the 19-year-old museum “dedicated solely to the arts of Asia, with rotating galleries exhibiting the arts of Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam.”

Oh, about the price of admission? In addition to having air conditioning to cool off the summer heat, it’s free admission thanks to its founders the late Margaret and Trammell Crow.

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.

2017 TACA Lexus Party On The Green Line Up Of Chefs, Sponsors And Ticket Opportunities Revealed For Sammons Park Celebration

Katherine Wynne (File photo)

Tia Wynne (File photo)

Wine pull (File photo)

Official “Diet Drop Date” is Friday, May 12. That’s when 14 chefs will provide one of North Texas’ finest grazing experiences at the TACA Lexus Party On The Green at AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Sammons Park. Presented by Highland Park Village, Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne have arranged for celebrity chef tastings, a wine cork pull, a silent auction, live music and performances by TACA-supported arts organization in continuing celebration of TACA’s 50th anniversary.

According to TACA Carlson President/Executive Director Wolford McCue, “TACA’s mission is to support the performing arts community, so not only is the AT&T Performing Arts Center the perfect backdrop for TACA Party on the Green, it also provides us more space to showcase several of our beneficiaries. Tia and Katherine have planned an incredible evening with local celebrity chefs and performances by TACA supported arts organizations, all with the goal to raise critical funding for the local arts.”

Dean Fearing (File photo)

John Tesar (File photo)

The list of chefs includes Nicolas Blouin of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant, Lisa Garza-Selcer of Sissy’s Southern Kitchen, John Gilbert of G Texas Custom Catering, Sara Griffin of Chelsea Corner, Jeffrey Kollinger of Tillman’s Roadhouse, Sader Matheis of Salum Restaurant, Sonny Pache of Ocean Prime and Rosewood Ranches Waygu Beef, Janice Provost of Parigi, Daniele Puelo of CiboDivino Marketplace, Gianni Santin and Tida Pichakron of Haute Sweets Patisserie, Drew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck Catering, John Tesar of Knife at The Highland Dallas and Participating Late Night Chef: Mesero.

The chef sponsors include Faye C. Briggs, Carlson Capital LP, Dallas Southwest Osteopathic Physicians Inc., Gwen and Leldon Echols, Leah and Jim Pasant, Donna Wilhelm and Wynne Transportation.

Faye Briggs (File photo)

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

Katherine and Tia have arranged for the following opportunities for guests

  • $500 — The entire evening plus early entry at 6:30 p.m.
  • $375 — The entire evening starting at 7:30 p.m.
  • $150 — Late night partying starting at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets and sponsorships are available here!

Thank you notes should go to the following sponsors:

  • Title Sponsor – Lexus / The Dallas – Ft. Worth Lexus Dealers
  • Presenting Sponsor – Highland Park Village
  • Patron Sponsor – The Rosewood Corporation
  • Cork Pull Sponsor – Bank of Texas
  • Wristband Sponsor – Frost Bank
  • Official Airline – American Airlines
  • Host – AT&T Performing Arts Center
  • Valet Sponsor – Platinum Parking
  • Media Sponsors – PaperCity, Texas Monthly, CultureMap and MySweetCharity