Susan Albritton And Lauren Embrey Join Kitchen Dog Theater’s Capital Campaign As Honorary Co-Chairs

The 10,000-square-foot former Presidio Tile in Dallas’ North Design District is going through a major transformation. By the end of 2018/early 2019, it will be the new “permanent” home of Kitchen Dog Theater complete with a 140-seat performance space, offices and a rehearsal space.

Over the past 26 years, KDT has had a variety of home bases including McKinney Avenue Contemporary aka “The Mac” (1994-2015), The Green Zone (2015-2016) and Trinity River Arts Center (TRAC) for the current season.

According to KDT Co-Artistic Director Tina Parker, “Theater companies like ours around the country are challenged by the whims of the local real estate market, so we are extremely grateful to be able to put down permanent roots in our hometown. This development gives us the financial and emotional security to continue our artist-driven mission — to provide a place where questions of justice, morality and human freedom can be explored — for many more years to come.”

Ah, but such an undertaking takes more than good intentions. In this case, it takes $3M and the KDT group has undertaken a capital campaign to achieve that goal.

Capital Campaign KDT Founding Company Member Sally Nysteun-Vahle, longtime KDT Board Member/former Board Chair Paul Barnes and Board Chair Jerry Neisel have just revealed that the purchase of the property was made thanks to $975,000 from The Real Estate Council Community Fund, The Communities Foundation of Texas, The Harold Simmons Foundation and private donors.

Susan H. Albritton*

Lauren Embrey*

They also announced that they have arranged to have The Embrey Family Foundation President/Philanthropic Visionary Lauren Embrey and philanthropist Susan Albritton to serve as honorary co-chairs.

According to KDT Managing Director Tim Johnson, “We are delighted to have these two wonderful community leaders as honor chairs. They join our campaign chairs and a committee of dedicated supporters, all working to help ensure that Kitchen Dog continues to present theater that provokes, challenges and amazes our audience for another 26 years.”

In the meantime, KDT will hold its 2017-2017 season at The Trinity River Arts Center on Stemmons Freeway.

JUST IN: Multi-Talented Bernadette Peters Will Headline The Dallas Summer Musicals 2017 Gala In November

Bernadette Peters*

She’s the favorite of Stephen Sondheim, best buds with Mary Tyler Moore and has more curls than a bushel of rotini. She’s been in show biz since she was 3½ and got her Actors Equity Card at the ripe old age of 9. She’s appeared on TV, Broadway and the silver screen.  She’s written children’s books, dated Steve Martin and appeared in Playboy Magazine in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.

She is multi-talented Bernadette Peters and she will be headlining the Dallas Summer Musical fundraiser at Fair Park’s Music Hall on Saturday, November 4.

Since “An Evening With Bernadette Peters” will benefit the Dallas Summer Musicals and its education and community outreach programs, it’s especially poignant to have TI executives Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld co-chairing the event.

Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld**

Each has childhood memories of attending the Dallas Summer Musicals and the long-lasting impressions they took away.

According to Paul, “Going to Dallas Summer Musicals at Fair Park with my grandmother was my first exposure to ‘real’ theatre on the big stage. Learning the stories and hearing the music instilled a love for the stage in me that endures to this day. I am thrilled at the opportunity to help another generation experience that same magic.”

As for Andy, he recalled, “My 16th birthday present was a trip from Tyler to see the DSM production of ‘Camelot.’ We (Paul and Andy) both fell in love with musical theater through DSM, and we’ve also seen how DSM has touched the lives of youth in our community through their outreach and education programs.”

While individual tickets are not available (drat!), sponsorships and underwriting opportunities can be discovered by calling the DSM Development office at 214.426.6333.

* Photo credit: Andrew Eccles 
** Photo provided by Dallas Summer Musicals

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

TACA Grant Awards Celebration Distributes $1.3M Again, But Opts Not To Reveal Individual Funding For 49 Performing Art Groups

Transparency. That is the sweet spot of all organizations nowadays, especially nonprofits. Whether it’s ‘fessing up the actual net figure or announcing the distribution of dollars to nonprofits, transparency is the key to over-the-top respect.

Perhaps that why it was surprising that, tonight, TACA shifted gears at its annual Grant Awards Celebration at the Wyly. In years past, the organization used the occasion to announce the exact amounts going to the nonprofits and formally present the thrilled representatives with a check, to the applause of an audience full of fellow nonprofits and TACA board members.

This year, though, there were no individual amounts revealed; nor was there a formal presentation. Instead it was announced that TACA had once again provided $1.3M in grants for area performing art programs. The reason for withholding announcement of the amounts, according to a source, was that they did not want “to hurt feelings.”

Ah, shoot! Feelings, schmeelings.

According to organizers, the determination of funding is made by TACA volunteers spending “many hours during the last 12 months attending performances, as well as evaluating grant applications. The distribution decisions are based on three primary criteria: artistic excellence, administrative and fiscal responsibility and community engagement.”

After being asked about the change of plans, organizers provided the following breakdown of ranges for the 49 organizations:

$5,000-$10,000

  • African-American Repertory Theater
  • Arts District Chorale
  • AT&T Performing Arts Center
  • Blue Candlelight Music Series
  • Chamber Music International
  • Chamberlain Ballet
  • Cry Havoc Theater Company
  • Dallas Bach Society
  • Dallas Chamber Music Society
  • Dark Circles Contemporary Dance
  • Echo Theatre
  • Nasher Sculpture Center
  • Plano Civic Chorus
  • Soul Rep Theatre Company
  • Teatro Hispano de Dallas
  • Voices of Change

$10,001-$20,000

  • Avant Chamber Ballet
  • Big Thought
  • Bruce Wood Dance Project
  • Cara Mia Theatre
  • Dallas Chamber Symphony
  • Lone Star Wind Orchestra
  • Orchestra of New Spain
  • Orpheus Chamber Singers
  • Plano Symphony Orchestra
  • Sammons Center for the Arts
  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach
  • Theatre Three
  • Turtle Creek Chorale
  • WaterTower Theatre

$20,001-$50,000

  • Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas
  • Dallas Winds
  • Fine Arts Chamber Players
  • Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra
  • Junior Players Guild
  • Kitchen Dog Theater Company
  • Lyric Stage
  • Second Thought Theatre
  • Shakespeare Dallas
  • The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Undermain Theatre
  • Uptown Players

$50,001-$95,000

  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre
  • Dallas Children’s Theater
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Dallas Theater Center
  • Texas Ballet Theater
  • The Dallas Opera
  • TITAS

An additional $200,00 will be distributed via The TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund and the TACA Bowdon and Embrey Family Foundation’s Artist Residency Fund.

Instead of the usual check presentation, the evening included “a tribute to Becky Young, TACA’s leader retiring after 18 years, as well as students from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts performing a scene from Magnolia, written by special guest artist Regina Taylor.”

Becky Young (File photo)

Wanda Gierhart (File photo)

Oak Cliff native Regina then told of how the arts had led her into a career of acting and moderated a panel with Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principal Horn David Cooper, Dallas Black Dance Theatre Encore! Artistic Director Nycole Ray and Bruce Wood Dance Project Artistic Director Kimi Nikaidoh.

The evening also marked the kick-off of TACA’ 50th anniversary year with Wanda Gierhart spearheading the plans. With the former Neiman’s exec/Chef Dean Fearing‘s bride-to-be Wanda at the helm, it’s gonna be a jaw-dropping year.

MySweetWishList: Homeward Bound

According to Homeward Bound Executive Director Douglas Denton,

Douglas Denton*

“Homeward Bound, Inc., a nonprofit Dallas drug, alcohol and mental health treatment center, is asking for support for its share of the costs of a training for and presentation of a free storytelling program at the Bath House Cultural Center on the evening of Friday, January 6. Clients and former clients who have been coached by professional storytellers will be sharing snippets of their life stories for a public performance at the Bath House. This is an exceptional opportunity for our clients to tell their healing stories. We would appreciate financial help with the production and have been awarded a Texas Commission on the Arts grant for this program. We have an ongoing gofundme campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/homeward-bound-storytellers to cover these costs.

From the left: Homeward Bound audience member, Homeward Bound audience member and Peggy and Gene Helmick-Richardson*

“Behind the scenes are Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson of Dallas, the Twice Upon a Time Storytellers. They have been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Arts Roster since 2003.

“The Helmick-Richardsons believe in Homeward Bound’s cause as well as the therapeutic power of storytelling. Together, they have been presenting their stories to our residential clients for more than 20 years as volunteers. In addition to their usual weekly schedule in our HIV-positive unit, the Helmick-Richardsons have been working with our clients for months, helping them to polish their stories and selecting the tellers for the Bath House program.

“’Our ultimate goal is to not only assist storytelling program participants in crafting their own stories to further their personal healing but to also reach out to others wanting to break the bonds of addiction or to have a deeper understanding of what addiction truly means,’ Peggy explains.

“Note that the audience will be limited to adults only, due to adult subject matter and language. Thank you for your support.”

-By Douglas Denton, Homeward Bound executive director

* Photos provided by Homeward Bound

MySweetWishList: Spark!

According to Spark! President and CEO Beverly Davis,

Spark! is a non-profit organization on a mission to ignite the Spark of creativity inherent in all children. Since opening its doors in June 2015, Spark! has served more than 7,500 children, 45 percent from low income homes.

By the age of 16, children decide if they are creative or not. If they identify as a creative individual, they have higher self-esteem, better problem-solving skills and go further in their education. Through creative programming and play in a fully immersive creative environment, Spark! helps children, in second grade through high school, understand their full creative potential. Here is one story that illustrates the impact Spark! is making on young minds.

Spark!*

In April 2015, Spark! celebrated World Creativity and Innovation Week and invited 24 students from Communities in Schools to experience creative immersion during the first-ever Spark! field trip. These students experimented with recycled art by designing and painting hubcaps that would later be installed on a wavy bridge made of car hoods.

Spark! officially opened the week of June 9. That week, two students from Communities and Schools came back to Spark! a second time. One young lady found the hubcap she painted was hanging from the bridge, and she quickly began showing it to her friends. The confidence she gained from spending time at Spark! is precisely the result that these programs strive to produce. “It’s really amazing to know that a hubcap can be made into art and that my experience could be so great,” she said.

Give the gift of creativity this year, with a membership to Spark! This new, affordable membership program offers unique incentives including birthday party discounts and tickets to VIP events. Members will enjoy unlimited visits to the learning environment during public hours. No matter which level you choose, your membership becomes an even better value with each visit. Packages range from $75-$2,500 per year.

Through memberships and donations, you’ll help further the mission of igniting the creativity inherent in more than 6,000 North Texas children in 2017.

Visit www.Sparkdallas.org/memberships, call 214-421-7727 or email [email protected] for more information.

-By Beverly Davis, Spark! president and CEO

* Graphic provided by Spark!

National Endowment For The Arts Presents Big Thought And Nine Others With Early Christmas Gifts

Big Thought just revealed some big news. Back in late November National Endowment for the Arts Chair Jane Chu visited Dallas for a couple of days touring the Arts District and checking in at Big Thought. The Oklahoma native, who did graduate work at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, just provided Big Thought with a very nice Christmas gift — a $100,000 Arts Works grant for Big Thought’s Dallas City of Learning project.

Art Works, National Endowment for the Arts and Big Thought*

The funds will “help provide in-person and internet-based creative educational experiences for students across Dallas during the summer months.”

Gigi Antoni*

It was just last January at this time that Big Thought hosted a meeting of concerned educational, political and community leaders to address the issue of “the Dallas education system having gone dormant during summer.”

According to Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni, “We are so grateful and appreciative of Chair Chu and the National Endowment for the Arts. We as an organization and as a city have been committed to stemming summer learning loss in our quest to close the opportunity gap and improve the academic and socio-emotional outcomes of our children. This community has come together for our kids, and with the NEA’s generous support we can make an important impact in their lives.”

Other local groups receiving Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts include:

  • Chamberlain Performing Arts — $10,000
  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre — $10,000
  • The Dallas Opera — $45,000
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra — $20,000
  • Kitchen Dog Theater — $10,000
  • Matt Morton — $25,000
  • Nasher Sculpture Center — $40,000
  • Shakespeare Festival of Dallas — $10,000
  • The Cliburn — $10,000
* Graphic and photo provided by Big Thought

Business And Art Community Leadership Turned Out For The Sold-Out 2016 Obelisk Awards Luncheon At Belo Mansion

The Business Council For The Arts was the brainchild of the late Ray Nasher. His hope was for the Dallas business community to get more involved and supportive of the various art organization. At the time the Performing Arts District was just on a wish list. But over the years, the Council evolved, adding a presentation of the Obelisk Awards to those businesses and art organizations that had shown true leadership in building Dallas’ arts. On Monday, November 7, Belo Mansion was filled to the brim for the presentation of the Obelisk Awards and to hear a moving presentation by Dallas Symphony Orchestra principle trumpet Ryan Anthony. Here is a report from the field:

This sold-out event on Monday, November 7, at Belo Mansion has been recognizing individuals and organizations that provide stellar nonprofit and business support for arts and culture for 28 years. As Obelisk Awards Co-Chair, Kevin Hurst said, “Some of the honorees are well-known to us and others are being recognized publicly for the first time.”  Kevin’s partner-in-celebration, Co-Chair Dotti Reeder added, “Their stories give us a unique perspective into mutually beneficial partnerships between businesses and the arts.”

Kevin Hurst, Mimi Sterling, Jennifer Lassiter and Jeff Byron

The 2016 Obelisk Awards honorees and those that nominated them were  

  • Arts Partnership Award (Large) — Fossil Group, nominated by Big Thought
  • Arts Partnership Award (Medium) — Taxco Food Produce, nominated by The Mexico Institute
  • Arts Partnership Award (Small) — Watters Creek at Montgomery Farms, nominated by Allen Art Alliance
  • New Initiatives Award (Large) — Cash America, nominated by Junior Players
  • New Initiatives Award (Medium) — UMB Bank, nominated by The Dallas Opera
  • New Initiatives Award (Small) — The Law Offices of Eric Cedillo, nominated by Cara Mia Theater
  • Meghan Hipsher and Lee Papert

    Distinguished Nonprofit Arts Organization — Dallas Film Society, nominated by ABCO Inc.

  • Outstanding Leadership Arts Alumnus Award — Zenetta Drew, nominated by Leadership Women
  • Business Champion for the Arts — Darrell Rodenbaugh, nominated by Plano Children’s Theatre & North Texas Performing Arts

Capera Ryan, Mark Roglan and Deborah Ryan

This year, Dr. Mark Roglán, Linda Pitts Custard Director of the Meadows Museum at SMU, became the inaugural honoree of the award for Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader. He was nominated by arts patron and professional, Patricia Meadows. The Meadows Museum and the Dallas Film Society were honored with donations from Tolleson Wealth Management and Neiman Marcus Group, in addition to the award.

Dotti Reeder and Larry Glasgow

Presentations by the esteemed co-chairs, BCA Board Chair Larry Glasgow and arts icon Nancy Nasher were followed by Ryan Anthony, Principal Trumpet and Diane and Hal Brierley Chair of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  If you’ve been reading this column, you know that Ryan is the charismatic world-talent who is battling Multiple Myeloma. He and his wife, Niki Anthony, along with many friends, have founded CancerBlows: the Ryan Anthony Foundation. Ryan’s mesmerizing words and performances – two, in fact – led to a standing ovation. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 10, and get your tickets now to see 30 world-renowned musicians playing together to fund a cure.

Andrea Devaldenebro, David Hamilton and Lona Crabb

Billy Hines and Jack Savage

Gerald Turner, Hal and Diane Brierley, Rhealyn Carter and Brad Cheves

In the crowd were Patricia Porter and Dennis Kratz, NorthPark Center’s Lona Crabb, Billy Hines and Andrea Devaldenebro, as well as Jack Boles’s David Hamilton and Meghan Hipsher, SMU’s Gerald Turner and Brad Cheves and Neiman’s Jeff Byron and Mimi Sterling.

KERA Vice President for Arts/Art & Seek Director Anne Bothwell expertly articulated just why each of the honorees is praiseworthy. Obviously a quick study, Anne stepped in when the traditional Master of Ceremonies, Mary Anne Alhadeff, was hit with a bout of bronchitis.

Blending the perfect mix of artistry with business professionalism, the Obelisk Awards logo, program and invitation were designed by graphics maestro Leon Banowetz and his team. We’re sure the brilliant centerpieces, created by Shirley Richardson of Big Box, Little Box are going to inspire mimicry. Not to be outdone, each of the awards is an original artwork, hand-blown by Jim Bowman of Bowman Studios.

Suffice to say that all of the attendants to the event are subscribers to the importance of business support. Lead sponsors for this year’s Obelisk Awards were: NorthPark Management, Capital One and Diane and Hal Brierley.  Table sponsorship was provided by Andrews Kurth LLP, Artemis Fine Art Services, Baker Botts LLP, Banowetz + Company, Inc.,  The Beck Group, BenefitMall, Big Thought, Bourland Octave Management, LLC, Comerica,  Corgan, City of Richardson, The Dallas Opera, Deloitte, LLP, Eiseman Jewels NorthPark Center, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Fossil Group, Frost Bank, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Sherry and Kenny Goldberg, Harwood International,  Haynes and Boone LLP, HKS, Jack Boles Parking NPP, Jones Day, Leadership Arts Alumni, The Law Firm of Eric Cedillo, Maintenance of America Inc., Patricia Meadows, Morrison, Dilworth, & Walls, Neiman Marcus, Oncor, Parkland Health & Hospital System,  Powell Coleman & Arnold LLP, PwC, Southern Methodist University, Taxco Produce, Texas Instruments, Thompson & Knight LLP, Tolleson Wealth Management, Tucker David Investments, LP, University of North Texas, The University of Texas at Dallas, Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Additionally, donations in honor of Ryan and Niki Anthony were made by Diane and Hal Brierley, Anne and Steven Stodghill and D’Andra Simmons.

What does next year hold? You’ll have to ask 2017 Obelisk Co-Chairs Thai and Steve Roth! BTW, nominations for the 2017 awards are due Friday, April 14.

JUST IN: Nancy Carlson And Lynn McBee To Co-Chair 2017 TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon At The Hilton Anatole

As previously announced, Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock will be presented with the 2017 TACA Silver Cup Award at a luncheon on Tuesday, March 7.

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Walter Elcock (File photo)

Walter Elcock (File photo)

Now word has arrived that the event presented by J.P. Morgan and Neiman Marcus will be chaired by past TACA Board Chairs Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee.  

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

It may seem mind boggling, but 2017 is just around the corner. So it’s not too early to get this event on your schedule and the ticket locked up.

TACA And Business Council For The Arts Celebrated The Art Loving Greats

Thursday, October 13, must have been designated somewhere as Art News Day. In one part of town, the TACA crowd shifted their GPS from Jennifer and John Eagle’s nest for the traditional TACA Silver Cup Announcement reception to Marguerite Hoffman’s home. There it was announced that the 2017 Silver Cup Award would be presented to Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock on Tuesday, March 7, at the Hilton Anatole.

Over at the Mayfair in the Sky Club, the Business Council for the Art held a thank you for sponsors and recipients of the Obelisk Awards.

Ah, shoot! What a loss that the two events celebrating the art loving supporter couldn’t have been held just 24 hours apart.

Kevin Hurst, Ryan and Niki Anthony and Jeff Byron

Kevin Hurst, Ryan and Niki Anthony and Jeff Byron

Snapshots: Gunnar Rawlings told Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron that his fiancée Gaby Gutierrez had purchased her wedding dress at the NM flagship… Obelisk Co-Chair Kevin Hurst reported the death of his beloved 12-year-old pup Skylar. Luckily, the household is not without a pooch with Ms. Hayden still in residence…Obelisk Award Luncheon keynote speaker Ryan Anthony and his wife Niki Ryan stopped by, but had to leave before the presentation by Board of Directors Chair Larry Glasgow, Kevin and Luncheon Co-Chair/Tolleson Managing Director Dotti Reeder…Others in the crowd included Patricia Meadows with Mark Roglan, Alfredo Duarte, Laura Einspanier, KERA President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff and her husband David Alhadeff, Big Thought’s Gigi Antoni and Business Council for The Arts CEO Katherine Wagner.

Laura Einspanier and Gunnar Rawlings

Laura Einspanier and Gunnar Rawlings

Dotti Reeder

Dotti Reeder

Katherine Wagner and Alfredo Duarte

Katherine Wagner and Alfredo Duarte

Mary Anne Alhadeff

Mary Anne Alhadeff

There are a couple of changes in this year’s presentation. Instead of taking place at the Fairmont, the event will take place on Monday, November 7, at Belo Mansion and Pavilion and tickets are moving briskly. Also, glass artisan Jim Bowman had designed the award that was more of an obelisk than last year’s model that was a transparent purple, kidney-shaped bowl.

This year’s honorees include:

Mark Roglan and Patricia Meadows

Mark Roglan and Patricia Meadows

  • Cash America nominated by Junior Players
  • Dallas Film Society nominated by ABCO Inc.
  • Darrell Rodenbaugh nominated by Plano Children’s Theatre and North Texas Performing Arts
  • Mark Roglan nominated by Patricia Meadows
  • Taxco Food Produce nominated by The Mexico Institute
  • The law offices of Eric Cedillo nominated by Cara Mia Theater
  • UMB Bank nominated by The Dallas Opera
  • Watters Creek at Montgomery Farms nominated by Allen Arts Alliance
  • Zenetta Drew nominated by Leadership Women

Sold-Out Alert!: 28th Annual Obelisk Awards Luncheon

Those favorite words have been sent again — Sold Out! Business Council for the Arts28th Annual Obelisk Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Kevin Hurst and Dotti Reeder report that the fundraiser on Monday, November 7, at the Belo Mansion is at total capacity.

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

But come on. A very nice check and a pretty please might just open a seat or two.

In addition to recognizing a load of great supporters of the arts, the event will include a talk by Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet Ryan Anthony. Perhaps Ryan will bring along his horn for a mini-performance.

JUST IN: Nancy Nasher And Walter Elcock To Receive TACA’s 2017 Silver Cup Awards

The 2017 TACA Silver Cup Award recipients were just announced at 2006 Silver Cup co-recipient Marguerite Hoffman‘s home. Receiving the award for outstanding leadership in the Dallas arts community will be Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock.

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Walter Elcock (File photo)

Walter Elcock (File photo)

The twosome will receive their silver cups at a luncheon on Tuesday, March 7, at the Hilton Anatole.

Presented by J.P. Morgan and Neiman Marcus, the TACA Silver Cup Award “is awarded each year to recognize one man and one woman for their outstanding contributions to the arts in Dallas.”

For information on sponsorships and tickets, call 214.520.3930 or email [email protected].

24th Annual Cabaret Gala To Take Place In “Refreshed” Venetian Room On Texas-OU Saturday With Songbird Maxine Linehan

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

You’ve got to hand it to the Dallas Children’s Theater team. Over the past 24 years, their Cabaret Gala has collided with Cattle Baron’s on the same night. But this year the stars were literally in alignment for folks to attend both totally different fundraisers. Unlike the boot-wearing guests at Cattle Barons at Gilley’s, the Cabaret folks don their nicest cocktail attire for an intimate evening in The Fairmont’s Venetian Room, which has gone through some major “refreshing.”

 Maxine Linehan*

Maxine Linehan*

But the date this year may still surprise locals. It’s October 8th. Yup, that’s the Saturday of Texas-OU. While it may seem like a busy weekend to be holding a fundraiser, it makes perfect sense. By Saturday night, most of the Longhorns and Sooners have packed their bags and headed home, or they’re too pooped out to party anymore.

Dallas Children’s Theater’s Artie Olaisen and Event Co-Chair Marisa Huckin (this is her fourth one to chair) and Sharon Niebuhr have arranged for Irish transplant Maxine Linehan to be on the Venetian stage. Sure, she’s been described as “versatile, multi-talented and fiercely talented” and performed at NY’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center, 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room and Birdland. But Maxine’s also smart, having graduated from “the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and also just happens to be a Barrister,” having studied at The Inns of Court School of Law in London.

Still another highlight will be the honorary chairs — “steadfast supporters” Jennifer and Peter Altabef and their “son Will, who literally grew up on-stage at DCT.”

In keeping with the annual raffle, Raffle Chair Kerrie Forbes has five trips lined up for such places as Cancun, Costa Rica, New York City, Telluride and St. Martin.

Since tickets are limited and won’t be sold at the door, hop to it now for an evening of champagne, dessert and delightful tunes.

* Photo provided by the Dallas 
Children's Theater

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #9: Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery

Dallas’ Bruce Wood was nationally known for his choreography. He was known for having “an aesthetic that set his work apart. He drew his subject matter from human nature, distilling the ups and downs, and the loves and the losses of daily life into pieces that range from dramatic to comic, compassionate to hilarious, psychological to pedestrian.” With his untimely death in May 2014, there was great concern about his legacy. But Bruce Wood Dance Project President/Producer Gayle Halperin used Bruce’s inspiration to continue on. One of the results was the creation of the Bruce Wood Dance Gallery that Theater Jones described as “a cozy and atmospheric space” in the Dallas Design District.

For the TACA Custom Auction Gala, a performance at the Gallery will be presented along with a menu created by Texas’ favorite boot-scootin’ Chef Dean Fearing.

Like the Farm-To-Table, this very special event will be sold to 30 couples, so when it hits the auction bloc, raise those paddles high.

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery* (Value: $725 per couple**)

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery*

Front Row At The Bruce Wood Dance Gallery***

Experience an exclusive private performance on Friday, February 24, of select dance works curated by local dance maven and Bruce Wood Dance Project President Gayle Halperin, all while enjoying signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine,” Chef Dean Fearing.

  • Private performance featuring local dance artists at the Bruce Wood Dance Gallery in the Dallas Design District
  • Menu created and prepared by Chef Dean Fearing
* Courtesy of Fearing’s Restaurant and Gayle Halperin 
** Only sold in pairs, limited to 30 couples 
*** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #8: Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa

South Africa is known for its magnificent natural beauty and the most amazing animals roaming the earth. But there is so much more. For instance, from true African villages to breathtaking estates, it is a world that constantly amazes. Many are surprised to learn that just 30 minutes outside of Cape Town, there is the Cape Winelands region with its scenic vineyards that produce everything from “Rhone-style red wines to aromatic Sauvignon blancs.”

For the lucky winner of this TACA Custom Auction Gala package, a trip for two translates into a fabulous 10-night stay in “lodge-style accommodation” and tours that suggest bringing along your camera and your taste buds.

And if you haven’t gotten your tickets locked down for the TACA Custom Auction Gala, better scurry hurry. The places at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek’s dinner tables and paddles at Friday’s auction are getting scarce.

Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa* (Value: $32,350)

Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa**

Wild Wonders And Fine Wines In Africa**

Experience the journey of a lifetime in South Africa. See some of the region’s most majestic creatures – including elephants, lions, and rhinos – up close from your deluxe Land Cruiser. Visit an authentic Swazi village, tour beautiful Cape Town, and explore the grand estates and lush vineyards of the Cape Winelands.

  • Guided photo safari tours for two at locations throughout South Africa, including the Kruger National Park, KwaZulu Natal, and the St. Lucia Estuary
  • Guided day-trip for two to the Kingdom of Swaziland
  • Wine tastings at vineyards in the Cape Winelands, South Africa
  • Ten-nights of deluxe, lodge-style accommodations and seventeen meals for two
  • Round-trip, business-class air transportation for two provided by American Airlines
* Courtesy of the American Fundraising Foundation and American Airlines 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #6: Chairmen’s Favorite Things

The TACA Custom Auction Gala crowd is no stranger to the best dining and entertainment. Say “Hamilton,” and they’ve probably seen it before Lin-Manuel Miranda left the production. Say “masters” and the first thing that pops in their minds is a classic piece of art and not a golf tournament. Say “sautes, jetes, entrechat and cabriole,” and they know you’re not rattling off a French menu.

For these been-around-the-art-block types, this package is ideal. Betcha they’ve never had this experience that includes a multi-course dinner complete with wine for 22 on artist Oliver Clegg’s very unique revolving sculpture. Yup, it’s truly a moveable feast.

If your paddle is the last one up when Heritage Auctions’ Kimberly Serrano closes the bidding, your next challenge is going to be editing your list of supper buds.

Chairmen’s Favorite Things* (Value: Priceless)

Host a dinner party unlike any other, where you and your guests will enjoy a sophisticated “Joule” of a feast while seated at artist Oliver Clegg’s one-of-a-kind table sculpture, which will rotate periodically throughout the evening, housed in a rustic West Dallas warehouse.

  • Multi-course dinner and wine for 22 guests, served on Oliver Clegg’s “Until the Cows Come Home rotating table sculpture in Trinity Groves
  • Menu created and prepared by The Joule Hotel
* Courtesy of Oliver Clegg, Erin Cluley, The Joule Hotel and Terri Provencal 
** For date in Fall/Winter 2016 to be mutually agreed upon 

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #4: Shop And Dine

The curator for this year’s TACA Custom Auction Gala’s package is none other than Rachel Michell. So among her collection of luxurious, dreamy goodies would of course be something in the panache realm of retailing.

And leave it to Rachel to have more in this package that a panache shopping spree. The gal knows how to roll out the red carpet for the Rodeo Drive of Dallas. In addition to $3,000 purchase power with a personal shopper to show the ins and outs, there’s a multi-course tasting for eight complete with grown up libations. Suggestion: First do the shopping. Then show off your acquisitions at the Bistro 31 tasting. Your buds will be eaten up in envy that you topped the other bidders on Friday, September 23 at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Shop And Dine* (Value: $5,500)

Shop And Dine At Highland Park Village**

Shop And Dine**

Spend the afternoon at one of North Texas’ premier shopping destinations. Visit any of the more than 40 luxury boutiques – including favorites like Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera, and Dior – with your own personal shopper. Then enjoy an elegant tasting menu at the French Riviera-inspired Bistro 31.

  • $3,000 in shopping spree
  • Up to three hours with a personal shopper
  • Four-course Chef’s Tasting Menu at Bistro 31, with cocktail and wine pairings, for eight
* Courtesy of Bistro 31 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #5: Live Painting At Samuel Lynne Galleries

When it comes to Dallas performing arts, some folks might wonder if visual art fits the description. Ah, but they haven’t see artist JD Miller in action. For ages, JD has mesmerized art lovers with his live painting exhibitions. So, it’s only natural that this lively creation should be one of the TACA Custom Auction Gala packages.

Ah, where is the perfect setting for such a happening? Why, JD’s home base at Samuel Lynne Galleries, of course. So why not make a party of the occasion. Invite 100 buds to watch the birthing of this tailor-made painting, complete with yummies from Sissy’s and wine from Ste. Michelle.

Live Painting At Samuel Lynne Galleries* (Value: Priceless)

Live Painting at Samuel Lynne Galleries**

Live Painting at Samuel Lynne Galleries***

Invite up to 100 guests for an intimate evening** at Samuel Lynne Galleries in the heart of the Dallas Design District. Watch as local artist JD Miller creates one of his signature 3D oil paintings live, while you and your guests enjoy hors d’oeuvres created by Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar and fine wines provided by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Afterwards, take home your new original JD Miller to add to your private collection.

  • Reception for up to 100 guests at Samuel Lynne Galleries
  • Menu created and prepared by Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar
  • Wines provided by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Original oil painting created by JD Miller for the host
* Courtesy of Samuel Lynne Galleries and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 
** Date to be mutually agree upon 
*** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #3: Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards

Television has come a long way since the black-and-white days of the stand-alone boxes without remote controls. Nowadays there is 24-hour news, breathtaking dramas and documentaries that bring the world to the drive-in-movie size flat screens throughout homes and even on smartphones.

No, it’s not your grandpappy’s TV world any longer and the industry’s awards have annually recognized the quality of such progress at the Emmy Awards.

Need proof? Then just watch Sunday’s 68th Emmy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Then envision yourself as part of the audience for the 2017 presentation. But why not make that vision reality for you and your best boob-tube buddy by being the winner of this TACA Custom Auction Gala package on Friday, September 23?

Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards* (Value: $17,550)

Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards**

Live At The 2017 Emmy Awards**

Experience the glamour of Hollywood at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2017, where you and your guest will see your favorite celebrities from the silver screen. Enjoy a relaxing four-day, three-night stay in Los Angeles, including round-trip, business-class air transportation for two.

  • Tickets for two to the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2017 at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles
  • Three-night deluxe accommodations for two
  • Round-trip, business-class air transportation for two provided by American Airlines
* Courtesy of the American Fundraising Foundation and American Airlines 
** Photo provided by TACA

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #2: Farm-To-Table Dinner

This annual favorite TACA Custom Auction Gala package is the one that has some of Dallas’ top art-loving types sipping and supping in the Lavon Farm pasture on a Sunday afternoon. Instead of the usual highest bid winning, it’s open season with paddles being raised throughout the black tie gathering at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek on Friday, September 23.

This year’s package will be available for just 30 couples, so warm up your bidding arm and be prepared to compete to be one of the lucky pairs.

Farm-To-Table Dinner* (Value: $750 per couple**)

Farm-To-Table (File photo)

Farm-To-Table (File photo)

Enjoy a multi-course meal al fresco on Sunday, April 2, surrounded by the beautiful, pastoral expanse of Lavon Farms, a third-generation dairy farm tucked away north of Dallas. Chef Abraham Salum of Salum and Komali will create an unforgettable meal featuring locally-sourced ingredients, all accompanied by live entertainment.

  • Cocktails, appetizers, and family-style dinner service
  • Menu created and prepared by Chef Abraham Salum
  • Live musical entertainment
* Courtesy of Chef Abraham Salum and Lavon Farms 
** Only sold in pairs, limited to 30 couples 

TACA Custom Auction Gala Package #1 – Artistic Retreat In Marfa

On the heels of this week’s OMG activites benefiting Les Femmes Du Monde, Equest, Fur Ball, Cattle Baron’s, Partner’s Card, Harvest, KidneyTexas, Crystal Charity Ball, Dallas Symphony, The Elissa Project and so many others that are filling the MySweetCharity Calendar, believe it or not there are still more way-over-the-top events the following week. Needless to say, false eyelashes are going to be in need of major league refreshing with all the razzle dazzle!

But one of those during the week of September 19th is Friday’s black tie TACA Custom Auction Gala at the Mansion. With Deutsche Bank Wealth Management and The Patrón Spirits Company as presenting sponsors, Dianne and Mark LaRoe and Honorary Co-Chairs/adorable buds Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing have had Highland Park Village’s Rachel Michell put together a collection of live auction items.

It will be the last one for TACA President/Executive Director Becky Young, who will be retiring on December 31. Not to worry. Longtime art-loving executive Wolford McCue will be taking over.

But let’s start the countdown of mega-packages with a visit to that Texas landmark of taste — Marfa. Okay, so you’ve got to dig down in the honesty pocket and admit that you haven’t been there in ages … oops, you haven’t been there at all?… but this package will have you wanting to see the changes and what makes this the artist lovers’ terra-sweet-terra!

Artistic Retreat In Marfa (Value: $21,000)*

Artristic Retreat in Marfa*

Artristic Retreat in Marfa**

Spend an unforgettable weekend at the world-renowned Chinati Foundation museum in Marfa, Texas. Enjoy behind-the-scenes access and celebrate at the Chinati Foundation’s annual Weekend Benefit Dinner. While in Marfa, experience the 360-degree views of grass dunes and weathered mountain ranges while staying at the one-of-a-kind Ranch 2810.

  • Six tickets to the 2017 Chinati Weekend Benefit Dinner on Friday, October 13, 2017
  • Dinner for six with Director of the Chinati Foundation Jenny Moore
  • Private guided tour for six of the Chinati Foundation collection
  • Four-day, three-night private accommodations for six at Ranch 2810
* Courtesy of the Chinati Foundation, Jenny Moore and Ranch 2810 
** Photo provided by TACA

JUST IN: The 2016 Obelisk Awardees Announced

The 2016 Obelisk Awards*

The 2016 Obelisk Awards*

The Business Council for the Arts just released the lineup for The 2016 Obelisk Awards that will be presented on Monday, November 7, at Belo Mansion. As part of the awards program, a new category has been added the list — Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader.

  • Arts Partnership Award (Large) — Fossil Inc., nominated by Big Thought
  • Arts Partnership Award (Medium) — Taxco Food Produce, nominated by The Mexico Institute
  • Arts Partnership Award (Small) — Watters Creek at Montgomery Farms, nominated by Allen Art Alliance
  • New Initiatives Award (Large) — Cash America, nominated by Junior Players
  • New Initiatives Award Medium) — UMB Bank, nominated by The Dallas Opera
  • New Initiatives Award (Small) — The Law Offices of Eric Cedillo, nominated by Cara Mia Theater
  • Distinguished Nonprofit Arts Organization — Dallas Film Society, nominated by ABCO Inc.
  • Outstanding Leadership Arts Alumnus Award — Zenetta Drew, nominated by Leadership Women
  • Business Champion for the Arts — Darrell Rodenbaugh, nominated by Plano Children’s Theatre and North Texas Performing Arts
  • Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader — Mark Roglán, nominated by Patricia Meadows

According to 2016 Obelisk Awards Luncheon Co-Chair Dotti Reeder, ““Now in its 28th year, The Obelisk Awards reflect a pantheon of businesses large and small that have made this region one of the nation’s most creatively vibrant.”

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Another highlight of the luncheon will be the keynote speaker — Dallas Symphony Orchestra lead trumpet Ryan Anthony. Obelisk Awards Luncheon Co-Chair Kevin Hurst summed up the choice of speaker by saying, “At the very essence of BCA’s mission is the intersection of business and arts. I think Ryan’s story how he leveraged his professional passion with his personal passion will be most compelling.”

Follow the jump for a detailed description of the awardees. [Read more…]

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Children’s Theater’s “The Who? Party”

According to Dallas Children’s Theater’s The Who? Party Co-Chair Karen Travis,

Karen Travis*

Karen Travis*

“Autumn is, hopefully, just around the corner and I’m brimming over with excitement not only for cool, crisp temperatures, but also for an annual event that has a special place in my heart, one that really makes a difference for children, Dallas Children’s Theater’s annual Family Party. As president-elect of this incredible organization, I’m honored to be chairing the party with Stephanie Nelson, fellow board member. It is a fitting closure for me as I embark upon a new chapter of service – board president beginning in January 2017.

“DCT’s ’16 – ’17 season starts with a splash, ‘Seussical, The Musical,’ the timeless favorite which has been absent from Dallas theaters with a cast of equity actors for quite a while. On Saturday, September 17, ‘The Who? Party’ guests, following a matinee of the show, will thrill to a fun-ladened afternoon featuring an on stage, interactive song and dance session led by a professional actor; a Seussical chairs contest with prizes for the most agile, and backstage access to learn about the secret sauce that goes into creating the colorful set designs and costumes. These activities will be followed by a scrumptious, Seussical-themed banquet, topped off with a farewell dance party in our spacious lobby.

“Funds raised via the event will ensure the legacy of an essential DCT program, The Student Matinee Performance Series. Because of this important initiative, over 40,000 children annually, primarily from Title 1 schools (free and reduced lunch eligible), are provided the opportunity to attend performances at a very reduced cost — children that otherwise would not be able to come to the theater to see the magic of the live performance.

“In my mind, there is nothing quite as fulfilling as seeing wide-eyed youngsters, ecstatic with anticipation, skip through hallways festooned with scores of brightly colored Truffula trees, hundreds of Hortonian clovers, and bouquets of Mayzie approved feathers. After seeing literature come to life on our stage, students always depart with a rewarding glow.  I’m honored that Dallas Children’s Theater has embraced my penchant for decorations of this sort, and they even let me put my darling husband, Ken Travis, to work for the cause as well. 🙂

Ken and Karen Travis*

Ken and Karen Travis*

“Everyone at Dallas Children’s Theater truly believes in the words of the sweet sage, Horton… ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small.’ These words perfectly reflect our mission — all children truly do deserve to experience the magic of live theater!

“While after three years, I’m proud to say the party is always sold out, right now, sponsorships and tickets are still available for this wonderful and worthwhile event. So, anyone interested should not wait another minute to sign up.  To learn more, go to our Who? Party web page or call DCT at 214-978-0110. Your presence and your contributions help us keep feeding the minds and souls of young people with boundless creativity.”

* Photos provided by Karen Travis

JUST IN: 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Plans Revealed

Roger and Marena Gault

Roger and Marena Gault

Last night as most folks sweated in the first day of August, the 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala hierarchy looked cool as they were updated at the Meyerson on plans for the Friday, September 16, black- tie reception, dinner, concert and after-party. More about the announcement party in days to come, but for now here’s the news that was revealed.

According to Gala Co-Chairs Marena and Roger Gault, unlike years past there will be no official theme. It’s just gonna be a heck of a lot of fun and a heck of lot of fine music, thanks to DSO Music Director Jaap Van Zweden and evening headliner pianist Lang Lang.

As for the décor, it’s still a work in process. There were three examples of what just might be the finished product. But word has it that the black tablecloths are a probable winner. The clear chairs have proven to be in the lead, too.

Sherwood Wagner

Sherwood Wagner

Nobody was talking about the menu, since the tasting had just been held earlier in the day. And that’s a story in itself. But more about that later.

With Honorary Chair pretty-in-pink Sherwood Wagner and Underwriting Co-Chairs Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl looking on with big smiles, it was also revealed that despite not having a title sponsor this year, ticket sales are ahead of last year. In fact, they’ve already reached 88 percent of their goal. One insider confidently predicted that the evening will be a sell-out.

Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl

Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi Hoyl

Stay tuned for coverage of the announcement party and updates as they develop. And, get your tickets now before it’s too late. And if you have your places reserved, then go shopping. This event is the first right-official black-tie event of the fall season and it’s a fashion showcase.