Dallas Historical Society’s Awards For Excellence In Community Services Recipients Displayed Insight And Graciousness In Accepting Their Honors

While the Dallas Historical Society‘s 2017 Awards for Excellence in Community Services crowds gathered outside the Fairmont’s International Ballroom, the VIPs and 2017 Awardees attended a private reception in the Venetian Room on Thursday, November 9. For some it was a great opportunity for people whose paths had never crossed to meet up.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

Diane Bumpas and Bill Helmbrecht

Caro Stalcup

Joan Walne, Mary Suhm and Laurie Evans

For instance, historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was almost giddy meeting former Police Chief David Brown. Speaking of David, he reported that due to his ABC contract, he was splitting his time between Dallas and New York City… Across the way, Laurie Evans was doing the swivel head looking for her husband Dr. Phil Evans to arrive. She knew he would be there, but when? … Already on the scene were past Award recipients Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, who were there to celebrate Kern’s brother Hobson Wildenthal’s being recognized for his work in education…. Patricia Meadows reported that the family home in the State Thomas neighborhood was on the market… and others like Joan and Alan Walne, Mary McDermott Cook, Louise Caldwell, Diane Bumpas, Caro Stalcup, Mary Suhm, Creative Arts Awardee Carolyn Brown, Arts Leadership Awardees Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller and Sports Leadership Awardee Tony Dorsett with his wife Janet Dorsett.

Louise Caldwell

Marnie and Kern Wildenthal and Mary McDermott Cook

Janet and Tony Dorsett

Phil Evans


Just moments before the chimes called the group to the luncheon, Laurie was relieved to see her husband arrive with a big smile. Seems he had gotten an early Christmas gift — a million-dollar grant —from an “anonymous” donor. That’s a pretty darn good excuse for a delayed arrival.

The ballroom was filled to the max, as people like Jill Bernstein, Sandi Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Gail Thomas and Lee Cullum took their seats. At 11:50 a.m., Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas called the group to order. Following an invocation by St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church Rev. Chris Girata, Stewart introduced Luncheon Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery, who welcomed the group. They were followed by Dallas Historical Society Chair Bill Helmbrecht, who officially thanked all for attending and supporting the society.

Kaysie Montgomery and Carol Montgomery

All of this was done within six minutes! Promptly at high noon, Stewart reported that the program would continue in a few minutes and guests should settle back for lunch. Missing in action was table host Bobby Lyle, who was under the weather, but his table was filled with Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean… Arriving just after luncheon was underway was Shirley Miller.

Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean

At 12:25 p.m. Stewart was back at the podium and invited the award recipients to take their places in chairs on the stage.

Some of the highlights from the acceptance speeches were:

Carolyn Brown and Hobson Wildenthal

  • Hobson Wildenthal for Education — The University of Texas at Dallas Executive VP recalled how 50 years ago TI was created and the UTD resulted. 157 National Merit Scholars were in this year’s freshman class and it was designated as the Best U.S. College less than 50 years old. He finished saying, “Margaret McDermott is the queen of Dallas.”
  • Steve Pounders for Health/Science — The internist told how in 1981 he was just starting his care and discovered a disease that was affecting young men that would late become known as AIDs. It would become his life’s calling resulting in his serving as the primary physician for men in the Dallas Buyers Club. He thanked Veletta Lill, Resource Center’s Cece Cox and his spouse James O’Reilly.
  • Willis Winters for History — The Dallas Park and Recreation Department Director gave thanks for the recent passage of the bond: “One of the first projects will be the restoration of the Hall of State.”
  • Jorge Baldor for Philanthropy — The Cuban-born businessman acknowledged that 800,000 have been the recipients of DACA and encouraged audience members to support the Dream Act. He went on to thank the event and kitchen staffs and finished by reporting that several hundred students are living under bridges and still going to school.

Then the most poignant moment came unexpectedly. It was when former Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett accepted his award for sports. He admitted that he was a little taken aback by the people, and went on to recognize the late Cowboys Coach Tom Landry, who made Tony understand that things were going to be tougher in the NFL. Landry held Tony back and it taught the young football player patience.  Tony went on, saying, “I was always told that I was too small, time and time again.” Through effort and determination, he was able to play in the NFL for 13 years.  

Looking at the other recipients seated on stage, he went on to saying “These are fantastic and incredible people up here.”

He thanked his wife Janet saying, “What I’m going through is tough, and she puts up with me. It can be really difficult and she understands that that’s not the real me. This is tough.”

Having gone beyond his two-minute limit, Janet was seen quietly approaching the side of the stage. Tony heard her say, “Tony,” and he took note and sat down.

Moments later David Brown took his place at the podium to accept the Jubilee History Maker Award. He could have easily sucked the air out of the room for his leadership for the July 7 tragedy. Instead, David rallied the audience to give Tony another round of appreciation. The applause was deafening for both Tony and David’s act of graciousness.

David went to tell how his father hadn’t wanted him to be “a cop.” But on the day when he was made a lieutenant at the Hall of State, he had what would be the last conversation with his father, who said “You were right in your choice.”

Then David went further back in his history, telling how in fourth grade, he had played Captain George Ludwig von Trapp in the “Sound of Music.” The students had to do more than learn their roles. They had to research the backstory of the musical. Today he had become nostalgic when seeing the white flowers on the tables and hearing the musician play “Edelweiss” — the last song Richard Rodgers wrote with Oscar Hammerstein.

Tying it all together, he said, “Remember who we are, what we stand for, how we should treat each other.” Then he voiced disappointment at the lack of participation in the recent election.

At 1:14 p.m., Bill Helmbrecht returned to the stage and invited all to take part in the annual A.C. Greene Toast.

For more pictures of the day, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball’s 452-Page “Children’s Book” Is Unveiled Today Thanks To Wells Fargo Private Bank

Today the Crystal Charity Ball elves committee members donned their “Alpine” sweaters and started schlepping flowers, favors and all kinds of goodies at the Anatole in preparation for Saturday night’s “Evening in the Alps.”

In addition to the activity, 2017 CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers revealed a first for CCB. According to Leslie, the legendary “Children’s Book” that will be given to guests was being sponsored by Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Leslie Diers, Phil White, Pam Perella and Elizabeth Gambrell

On hand for the delivery and the unveiling of the 452-page book by 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and 2017 “Children’s Book Chair” Elizabeth Gambrell was Wells Fargo Private Bank DFW and Oklahoma Regional Director Phil White.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to get one of these keepsakes, you’ll have a wonderful time checking the beautiful photos of area children photographed and donated by John Derryberry Photography, James French Photography, Gittings and Haynsworth Classic American Portraiture.

Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon Features A STEM Pioneer—And A Surprise

Leave it to the Dallas Women’s Foundation to host a great annual luncheon—even when things don’t go exactly according to plan. That was the case on Friday, October 20, when the nonprofit presented its 32nd Annual Luncheon, titled “She Who Dares,” at the Hilton Anatole. The keynote speaker was Dr. Hope Jahren, a famous geobiologist whose research focuses on plants and who uses her platform to address the issue of gender bias in the STEM field.

As guests including Margaret Keliher, Mary Martha Pickens, Lyda Hill, and Thear Suzuki packed the Anatole ballroom, luncheon Co-Chairs A. Shonn Brown and Lisa Singleton welcomed them, declaring that “the ballroom is completely sold out!” They also announced that Lyda, who “loves supporting women in science,” had made a generous gift enabling Hope’s keynote talk to be live-streamed to 10,000 girls and young women at 20 different schools across Texas.

Following a video about three women in fields where females are under-represented—they were Jennifer Stimpson, an educator and scientist; Dr. Lucy Gildea, a chief science officer; and Dr. Amy Ho, an emergency physician—NexBank CEO John Holt revealed that the bank would match, dollar for dollar, all donations made during the luncheon, up to $100,000. The number to text was shown on the big screens, and by 11:51 the foundation had already raked in nearly $50,000.

Following an excellent lunch—butternut squash soup, roasted chicken breast, and two desserts—Foundation President and CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson described the little packets of STEM Trading Cards (each one featured a woman blazing trails in STEM) that were being handed out, and noted that the tote board was rapidly approaching $72,000. Ros then introduced Hope, whom Ros said had written a memoir (“Lab Girl”) that “made me cry and made me laugh.”

With that, it was time for Hope’s much-anticipated keynote. Mixing humor about her Minnesota roots (“If you come to a place where they sell maple syrup and night crawlers—out of the same cooler—you’ve gone to Canada. Turn around and go back”) with a touching vulnerability (describing the lessons she learned from her late father), the unassuming scientist did not disappoint. She also talked about her study of, and love for, plants, which she said do all the things other living things do—except they can’t move.

Hope then described building a laboratory, with materials from Home Depot and Radio Shack, where she studies plants in plexiglass boxes, and how she’s used a $1,000 video camera to document how plants grow. In fact, she went on, she took a photograph of certain plants every 10 minutes for four days straight, aiming to document exactly how “alive” they really are. And, lucky us, we were about to see the result of her photographic efforts up on the giant screen.

Except, we really weren’t. It seems that, for whatever reason, Hope’s laptop screen had frozen, preventing the further projection of any images at all. “Let’s try the next slide,” she called out, to no avail. A technician rushed onstage and fiddled with a few things, but he had no luck, either. “I’m going to go forward and read from the book,” Hope said coolly, “and I’m sure that the powers-that-be will look at this” in the meantime.

Alas, that wasn’t to be, either. Proving the value of a good A/V person, if nothing else.

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

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

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

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

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

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

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Keith Cerny (File photo)

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

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

Katherine Wagner (File photo)

Mary Anne Alhadeff (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

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

Tickets start at $150 and are available here!

* Photo provided by Business Council For The Arts

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

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Obelisk Awards Luncheon

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

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

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

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

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

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

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

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

* Photo provided by Business Council for the Arts


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

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

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

Larry Glasgow

Kevin Hurst

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

Ryan Anthony, Nancy Nasher and Jonathan Martin

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

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

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

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

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Dallas Zoo

According to Dallas Zoo intern Lauren Lombardo*,

The dog days of summer may be here, but the Dallas Zoo knows just how to get families off the couch with a wild outdoor adventure. We’re debuting new exhibits and more than 2,000 animals that are sure to please the whole family. So pack a cooler and join us from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily!

Simmons Hippo Outpost*

Our new Simmons Hippo Outpost features a 24-foot by 8-foot underwater viewing window that’ll bring guests eye-to-nostril with these majestic “river horses” as they swim around their African waterhole. The exhibit is the first major addition to the Dallas Zoo since Giants of the Savanna opened in 2010, and offers an elevated view of our hippos from the Wilds of Africa Safari monorail—trust us, you’re going to want to bring the camera. Catch a daily hippo keeper chat at 2:30 p.m., and you might just see these hefty herbivores munch on a head of lettuce.

You can also find more than 80 large scale photos throughout the Zoo as part of the National Geographic Photo Ark exhibition. These larger than life images are perfect for snapping selfies or striking a pose with your favorite animal. We’re one of only three zoos showcasing this incredible collection of photos by photographer Joel Sartore through Sept. 4.

If that’s not enough, we’re currently in the midst of an adorable baby boom! Little lion cub Bahati and giraffe calf Tsavo are making daily appearances in their habitats. You can see Bahati play with mom Lina and aunt Jasiri in the Wilds of Africa as well as hand feed giraffes at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge.

Admission is free for children age 2 or under and Zoo Members, $12 for children age 3-11 and seniors over age 64, and $15 for adults age 12-64.

* Much to the disppointment of the staff, Friday was Lauren’s last day at the Zoo 
** Photo provided by the Dallas Zoo

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.

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

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

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

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

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

For Businesses:

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

For Individual Business Leaders:

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

For Individual Arts/Cultural Leaders:

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

For Nonprofit Arts/Cultural Organizations:

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

Larry Glasgow (File photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

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

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

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

The other two initiatives, are

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

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

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

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.

Come Rain Or Shine, Sunday’s “Change Is Good” Is On

If you believe the weather guessers, lower temperatures and wet stuff are coming to the ‘hood this weekend. It will be nice to have the cooler weather. As for the rain, lawns will appreciate it, but event planners like the Plano Balloon Festival, the 6th Annual 5K “One Run” and Flight of the Monarch Festival may be tapping into their back-up plans.

Just heard from Community Partners of DallasJoanna Clarke about the status of Sunday’s 10th annual Change Is Good. Usually the outdoor/indoor kids’ fest turns Brook Hollow Golf Club into a mini-Six Flags Over Texas complete with mammoth bounce houses and bungee jumping.

Change Is Good Come Rain Or Shine*

Change Is Good Come Rain Or Shine*

Okay, so maybe the bungee jumping won’t be work in the ballroom, but the CPD team has managed to have a bounce house be bopping in the ballroom. In addition, there will be loads of face painting, sugary delights, games, prizes, music by DJ Bill Cody and the Rad Hatter, who will be making super-duper hats. BTW, both Bill and Rad have been part of the fun since it started ten years ago.

Cellphone photo alert: There will a huge “10” in balloons that will be a perfect spot for a photo of the munchkins.

It will be the perfect way to spend a wet afternoon (3 to 6 p.m.) with the kids just before the Cowboys play the Bears at 7:30. And do try to stay until the end because there’s gonna be a surprise.

So typical of CPD, they’re turning a rainy day into a play day. After all a little “change is good.”

JUST IN: Business Council For The Arts’ Obelisk Awards Luncheon Plans Announced With Ryan Anthony As Keynote Speaker

Since arriving in North Texas, Neiman Marcus Director of Charitable Giving and Association Volunteerism Kevin Hurst has rolled up his shirt sleeves and loosened his bow tie to get involved with the local nonprofit community. Yes, just a few days ago, he eloquently wrote about the business sector’s behind-the-scenes networking to support nonprofit projects. But he’s more than an articulate writer, a NM employee and a more-than-should-be-allowed fun dinner partner.

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Dotti Reeder*

Dotti Reeder*

Last year he chaired the Business Council for the ArtsObelisk Awards and Luncheon. He had so much fun taking on the very successful fundraiser, he agreed to co-chair this year’s Obelisk along with Tolleson Wealth Management’s Dotti Reeder.

Already the Hurst-Reeder team reports that the event will take place at the Belo Mansion on Monday, November 7 (aka Election Day eve) with North Texas Public Broadcasting President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff returning as emcee.

Mary Anne Alhadeff**

Mary Anne Alhadeff**

Ryan Anthony**

Ryan Anthony**

While the honorees will be selected in August, the keynote speaker has already been locked down. It will be Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principle trumpet Ryan Anthony.

Yup, it’s the same Ryan Anthony, who has been the driving force of Cancer Blows and has beaten the heck out of multiple myeloma. But he also appreciates the support of the business community in both his professional and personal lives.

According to Ryan, “I am grateful to the businesses that recognize and support the importance of arts in our community. They are the reason the symphony, the museums and the entire Arts District are able to exist and make Dallas such a wonderful place to live and work.”

It is that point of view that impressed Kevin, who said, “What I found to be most intriguing, is the correlation between Ryan’s professional arts passion and how he has leveraged it to become his personal passion…which to me embodies the very essence of the BCA mission.”

Stay tuned (no pun intended). As soon as Dotti and Kevin reveal the honorees, we’ll let you know. Until then, check out sponsorship and ticket opportunities.

* Photo credit: Jan Osborn 
** Photo provided by Business Council For The Arts

Tis The Time To Selfie Practice For The Perfecto Photo

Summer is usually dedicated to perfecting tans and stamping out cellulite. However, in preparation for the upcoming fundraising season that promises loads of photo opportunities, summer school may be required for just how to perfect the most flattering pose. So, over the 4th of July holiday weekend, why not check out some of these pretty-as-a-picture ideas?

  • Unless you’re still hoping to get your driver’s license or pledge that ultimate fraternity/sorority, you might have started worrying about the infamous “turkey neck.” You know what that is. It’s that crepey stuff that overnight appears just below your chin and above your clavicle. (Shoot, what the heck is a clavicle?) Here’s a tip on how to hide it when facing a lens. Lift your tongue behind your front teeth. It will force your neck muscles to tighten up. Once your tongue is hitting your teeth, extend your chin and tilt your head.
  • When it comes to your hands, there’s a choice. You can either be a showgirl type and put that manicured hand on your hip, or you can bravely drop your hands to your sides with just the slightest air between your arm and body like Laura Bush, Ruth Altshuler or Queen Elizabeth II. Stop and think about this one. Can you really imagine Kate Middleton doing the hand-to-hip?  But shoot! Kate’s ain’t a showgirl.
  • Unless you’ve perfected the killer-straight-on look, angle your face with a simple tilt of the head. If you’re in a group photo, you’re gonna be the one that looks so not-with-the-herd.
  • Please don’t take the upside down “V” position with your legs. Looks tacky and you’re so not into tacky. How about recalling your pre-K ballet lessons and assuming the fourth position (definitely not second) or simply crossing your legs at the calf? Hips will appear slimmer and legs longer.
  • Don’t smile too big or you’ll look like Jack Nicholson’s Joker or his sister. And please don’t smear too much red lipstick on those luscious lips. You’ll scare the youngsters looking like a vampire.
  • Stand up straight. Remember when your mom’s index finger would hit that special spot in your spine to make you change from slumping to up straight? You’re all grown up and don’t need maternal digital instructions.
  • On the other hand, don’t stand ramrod straight. By standing at a slight angle, you’ll look slimmer and less like you’re posing for a mug shot.
  • Raise your eyebrows. Why? Because when eyebrows are raised, eyes are more likely not to be shut. Closed eyes end up on the cutting room floor.
  • If you’re outside, take your sunglasses off.
  • Men should button jackets.
  • Put out your favorite sleeveless dress and stand in front of a mirror. Now, lift your arms straight out. If they seem to remind you of a bat thanks to a bit of cellulite and extra skin, then it’s time to retire your sleeveless days or start lifting weights to get the tone back in your tony arms.
  • Go ahead and take some selfies to practice the right pose for you. Then when the season hits, you’ll know just how to pose.

Here is a website with suggestions. And another one.

2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb Ball Underwriters Are Feted At Brook Hollow Golf Club

While the Cattle Baron’s ladies were checking out Herrera fashions, Phyllis Cole McKnight and Steve McKnight arrived for dinner with friends at Brook Hollow, only to be greeted by servers with trays of appetizers and grown-up libations.

Asking a friend what was going on, Phyllis learned that the underwriters of the 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debutante Presentation were being celebrated with a cocktail reception and seated dinner in the Oak Room.

As guests were greeted by DSOL Deb Presentation Chair Nancy Labadie in the main dining room, they discovered the James French portraits of the 2016 debs lining the Verandah.

James French debutante portraits

James French debutante portraits

Nancy Labadie

Nancy Labadie

Sharon and Roy Popham and Barbara Averitt

Sharon and Roy Popham and Barbara Averitt

It was in the Verandah that 2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Co-Chairs Marena and Roger Gault said news about the big DSO Fall fundraiser was on hold until after the deb ball on Saturday, February 20, at the Meyerson.

In the Oak Room, Barbara Averitt and Sharon and Roy Popham were making a check of the dinner arrangements.

Kenny Novorr and Dixey Arterburn and Linda Burk and John Gilmore

Kenny Novorr and Dixey Arterburn and Linda Burk and John Gilmore

While double-deb mom Simona Beal had to be MIA due to son Robbie Beal’s basketball game in McKinney, deb parents Lisa and Clay Cooley made it after Lisa’s spending most of the day at the Crystal Charity Ball beneficiary selection meeting.

Other guests included Cynthia Beaird, Dixey Arterburn, Kenny Novorr and Linda Burk and John Gilmore.

Annual AT&T PAC Chairman’s Dinner Has Guests ‘Feeling Groovy’

Matrice and Ron Kirk*

Matrice and Ron Kirk*

At a reception just before the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s fourth annual Chairman’s Dinner on Thursday, January 14, about 100 people had gathered on the Shannon and Ted Skokos Stage inside the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. Smack in the middle of the gathering, which consisted of the center’s board members, major donors and sponsors, Matrice Ellis-Kirk was talking about her goal as the AT&T PAC’s new board chair.

“It would be to make the center more accessible to all of Dallas, for it to be a venue for all of Dallas,” Matrice said. “It’s letting the community know about things that are happening in advance. … This place is a chance to bring the community together,” she continued. “Not enough people know about it.”

Margaret Jordan, Jeremy Halbreich, Caren Prothro and Nancy Halbreich*

Margaret Jordan, Jeremy Halbreich, Caren Prothro and Nancy Halbreich*

All around her, partygoers like Chris Heinbaugh were dressed in 1970s disco-style garb, befitting the evening’s “Feeling Groovy” theme. The guests, many of them sipping on specialty cocktails by Alsolut Elyx Vodka, included Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Nancy and Jeremy Halbreich, Caron Prothro, Tincy Miller, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Adriana and Guillermo Perales, Julie and Ken Hersh and Ron Kirk.

Adriana and Guillermo Perales*

Adriana and Guillermo Perales*

Howard and Fanchon Hallam*

Howard and Fanchon Hallam*

Not far away from Matrice’s husband—who’d shed his tie quickly after noting the disco scene—the president and CEO of the AT&T PAC, Doug Curtis, was saying the last year had been a good one for the center. “Our resident companies are doing better than ever, and we’ve got great shows coming up,” Curtis said. “Our annual fund and our sponsorships remain strong … they never let us down.” Then, echoing Matrice, he added: “We want everybody in Dallas to know the center is theirs. It’s not just for the elite.”

Alexandra McHugh, Gerardo Galvan and Rebecca Neumann*

Alexandra McHugh, Gerardo Galvan and Rebecca Neumann*

A short while later, Matrice formally welcomed the guests to “a far-out and groovy night,” adding with a smile, “I never thought I’d say that about the ’70s!” At that, the big, iconic Moody Foundation Chandelier was slowly lowered with a flourish, lights turning it a “psychedelic” red, purple, and green as a medley of ’70s disco tunes blared from the sound system. Then everyone headed backstage, where there was a feast waiting for them by Wolfgang Puck Catering, a retro Volkswagen Bus Photo Booth for snapshots, and, much later, dancing into the night to the band Cuvee.

* Photo credit: Nate Rehlander

Obelisk Awards Luncheon Honored The Partnership Of Business And The Arts With A Heartfelt Theme

The sun was shining on Friday, November 13, and the temps were just a kiss of perfection. It was just one of those rare, perfect days in North Texas. Sure, it was Friday the 13th, but that’s what scary movies were about and old wives tales.

In fact just the opposite, awards were rightfully being hand out around noon and heroes were being honored. Ret. Gen. Tommy Franks was regaling luncheoners at the Stars and Stripes Film Festival fundraiser at the Dallas Country Club.

Downtown at the Fairmont, oldtimers of the Business Council for the ArtsObelisk Award luncheon were in for a surprise. “A symbol of excellence awarded to businesses and business leaders for their support of the arts and culture in North Texas” had gotten a facelift, thanks to local glass artist Jim Bowman.

Running pretty much on schedule, Dr. Eric Olson, despite his heavy credential that include countless papers, expertise on heart disease and being a member of the UT Southwestern’s “Transactivators,” did a gangbuster job telling the sold-out audience how the heart’s importance ranged from the biological to the metaphysical. His talk was eloquent, but never went over the heads of guests.

To top off his talk, he donned his guitar and his harmonica and sang Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” The review was a standing ovation.

Following his address, North Texas Public Broadcasting President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff announced the recipients of the Obelisk awards. Drum roll! Here they are:

  • Arts Partnership Award — Spec’s Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods nominated by University of North Texas, College of Music; Neiman Marcus Willow Bend nominated by North Texas Performing Arts and Plano Children’s Theatre and The Dallas Weekly nominated by Dallas Black Dance Theatre
  • New Initiatives Award — Virgin America nominated by Dallas Film Society; NorthPark nominated by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Beyond The Horizon nominated by Undermain Theater
  • Arts Education Award — Atmos Energy Corporation nominated by WaterTower Theatre and Stephen A. Waldman of Waldman Bros nominated by Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance
  • Outstanding Alumnus Award — Edwin Cabaniss of The Kessler Theater nominated by Steven Roth
  • Outstanding Nonprofit Organization Award — Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts nominated by Neiman Marcus

The brief acceptance speeches ranged from Nancy Nasher’s poignant acceptance on behalf of NorthPark to Kessler Theater’s Cabaniss, who recalled Business Council founder/the late Ray Nasher’s response to two questions posed during a hard-hat tour of the Nasher Sculpture Center:

  • Where did he get a passion for the arts? — “It was my mom and dad. They didn’t have a lot of means. We were living in the boroughs of New York. But they made a commitment to me and my siblings that at least once a month they would take us in to the city to explore some of these wonderful creations and some of this great art that was taking place in New York City. A lot of those times they had to go when the museum was free or when the symphony was playing at a discounted time period.”
  • Why Dallas? — “Although I grew up in New York, Dallas is home.”


2015 Obelisk Awardees Are Announced High Atop The Mayfair

High atop the Mayfair in the Sky Club, the world looked glitteringly perfect on the evening of Tuesday, October 6. With a magnificent view of downtown Dallas and Turtle Creek, it was so amazing that even those with a hint of vertigo at the Business Council for the Arts event sloughed the malady off for the night.

Lee Papert and Susan Stich

Lee Papert and Susan Stich

The gathering including BCA Board Chair Larry Glasgow, Janice Evans-Page, Barbara Daseke, Lee Papert, Richard Eiseman, Susan Stich, Randall White, Dotti Reeder, David Haemisegger, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer was to reveal The Obelisk Awardees that will be recognized at The Fairmont on Friday, November 13.

Katherine Wagner and Randall White

Katherine Wagner and Randall White

Originally called the Business Committee for the Arts, the art-supporting nonprofit was the brainchild of the late Ray Nasher. Established in 1987, it was created to bring together the Dallas business community and the arts. Over the years, the organization transitioned into Business Council for the Arts. But it stayed within the Nasher family, when daughter Nancy Nasher took over the role of Founder’s Chair. The Obelisk Awards were created “to salute North Texas businesses and community leaders who have immeasurably enriched arts and culture in the region through partnership, leadership and education.”

Ben Fischer, Laree Hulshoff and Jim Bowman

Ben Fischer, Laree Hulshoff and Jim Bowman

This year’s awardees are:

  • Atmos Energy Corporation nominated by WaterTower Theatre
  • Beyond the Horizon nominated by Undermain Theatre
  • Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Plano Children’s Theatre
  • Edwin Cabaniss nominated by Steven Roth
  • Neiman Marcus Willow Bend nominated by North Texas Performing Arts and Plano Children’s Theatre
  • NorthPark Center nominated by Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Spec’s Wines, Spirits And Finer Foods nominated by the University of North Texas, College of Music
  • Stephen A. Waldman nominated by the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance
  • The Dallas Weekly nominated by Dallas Black Dance Theatre
  • Virgin America nominated by Dallas Film Society
Kevin Hurst and Larry Glasgow

Kevin Hurst and Larry Glasgow

The 2015 Obelisk Award Host Committee Chair Kevin Hurst and BCA Board Chair Larry Glasgow revealed that North Texas Public Broadcasting President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff will serve as luncheon emcee, and the special presenter will be Dr. Eric Olson, director of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine and professor and chair of molecular biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

One change in this year’s presentation is the Obelisk Award itself. Breaking with tradition of a tall piece of art, glass artisan Jim Bowman has created a transparent purple, kidney-shaped bowl to be presented to the awardees.

Trinity Trust Rat Pack And River Rats Had A Good Look At The Sun To Moon

Oops! The MySweetCharity elf in charge of hitting the “Publish” button missed this scheduled post that was to have appeared on Wednesday. It threw the MSC lineup into a tizzy. Before heading to the muchly dreaded “Bad Elf Corner,” the elf apologizes to the Trinity rodents for the delay.

The Trinity Trust Rat Pack and River Rats didn’t take the summer off. As the Margaret McDermott Bridge got back into full throttle after the spring storms, the Rats gathered at Sun to Moon Gallery on Tuesday, August 4, for “Nature in Our Backyard: The Trinity River & Great Trinity Forest.” Here’s a report from the field:

Photo by Scot Miller*

Photo by Scot Miller*

“Surrounded by stunning images and video of the Trinity River Corridor and Great Trinity Forest, more than 50 of The Trinity Trust Rat Pack and River Rat members enjoyed an evening at an exclusive showing at Sun to Moon Gallery’s exhibition, ‘Nature In Our Backyard: The Trinity River & Great Trinity Forest.’ With breathtaking images of the Trinity River at flood stage and of the many beautiful creatures that live in the corridor, gallery owner and photographer Scot Miller said, ‘This is right in our backyard. We get to see this every day and it is amazing.’

Chico Holland, Gail Thomas, Allison Holland and Scot Miller*

Chico Holland, Gail Thomas, Allison Holland and Scot Miller*

“Admiring the work and enjoying cocktails and conversations included guests such as The Trinity Trust President Gail and Bob Thomas, Susie and Bryan Bailey, City Manager A.C. Gonzalez and Melinda Ann Marcus, Judy and Patrick Kelly, Council member Monica Alonzo, Allison and Chico Holland, and Trinity Chicks Tierney Kaufman, Janie Bush and Amber Arseneaux.

Melinda Ann Marcus and Gonzalez*

Melinda Ann Marcus and Gonzalez*

“‘What Scot Miller and these photographers have done is incredible in capturing the beauty we have in the middle of Dallas,’ said Thomas. ‘If everyone knew of the enchantment in this city, it would change the perception to one of nature.’

“The evening was hosted by The Trinity Trust, which raises private funds for the Trinity River Corridor Project amenities, and sponsored by Smith Group Asset Management, Texas Capital Bank, and Ben E. Keith. The exhibition at Sun to Moon Gallery is open to the public until August 22 and features fine photographic prints by Dan Burkholder, Scot Miller, Jill Skupin Burkholder and R.P. Washburne. From vivid digitally captured images, to stunning detail studies with film, the vast swath of nature through Dallas is captured with emotion and clarity.

Photo by R. P. Washburne*

Photo by R. P. Washburne*

“Join the Rat Pack or River Rats today to participate in upcoming cocktail events, grand openings, private paddling adventures on the Trinity River, Trails & Ales parties in the corridor and more.”

* Photos provided by The Trinity Trust

MySweetCharity Opportunity: The Obelisk Awards Luncheon

According to Neiman Marcus Group Director of Charitable Giving and Obelisk Chair Kevin Hurst,

Kevin Hurst*

Kevin Hurst*

“There is no better way to celebrate the extraordinary achievement that can be obtained when commerce and culture come together than at the 2015 Obelisk Awards benefitting the Business Council for the Arts.

“Since its inception in 1989, The Obelisk Awards, presented by Business Council for the Arts (BCA), have honored more than 200 companies of all sizes and industries throughout DFW.

“Founded by Ray Nasher in 1988, BCA strives to create strong business and arts partnerships that build world-class communities where people want to live, work, and grow. It is the only North Texas membership organization dedicated to building corporate investment and opportunities in the arts. ‘Having relocated from Chicago to Dallas two years, I have been impressed with the commitment of the city and corporations to create a thriving arts and culture community, and the role that Business Council for the Arts plays in that. At Neiman Marcus, we proudly continue our philanthropic legacy and in 2013, we announced our national funding priority to specifically support youth arts education.’ Research shows that students who receive an arts-infused education tend to matriculate and graduate at higher rates, score higher on the SAT, and become more creative problem solvers and engaged civic leaders.

2014 Obelisk Awards*

2014 Obelisk Awards*

“Historically, The Obelisk Awards have recognized the efforts of businesses and business leaders. I am pleased to announce two new awards. The BCA board of directors wants to also recognize the efforts of nonprofits that have developed a unique partnership opportunity with companies to advance the North Texas community. Additionally, we will honor a Leadership Arts alumnus who has excelled in arts leadership.

“The Obelisk Awards and Luncheon will be on Friday, November 13, 2015. at The Fairmont Dallas at 11:30 AM. For more information on tickets and table purchases, please contact Katie Smith, Director of Development at [email protected]

“There has been an illustrious and distinguished list of past honorees and chairs, and I am honored and humbled to take the reins. My goal is to help celebrate the accomplishments of my peers and raise awareness of the ongoing collaboration and funding needs for arts and culture.

“To learn more about the valuable programs of Business Council for the Arts, visit www.ntbca.org.”

* Photos provided by Business Council for the Arts

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Celebrates 30 Years Of Park Cities Fundraising With 40 Bowing Duchesses

A snapshot of the area in front of the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom on Saturday, June 13 — hundreds of splendiferously dressed Park Cities types in formal attire in the reception area and Southwest Airlines folks like recently retired pilot Randy Henderson and Phyllis Dooly passing by in beach attire.

The hotel was hosting the extremes on this night. The Southwest crew was holding its annual party for 2,500 in the Trinity Ballroom, while La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas was proving that Dallasites don’t let a little thing like summer slow down the formal fundraising activities.

While La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas (translation: The Celebration of the Six Flags) may seem like a mouthful of words, it has grown over the past 29 years to support countless organizations. This year’s crop included C.A.R.E., Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place/HPISD Be Project, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Model United Nations, HPHS Science Festival, HPHSA Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Pierce and Allie Beth Allman

Pierce and Allie Beth Allman

As part of the 29th year anniversary, La Fiesta founders Lindalyn Adams, Pierce Allman and Jennie Reeves were the honorary season co-chairs and were just downright giddy and amazed at how their little brainchild had grown into such a major event.

Back in 1986, their original purpose was to “save the oldest house in Highland Park from demolition by moving it to Old City Park.” That first event was held in Highland Park Village, with six duchesses representing Park Cities families “in historically accurate gowns representing the six flags of Texas.” Since that time more than $6.9M has been raised benefiting various Park Cities programs.

Mary Hubbard

Mary Hubbard

This night was the culmination of La Fiesta Co-Chairs Mary Hubbard’s and Lori Martin’s directing countless volunteers, who had arranged for 40 duchesses and their escorts to be officially presented to their families and friends. In the weeks leading up to the big night, there had been so much activity besides the creation of the gowns that reflected each duchess’s title. There had been numerous receptions held at private homes, the luncheon at Belo Mansion with the display of the gowns on dolls co-chaired by Tracy Martin and Jennifer Patterson, and now the gala itself that was being co-chaired by Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell.

2015 La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas escorts

2015 La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas escorts

In the ballroom, event photographer James French and his team were doing the formal portraits of the duchesses and escorts. That in itself was a special event. With one photographer atop a ladder, James had to raise his voice to be heard over the chatter of 80 duchesses and escorts. Sounding like a football coach trying to shout plays, he managed to get the 40 gents in white tie and tails in place for their photo. As soon as it was thumbs-up on that shot, he gave the marching orders for the duchesses to join their escorts on stage. This one was a wee bit more challenging. One duchess was hidden behind another couple. Calling duchesses and escorts by their names, it was apparent that James knew each and every one. After all, he had shot their individual portraits.

With some maneuvering of couples, the problem of the missing duchess was solved.

La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas duchesses and escorts

La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas duchesses and escorts

The third and final shot was of the duchesses only. Unlike the “guys’ photo set-up,” where the fellows were shoulder-to-shoulder, the ladies required spacing to allow for the best presentation of their full-length gowns.

Brooke Strodel and Dan Strodel

Brooke Strodel and Dan Strodel

Unlike other presentation balls, where the gowns are snow white, the 40 duchesses’ gowns looked like a collection of gems with the array of colors because each gown was to reflect the duchy represented. For instance, Brooke Strodel was Duchess of the Bluebonnet, so her light blue gown was highlighted by a full-length sash of blues.

As soon as James declared the shoot done, the duchesses made their way down the stairs from the stage to await their formal entry on stage escorted by their fathers, scheduled for 7 p.m.

Outside the ballroom, parents, family members and friends seemed almost giddy. Sure, there was a monsoon going on outside, but these folks were just pleased to have a reason to get all gussied up. It was nice to dress up after weeks of casual pool parties.

Lori Martin, Lindalyn Adams and Cory Martin

Lori Martin, Lindalyn Adams and Cory Martin

La Fiesta Co-Chair Loris Martin topped off her Monique Lhuillier gown with her grandmother’s bracelet and earrings from her husband Cory MartinAllie Beth Allman had recovered from her strep throat and was in Dior with husband Pierce in a Nazareno Gabrielli tuxedo that he’d gotten for his daughter’s wedding…Escort PJ Foster’s mom Tanya Foster in Michael Kors and husband Pete Foster were joined by Amy Davis in Stella McCartney. Amy was doing double duty with daughter Hannah Davis as a duchess and son Louis Horn V as an escort…Debbie Francis was surrounded by family. In addition to husband Jim Francis, her dad Bill Bobo, who was preparing to turn 91, was on hand for Debbie’s niece Kaelson Little’s presentation. Next on Debbie’s agenda is preparing for the Brain Health Performance groundbreaking in October… Others in the crowd included Peyton Porter, Allie Porter, Caroline Gould, Claude and Emilynn Wilson, Judy Marlow and escort/son Christopher Marlow, Dorothy Hino, Caroline Armistead, Taylor Foster, Anne Besser, Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell, Sarah Kate Welch, Caroline Rose Hunt, Rachel and Lance Koppa, Bonnie and Tom Pace and twin duchess mom Simona Beal with her mom Luda Guseivov and Bob Gibbs.

Dorothy Hino, Caroline Armistead, Taylor Foster and Sarah Kate Welch

Dorothy Hino, Caroline Armistead, Taylor Foster and Sarah Kate Welch

Tanya and Pete Foster and Amy Davis

Tanya and Pete Foster and Amy Davis

Judy Marlow and Christopher Marlow

Judy Marlow and Christopher Marlow

Luda Guseivov , Bob Gibbs and Simona Beal

Luda Guseivov , Bob Gibbs and Simona Beal

Stuart and Jennie Reeves

Stuart and Jennie Reeves

Looking at a display of past duchess gowns and old clippings, Honorary Co-Chair Jennie teased her husband Stuart Reeves about one that listed him as “Bob.” Jennie recalled how daughter Lucy Wrubel had been a duchess “the second year of La Fiesta” Adding to the memory bank, Stuart remembered moving the house that was saved that first year in the middle of the night. At one point in the move it barely cleared an overpass by inches. After the move was completed they had a margarita party at the original On The Border.

Clay and Chrissy Jenkins

Clay and Chrissy Jenkins

Judge Clay Jenkins with his wife Chrissy Jenkins admitted that this whole affair was new to him. He confided, “Under the heading of you can take the country boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy: what’s a debutante? I wikipedia’ed it today. Didn’t know what this was.”

But Clay soon found out firsthand when the doors to the Chantilly Ballroom opened just before 7. At 7:08 with more than 900 guests seated at their tables, the La Fiesta Herald Trumpets and Drum Corps led the parade of 40 escorts into the ballroom and up to the stage.

Procession of flags, trumpets, drums and escorts

Procession of flags, trumpets, drums and escorts

Following the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the escorts took their seats at the side of the stage. Mary and Lori thanked the numerous volunteers who had made the evening possible and Pierce addressed the group, recalling his days at Highland Park High and the importance of the event’s supporting Park Cities programs.

Then master of ceremonies Al Raya announced each duchess, describing both the duchy she represented as well as her accomplishments that impressed the adults in the audience. Most proud of the young women’s achievements were their dads, who escorted the duchesses onto the stage and up to the front of the runway and then center stage, where they bowed. Upon arising, they were presented with a white rose by their fathers and escorted to their places on the tiered stage by their escorts.

Lauren Beal and Andy Beal

Lauren Beal and Andy Beal

Loring Dalton and Samuel Dalton

Loring Dalton and Samuel Dalton

While some might have been confused by the interesting assortment of duchies, oldtimers explained that each duchy belonged to one of the six flags that had flown over the state of Texas, plus the La Fiesta flag. For instance, Lauren Beal was the Duchess of the United State representing the flag of the United States; Loring Dalton was Duchess of Highland Park representing the flag of La Fiesta; Lauren Sands was the Duchess of Cinco de Mayo representing the flag of Mexico, etc.

Lauren Sands and Patrick Sands

Lauren Sands and Patrick Sands

John McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

John McDaniel and Caroline McDaniel

As the presentation wore on, the whoops grew. Paige McDaniel admitted that her table just couldn’t resist cheering when her niece Caroline McDaniel was announced. However, she promised that decorum would be more in order when Caroline will be presented at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Gala on Saturday, February 20, at the Meyerson.

One La Fiesta vet confided that the hope was for the presentation to only take two hours. And that hope came true as the final duchess made her bow just before 9.

Then it was time to relax and join friends on the dance floor and for selfies.

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.