Dallas Children’s Theater Debuted Its Assistive Listening Devices Friday Thanks To A Crystal Charity Ball Grant

If the Crystal Charity Ball members have been MIA lately, it’s because they’re in the final days of selecting the 2018 beneficiaries.

Assistive Listening Device*

And to prove that the CCB’s fundings do pay off for Dallas County children, the Dallas Children’s Theater is a perfect example.

Thanks to a CCB grant provided in 2015 for sensory-friendly programming, the DCT is now offering Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) for shows in the Baker Theater.

It will be available for “patrons who would like some amplification of the dialogue, music and additional sound effects of DCT shows.”

Dallas Children’s Theater staff trying out ALD*

According to DCT Associate Artistic Director/Education Director Nancy Schaeffer, “We know that some audience members need help to hear all of the wonderful sounds of a live DCT show. Now they can use the Assistive Listening Devices for any show in the beautiful Baker Theater. No one needs to miss a beat or feel left out.”

Prior to ALDs, the DCT has offered American Sign Language interpreted performances.

The ALDs debuted Friday with the DCT’s first show of the 2018 season, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.”

* Photo provided by Dallas Children's Theater

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Tutu Chic Fashion Show And Luncheon

With mics from the left: Michelle Taylor and Robin Bangert

Perhaps New York-based designer Naeem Khan envisions graceful ballerinas when he creates his fashions. Perhaps not. Regardless, the Texas Ballet Theater dancers and Naeem’s clothes proved to be the perfect combination for the dancing and fashion presentation at the Tutu Chic Fashion Show and Luncheon on Tuesday, November 28, at the Winspear.

And to top off the day’s presentation on the Shannon and Ted Skokos stage, the live auction was a package of goodies that included everything from Naeem’s NYC Fashion Show Week to all types of activities and places in Dallas. Even Stanley Korshak headman Crawford Brock was amazed at how quickly the bidding started.

Texas Ballet Theater dancers

Texas Ballet Theater dancers

While the post is being prepared, check out the looks, the lifts and ladies at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Business Council For The Art’s 2017 Obelisk Awards Luncheon Was A Salute To The Arts And Business And A Swan Song For Two

Some of the 2017 Obelisk Awardees were wondering why the pre-luncheon VIP reception at the Belo on Wednesday, November 15, was starting at 10 a.m. After all, the luncheon wasn’t scheduled to start until noon. Still there were group photos to be taken and individual ones with VIP types like Business Council for the Arts Chair Nancy Nasher and mic tests. But this group was well versed into production and found themselves done with all the preparations within a half hour.

Luckily, there were plenty of things to catch up about and check out like the arrangement of the awards that were strategically positioned in front of the ballroom. The beautiful pieces of glass were the artwork by Dallas artisan Jim Bowman. This collection would be Jim’s swan song, since he and his wife Mary Lynn Devereux-Bowman were moving to North Carolina.

2017 Obelisk Awards by Jim Bowman

And speaking of swan songs, little did anyone suspect that this would be one of the awardee’s farewell appearances. But more about that later.

David Haemisegger, Nancy Nasher and Larry Glasgow

Carolyn Brown

James Faust

Niki Anthony

Across the room, the late art scribe Patsy Swank’s son, Sam Swank played his guitar as around 500 guests like  David Haemisegger, Business Council for the Arts Larry Glasgow, NorthPark crew (Billy Hines and Lona Crabb), Neiman’s Kevin Hurst, Nasher Sculpture Center’s Jeremy Strick, Jo Staffelbach Heinz and Andre Staffelbach, James Faust, Dotti Reeder, Carolyn Brown, Patricia Meadows and Dr. Richard Sachson waited for the ballroom doors to open.

At one point the entry of the guests came to a standstill as one Mercedes driver forgot something in her care and searched and searched for it with cars coming to a standstill in the Belo circular drive.

At 11:41 a.m. the doors opened and the room filled, but it took a couple of call-to-chairs by a voice over the PA. Even after taking their places, the crowd was in a talkative mood. Due to the chatter in the room, many didn’t realized that art-loving/real estate kingpin Craig Hall was appearing in a video on the screens at the front of the room. He was introducing the backstory of Jim’s creating the awards. Too bad because the process was both fascinating and a salute to the artist.

Following the videos, Business Council for the Arts Board Chair Larry Glasgow addressed the group and immediately the talk stopped. Perhaps if he had introduced the videos, more folks would have learned about the work that went into the awards that were underwritten by Craig.  

Steven Roth and Thai-Lan Tran

Luncheon Co-Chairs Dr. Thai-Lan Tran and Steven Roth spoked how the arts contribute to the well-being of people and that Keynote Speaker Karen Brooks Hopkins would be addressing the group in a few minutes.

For the next ten minutes, guests were put to the test of Etiquette 101. At many tables, some guests were served their lunches, while others didn’t. As forks stayed in place waiting for the rest of the table to be served, the chicken Provencal with asparagus and crispy potatoes cooled. A floor managed walked the room appearing to be satisfied with the progress, while more than one guest tried to grabbed the attention of a passing server. Eventually, plates made their way to the empty spots and no one starved.

At 12:15, Karen posed the question if the arts and business can help and provide real service? She believed the answer was a definite, “Yes.” Highlights of her talk included

  • Art is the only thing that endures over the years.
  • Too often art is dismissed as frivolous.
  • The arts only receive 5% of corporate philanthropy.
  • Inclusion of arts in low income neighborhoods results in positive ways.
  • The arts can be a powerful force for change.
  • Businesses must be incorporated in supporting the arts to get the job done.

In emphasizing the need for the need to appreciate corporate support, she recalled that during the 2008 recession, she was involved in a gala at which the head of the sponsoring bank was called to the stage and he was boo-ed. “It would be the long time before the bank would sign up again. I learned a hard lesson that night.”

Ryan Anthony

Finishing her talk at 12:28, Karen said that business should be creative in giving.

Next up was Nancy, who like a general taking command said, “We’re going to keep on schedule.” That said, she didn’t mince words and introduce Dallas Symphony Orchestra Lead Trumpet Ryan Anthony, who played three tunes making it seem so effortless. He finished up with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel.”

At 12:39 North Texas Public Broadcasting President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff took her place at the podium on the left side of the stage to announce the recipients including

From the left: (front row) : Keith Cerny, Nancy Carlson, Alexa Spears, Gail Sachson, Bill DiGaetano and Eddie Reyes; (back row) : Adam Conway, Kevin Hurst, Julius Pickenpack, Kathy Litinas, Javier Martinez and Jacques Marquis

  • The Arts Partnership Award
    • Large Business — Target
    • Medium Business — Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
    • Small Business — Angelika Film Center
  • The New Initiatives Award
    • Large Business — Corgan
    • Medium Business — West Village
    • Small Business — C.C. Communications
  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award — The Cliburn
  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award — Nancy Carlson
  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award — Keith Cerny
  • The Arts Education Award — Neiman Marcus Group
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award — Ask Me About Art/Gail Sachson
  • The Community Champion Award — Kathy Litinas

All gave touching and revealing acceptance speeches. They ranged from Nancy Carlson’s “It’s my privilege to support the arts” to Gail Sachson’s “Art is good for your eyes and all your other body parts. But it especially good for your heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Ironically, the last recipient was The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Keith Cerny who sounded like he was doing a Reader’s Digest version of the State-Of-The-Opera. In addition to achieving financial stability and gaining international recognition, his proudest achievement was the Linda and Mitch Hart program for women conductors.

Exactly one month later to the day, Keith would announce he was leaving The Dallas Opera to head up the Calgary Opera.

MySweetWishList: AT&T Performing Arts Center

According to AT&T Performing Arts Center Director of Education and Community Engagement Glynis Brault,

“Happy holidays, fellow Dallasites!

Motown the Musical*

“The nonprofit AT&T Performing Arts Center passionately believes that everyone deserves to experience the power and wonder of the arts. Our wish this holiday season is that you’ll join us in our efforts to educate, entertain and inspire audiences from every part of North Texas.

“The Center has a unique program called Community Partners. Working with social service agencies, we provide tickets to individuals and families who face challenging circumstances or have little to no access to the performing arts. Through this highly collaborative solution to the problem of arts access in North Texas, the Center provides approximately 1,500 free tickets each year to a variety of partner organizations. However, as a nonprofit arts foundation which presents shows rather than produces them, the Center must purchase the tickets we use for this program. Currently, Community Partners is supported by the visionary Donna Wilhelm Friendship Fund, Texas Commission on the Arts and individual contributions to our annual fund – from generous supporters like you!

AT&T Performing Arts Center **

“And the outcomes are exciting! Just ask Kamica King, a music therapist at The Bridge, a Community Partners agency which serves the homeless community. Last year she brought a group to see Grammy Award-winning blues musician Keb’ Mo’.

“’I wanted to say a huge thank you for the opportunity to bring Bridge guests to see Keb’ Mo’,’ said Ms. King, who turned the concert into a classroom and concert experience! ‘The cohort enjoyed learning about Keb’ Mo’ and his music, loved the show and had really great reflections on the experience as well. This would not have been possible without the generosity of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. You all do tremendous work to make the arts accessible and we are truly thankful. It is an honor to be a Community Partner!’

Winspear Opera House***

“Well, the feeling is mutual! We’re honored to partner with The Bridge. The same goes for all of our Community Partners which include The Family Place, HopeKids North Texas, Jonathan’s Place, Jubilee Park & Community Center, Lumin Education, Nexus Recovery Center Inc., Resource Center, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, Uplift Education – Peak Preparatory, Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation, Wesley-Rankin Community Center and Wilkinson Center.

“Our wish this holiday season? That you’ll help us continue serving all these great partners and the people they serve!

“Likewise, if you represent an agency that you’d like to see involved in Community Partners please let us know.

“Happy Holidays!”

-By Glynis Brault, AT&T Performing Arts Center director of Education and Community Engagement

* Photo credit: Nate Rehlander, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center
** Graphic provided by AT&T Performing Arts Center 
***Photo credit: Carter Rose, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: 2017 Obelisk Award Luncheon

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

2017 Obelisk Award (File photo)

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

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

Grovel Alert: Obelisk Award Luncheon

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

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

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

2017 Obelisk Award (File photo)

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

Remaining tickets are available here.

* Photo provided by Business Council for the Arts

Due To Bernadette Peter’s Signing Up For NYC’s “Hello, Dolly!,” Brian Stokes Mitchell And Sutton Foster Are On Their Musical Way To Save The Days

The busiest person in the entertainment business is songbird Bernadette Peter’s agent. In New York, s/he is celebrating Bernadette’s taking over Broadway in “Hello, Dolly!” in January. In North Texas, it’s another story. S/he is breaking hearts.

Seems that the signing of Bernadette for the iconic role meant she had to cancel her appearances locally. As a result, there have been a lot of calls made for replacements.

Due to rehearsals, Bernadette won’t even be able to headline the Dallas Summer Musical Gala on Saturday, November 4. Yipes! That’s less than three weeks away. But Co-Chairs Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld have signed up Tony Award-winning Brian Stokes Mitchell for the fundraiser at Fair Park’s Music Hall with a special performance by Katharine McPhee.   

Brian Stokes Mitchell*

Sutton Foster**

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra had planned on Bernadette for their April 6-8 concerts. They’ve just announced that they arranged for another Tony Award winner to appear — singer/dancer/actress Sutton Foster.

While Bernadette’s absence is a heartbreaker for her fans, it’s the opportunity to see and hear talents that have also made their Tony mark in the Big Apple. Who knows? They just might mend those broken hearts.

* Photo courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals 
** Photo courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

 

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

Kevin Hurst and Jeff Byron

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

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

Dotti Reeder

Keith and Jennifer Cerny

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

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

2017 Obelisk Award

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

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

Katherine Wagner

Steve Roth

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

Niki and Ryan Anthony

Nancy Nasher and Gail Sachson

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

Junior Players’ Annual Future Stars Celebration Will Have Its First Ever Honorary Chair — Kevin Hurst

The Junior Players nearly upstaged “Hamilton: An American Musical”’s Christopher Jackson at the 31st Attorneys Serving the Community luncheon in June. From the pop-up performance to the testimonies by former students, the 62-year-organization showed that it was still as youthful, creative and impressive as ever.

22nd Annual Future Stars Celebration*

Those elements will be on hand at the Frontiers of Flight Museum on Saturday, November 11, for the 22nd Annual Future Stars Celebration.  In addition to the food provided by Maguire’s Regional Cuisine, live and silent auctions, games, a wine pull, a photo booth and performances by students from Junior Players’ 2017 production of “Rent” and “Junior Players Presents: Metamorphosis,” they’ve added a new twist — an honorary chair.

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

According to Junior Players Board of Directors President Dana Roland, “Junior Players is proud to announce that Kevin Hurst of Neiman Marcus Group will be serving as the first-ever honorary chair for our signature annual event.”

Since arriving in Dallas in 2013, Kevin has been very active in all aspects of the North Texas nonprofit community. From his position as NM’s director of charitable giving to his personal involvement with a variety of charities, he’s been a supporter as well as a call-to-arms champ for the area.

When the crawl tubes from the Neiman’s holiday windows were being retired, Kevin arranged to have them installed at Spark. When the tornadoes hit North Texas, he toured the devastated area with the Red Cross to learn what was needed. When the July 7th police shooting took place, he expanded his reach to “his network of corporate philanthropic partners and focused on coordinating their efforts to maximize the impact of their contributions to our grieving community and the victims of violence.”

According to Kevin, “It is my pleasure to serve as the honorary chair for the Junior Players’ Future Stars Celebration. Since moving to Dallas in 2013, I have seen first-hand the tremendous impact they have on the lives of so many aspiring performers. Their mission to ensure students across DFW have access to and participate in the arts aligns perfectly with the mission of the Heart of Neiman Marcus’ foundation of funding youth arts education and experiences.”

Tyler Foundation has already signed up as the lead sponsor, but there are other opportunities, as well as tickets that are going for $80. Funds raised from the event will “help support all of Junior Players’ free after-school and summer arts education programs, which serve more than 14,000 children and teenagers every year.”

* Graphic courtesy of Junior Players

Former Barrister Nick Even Named WaterTower Theatre’s General Manager

Change takes place quickly. No sooner had WaterTower Theatre’s General Manager Greg Patterson announced his departure than the board announced his replacement. It will be blonde, legal eagle Nick Even, who proclaimed his love of the arts when he resigned from the law profession to pursue his arts passion after 30 years.

Nick Even (File photo)

According to Nick, “I am thrilled to share that as of October 1, 2017, I will begin serving as Managing Director of WaterTower Theatre. For my friends outside the Metroplex, WTT is a leading professional theatre company here in North Texas and – as fate would have it – served as my entry into arts non-profit boards after moving from New York. Eventually, I served as Board President in 2008. The theater has developed substantially since then, both financially and artistically, and I could not be more excited to help lead it in its next era of growth.

“I will be joining WTT’s recently named Artistic Director Joanie Schultz. Joanie came to WTT at the first of the year from Chicago, where she was Associate Artistic Producer at Victory Gardens Theater and a freelance director at both the Goodman and Steppenwolf, among numerous other theaters. Joanie has already been cited for Outstanding Direction by the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum for her WTT directorial debut: ‘Hit the Wall.’

“WTT’s new season will open officially on Monday, October 16 with the regional premiere of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ adapted from the Jane Austen novel by Kate Hamill, so I will be wasting no time in getting up to speed. 

“Other season programming includes The Great Distance Home (world premiere) by Kelsey Leigh Ervi; Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (regional premiere) by Quiara Alegría Hudes; Bread (world premiere) by Regina Taylor; Jason Robert Brown‘s musical “The Last Five Years; and Hand to God” (regional premiere) by Robert Askins. The season will also include “Detour,” a four-day festival of new work in March 2018. It’s a diverse and exciting season, to be sure. If you’d like to read more, you can visit: https://watertowertheatre.org/coming-soon.”

Sounds like Nick is already settling into his new role as things are shaking up north of LBJ.

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

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

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

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

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

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

Nancy Carlson (File photo)

Keith Cerny (File photo)

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

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

Katherine Wagner (File photo)

Mary Anne Alhadeff (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

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

Tickets start at $150 and are available here!

* Photo provided by Business Council For The Arts

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

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

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

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Linda and Bill Custard

Robyn Flatt and Wilson Tarver

Don and Carol Glendenning

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

John Baer, Katherine Wynne and Laura and Dennis Moon

Jessica Chandler

Diane and Hal Brierley

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

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

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

Celebration

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

Donna Wilhelm

Michelle Thomas

Katherine Bull and Jan Barboglio

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

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

Louis Murad and Cyndi Phelps

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

Auction sign holder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz (File photo)

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

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

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

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.