JUST IN: 2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Venise Stuart Reveals Categories for Annual Head-Turning Competition At The Dallas Arboretum

Venise Stuart (File photo)

2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Venise Stuart has put her thinking cap on and just revealed the categories for “A Garden By The Sea” on Thursday, April 12, at the Dallas Arboretum.

What’s the big deal? Well, until the categories are announced, hat designers and guests don’t have a clue how to create heady masterpieces in the hopes of winning one of the categories at the Women’s Council ofthe Dallas Arboretum’s 30th annual fundraiser.

So, start your creative juices flowing and pick which of the following categories will be your “headliner:”

Barbara Bigham (File photo)

  • All That Jazz (Best Group of four or more): Men may participate in this one very special category with or without women in the group.
  • To The Nines (People’s Choice): The best of the best as voted by the attendees.
  • Elegance of Earlier Days (Most Sophisticated): Grace, elegance and whimsy.
  • Gilded Age (True to Theme): Everything from the era of the Astors, Vanderbilts, and Gettys.
  • Grace And Folly (Most Creative): Shells and pearls, stepping out.
  • Peacocks On Parade (Best Botanical): Hats adorned with beautiful flowers. According to one source, this one should be flowers, not feathers. That’s probably because 2016’s “What Was She Thinking” winner Barbara Bigham cornered the market on plucked peacocks.

Venise is holding back on naming the judges right now, but stay tuned.

In the meantime, get those glue guns burning and get your seat for the Jan Strimple-produced fashion show featuring Tootsies fashions with Jocelyn White as emcee.

A Woman’s Garden (File photo)

Proceeds from the event “continues to develop and maintain A Woman’s Garden, the only public garden in the nation built by women and dedicated to the universal spirit of women.”

JUST IN: 2018 Dallas Symphony Gala Plans Announced Including A Diminutive Songbird With A “Wickedly” Big Voice

Bob and Lisa Segert*

And the news keeps rolling in! Despite the chilly weather, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra staff has been in overdrive. In addition to getting ready for new Dallas Symphony Association President/CEO Kim Noltemy’s officially taking over next week, preparing for Maestro Jaap van Zweden’s final victory tour season and the 4th Annual Soluna, they’ve already finalized plans for the Dallas Symphony Gala.

Longtime DSO subscribers and supporters Lisa and Bob Segert will co-chair the fall season’s first black tie gala on Saturday, September 15, at the Meyerson. They’re old hands when it comes to the gala, since they’ve been on the host committee since 2015, in addition to Bob’s serving on the DSO Board of Governors.

According to Interim President/CEO Michelle Miller Burns, “Lisa and Bob have been part of the DSO family for over 20 years, and we’re delighted that they have accepted our invitation to lead this year’s gala. We are confident that their leadership will result in a night to remember.” 

Kristin Chenoweth (File photo)

But there’s a bit of a change in the POA this year. Instead of having world-famous musician perform with the DSO, it will be a petite songbird with a huge voice, following and collection of awards — Kristin Chenoweth! She may hail from Oklahoma, but she calls Broadway her second home and TV her third home with roles in “Pushing Daisies,” “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “Wicked,” “West Wing,” “On The Twentieth Century,” etc. In her spare time, she’s written a New York Times Best Seller and released CDs/DVDs of her live concert performance, “Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home.”

If you’ve ever seen Kristin on stage, then you have witnessed a “big bang” experience. As Michelle put it, “Kristin Chenoweth is a consummate performer. Her concerts are always full of energy and spirit. This will be a thrilling start to the 2018/2019 season.”

“Full-Evening Gala” (fashion-show-plate cocktail reception, seated dinner, concert and after-party) tickets are going for $1,250 per person. Check with Tab Boyles for levels of opportunities.

The concert/after-party will be available as a DSO subscription add-on starting Sunday, February 18. Single tickets will go on sale on Thursday, April 12.

* Photo provided by Dallas Symphony Orchestra

JUST IN: Nancy And Richard Rogers And Melody And Rick Rogers Join St. V-Day Luncheon At NorthPark As Second Presenting Sponsors

St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show Co-Chairs Roz Colombo and Nancy Gopez and their Advisory Chair Heather Randall impressed a lot of folks with their plans and people for the Leukemia and Lymphoma of North Texas on Thursday, February 8.

Moving it to the CenterPark Garden at NorthPark was a biggy. Of course, it will be a tented affair, so the ladies’ hairdos don’t get mussed up. And knowing the NorthParkies, it will be quite a tent with “wish-we-were-there” onlookers.

As if that wasn’t enough, the trio had NorthPark Center as the presenting sponsor and NorthPark’s First Lady Nancy Nasher as the honorary chair.

Richard and Nancy C. Rogers (File photo)

Melody and Rick Rogers (File photo)

Now, they’ve continued the choo-choo train of news with the announcement that Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers and Melody and Rick Rogers will be the event’s second presenting sponsors.

The luncheon and fashion show featuring NorthPark merchants is less than a month away, so get that table locked down pronto. Insider tip: check with Stacey and she’ll get you a spot.

JUST IN: 12th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Details Including “Chick Flick” Keynote Speaker Revealed

Perhaps those Chick Lit-ters should be renamed Tricky Chick Lits. For the past couple of years, they’ve moved their annual Community Partners of Dallas fundraising luncheon from the tried-and-true Brook Hollow to the bigger-than-mansion Hilton Anatole Chantilly Ballroom. They’ve also shifted just slightly from authors to author/TV types.

This year they’ve continued that, adding film/video to their featured speaker. Think Chick Flick! But more about that in a second.

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Lara and Bob Tafel (File photo

CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel has been holding her breath and just exhaled the news that the luncheon will return to the Anatole on Friday, April 13, with Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel serving as presenting sponsors.

Mersina Stubbs and Lynn McBee (File photo)

Cate Ford (File photo)

Callan Harrison (File photo)

Brooke Hortenstine (File photo)

Nancy Perot (File photo)

Chairing this year’s event will be Mersina Stubbs, who has recruited Cate Ford, Callan Harrison, Brooke Hortenstine and Lynn McBee for her underwriting team. For her honorary chair, Mersina has managed to get Nancy Perot. Talk about a dream team!

Now, for the featured speaker. Here are some clues:

  • She was chosen as one of Teen People Magazine’s “21 Hottest Stars under 21” back in 1999.
  • Her dad specializes in divorces.
  • Is a single mom.
  • Has played everything from Jackie Kennedy to Batman’s girlfriend.

If your IMDb search is on overdrive, then you know who it is. And you just know that she ain’t exactly like last year’s keynoter Bethenny Frankel. She likes to stay under the TMZ radar and that’s pretty hard to do. If you’re still in the dark, follow the jump and get your table locked down: [Read more…]

JUST IN: Double Academy Award Winner/Clothing Designer Hilary Swank To Keynote Genesis Women’s Shelter’s 25th Annual Luncheon

DFW International Airport is going to be celebrity filled this spring thanks to the area nonprofits with a dazzling array of speakers. Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support is celebrating its 25th Annual Luncheon with double Academy Award winner/entrepreneur Hilary Swank at the Hilton Anatole on the Friday, May 11.

Hilary Swank*

According to Genesis CEO Jan Langbein, “We are beyond thrilled to announce Hilary Swank as our 2018 luncheon speaker. Her philanthropic dedication to addressing challenging social issues seamlessly aligns with the mission of Genesis Women’s Shelter – to end violence against women.”

Chairing the event that will take place on the Friday before Mother’s Day will be longtime Genesis supporters, Jane and Michael Hurst. Jan described the Hursts, “Jane and Michael are dear friends of Genesis. Through their philanthropic efforts, as well as their professions as lawyers, the Hursts are both well regarded in our community. We’d also like to extend our congratulations to Michael, who was recently inaugurated as the 109th President of the Dallas Bar Association. Jane has served as the Client Advocate Liaison on the board of the Genesis Alliance, and we are honored to have her and Michael at the helm for our 25th luncheon. Through this event, women will know that there is help and there is hope for those who suffer from abuse.”

Hilary Swank (File photo)

While many folks know Hilary from her incredible performances in 1999’s “Boys Don’t Cry,” 2005’s “Million Dollar Baby” and 2014’s “The Homesman,” they may not know of her being a clothing designer. She created Mission Statement in 2016 to “merge high-performance and high-fashion to allow the wearer to find the perfect balance of movement while they are working out, in the office, resting or playing.”

To prove her stuff when it comes to putting an ensemble together, it was back in 2011 when Hilary flew in to be guest of honor for a Super Bowl party hosted by Phil Romano. Unfortunately, her luggage got lost in transit. Not to worry. She simply stopped by an airport shop and hit just the right look for cameras.

But Hilary’s story isn’t all glittering awards, red carpet appearances and heading up companies. There was a point when at the age of 16 she and her mother arrived in Los Angeles with $75 in cash and lived out of their car. In hindsight, Hilary described it as “no big deal, really. I was embarking on a big adventure and I was very excited. My mum was scared as hell, but I loved it!”

Sponsorships for the lunch start at $1,750 and are available now by checking in with Bianca Jackson. As for the individual tickets, they won’t go on sale until April.

* Photo credit: Carlo Furgeri Gilbert for The Wall Street Journal

Let’s Chill Tuesday Morning

Tuesday morning is not going to be a flash-back to the 2011 Super Ice Bowl. Tonight weather guessers are suggesting there will be an overnight “dusting” of snow and sleet on North Texas grounds. Why KDFW’s Dan Henry, KTVT’s Scott Padget, KXAS’s Rick Mitchell and WFAA’s Pete Delkus still have their jackets on!

Chances are kids are going to be so disappointed that it ain’t gonna be a “snow day.” Tell ‘em to take heart. That may still happen in the days and weeks to come.

Snowy drive (File photo)

However, for morning commuters be cautious. While ice storm vets may be easy on the pedal and not worried about hitting that age-old tree down the block or a youngster scrambling out of a school bus, think again. Do you really want to have a close encounter with that North Texas slip-and-slide newbie, who’s learning offensive slick-street driving?

Take it easy and tune into local media to learn the safest ways to get around.

JUST IN: New Crystal Charity Ball Members Revealed

2018 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Claire Emanuelson has just announced the newest members of the 66-year-old fundraising organization for Dallas-area children’s charities.

Ashley Allen (File photo)

Kara Axley (File photo)

Marybeth Conlon (File photo)

Let’s cut to the chase. The frosh class of 2018 include Ashley Allen, Kara Axley, Marybeth Conlon, Lissie Donosky, Anne McPherson and Lisa Rocchio

These ladies join decades of predecessors, who have provided more than $137M for more than 140 nonprofits. Just imagine — the children who benefited from that initial fundraiser at the Baker Hotel in 1952 are now AARP types with grandchildren of their own.

North Texas Food Bank’s Empty Bowls Is Moving To New Digs In March

Change is afoot at the North Texas Food Bank. In the past NTFB’s Empty Bowls had shivering souls heading to the Meyerson for the annual soup-athon.

Empty Bowls (File photo)

The NTFB-ers have waved “bye-bye” to the Meyerson and headed down to Ross Street to F.I.G.

Empty Bowls soup (File photo)

 

The date for the 2017 liquid sipping is Friday, March 2 (aka Texas Independence Day).

Won’t be a problem. The winter’s chill has traditionally not ended until St. Patrick’s Day.

So, the ladles will be serving the liquid delights to help those in the North Texas community suffering from hunger.

Why not invite a bud to lunch and help want-to-be-buds? There will be music, silent auctions for bowls and for those with VIP status, they’ll be able to get first grabs of artisan handmade bowls.

And while you’re at it, meet Trisha Cunningham. This lunch-athon is her first as NTFB CEO/president.

Philanthropists Lisa And Kenny Troutt To Serve As Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s 32nd Annual Presentation Ball Honorary Co-Chairs

Lisa and Kenny Troutt (File photo)

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Presentation Ball Chair Lori Routh has announced that philanthropists Lisa and Kenny Troutt will serve as the honorary co-chairs for the 32nd annual fundraiser.

In addition to being the parents of three kids (Preston Troutt, Grant Troutt and Savannah Troutt), the couple has been involved with various aspects of North Texas nonprofits including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Council for Life, One Hundred Share, New Friends New Life, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, UT Southwestern Medical Foundation, Baylor Health Care System Foundation, the Laura W. Bush Women’s Initiative Advisory Council and many others.

Lisa and Kenny will add to the gorgeous factor at the debutante presentation on Saturday, February 17, at the Meyerson.

Dallas Zoo Is Offering “Cheap Thrills” In January And February As Well As Dollar Day On Monday

Dallas Zoo is offering a double-doozy during the month. Thanks to its annual Penguin Days, the price of admission is $7 through the end of February. KDFW-FOX4’s Lauren Przybl admitted that it was a great time to see the residents, since the place wasn’t overly crowded with two-legged critters.

Yes, in the past Penguin Days has gone for $5, but shoot! They’ve added babies and hippos, so no wonder there’s been a slight increase. It’s still a lot cheaper that the usual $12-$15 admission price.

Dallas Zoo Penguin Days hosts (File photo)

Sean Greene (File photo)

And speaking of cheap, the second special offer is the Zoo’s semi-annual Dollar Day that takes place Monday, January 8. Dallas Zoo Guest Experience VP Sean Greene revealed the buck-eroo special on Wednesday, but the Zoo’s website hasn’t quite kept up with Sean and is just now trying to get the word out today.

In addition to the dollar entry fee, there are other cheap thrills like

  • $1 selected snack items ($1 hot dogs, chips, soda, water will be available at the Wilds of Africa Grill near the monorail)
  • $1 seed stick to feed birds in Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo
  • $2 Endangered Species Carousel
  • $2 T-Rex Express Mini-train
  • $5 Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail
  • $5 giraffe feedings
  • $10 parking (limited)

The good news is that the Dallas Independent School District kiddos don’t go back to school until Tuesday. By now, they’re probably suffering from cabin fever and this is a great way to overcome the “fever.” The even better news is that weather guessers are predicting the temperatures will be hitting a “toasty 50 degrees” with sunny skies.

Since parking is limited, take DART. It will drop you off practically at the front door.

JUST IN: Margaret McDermott And Margot Perot Join Nancy Nasher As Vice Chairs Of Dallas Symphony Association Board Of Governors

With the Dallas Symphony Orchestra undergoing some major transitions this year with the arrival of new President/CEO Kim Noltemy, the departure of Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the search for Jaap’s replacement, the Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors decided to add some heavyweights to its leadership.

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

Margot Perot (File photo)

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

It was just announced that art-loving philanthropists Margaret McDermott and Margot Perot will join fellow philanthropist/art lover Nancy Nasher as vice-chairs of the DSA.

According to DSO Board Chair Sanjiv Yajnik, “Mrs. McDermott and Mrs. Perot are transformative leaders in Dallas with decades of experience in supporting the Dallas Symphony. I am proud and humbled that they accepted my invitation to join the board. Their passion for artistic excellence and commitment to raising the profile of the DSO around the world is inspiring. With their and Ms. Nasher’s support, we look forward to establishing the DSO as one of the world’s great cultural institutions.”

2018 Art In Bloom Featured Speaker/Artist Michael “The Flower Guy” De Feo Is Donating Two Works Of Art For Fundraiser

Despite the New Year’s chill, 2018 Art In Bloom Chair Dyann Skelton is providing a breath of spring beauty. The featured speaker for the Dallas Museum of Art’s fundraiser on Monday, March 26, at the DMA will be NYC-based artist Michael De Feo, “known in the street art movement for his iconic flower images around the world under the moniker, the Flower Guy.”

As part of his presentation, Michael has donated two of his works of art to be part of the fundraising effort.

“Untitled (Doutzen Kroes by Duy Yo for Vogue Nederland, April 2016)”*

“Untitled (Rosamund Pike by Masha Mel for L’Officiel, No. 1013, April, 2017)”*

“Untitled (Doutzen Kroes by Duy Yo for Vogue Nederland, April 2016), 2016,” will go to the highest bidder in the event’s live auction.

“Untitled (Rosamund Pike by Masha Mel for L’Officiel, No. 1013, April, 2017), 2017,” will be raffled off.

Chance tickets are going for $25 per/five for $100 and are available now.

BTW, Art in Bloom tickets are available with perks for patron ticker holders including a patron party.

* Graphic provided by 2018 Art In Bloom

2017 Wasn’t So Bad After All

MySweetCharity

In the waning hours of 2017, one has to consider that it wasn’t all so bad. True,

If you checked the links, then you know these developments weren’t necessarily about 2017. The good news is that thanks to technology and the determined spirit, life goes on.

In the meantime, homemade chili, glowing fireplaces and snugly flannel sheets should replace the chill of New Year’s weekend. Stay safe, warm and appreciative of what you have.

If You Don’t Believe In Santa, NORAD Does

If you have munchkins, grand munchkins or still wonder if Santa really exists, then there are bona fide experts who have all the information to back old Kris Kringle. It’s the North American Aerospace Defense Command (aka NORAD) located in Colorado Springs. Starting at midnight NORAD will be monitoring Santa and his team’s travels through the world. But the NORAD Tracks Santa website is up now!

NORAD Tracks Santa*

Thanks to corporate sponsors, NORAD’s website is a holiday delight and as slick as a North Pole breeze. There are games, music, reading materials, movies and all types of activities and items.

They’ve come a long way since 1955 when a Sears Roebuck ad accidentally posted the wrong phone number for children to call Santa. Instead of Sears, the number directed the callers to (Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Commander-in-Chief hotline, where the late Col. Harry Shoup started the tradition of monitoring Santa’ annual trek around the world.

So, if you’re a Doubting Thomas or a Skeptical Suzy, check out NORAD Tracks Santa just for the fun of it.

* Graphic courtesy of NORAD Tracks Santa

MySweetWishList Series Triples Up Next Week

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity has been totally swamped with “Wishes,” so once again an apology is owed to you. We’re going to extend the series to next week and triple up with wishes from various people and organizations that are in need.

What’s that? Christmas falls on Monday? Yes, it does. But it’s never too late to grant a wish, especially since the donation could be made before the end of the year and included in 2017 tax reports.

If you have spent every last cent on gifts, at least consider keeping these good people and programs in your thoughts.

And if you find yourself in need of assistance, you just might a wishful group that might help you.

2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “A Garden By The Sea” To Commemorate 30th Anniversary Of Women’s Council of The Dallas Arboretum Fundraiser

When Melissa Lewis agreed to be president of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, she called Venise Stuart. Melissa would only take the leadership position, if Venise agreed to chair the 2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Melissa Lewis

Venise Stuart

After chairing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb ball, the Aware Affair and Les Femmes Du Monde’s Women of the Year, Venise was the right one to tap for the 30th anniversary of the annual tea that benefits the Council’s A Woman’s Garden.

At Tootsies on Thursday, November 16, Melissa and Venise had about 70 guests in for champagne and to learn about the plans for the spring fashion show.

Before the announcements were made, Venise said that she wanted the annual fashion show and luncheon to be an elegant affair along the lines of the grand days when the ultra-rich sought the cool breezes of Newport in the summer.

When the event was first launched in 1987, it was simply a seated tea with Virginia Nick, Margaret McDermott, Mary Nell Rogers, Barbara Lake and Carol Ann Brown on the terrace of the Camp House with a regatta sailing on White Rock in the background. As one person described it, “Nobody had ever done anything like that. It was like we were in a movie. They had just restored the Camp Estate. It was a simple but elegant affair. It was like Downton Abby. Nobody asked you for anything. It was just a beautiful afternoon.”

Over the years, change was afoot. It was held in different locations, designers like the late Frank Olive attended, fashion shows were added and the hat judgings. In recent years, the tea has settled into a champagne reception in Ginsburg Plaza and the fashion show and live auction in Rosine Hall followed by a seated luncheon on the terrace overlooking the grounds.  

Nerissa von Helpenstill

Lynn Dealey and Linda Ivy

Dyann Skelton and Emilynn Wilson

Linda Burk

With the 70 guests including Emilynn Wilson, Linda and Steve Ivy, Dyann Skelton, Jocelyn White, Donna Darling, Claire Cunningham, Kay Weeks, Barbara Bingham and Tea founder Carol Ann Brown, the twosome announced that Linda Burk would be the honorary chair and that Tootsies under the leadership of Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb would be providing the fashions with Jan Strimple producing the show on Thursday, April 12.

A Garden by the Sea by Lynn Dealey

Then they unveiled the graphics designed by Lynn Dealey with the theme “A Garden By The Sea.”

JUST IN: Dr. Kern Wildenthal To Serve As Interim General Director/CEO Of The Dallas Opera Following Keith Cerny’s Resignation

With The Dallas Opera‘s General Director/ CEO Keith Cerny‘s announcing his resignation last Friday, the interim stand-in has just been revealed.

According to The Dallas Opera Board Chair Holly Mayer, “As has been the case in the past, there is a need for an executive presence in the office during this transitional period, while the search committee prepares to begin its task of identifying a permanent replacement.

Holly Mayer (File photo)

Kern Wildenthal (File photo)

“The transition team offered the post of Interim General Director and CEO to former Board Chair Kern Wildenthal, who has accepted. Dr. Wildenthal is well known and respected, not only within The Dallas Opera, but throughout the community.”

Until the full-time position is filled, Kern will “be serving with no compensation.”

2018 Cattle Ball Baron’s Kicks Off The Year Of Fundraising For Cancer Research And Treatment With Legs And Hope At McKinney’s Truluck’s

It was a changing of guards, or rather chairs for Cattle Baron’s Ball on Thursday, November 16, at Truluck’s. Just ten days earlier the CBB newbies had had their orientation cocktail party across the street at ZaZa’s Art House and Social Gallery.

As the valets were swamped by the Range Rovers, Mercedes and Bentleys, the ladies who are as comfortable in stilettos as Saint Laurent over-the-knee boots arrived en masse for the fall luncheon .

Cattle Baronesses daytime boots

Inside 2017 CBB Co-Chair Anne Stodghill was reporting on her after-life following the Saturday, October 21, fundraiser at Gilley’s. Seems she’s taken up jewelry designing and preparing for the holidays.

A few minutes later 2017 CBB Co-Chair Sunie Solomon arrived in the valet line. But before leaving her car, she had to get something. Inside her purse was her daughter’s lunch for drop off.

Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon

While Anne and Sunie scooted upstairs for a sneak peek photo with the mega check that would be presented to the American Cancer Society during the lunch, 2018 CBB Co-Chairs Katy Bock and Jonika Nix were welcoming the overflow crowd and preparing to kick off the year-long journey in fundraising for cancer research and treatments.

Jonika Nix, Rebecca Wright and Katy Bock

Thanks to Truluck’s special events coordinator Rebecca Wright and CBB committee members Amanda Shufeldt, Paige Westhoff, Megan Flanagan and Samantha Wortley, the group including Nancy Gopez, Kristi Bare and Lee McDonald,eventually took their places in the party room for a lunch of delicious meal including a Sonoma greens salad, an entrée (choice of beef tenderloin filet, simply prepared salmon and linguini primavera) and a Truluck’s signature variety platters of desserts.

Amanda Shufeldt, Paige Westhoff, Megan Flanagan and Samantha Wortley,

In addition to the official reveal of the $4M check, CBB Deidre Bacala told the group of the various opportunities available for CBB members regarding Hope Lodge and the other opportunities for people to support Cattle Barons.

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.

How About A Sweet Gift That Won’t Break The Bank

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the rear view mirror, some folks are still stumped for the perfect gift.

Bonton Farms just may have the answer.

What is Bonton? It’s a community in southeast Dallas that got underway in the early 1900s. Instead of flourishing as North Texas did over the decades, it fell into a whirlpool of poverty and crime. Since 63% of its resident lacked personal transportation, they had to rely on public transit resulting in a three-hour round-trip for grocery shopping. Bonton literally became the perfect example of an “food desert.”

Luckily, in recent years people have come together to change the situation. One of the most impressive steps was the creation of 40-acre Bonton Farms with vegetables, poultry and goats providing fresh food for locals and for sale. In addition to the Bonton residents, a Great Pyrenees named Moses oversaw the operations.

Bonton Farms’ goat*

Bonton honey (Not actual bottle)

And one of the products that might meet the idea of perfect gifting was Bonton honey. It’s locally produced thanks to the Bon Ton residential bees; it’s benefiting the Bonton efforts and it’s cheap ($8 for a bottle).

What an ideal stocking stuffer or hostess gift! Or, what about dressing it up with a toast holder and a fresh loaf of Empire Bakery bread? And why not get some of the honey for yourself? It’s perfect to sweeten up hot tea.

And if you’re holiday gift list is done, consider Bonton honey for future gifts. It’s a sweet deal.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera’s GM/CEO Keith Cerny Resigns To Head Up Calgary Opera

Keith and Jennifer Cerny (File photo)

The Dallas Opera‘s GM/CEO Keith Cerny has just turned in his resignation to take over the position of general director/CEO of Calgary Opera in January.

During his seven-and-a-half years with the Dallas company, Keith presided over five consecutive balanced operating budgets and a host of artistic projects, expansions, and technical innovations.  These include a highly-successful simulcast program; regional, U.S. and world premieres; and innovative community outreach programs.  

According to Dallas Opera Board Chair Holly Mayer, “Keith has every reason to be proud of his legacy. We wish him every success with his new responsibilities as we turn our efforts to maintaining this company’s impressive forward momentum and strengthening the collaborations with other arts organizations that have marked Keith’s tenure here in Dallas.”

Dallas’ loss is Calgary’s gain.

Kyle Taylor To Take Over For Retiring Irving Cares CEO Teddie Story

Kyle Taylor*

Some folks didn’t know much about Irving in 1957. It wouldn’t pop up on their radar until the Cowboys moved from the Cotton Bowl to the “state-of-the-art” Texas Stadium in Irving. But the Irving residents were already addressing “the social welfare of the needy people in their community.” To help those facing financial crisis, the seeds of Irving Cares were sown.

Its success was based on a dedicated staff and a compassionate team of volunteers. In July 2010 a fellow by the name of Kyle Taylor joined up as a volunteer in the Employment Services Program. In less than two years, he was named “Volunteer of the Year.”

His efforts impressed the Irving Cares staff so much that they hired him to be Coordinator of Volunteers, “where each year he has managed a food pantry that serves thousands of Irving resident and supervised hundreds of volunteers.”

Teddie Story*

Once again his work led to his being named Community Engagement Director, “working to build mutually beneficial relationships with a diverse set of community partners.”

Now, word has arrived that Irving Cares CEO Teddie Story is retiring this month after starting off as a volunteer in 1991 and, like Kyle rising through the ranks.

Carrying on in Teddie’s place will be… yup, Kyle.

According to Teddie, “The staff, volunteers, donors and customers of Irving Cares will be well represented by Kyle Taylor as the next Chief Executive Officer. His passion for service to others is evident in his dedication to Irving Cares and its customers.”

Congratulations to both Teddie and Kyle for showing that being a volunteer can lead to even greater things.

* Photo provided by Irving Cares

JUST IN: Golden Globe’s Nominee “This Is Us” Chrissy Metz To Be Keynote Speaker At The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Lunch On February 28

The Golden Globe nominees were revealed Monday and Chrissy Metz is once again nominated for her role as Kate Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us.” But her success and fame didn’t come overnight or easily. Chrissy’s life story is one that screenwriters dream of. Sure, she went through the trials and tribulations that many actresses face like being out of work, surviving thanks to friends and family, watching roles won by others and learning to accept rejection.

Chrissy Metz*

But Chrissy dealing with a literally “bigger” issue — her weight. Admitting that she was born chubby, she was just 11 when she went to Weight Watchers. Her weight jumped up and down the scales at one point losing 50 pounds only to “gain back 100 pounds due to depression and ‘eating my feelings.’”

Then the moment came when all the stars were in alignment and she landed the role of Kate, whose storyline was so akin to Chrissy’s. But even more than the role, Chrissy’s popularity has been due to her being so open about her dealing with her weight issues.

For that reason, The Elisa Project organizers are thrilled that they have just gotten word that Chrissy will be at the 13th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon on Wednesday, February 28, at Brook Hollow Golf Club for a conversation with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

According to Luncheon Chair Kim Bannister, “As an organization dedicated to the development of healthy children and adolescents by raising awareness of body image and self-esteem issues and the prevention of life-threatening eating disorders, we know Chrissy will truly captivate attendees as she shares her own inspirational stories of courage and self-acceptance. This year’s luncheon is not to be missed!”

Honorary co-chairs will be Sandra Estess and Elizabeth Estess Hughes.

Starting at $2,000, tables are available for purchase now. If space permits, individual tickets will go on sale in early February. Suggestion: Gather up pals and get a table locked down now. Don’t depend on those individual spots coming available.

* Photo provided by The Elisa Project

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Association Of Fundraising Philanthropy Greater Dallas Luncheon

Meagan Burton, Ken and Julie Hersh, Karen Simmons, Pagett Gosslee, Micha, Lynn McBee, Kevin Hurst, Sandra and Henry Estess and Mary Freeman

Once again the Association of Fundraising Philanthropy Greater Dallas Luncheon’s was totally upstaged by the cutest recipient. But this year there was a wrench thrown into the plans. It had to do with the announcement of the Veterans Day Parade schedule.

Doug Murray, Kit Sawers and Carole and Scott Murray

The results were traditional Emcee Scott Murray arriving via a police escort.

Micah Pinson

While the post is trying to reorganize, check out the cute red-haired Micah Pinson and other recipients of the National Philanthropy Day of Greater Dallas Awardees at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.