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.


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 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


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.

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.

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

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

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

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

Kevin Hurst, Ryan and Niki Anthony and Jeff Byron

Kevin Hurst, Ryan and Niki Anthony and Jeff Byron

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

Laura Einspanier and Gunnar Rawlings

Laura Einspanier and Gunnar Rawlings

Dotti Reeder

Dotti Reeder

Katherine Wagner and Alfredo Duarte

Katherine Wagner and Alfredo Duarte

Mary Anne Alhadeff

Mary Anne Alhadeff

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

This year’s honorees include:

Mark Roglan and Patricia Meadows

Mark Roglan and Patricia Meadows

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

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

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

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

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

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

JUST IN: The 2016 Obelisk Awardees Announced

The 2016 Obelisk Awards*

The 2016 Obelisk Awards*

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

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

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

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Dotti Reeder (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

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

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

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

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.

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”

* Photos provided by Business Council for the Arts

Round Robin November 13: Holy Moly! Seven Events In One Day

Thursday, November 13 was jam packed all day long. Hmm, seems like every day in November is turning out to be like that. Here’s the report on events from all over the area.

Obelisk Awards Luncheon

For more than two and a half decades, the Business Council for the Arts has been recognizing North Texas businesses and business leaders who believe in the “transformative power of arts and culture” with something called the Obelisk Awards. The nonprofit group did it for the 26th time, when it hosted a well-attended luncheon awards ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

With luminaries in attendance including Todd Meier, Jeremy Strick, and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger—Nancy’s late father, Ray Nasher, founded the council in 1988—the luncheon was kicked off by Larry Glasgow, the nonprofit’s board chair, and emceed by Mary Anne Alhadeff.

Before Mary Anne oversaw the presentation of the 2014 Obelisks, though, attendees listened to remarks by luncheon Co-chairs Anne and Bernie DiFlore, Business Council CEO Katherine Wagner, and Comerica Bank chief economist Robert Dye. (Who knew the bank’s senior VP is also an accomplished painter?!) Then it was Mary Anne’s turn in the spotlight, as she disclosed that the event’s nine honorees had donated a total of $1.25 million to Dallas-Fort Worth arts groups in one year alone.

With that, it was off to the races with the 2014 Obelisks.

First up was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Brian Shivers, a board member with the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden for nearly 30 years. Accepting the award, Brian thanked Dallas “for being a place that supports and encourages big ideas.”

Crayton Webb*

Crayton Webb*

Next came the New Initiative Award, which recognizes businesses for a new initiative with a single focus. The winners this year in the Small, Medium, and Large Business categories, respectively, were Eletorre, which manages community relations projects and web-based communications for nonprofits, like the Bridge-o-Rama event; Gold Metal Recyclers, which nurtures a variety of arts and cultural organizations in North Texas; and Mary Kay Inc., which has helped underwrite the Women of WaterTower Theatre group, among many other initiatives.

Then came the Arts Partnership Award, which honors companies that have supported one or more arts and cultural groups in North Texas for at least three years. The 2014 winners in the Small, Medium, and Large Business categories were, respectively, Fantastic Moves, a moving company that’s helped The Women’s Chorus of Dallas move pianos and risers over many years on a pro-bono basis; law firm Vinson & Elkins, which for decades has represented KERA pro-bono and supported other groups like the Dallas Museum of Art; and Pioneer Natural Resources, which, among other things, has made a 5-year commitment to the Dallas Theater Center’s educational programming for at-risk teens.

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer and Laree Hulshoff*

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer and Laree Hulshoff*

The luncheon concluded with two single presentations: the Arts Education Award and the Arts Leadership Award. The former, which recognizes business support for arts education programs, went to Carey International Inc., a transportation provider that helped the Nasher Sculpture Center expose its 10-year-anniversary project, Nasher XChange, to school and community groups. Finally, the Arts Leadership Award for long-term vision and commitment was presented to Barbara Daseke. She was recognized for her fundraising efforts on behalf of WaterTower Theatre, TACA, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Said Mary Anne Alhedeff of the spiky-haired Daseke as the luncheon drew to a close: “She is a one-woman dynamo. Perhaps this should be called the ‘Wonder Woman’ Award!”

Affordable Living Initiative Construction Celebration

It’s not every day that construction takes place to provide affordable living for low-income families, but on this day, it got underway with a celebration at Jubilee Park. Here’s a report from the field:

“In a joint partnership, Jubilee Park & Community Center, PlainsCapital Bank and City of Dallas Housing/Community Services Department launched a large-scale, four-phase affordable housing initiative that will result in 28 residences for low-income families in southeast Dallas over the next three years. Today, a construction celebration was held to commemorate this partnership and future homeownership for the families who will reside in these new homes. This event was held in Jubilee Park where the first six homes are being built.

Jubilee group**

Jubilee group**

“Representatives from Jubilee Park & Community Center, City of Dallas and PlainsCapital Bank, the families who will take ownership of these new homes, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings attended the groundbreaking event. PlainsCapital Bank’s live mascot, Mo the Buffalo even made an appearance. At the close of the event, PlainsCapital Bank North Dallas President Doug Cook and Jubilee Park & Community Center Board Chairman Bill Addy competed in a Bobcat front-end loader race.

Mo and the Bobcat RAce**

Mo and the Bobcat Race**

“’The primary goal of the affordable housing project is to provide homeownership opportunities for low-income families who would otherwise not have the means to become homeowners,’ said Jubilee Park & Community Center Chief Executive Officer Ben Leal. ‘Through this partnership with City of Dallas and PlainsCapital Bank, we have a unique opportunity to be a part of making the American dream of homeownership a reality for these families in our community.’

“The cost of each new home is approximately $125,000. Both Jubilee Park and the City of Dallas will contribute a combined $50,000 toward the total cost of each home.

“Homebuyers will secure a mortgage of $70,000 to $85,000, based on their income. “Buyer Assistance” funds of $20,000 may be available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Builder construction loans for phases II through IV will be provided by PlainsCapital Bank.

“Homebuyers must meet the income limits set by the City of Dallas which stipulate they have an annual income of 140 percent or less of the current HUD Metro Fair Market Rent Area estimate of the median family income for Dallas ($67,500). Homebuyers will also have the opportunity to participate in pre- and post-homebuyer education classes that will be provided by the East Dallas Community Organization.

“The single-family homes are approximately 1,300 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. Energy efficient appliances will be included in the purchase price. Homebuyers have five home models to choose from. All homes will be LEED silver certified.

“Construction for the first six homes broke ground in September and are slated for completion in early 2015. Construction for the final phase of this project will begin in late 2015, with completion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“East Dallas Community Organization is managing the construction, identifying and qualifying homebuyers, hiring building contractors, managing the purchase of lots and providing necessary paperwork associated with an affordable housing transaction to city, state and federal governing bodies and the designated title company. Woodmere Properties, who has built numerous affordable housing projects in Dallas, was selected as the home builder. ”

Chick Lit KO Party

Announcements evidently were high in demand for the upcoming 2015 season. As reported earlier, the Chick Lit-ters revealed their plans at a cocktail reception at Roberta Roller Rabbit for the Friday, April 24th luncheon. Wendy Messmann will be chairing the annual event at Brook Hollow benefiting Community Partners of Dallas that will feature author Stacey Ballis. Joining Wendy will be Honorary Chair Carol Seay.

2015 No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party KO

Over at Scott + Cooner, 150 enjoyed a cocktail reception and learned about the plans for the 2015 No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at the Frontier of Flight Museum. Once David Nelson and Dennis Kershner will co-chair the event with Jody and Sterling O’Donnell serving at honorary co-chairs. The theme — “Under the Yum Yum Tree”!

DIFFA Holiday Wreath Collection

The DIFFA gang didn’t so much announce but rather kicked of the momentum for the season with its annual Holiday Wreath Collection at the Galleria. Despite evening rush-home traffic, folks Wreath Co-Chair Matt Wilkerson and Carol Quist joined DIFFA/Dallas Chairman of the Board Clint Bradley to checkout more than 40 designer wreaths were up for bid that had been created by individuals and companies like Stanley Korshak, Tiffany & Co., AIDS Arms, AIDS Services of Dallas, Gallerie Noir, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen (Lisa Garza), Gensler Architects, Swarvoski, Club Monaco, Jennifer Miller, RSVP Design Services, Dear Clark Hair Studio, Nine-Eighteen, Tatyana Murphy, Lucky Dog Barkery and Westin Galleria Dallas Hotel to name a few.

Playbills, Popcorn And The Press

Back at Fair Park the Press Club of Dallas presented Dallas Summer Musical’s Michael Jenkins with the 2014 Newsmaker of the Year Award. Pat Porter chaired the event — “Playbills, Popcorn and the Press” — along with Honorary Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer at the Music Hall. Of course, it wouldn’t be an event honoring Michael without a bit of song and dance. That was provided by Cathy Rigby and Rachel York.

Encore for Advocacy

Speaking of music, Mavis Staples was blowing the roof off the Majestic for the Encore for Advocacy benefiting the Dallas Advocacy Center. Why even the Dallas Morning News’ special contributor Thor Christensen was impressed by her performance describing her as having “rarely sung with as much intensity as she did Thursday night at the Majestic Theatre, where she roared, snarled and scatter up a maelstrom.” Thor also gave a tip-of-the-hat to fellow performer Patty Griffin who shared the stage with Mavis.

* Photo provided by WaterTower Theatre
** Photos provided by PlainsCapital Bank

“Reimagining Cities” All-Star Panel Focused On The Arts’ Effect On The Area’s Economy Today And Tomorrow

As part of the “Cause-Minded Conversations” series, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), Business Council for the Arts and TACA held a panel discussion of area experts on “Reimagining Cities: Art’s Impact On Our Economy And Beyond” at CFT on Monday, June 9. The hour and 45 minute discussions focused on “how the arts improve our economy.” Here is a report from the field:

“Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings delivered opening remarks. The moderator was Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, who played a key role in bringing the New Cities Summit to town. He moderated the discussion between Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty, arts and education advocate Catherine Rose and Billingsley Development Company President Lucilo Peña.

Lucilo Pena, Max Anderson, Catherine Rose, Kevin Moriarty and Brent Christopher*

Lucilo Pena, Max Anderson, Catherine Rose, Kevin Moriarty and Brent Christopher*

“‘The arts offer the kind of intellectual stimulation, entertainment, and rich experiences that an educated and innovative workforce wants. According to Deloitte, that’s resulted in more than a $1 billion economic impact in North Texas,’ said Brent Christopher, president and CEO of CFT. ‘We look forward to this discussion about how the performing and visual arts can further energize the economy and help the North Texas community thrive.’

“‘Of course, the arts build the reputation for our city and enhance the quality of life here,’ said Anderson. ‘Art’s impact on the economy is indirect, but indispensable.’

“North Texas has seen a major arts boom starting with the 2009 opening of Dallas’ AT&T Performing Arts Center–one of the largest urban art districts in the nation. The topic of how art can have a positive impact on cities is expected to be discussed in Dallas at both the New Cities Summit (June 17-19) and The U.S Conference of Mayors (June 20-23).

“‘Dallas is a perfect example of how the cultural arts sector has a meaningful economic impact on the community,’ said Rawlings. ‘The arts in Dallas have become a vital economic engine that contributes to the city’s long-term growth potential. The Dallas Arts District reminds our citizenry and the world that arts and culture are essential to the urban fabric if you want to promote innovation and creativity and attract and retain the best employers and talented employees.I applaud Communities Foundation of Texas for shining a light on this important issue.’

“‘The arts in Dallas not only enrich the lives of our citizens and deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live, they also serve to stimulate economic growth, strengthen the quality of life in the region, and contribute to North Texas’ remarkable ability to attract an educated, high-skilled work force,’ said Moriarty. ‘One needs only to look at the Dallas Arts District, which is a vital leader in the transformation of downtown and uptown, and which serves as a beacon for new businesses, employees and residents.’

“‘Our Arts District is a powerful catalyst to having more businesses relocate to our region. Investing in the arts guarantees our future,’ according to Peña. ‘The Arts District shows us how the arts can shape not only the culture of the city but the city itself.’

“Panelist Rose said, ‘Our city and all of its citizens will benefit from a continuous intention to connect people, places and ideas. The arts do just that. From visual to performing, the arts provide a wellspring for ideas to surface, resulting in new opportunities for growth, encouraging new understanding and fostering investment in our community and beyond.’

“The host committee for ‘Reimagining Cities: Art’s Impact on our Economy & Beyond’ included Mickie and Jeff Bragalone, Nancy Carlson, Kenneth Craighead, Catherine Cuellar, Zenetta Drew, Steve Green, Robert Hernandez, Amy Hofland, Veletta Lill, Nancy Nasher,Neiman Marcus, Maria Munoz-Blanco, Charles Santos, Katherine Wagner and Becky Young.

“CFT’s Cause-Minded Conversations series takes a deeper look at Dallas’ past pressing issues and how the city and its philanthropists tackled them, as well as shine a light on contemporary civic issues and philanthropy’s answer. The events are designed to spur conversation long after the program concludes.”

* Photo provided by Communities Foundation of Texas

Business Committee For The Arts’s “Chair Art In The Park” To Benefit Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

On the heels of opening its new digs, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center has scored another coup. The Business Council for the Arts’ 2013 Leadership Arts Institute Class has picked it as its annual project. It’s entitled Chair Art in the Park and is a youth art contest and auction benefiting the DCAC.

What the heck is Chair Art in the Park? It was “created to showcase and celebrate the artistic talents of emerging young artists and support an important service for abused children by helping to fund needed therapies, including art and music therapy at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.

“Business Council of the Arts’ 2013 Leadership Arts Institute Class has partnered with the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, which manages and operates Klyde Warren Park, on the project. Students selected during the application review process will be given the opportunity to create ‘chair art’ to be displayed and auctioned at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas during the Chair Art in the Park event on Saturday, May 11, 2013.”

It’s open to 6-12 graders and applicants must submit an application via the NTBCA website by Friday, March 15, 2013 to be eligible for selection.

Can’t wait to see the results.

Share-A-Date: ARTsPark

ARTsPark (2011)

Saturday, March 24: The Business Council for the Arts will hold its third annual ARTsPark at NorthPark Center with arts and activities from all over the North Texas area.

This year’s participants include

Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Art&Seek, Arts Incubator of Richardson, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Business Council for the Arts, Charles W. Eisemann Center, Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Area Fiber Artists, Dallas Art Dealers Association with McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Center for Architecture, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Film Society, Dallas Handweavers and Spinners Guild, Dallas Historical Society, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, Dallas Museum of Art, The Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Wind Symphony, Dallas Zoo, Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center, the Goss-Michael Foundation, Italian Club of Dallas, Japan-America Society of Dallas-Fort Worth, KERA Channel 13 and KERA 90.1 FM, KXT 91.7 FM, Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, Museum of Nature and Science, Nasher Sculpture Center, New Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Plano Children’ Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, Texas Ballet Theater, Texas Sculpture Association, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Turtle Creek Chorale, Undermain Theatre, Video Association of Dallas and WRR Classical 101.1 FM. 

 At 3 p.m. The Dallas Opera’s Jennifer Youngs will perform accompanied by pianist Julien Reed in the NorthCourt.

This weekend will be a perfect follow-up to the spring wake return of parents and munchkins. So, feel free to use your kiddos to learn about the thriving arts community in Dallas, or to introduce them to a world of creativity that knows no limits.

Photo provided by NorthPark

Share-A-Date: 3rd Annual ArtsPark

ArtPark at NorthPark

Saturday, March 24: Everyone from foundations to corporations are singing the tune that the arts are important to Dallas’ health and future growth. You should have heard Mayor “Big Mike” Rawlings at last week’s TACA Silver Cup Award luncheon extolling the value of the arts.

However, many don’t realize how truly abundant the area is when it comes to the legions of different artistic and cultural groups that make their homes in the area. Perhaps that’s why the Business Council for the Arts and NorthPark Center have once again put together ArtsPark, a one-day, free event showcasing the various organizations from the area counties (Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant).

From noon to 4 p.m. at NorthPark, there will be special performances, programs and demonstrations, along with opportunities to learn new creative skills and get involved in the various artistic and cultural endeavors.

In the past the following groups have been involved in this artistic/cultural buffet of talent: African American Museum, Art & Seek, ArtCentre of Plano, Arts Incubator of Richardson, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Bath House cultural Center at White Rock Lake, Big Thought, Cara Mia Theatre Company, Children’s chorus of Greater Dallas, Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Crow Collection of Asian Art, , Dallas Arts District, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas Film Society, Dallas Handweavers & Spinners Guild, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Dallas Songwriters Association, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Friends of Fair Park, Friends of The Bath House Cultural Center, Goss-Michael Foundation, International Museum of Cultures, Italian Club of Dallas, Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, KERA, KXT 91.7, Le Theatre de Marionette, Lyric Stage, Mahogany Dance Theatre of Dallas, Men of Note Chorus, Museum of Geometric & MADI Art, Museum of Nature and Science, Nasher Sculpture Center, Orchestra of New Spain, Plano Children’s Theater, Richland College Emeritus Plus 50 Program, Scola Cantorum of Texas, Shakespeare Dallas, Texas Ballet Theater, Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, Texas Winds Musical Outreach, The 500, Inc., The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Inc., The Craft Guild of Dallas, The Dallas Opera, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, The Writer’s Garret, Today Marks the Beginning, Trinity River Audubon Center, UNT College of Visual Arts & Design, Van Cliburn Foundation, New Music Ensemble of Dallas and WRR Classical 101.1 FM/Office of Cultural Affairs/Public Art.

Photo provided by ArtsPark

Art and Commerce Merge as Business Council for the Arts Gives Its 2011 Obelisk Awards

When attorney Mike Birrer accepted the 2011 Obelisk Award from the Business Council for the Arts on behalf of his Carrington Coleman law firm last Wednesday, Birrer humorously recalled his own brush with the arts back in grade school. When young Mike turned in an artistic depiction of a “baby chick,” he recalled, his teacher Mrs. Nelson sent the picture back with these three words written across the top: “Not very good.”

In contrast to Mrs. Nelson’s discouragingly blunt style, the Obelisk Awards are intended to encourage those who practice art — and commerce – in an effort to enhance Dallas-Fort Worth’s quality of life and economic development. The Nov. 2 “Obelisk Luncheon and Awards Ceremony” at The Fairmont Dallas drew a crowd of more than 340 people from local companies and arts groups who watched as the nonprofit BCA gave a total of nine awards.

Proclaimed Katherine Wagner, the business council’s CEO: “Today we recognize the companies and business leaders whose commitment to this region is creating a better tomorrow for all of us.”  

First, though, there was a bit of soulful hilarity. Just as guests were finishing up their lunches, dancers from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, cleverly clad as waiters and waitresses, broke out in frenzied dance to a disco song. Tom Leatherbury, the BCA Chair, mounted the stage and said with a laugh, “They asked Nancy [Nasher] and me to do the encore, but we didn’t.” Nasher, the business council’s Founder’s Chair, was a tad more serious during her remarks, pointing out that the arts generates “over $1 billion annually” for the North Texas economy.

Then, it was on to the much-anticipated awards.

Birrer, of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, accepted the Arts Partnership Award for mid-size businesses, for Carrington Coleman’s support of the Creative Arts Center of Dallas. The Arts Partnership Award for small businesses went to SullivanPerkins for its support of Kitchen Dog Theater, while the Arts Partnership award in the large-business category went to the Texas Instruments Foundation, which supported Richardson’s Eisemann Center.

Gene Jones

Three firms also received New Initiatives Awards. RD2 Inc. nabbed the honor in the small business category for its support of the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, while the Dallas Cowboys Football Club and the Jerry Jones Family were given the award for mid-size businesses, for their decision to integrate a “stunning art collection” into the design of Cowboys Stadium. (Gene Jones accepted the award for the family and the club.) Wells Fargo snagged the award in the large business category, for the bank’s support of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

Three additional individual awards were given out as well. The Arts Leadership Award went to Jennifer Junker, president of the John F. Clark Co., for her work on behalf of the Trinity River Audubon Center. Ron Whitehead, city manager for the Town of Addison, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his efforts to make Addison a place where art is an “accessible, integral part of everyday life.” And Capital One Bank took the Arts Education Award, for its sponsorship of the Dallas Wind Symphony.

Tom Leatherbury, Jorge Calderon, Greg Mangum

Accepting the Education award for Capital One, the bank’s Jorge Calderon said

Nancy Nasher Haemisegger and Pat Porter

that it was Pat Porter, the BCA’s former CEO, and the late businessman/art collector Raymond D. Nasher (who helped found the business council in the late 1980s), who first “got me involved in the community.” Today Calderon sits on the BCA board.   

The banker’s story was personal, sure. But it was also a powerful testament to the BCA’s very real, long-term — and growing — influence on art and commerce in North Texas.