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 Arts‘ Obelisk 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.”