According to Metropolitan Arts Media Co-Founder Mark Lowry,
While the endeavor that I co-founded, TheaterJones.com, with Michael Warner has been around for 10 years, I am new to the non-profit world. One year ago, we realized that our mission — of quality performing arts journalism in North Texas — was going to have become a 501(c)(3) to become sustainable and grow as a vital player in the rapidly changing journalism landscape.
It’s a move we resisted for years. After all, the organizations that we cover — theater, dance, classical music and opera companies — are non-profits themselves. By entering this space, would we be viewed as a competitor for funding? And, at a time when journalists are considered the enemy of the people by some in our current political climate, would there be individual financial support for journalism?
In the year since we created the new non-profit, Metropolitan Arts Media — the umbrella for TheaterJones.com and the forthcoming visual arts online magazine ContxtDFW.com — support has been enthusiastic.
Because what we do on TheaterJones, which was named in honor of Dallas legend Margo Jones, is vital.
The arts have always long relied on journalists to engage the public in the work happening on local stages, in art galleries and museums, and non-conventional spaces. We accomplish that through thoughtful reviews, interviews and feature stories, using a team of writers that have extensive backgrounds in journalism, education and/or the arts. And when the mainstream print media in North Texas has all but dropped arts coverage — the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, for instance, cut arts reporting in 2017, and the Dallas Morning News laid off what was left of its culture staff in early 2019 — we are growing our reach.
Our goal has always been to write about as much of the local arts world as we can, casting a wide net over the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, vigorously covering big-budget and small-budget groups, culturally specific work, arts for adults and youth, and new work and classics. We want our readers to be aware of the incredible performing arts scene in North Texas, and to have thought-provoking conversations with the people who make the art.
This year marks our first time with North Texas Giving Day, and we know that donors see the value in our work. By giving, you not only impact Metropolitan Arts Media (we do pay staff, writers and photographers, and are developing innovative technologies in the realm of arts journalism) — you’re also supporting something we all cherish. Having a robust arts scene makes our cities better places to live; and arts journalism is an important part of that ecosystem.
* Photo credit: Michael Warner ** Graphic provided by Metropolitan Arts Media
In ten years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $240 million into the North Texas community. In 2018, more than $48 million was raised through more than 157,000 gifts benefiting over 2,700 area nonprofits.