When TACA’s Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director Terry Loftis moved from One Arts Plaza to the Meyerson Symphony Center to become Chief Advancement and Revenue Officer for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, December 1, longtime TACA staffer Maura Sheffler was tapped to step in as interim president and executive director.
Now, three months later to the day, Maura can remove the word “interim” from her title, having officially been named by the TACA Board of Directors to lead the organization’s mission to “support excellence and impact in the arts through grant-making, capacity building and thought leadership.”
According to Board Chair Michael Meadows, “Maura has demonstrated the leadership skills, tenacity and big-picture vision to carry TACA into the future as an arts grant-maker, capacity-builder and thought leader. In her nearly decade-long tenure with TACA, she has overseen the restructuring of our grant programming while building meaningful diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Maura’s intimate knowledge of TACA’s operations and role in our arts community, our goals and our drive to be an integral catalyst in the Dallas arts and culture landscape is unsurpassed. On behalf of TACA’s Board of Directors, I am delighted to remove ‘interim’ from her title and announce her appointment as our new Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director.”
In thanking the board for her new role, Maura said, “I want to thank our board of directors for their confidence in me as I fulfill a dream to lead an organization that makes a meaningful difference for arts organizations and artists in our city.”
Previously serving as TACA’s Deputy Director, Maura was instrumental in heading up the organization’s grantmaking, programs and marketing strategy areas. One of those strategic moves was TACA’s expanding its original grantmaking for the performing arts to include the visual arts as well.
In responding to the announcement of Maura’s new role, Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick said, “Maura Scheffler’s appointment as Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director is outstanding news for TACA and for the arts in Dallas. Maura has proven herself an exceptional advocate, partner and thought leader for the arts and arts organization of all sizes across North Texas, and her work has made a tremendous difference in our community. We can all look forward to her energy and ideas as she take on this important role.”
Follow the jump for the full release on Maura’s new role that includes all of her accomplishments and comments from various leaders in the Dallas arts community.
* Graphic/photo provided by TACA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Brett Gray
March 1, 2023 214.557.6233
TACA Board of Directors Announces Maura Sheffler Appointed to
Permanent Position as Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director
Sheffler Had Served in the Interim Leadership Role Since December 1
DALLAS – TACA – The Arts Community Alliance – Board of Directors announced today that TACA veteran Maura Sheffler has been appointed to a permanent role as the Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director effective March 1. Sheffler had served as TACA’s interim leader since the departure of Terry Loftis on December 1.
Michael L. Meadows, TACA Board of Directors Chairman, said, “Maura has demonstrated the leadership skills, tenacity, and big-picture vision to carry TACA into the future as an arts grant-maker, capacity-builder, and thought leader. In her nearly decade-long tenure with TACA, she has overseen the restructuring of our grant programming while building meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. Maura’s intimate knowledge of TACA’s operations and role in our arts community, our goals, and our drive to be an integral catalyst in the Dallas arts and culture landscape is unsurpassed. On behalf of TACA’s Board of Directors, I am delighted to remove “interim” from her title and announce her appointment as our new Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director.”
Sheffler stated, “I have enjoyed being part of the TACA team for nearly a decade and am thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead this incredible mission as we make impactful contributions to arts organizations and artists in Dallas. For more than 50 years, TACA has served as a vital catalyst for the growth and importance of Dallas’s arts and cultural landscape. I look forward to what’s ahead, seizing opportunities for impact while tackling the inevitable challenges that bring growth. I want to thank our board of directors for their confidence in me as I fulfill a dream to lead an organization that makes a meaningful difference for arts organizations and artists in our city.”
Donna Wilhelm added, “Maura Sheffler and I have worked together at TACA for more than a decade. My admiration for her creative vision, strategic thinking and capacity building skills is unwavering. It is a privilege to support and celebrate Maura as the Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director of TACA, dedicated to the expansive arts and cultural vitality of North Texas communities.”
About Maura Sheffler
Maura Sheffler is an arts management and grantmaking leader passionate about creating a more vibrant, equitable, and efficient cultural sector to support a sustainable future for Dallas artists, audiences, and arts organizations.
Previously as Deputy Director at TACA, she led grantmaking, programs, and marketing strategy. Since 2013, Maura has been integral to TACA’s transition from a grantmaker to a responsive, holistic arts service organization. She launched new grant programs, strengthened relationships with TACA’s multidisciplinary grantees, collaborated on community research initiatives, and built programs that are the foundation for TACA’s equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy.
Under Maura’s leadership, TACA’s grantmaking offerings grew in number and sophistication. Using a collaborative, community-informed approach, Maura facilitated the development and launch of four new grant programs in response to the pandemic – the Artist Residency Fund, Emergency Arts Relief Fund, Resiliency Grants, and Pop-Up Grants.
She also led the restructuring of two existing grant programs to strengthen equitability and impact: the Catalyst Grant Program (formerly the Arts General Operating Grant Program), which provides critical unrestricted support to arts organizations. In addition, she revamped the New Works Fund, which supports the development of new works of art by Black, Indigenous, and other people of Color (BIPOC) artists, LCGTQ+ artists, and female artists in North Texas.
Maura drove the strategy and growth behind TACA’s service offerings, including an annual symposium convening regional arts leaders and a professional development program curated for artists and arts managers. Workshop topics have included audience development, communications, fundraising, and more. Since 2017, TACA has convened and participated in seven EDI-focused workshops that have guided TACA’s EDI strategy.
Maura began violin lessons at six, and attributes her discipline, confidence, and dedication to her musical training. Before transitioning to a career in arts management, Maura worked as a freelance musician. Her previous immersion in music blossomed into a fierce passion for the belief that art and artmaking should be accessible to everyone and for the sector’s sustainability.
Maura is an active member of Southern Methodist University’s alum community and frequently guest lectures on arts management topics. In addition, she served as an inaugural member of the SMU Meadows School of the Arts Dean’s 2050 Council, advising on strategy development. Previously, she served as a Grants Panelist for the Houston Arts Alliance. Maura has earned a BA in Music, an MA in Arts Management, and an MBA in Marketing from SMU.
TACA – The Arts Community Alliance – supports excellence and impact in the arts through grantmaking, capacity building, and thought leadership. TACA envisions an innovative, inclusive, sustainable cultural sector recognized for its essential contribution to a vibrant, prosperous community. Since its founding in 1967, TACA has worked to establish North Texas’ cultural community as one of the strongest in the nation. TACA’s growing investment in the arts translates to new premieres and productions, impactful residencies and community initiatives, and more opportunities for artists and audiences to connect – all striving to make Dallas a dynamic city and a great place to live and work.
For more information about TACA, call 214-520-3930 or visit taca-arts.org. Connect with TACA on Facebook at facebook.com/tacadallas, Twitter at @TACADallas, or on Instagram at @TACADallas.
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What Dallas’ Arts Leaders Are Saying About Maura Sheffler
“Maura Scheffler’s appointment as Donna Wilhelm Family President and Executive Director is outstanding news for TACA and for the arts in Dallas. Maura has proven herself an exceptional advocate, partner, and thought leader for the arts and arts organizations of all sizes across North Texas, and her work has made a tremendous difference in our community. We can all look forward to the impact of her energy and ideas as she takes on this important position.” – Jeremy Strick, Director of Nasher Sculpture Center Director
“Maura Sheffler has worked closely with individual artists and organizations at a grassroots level in Dallas, as well as with foundations and funders that are at the forefront of innovative philanthropy centering artists and their work in community. She understands artists are not simply cultural workers, but a distributive network at the heart of the psychic health of our city. If there is anyone who can move TACA into the future of radical arts equity, it is Maura. Her many years of service in Dallas has dismantled hierarchical formulas in favor of a bridge model, bringing funders and artists together as collaborators.” – Sara Cardona, Teatro Dallas
“Working with Maura over the past nine years has been a joy. She’s a consummate professional with an abiding passion for the arts. Her leadership is a gift to TACA and to the arts in North Texas.” – Kim Campbell, Founder/Executive Director of The Dallas Winds
“There is a vast difference between choosing a relationship consciously rather than falling into it. Great leaders who choose a relationship to work within an arts community can also choose to divert from the norm. Maura mindfully sees the levels of tremendous empowerment she can offer in conjunction with funding such as empathy, action, a growth mindset and mentorship. It is because of Maura that I found a stronger grounding in arts administration.” – Ilknur Ozgur, Founding Member of Artstillery