TACA Announces Grants for Three Bold New Works and Three Innovative Artist Residencies

(Featured photo: Horses in the Sky by Rami Be’er. Photo Credit: Eyal Hirsch0 73.)

TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) has announced the 2017 recipients of the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund and the TACA Bowdon Family Foundation Artist Residency Fund. Six arts organizations will receive grants totaling $150,000 to create new works or to fund artist residencies.


Wolford McCue, TACA Carlson president and executive director, said, “Thanks to Donna Wilhelm and the Bowdon Family Foundation, TACA is able to provide these generous grants, which enable local artistic groups to create compelling new works, thus further elevating North Texas as one of the nation’s major cultural incubators.”


Launched in 2012, the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund was established following a hosted discussion on the importance of developing new artistic works for the vitality of the North Texas community. To date, the New Works Fund has provided $500,000 in grants to support 14 adventurous, risk-worthy new works including Bruce Wood Dance’s Journeys and Deferred Action, a co-production of Cara Mía Theatre and Dallas Theater Center. The New Works Fund awards up to $100,000 annually to support the development and performance of innovative new works of music, dance and theater in Dallas County.


The 2017 New Works Fund grantees are:


  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Uncharted Territory: Body of Evidence, choreography by Bridget L. Moore
  • Dallas Theater Center, Penny Candy, by Jonathan Norton
  • Dallas Children’s Theater, Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet, a co-production with Cara Mia Theatre, written by Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha, music by Héctor Martínez Morales, choreography by Evelio Flores and directed by Robyn Flatt


TACA Board Chair Donna Wilhelm said, “It’s been my honor with TACA to foster the creative courage, passion and talent that produces new works of extraordinary merit. I encourage other donors to invest with TACA in building the capacity of all the arts of our community— to dream big and to transform lives in new ways.”


In 2015, TACA developed the TACA Bowdon Family Foundation Artist Residency Fund in response to the 2014 edition of its annual arts-related symposium, Perforum, during which members of the local arts community expressed a need for more support of unique artist-community engagement opportunities. To date, the fund has distributed $200,000 to seven projects including the Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera and Dr. Sandra Snow residency at the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas. The fund awards up to $50,000 annually to support the development of innovative artistic residency programs in Dallas County.  It also expands upon TACA’s continued efforts to foster meaningful interaction among arts organizations, artists and the greater community.


The 2017 fund-winning performing arts organizations include:

  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre, with choreographer/filmmaker Juel D. Lane
  • TITAS, with The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
  • Junior Players, with Sara Romersberger, theatre professor


A panel of local and national artists and arts managers narrowed applicant organizations through a highly competitive application and review process. Then, local nonprofit and arts experts interviewed representatives from finalist organizations before making funding recommendations. Panelists selected the recipients based on the innovativeness and merit of their project, the inclusion of artistic collaborations, and the quality of engagement of target audiences.


In addition to these two funds, TACA provides general operating and project-related grants to nearly 50 performing arts organizations each January. In its 50 years, TACA has distributed more than $28 million to 162 arts organizations.


About the 2017 Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund Recipients:


Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Uncharted Territory: Body of Evidence, choreographed by Bridget L. Moore, will examine the characteristics that separate different cultures.  Presented from the perspective of the Outsider, the piece is a self-reflection of Moore’s travels throughout Asia.  The piece explores the impact a viewer’s culture has on their perception of other cultures and how those cultural perspectives are informed. Its goal is to acknowledge and accept cultural differences in an effort to achieve a better understanding of others.


Dallas Theater Center

This new work, “penny candy,” enlists local playwright Jonathan Norton who says that penny candy has its origin in the Pleasant Grove community located in southeast Dallas where his family ran a neighborhood “candy house” in the late 1980s. The candy house is a common fixture in poor communities with limited access to grocery stores. Today, the term “food desert” is used to reference poor communities with limited access to proper grocery stores. Mr. Norton wrote the play to honor his parents and a part of African American culture unfamiliar to those outside of low-income urban communities.


Dallas Children’s Theater

Named Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet, this new work will be an original play co-produced with Cara Mia Theatre with music produced in cooperation with authors Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha, with music by Héctor Martínez Morales and choreography by Evelio Flores. Seeing one’s own story on stage is an experience every child deserves to have. Unfortunately, for the oldest group of Native Americans in Texas, the Coahuiltecans, their 13,000-year contribution to Texas history has been erased, lost in the mix of cultures. This production celebrates these indigenous cultures and invites all young people to think about their own heritage.


About the 2017 Bowdon Family Foundation Recipients and Residencies:


Dallas Black Dance Theatre

This residency will engage the Dallas community with dance in a new way–through video and film at locations beyond the theater. Choreographer and dance filmmaker Juel D. Lane will be an artist-in-residence over two weeks. The residency will happen in Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s rehearsal studio, at site-specific buildings, and on social media.



This residency will engage The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) and will include two performances and two post-performance Conversations with the Artists. Local high school and college students can participate in an Open Master Class led by KCDC dancers and faculty as well as an Open Audition that will include scholarship opportunities to attend KCDC’s Summer Intensive at the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’Aton. TITAS Presents will additionally host a special community event with KCDC.


Junior Players

Junior Players will enlist theatre professor, Sara Romersberger, to lead efforts for the Transformation Project, an initiative that the nonprofit collaborates with the Dallas Independent School District on by working with high school students during the school day and within an educational setting. The organizers instruct students in the basics of dance genres, stage combat, skilled movement work and exploring the current challenges that they and/or their communities face. Through the program, topics of social justice, morality and freedom of expression are explored. The works that the students produce challenge both their moral and social principles and those of the surrounding communities.


About the Jurors:

Matt Albert, Chair, Department of Chamber Music, University of Michigan

Sarah Allen, Associate Professor of Music Education, Southern Methodist University

Laura Barbee, Adjunct Faculty Member, The School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, TCU

Steve Birch, Managing Director, Flying Crown Land Group

Stephen Brown-Fried, Theatre Director, Yale School for Drama, The New School for Drama

Stefany Cambra, Founder and Artistic Director, Proper Hijinx

Emily Ernst, Theater Artist

Greg Fulkerson, Professor of Violin, Oberlin College and Conservatory

Dean Gladden, Managing Director, The Alley Theatre

David Grogan, Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Arlington

Zac Hammer, Dance Instructor, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts

Sam Holland, Professor and Director of Music Division, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU

Emily Hunter, Dance Teacher, Booker T. Washington High School

Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Chairman of Education, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Parisa Khobdeh, Dancer, Paul Taylor Dance Company

Peter Kupfer, Associate Professor of Musicology, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU

Emily Lyon, Literary Manager, BEDLAM

Jennifer Mabus, Dance Artist, Texas Christian University

Becki McDonald, Theater Artist

Cassie Meador, Executive Artistic Director, Dance Exchange

Kristy Morrell, Chair, Winds & Percussion, University of Southern California

Jonathan Norton, Playwright

Jack Reuler, Artistic Director, Mixed Blood Theatre Company

Suzanne Smith, Founder and Managing Director, Social Impact Architects

Ebonee Thomas, Musician

Brandon Tijerina, Director, Rowlett High School Eagle Theatre Company

Christopher Trevino, Professor and Technical Services Associate, The University of Texas at Dallas

Carlton Turner, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director, Alternate ROOTS


About TACA (The Arts Community Alliance):

Established in 1967, TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) champions artistic excellence in North Texas performing arts organizations and encourages innovation, collaboration, and engagement through financial support, stewardship, and resources. Since its inception, TACA has distributed more than $24 million to emerging and established performing arts organizations with budgets from as little as $27,000 to as much as $30 million. For more information about TACA, please call 214-520-3930 or visit taca-arts.org. Connect with TACA on Facebook at facebook.com/taca.arts.dallas and on Instagram at @TACADallas.



Quotes from Recipients: 

Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Bridget L. Moore, Dallas Black Dance Theatre Artistic Director

“Dallas Black Dance Theatre is honored and thrilled to be the first recipient of both TACA’s artistic fund grants in the same year. TACA’s leadership in supporting artists and choreography will help DBDT break new ground as we begin the next chapter in our history.”


Dallas Theater Center

Kevin Moriarty, Dallas Theater Center Enloe/Rose Artistic Director

“Dallas Theater Center is fortunate to have strong partners, like TACA, who are as committed to the production of new work as we are. Jonathan Norton’s ‘penny candy’ represents another opportunity to deepen socioeconomic and political conversations in North Texas. Bringing Jonathan Norton’s play to the stage models the commitment made to new work and equity, diversity and inclusion at Dallas Theater Center. DTC hopes new audiences find humor, empathy, and promise at the candy house of Mr. Norton’s youth in ‘penny candy.’”

Dallas Children’s Theater

Karen Travis, Dallas Children’s Theater Board President

“I have had the honor to sit with Robyn Flatt and our co-producing partner, David Lozano, of Cara Mia Theatre, and the rest of the creative team as they develop and work through this project. I can’t tell you what it means to me to see DCT giving life to such an important play and topic for children and families.  Every child (and person for that matter) deserves to have their ancestry and their personal story celebrated and recognized. This play and the conversations planned around it will definitely inspire such an appreciation between and among all of us. The entire board is grateful to TACA and Donna Wilhelm for supporting new works such as this, which honestly wouldn’t be possible without anchor funding, and I hope that everyone will try to make plans to see this powerful story next spring.”


Junior Players

Devon Miller, Junior Players Managing Director

“Junior Players is extremely proud and honored to be a grant recipient of the TACA Artist Residency Fund! Through this partnership, we will be able to serve thousands of North Texas students through high quality dance programs, while also exposing them to world-renowned work of choreographer and movement specialist Sara Romersberger. Over the past year, we have seen that the need for quality arts programs in schools is higher than ever before. The Transformation Project will ensure that students across the Metroplex will have access to programs that not only teach them the basics of dance, but also truly transforms their lives through the arts!”


TITAS Presents

Charles Santos, TITAS Presents Executive/Artistic Director

“We are so excited to have support from TACA for our residency with Israel’s Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. We are committed to bringing communities together for cultural exchange, and TACA is helping us make this possible.”


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.