TACA Begins Artist Residency Fund

The first of a $100,000 annual grant will be divied among Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center and Shakespeare Dallas.

published Sunday, November 22, 2015

Photo: Roger Steen
Nicole Paiement
Photo: Octavio Solis
Octavio Solis
Photo: Amitava Sarkar
Jamal Story


Dallas — TACA has a new annual grant called the Bowdon and Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund, which will give up to $100,000 annual to support development of innovative artistic residency programs in Dallas County. For the first installment, four Dallas performance institutions—Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Opera and Shakespeare Dallas—have won funds for projects with choreographer Jamal Story (DBDT), director Lear deBessonet (DTC), conductor Nicole Paiement (Dallas Opera), and playwright Octavio Solis and director Gustavo Tambascio (SD).

This fund comes in addition to such important TACA initiatives as the Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund.


Read more about the recipients and the projects from the TACA news release below:

TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) has announced four inaugural recipients of the new TACA Bowdon and Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund. The Artist Residency Fund awards up to $100,000 annually to support the development of innovative artistic residency programs in Dallas County. The Artist Residency Fund expands upon TACA’s continued efforts to foster meaningful interaction among arts organizations, visiting artists, and the greater community.

The fund-winning performing arts organizations are:

  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre, with choreographer Jamal Story
  • Dallas Theater Center, with director Lear deBessonet
  • Shakespeare Dallas, with playwright Octavio Solis and director Gustavo Tambascio
  • The Dallas Opera, with conductor Nicole Paiement

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

Photo: Brian Harkin
Lear deBessonet

“TACA is providing creative opportunities for professional artists while encouraging organizations to reevaluate how audiences and the wider public experience the performing arts,” said Rebecca Young, President and Executive Director of TACA. “These residency programs will not only offer opportunities for North Texans to experience the work of leading artists, but also gain insights into the creation, preparation, and production process.”


TACA has secured funding to continue the Artist Residency Fund through 2017. The Artist Residency Fund is the second topic-specific grant fund developed by TACA, following the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund which launched in 2012. Additionally, TACA provides general operating and project-related grants to nearly fifty local performing arts organizations each January.


About the Recipients and Residencies

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre will enlist choreographer Jamal Story to develop a work combining aerial and modern dance, to be premiered in February 2016. The work, titled What to Say?, will incorporate the Greek mythological story of Narcissus and will integrate creative input from company dancers. Mr. Story’s residency will include open rehearsals and master classes available to local dance students and the general public.

The Dallas Theater Center will engage theater artist Lear deBessonet to direct an upcoming William Shakespeare production. Ms. deBessonet’s work often blurs the line between professional artists and community members. Her work will include participation the Theater Center’s upcoming large-scale, community-based initiative.

Shakespeare Dallas will bring playwright Octavio Solis and director Gustavo Tambascio to Dallas to create a new theatrical adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The artists’ residency will target the local Latino community and will feature performances and round table sessions for local artists interested in playwriting, directing, and cross-cultural collaborations.

The Dallas Opera will host conductor Nicole Paiement, recently named the company’s Principal Guest Conductor, for her involvement with the new Institute for Women Conductors. Through the Institute, Paiement will work closely with ten female conductors through coaching sessions, career mentorship, and rehearsals with vocalists and the company orchestra. The first season of the Institute will culminate in a performance at the Winspear Opera House.


The Jurors

John Paul Batiste, Member, City of Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission

Stephen Birch, Managing Director, Flying Crown Land Group

Gigi Bolt, Theatre and Musical Theatre Program and Philanthropy Consultant

John Carnwath, Consultant and Researcher, WolfBrown

Clifton Evans, Associate Professor and Director of Orchestras, University of Texas at Arlington

Rha Goddess, Hip-Hop Artist and Playwright

Greg Hustis, Former Principal Horn, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

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

Millicent Johnnie, Dancer and Choreographer

Patricia McGregor, Theater Director, Writer, and Playwright

Ed Smith, Theater Director

Suzanne Smith, Managing Director, Social Impact Architects

Susanne Theis, Programming Director, Discovery Green

Clyde Valentín, Director, Arts and Urbanism Initiative at SMU Meadows School of the Arts

Donna Walker-Kuhne, President, Walker International Communications Group 3


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 Connect with TACA on Facebook at and on Instagram at @TACADallas. Thanks For Reading

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TACA Begins Artist Residency Fund
The first of a $100,000 annual grant will be divied among Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center and Shakespeare Dallas.
by Mark Lowry

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