Dallas — More big news about leadership at North Texas arts organizations, and this time it's with one of the biggest financial supporters of the arts: TACA (The Arts Community Alliance). Longtime leader Becky Young is retiring, and Wolford McCue will replace her as president and executive Director.
Here is the full news release from TACA:
The woman who has orchestrated the growth of TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) into a preeminent supporter of Dallas performing arts is exiting stage left. Becky Young will retire Dec. 31, 2016, as Carlson President and Executive Director, announced Donna Wilhelm, chairman of the TACA board of directors. Young’s retirement caps an exemplary, 18-year tenure as TACA’s management and staff leader. Under her leadership, TACA has distributed grant awards totaling nearly $15 million, with more than $1 million awarded annually over the past nine years to local performing arts organizations.
Replacing Young as president and executive director is Wolford McCue, partner in the strategy and management consulting firm Mitchell & McCue and a member of TACA’s board of directors. The board approved McCue’s appointment September 8, and he will assume the position on January 3, 2017.
A background for leadership and success
Young joined TACA as executive director in 1999, having gained extensive experience in arts management and knowledge of the Dallas performing arts scene through a variety of roles. Recruited to Dallas from her hometown of Louisville by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, she served on the symphony marketing staff during the lead up to construction and opening of the Meyerson Symphony Center. She later was public relations director for the SMU Meadows School of the Arts, where she managed the Hamon Arts Library opening celebration and Meadows Award presentations to creative forces Merce Cunningham, John Houseman, Arthur Miller, Robert Rauschenberg and Mstislav Rostopovich.
Young went on to form The Young Company, a public relations firm serving primarily nonprofit clients, including the Dallas Theater Center, the Fort Worth Ballet (now Texas Ballet Theater) and Theatre Three. She later assumed the newly created position of director of external affairs for the Dallas Theater Center.
Fostering growth and innovation
When Young joined TACA, the organization’s two-person staff was distributing less than $300,000 in grant funds annually. Today, annual distributions have increased fivefold to $1.5 million and staffing to eight professionals. The grant total includes distributions from two artistic excellence funds created under Young’s leadership, each awarding $100,000 annually: the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund established in 2011, and the Bowdon and Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund created in 2015.
“It has been a privilege to serve Dallas’ thriving and dynamic cultural community through the work that TACA does as a grantmaker, convener and capacity builder,” said Young. “I am proud of what the staff and board have accomplished together, and I know there are exciting opportunities and contributions to come.”
Other milestones during Young’s tenure include establishment of the TACA Perforum, a symposium now in its eighth year that brings experts from across the country together with North Texas organizations to explore pressing issues facing arts communities. Young also oversaw the relocation of TACA’s offices to the Dallas Arts District, revamping of the organization’s general operating and project grants process, and creation of the North Texas Cultural Co-op, an advanced digital platform for arts groups to exchange donor lists. She was instrumental in securing Dallas’s inclusion among six cities participating in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program, which is providing arts leaders with management training in fundraising, audience development and board member engagement over a two-year period.
“Becky is that rare combination of an arts person, a business person, and a people person” said TACA board chair Wilhelm. “She has devoted her career to the vitality and growth of the arts in Dallas. Her steady management hand has made it possible for TACA volunteer leaders to stay focused on sustaining, building and providing the strategic vision for the organization’s arts support activities. Finally, she is a woman who has put the performing arts at the core of her heart and enabled them to enrich the soul of Dallas."
TACA has received several awards for its contributions to the North Texas cultural community [see list below]. In 2015, Young was named to D CEO Magazine’s “Dallas 500” list of the most powerful business leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Continuity in transition
Wolford McCue, Young’s successor as Carlson President and Executive Director, was selected by TACA volunteer leaders following several months of candidate consideration. He brings extensive not-for-profit management experience to the post, as well as deep knowledge of TACA goals, strategies and operations.
“Becky’s decision to take her well-earned retirement comes at an ideal time for TACA,” said Andy Teller, head of the TACA board’s search and transition committee and former TACA chairman. “She has guided the organization to a position of strength and stability enviable among nonprofits, providing a solid foundation for the future.
“The committee conducted a thorough search for Becky’s successor, and Wolford was head and shoulders the top candidate we identified,” Teller said. “He knows TACA, has demonstrated deep commitment to the organization, and brings a tremendous skillset to the job. With Wolford at the helm, TACA will continue to robustly build momentum through its 50th year celebration.”
A TACA board member since 2003, McCue has fulfilled board leadership roles including grants vice chair, profile and brand management committee chair, and North Texas Cultural Co-op committee chair, as well as serving as strategic planning committee facilitator.
“I am thrilled that Wolford is assuming this leadership role,” Young said. “His years of service as a board member and deep understanding of not-for-profit management uniquely equip him to work with our terrific board in building on TACA’s success.”
As a consultant, McCue has worked extensively with the American Heart Association National Center in the development of its Food Certification (heart-check) and CPR Training programs. He has also consulted with the American Bar Association, Volunteers of America, and Dallas’s Vogel Alcove, among other organizations. Before establishing his consultancy, McCue served as a senior vice president of Bozell Advertising in Dallas, director of marketing for United Way of Dallas, and associate executive director of United Way of Dayton, Ohio.
"I look forward to working with the TACA board and staff to sustain the momentum Becky has built toward increasing resources available to local performing arts organizations,” McCue said. “The body of work produced by TACA-funded performing arts organizations is truly impressive, and many are striving for even greater artistic achievement. TACA plans to play a role in providing resources that will help them reach these new heights and capitalize on audience-building opportunities.”
According to board chair Wilhelm, “Becky Young leaves TACA with an extraordinary legacy of expanded services to the performing arts community and cultural growth of Dallas. And, I am thrilled that Wolford McCue will be assuming leadership. His abiding love of the arts and abundant marketing and nonprofit management expertise make him the right man, at the right time to lead TACA.”
● Sammons Center for the Arts Leadership Award (2014)
● Theater Communications Group (TCG) regional funder award (2013)
● Dallas Children’s Theatre Rosewood Award (2011)
● Turtle Creek Chorale Bridge Builder Award (2006)
● Sammons Center for the Arts Foundation Award (2005)
● TITAS Tom Adams Award for dedication to TITAS and the arts (2005)
● Dallas Theater League Leon Rabin Silver Ticket Award for outstanding contributions to the arts (2002)
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 www.taca-arts.org. Connect with TACA on Facebook at facebook.com/taca.arts.dallas or on Instagram at @TACADallas.