TACA New Works Fund distributes 125,000 to four organizations

TACA –The Arts Community Alliance – announces four 2023 recipients of its re-envisioned New Works Fund focused on support for new works of performing, literary, and visual art in varying stages of development by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), LGBTQ+, and Female artists. A diverse group of four arts organizations representing multidisciplinary new works will share the $125,000 distribution made possible by the generosity of Presenting Sponsor Texas Instruments. Additional support is provided by PNC, Rea Charitable Trust, and Anne Davidson, with founding support from the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund.

Launched in 2012, the TACA New Works Fund was established to support the development and performance of innovative new works of art in Dallas County.  In 2022, TACA’s Board of Directors endorsed the opportunity to refocus funding to amplify and cultivate artistic creation by underrepresented artists in the wake of the pandemic and racial justice reckoning.

The four 2023 TACA New Works grantees are:

Cara Mía TheatreYanga ($25,000)
Written by Jaime Chabaud and Translated by Tomas Ayala-Torres
February 17-March 3, 2024

Cara Yan Theatre and Soul Rep Theatre Company in association with Mulato Teatro from Mexico present the World Premiere of Tomás Ayala-Torres’s English translation of Jaime Chabaud’s Yanga, inspired by the real-life story of Gaspar Yanga, an enslaved African Prince who led a rebellion and successfully negotiated an independent territory with the Spanish crown less than 100 years after the arrival of Hernán Cortés in Mexico. Translated into English for the first time, Yanga sheds light on the roots of the Afro-Mexican experience.

Dallas Theater CenterI AM DELIVERED’T ($10,000)
Written by Jonathan Norton
February 2-18, 2024

Good Friday. The New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church’s Seven Last Words service is in full swing. But outside – in the church parking lot – another resurrection story is taking shape. This world premiere new comedy by DTC Playwright in Residence, Jonathan Norton, introduces theater audiences to African American church Usher Board culture as it intersects with the jubilation and tribulation of same-gender loving African American Christians. I AM DELIVERED’T is a co-production between Dallas Theater Center and the Actors Theatre of Louisville. With this production DTC launched a pilot program called the “Ambassador Program”- a group of staff and board members traveling around Dallas to specific communities to engage people with the creation of the work, bring more awareness to the play and the institution, and invite newcomers to our theater.

Nasher Sculpture CenterHugh Hayden: America ($50,000)
September 2024 – January 2025

Hugh Hayden: America at the Nasher Sculpture Center is an exhibition of newly commissioned work by Dallas native, Hugh Hayden. Currently in development, the new sculptural works will invite visitors to examine familiar objects through a slightly sinister, critical lens. The goal of America is to use Hayden’s signature spiky wooden thorns to explore childhood, community, public space, individualism, safety, and, as referenced in the exhibition’s title: the American Dream. This installation and exhibition of new work will be accompanied by robust public programming, including school tours, workshops, and an artist talk.

Verdigris EnsembleMis-Lead ($40,000)
Composed by Kirsten Soriano
April 5 – April 7, 2024

The flagship concert experience of Verdigris Ensemble’s 2023/24 Season is the world premiere of Mis-Lead. From nationally acclaimed composer Kirsten Soriano, this stunningly sobering account of West Dallas’s lead-infused past shines a light on one of the most impactful environmental challenges in the City’s history. In collaboration with Dallas Free Press – using eye-witness accounts, newspaper articles, city council transcripts, and community conversations – Verdigris mixes bilingual poetry with docu-journalism to chronicle a community in need. This dynamic new work honors the generations of Dallasites affected by lead-smelting, reminding us that the first step to environmental justice starts right here at home.

“Since the New Works Fund’s inception, TACA and our esteemed jurors have identified groundbreaking projects that support local artists, explore new ideas, inspire innovation, challenge traditional thinking, and keep art fresh and relevant, especially among underrepresented artists,” said Maura Sheffler, Donna Wilhelm Family President & Executive Director.  “We’re especially pleased this year to make our first New Works grant for a visual arts piece to the Nasher Sculpture Center.”

Dallas Theater Center – Photo by Lara Jo Hightower

“Just as art from the past provides a window into our cultural histories, new works of art say much about our diverse communities today,” said Andy Smith, Executive Director of the TI Foundation. “TACA’s New Works Fund helps artists – especially those whose voices are historically unheard – explore and express their cultural identities in new and innovative ways. This is important to keep our arts community vibrant now and into the future. We’re excited about this year’s New Works Fund recipients and how they are expressing their artistic visions of the world around us.”

“The Nasher Sculpture Center is honored to be a recipient of a grant from 2023 New Works Fund,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “This grant—the first of its kind to a visual arts organization—allows the Nasher to present a series of newly commissioned works in the Nasher’s garden and galleries. Hugh Hayden: America, on view beginning in September 2024, is a homecoming for the artist and a chance for us to present his important works to our Dallas community. The New Works Fund is one of many examples of TACA’s important work to support culture in North Texas.”

Since its inception in 2012, TACA’s New Works Fund has provided $1,112,500 in grants to support 36 new works of art in North Texas.  Since its founding in 1967, TACA has distributed more than $33 million to 200 arts organizations that produce artistic programming in Dallas County.

A panel of local and national artists and arts managers narrowed applicant organizations through a competitive application and review process followed by interviews by local nonprofit and arts experts.  Panelists selected the recipients based on the artistic merit and integrity, impact, and feasibility of their projects.

2023 TACA New Works Fund Jurors:

  • Selena Anguiano – Senior Manager, Foundation & Government Giving, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and CEO/Founder, Anguiano Arts
  • Jennifer Monet Cowley – Curator and Visual Artist
  • Danielle Georgiou – Professor of Dance, Humanities and Visual Arts, Dallas College Eastfield Camps and Founder/Artistic Director, Danielle Georgiou Dance Group
  • Tiffany Hall – Grants Manager, Foundation for Louisiana
  • Lindsay Harwell – Choreographer & Dancer and Director, Embry Family Foundation
  • Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi – Freelance Writer and Poet
  • Derrick Horne – Professor of Practice, Music & Director, Meadows Jazz Orchestra, Southern Methodist University
  • Fabiana Elisa Martinez – Founder, Professor, Translator and Interpreter, Talk Active LLC
  • Carmen Menza – Interdisciplinary Artist and Board Member at Large, Texas Vignette
  • Lily Cabatu Weiss – Executive Director, Dallas Arts District

About TACA

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.

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Barbara Clark Galupi