Live music and dance performances are part of the entertainment at TACA’s annual Party on the Green, happening tonight in Sammons Park. (Photos courtesy of TACA)

TACA’s Party on the Green fundraiser helps keep Dallas arts moving forward

RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

The Arts Community Alliance (TACA) will get its groove on tonight (Friday, Oct. 15) with the return of its fundraiser, TACA Lexus Party on the Green. Held in Sammons Park at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District, the food and drink event will feature a menu of small plates by Parigi’s Chef Janice Provost in collaboration with Wolfgang Puck Catering.

But more importantly, the event raises money and awareness for local arts groups.

“On Oct. 15, we’ll unveil a Party on the Green that is totally unlike any we’ve hosted before,” Terry D. Loftis, TACA Executive Director and Donna Wilhelm Family President said in a press release. “We invite our guests to slip into their finest fall attire and join us in the Dallas Arts District for an unforgettable night of food, drink and live performances where they can connect with fellow TACA supporters and learn more about our mission to support excellence and impact in the arts.”

Co-chairs for the event are Whitney Strauss, who serves on the board of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, and Stephen Gilhooly, who sits on the Advisory Committee of Black Tie Dinner and has previously served on the Human Rights Campaign’s National Board of Governors.

Party on the Green will also feature live music by The Grays, a cork pull and dance and music performances.

“After forgoing the event in 2020, I am proud to announce that TACA Lexus Party on the Green is back!”

Loftis said. “This fall-favorite event is the premier opportunity for art lovers across the city to come together in celebration of our thriving cultural arts community.”

TACA has worked for more than 50 years to support more than 60 local arts groups. Events like this one help to raise funds to continue that support.

In some ways, TACA is sort of a “middle man” for local arts support. The organization creates giving programs and grants for those groups.

Cameron Kirkpatrick, TACA director of development and marketing, explained how the organization functions in its support.

“That’s what makes our organization so unique,” he said. “Say you love opera and donate to The Dallas Opera, but you may not know there are several other opera groups. Instead of writing a number of checks to all of them, you can write one to us, and we give that money to the most deserving groups.”

Kirpatrick added that this works to help Dallas continue to be an arts city.

Things were different during the height of the pandemic. Arts groups were suffering with closures and income. TACA was able to step in and help.

“We doubled down with emergency funds to generate cash to get out the door to arts groups” when the COVID pandemic shut-down hit, Kirkpatrick said. “We helped those groups in the early days to keep the lights on and to pay their employees. When we surpassed our goals for that fund, we immediately pivoted with the TACA Resiliency Initiative.”

What used to be a single major distribution of grants shifted into three cycles. That led TACA to the decision to move from one distribution to two.

“We felt disconnected a bit from groups. So now, giving away in fall and spring will foster a deeper relationship with our organizations,” Kirkpatrick said.

The last year also led to TACA’s new pop-up grants program. The nomination-based program focuses on groups who are performing more on the fringe. If selected, the group receives a grant of $2,000 for their production and an additional $4,000 to pay actors and crew.

“The way we are structured, we can only grant nonprofit institutions, but there was concern about individual artists. Now the organizations can pay their actors who may not have been paid before. The pop-up grant was a breakthrough moment for us and so enriching,” Kirkpatrick said.

And events such as Party on the Green continue TACA’s mission to pursue that enrichment for itself and the larger arts scene in Dallas.

TACA Lexus Party on the Green will be held today at Sammons Park, 2403 Flora St. at 7:30 p.m. Proof of vaccination paired with ID or a negative test within 48 hours will be required for admittance, and masks will be mandatory throughout the event except when eating and drinking.

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