News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

Bold Partnerships for Dallas Arts Orgs

Posted by Michael Granberry
0 Comments
Bold Partnerships for Dallas Arts Orgs

Dallas-based AT&T is putting its business acumen to work for five financially challenged arts organizations. The corporation will provide free oversight to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Opera, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas Theater Center, and Dallas Summer Musicals.

 

The goal of the partnership is to stanch the financial bleeding that has plagued the organizations since the 2008 recession.

 

“The old economic business models are not working,” DSO chairman Blaine Nelson said. “Revenues are falling far short of costs and expenses.”

 

Financial woes have besieged the DSO, Dallas Opera, and Dallas Summer Musicals, which recently asked the city for money.

 

The partnership is designed to help the companies streamline operations and share numerous endeavors, while preserving their independence. It’s also aimed at quelling the fierce competition that has existed at times between the performing arts center and Dallas Summer Musicals, both of which present Broadway shows.

 

Nelson says that “donor heroics” are no longer a winning strategy. Donors are, he said, increasingly younger givers who have tired of “a bottomless pit” and the absence of a “sustainable business model.” They prefer to be seen, he said, as investors, not donors.

Nelson helped conceive the new model, called the Performing Arts Collaboration, which was first broached six months ago.

 

“The donor community and the corporate community are a bit fatigued,” said AT&T executive Ron Spears. “Their message back has been very clear: We want to support you, but we need to see some level of rationalization about the way we operate in the Arts District. We would like to see it become much more businesslike than what we’ve seen in the past, which is, every time someone gets into trouble, they come knocking at the door in a financial rescue effort.”

 

Under the agreement, the five will retain what the group calls “institutional and artistic identity,” with AT&T providing “leadership, offering resources and brainpower.” In making the announcement, the institutions promised to explore “combining back-office operations such as health care and benefits, ticketing and box office, scheduling and capacity, artistic collaboration and facility management.”

 

As for how much each organization would save, that’s a mystery for now.

“We don’t know,” said Chris Heinbaugh, spokesman for the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “Part of the process is drilling down into all the details and figuring out what the real savings might be.”

 

All five companies perform in facilities owned by the city, though the city will not share in managing the new arrangement. “As both a businessman and an arts supporter, the initiative makes all the sense in the world,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

 

Since the opening of the Winspear Opera House, competition has often been an issue with the Arts District newcomer and its Fair Park rival, Dallas Summer Musicals.

 

Roger Nanney, board president of the AT&T PAC, and Michael Jenkins, president and managing director of DSM, “have sat down,” Spears said. “They agree that competition for artistic work doesn’t make any sense.” So one of the first big efforts between the two, Spears said, will be “how to better coordinate.” Staging Broadway shows in Dallas should now become “a better overall experience. What’s been going on is not the best.”

 

AT&T is gifted, Nelson said, at finding “more efficient ways to operate, at reducing costs and redundancies.” He cited as one example the five groups having five separate box offices. “I see no reason,” he says, “why we can’t share one box office.”

 

“Where do I think this journey will lead us?” Nelson said. “I don’t know. But the goal for all of these organizations, which mean so much to the city of Dallas economically and culturally, is to find better ways to operate. We simply have to.”

 

*This post was originally published by The Dallas News and ARTSblog.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

BCA 10 Spotlight: AC Entertainment in Knoxville, Tennessee
Nov 14, 2017 0 Comments
Known as one of the foremost concert promoters and festival producers in the United States, AC Entertainment celebrates the arts by bringing first-class live entertainment experiences to music lovers from around the world. Founded...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Scholastic Inc., New York City
Nov 09, 2017 0 Comments
“Creative, innovative thinking, the hallmark of artists and writers, is fundamental to building economic strength, and new and better ways of seeing the world. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards validates the creativity of students...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina
Nov 07, 2017 0 Comments
“Duke Energy is committed to supporting the vitality of the communities we serve. That includes introducing our young people to the arts at an early age—study after study shows that children benefit immensely from exposure to...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri
Nov 02, 2017 0 Comments
At Hallmark Cards, art is an essential component of the company’s DNA. From its founding in the early 20th century, Hallmark has fostered creative environments both inside and outside the workplace, and has been particularly...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Bacardi in Coral Gables, Florida
Oct 31, 2017 0 Comments
“Supporting the arts within the cities and towns where we live and work is our way of giving back at Bacardi. This sense of corporate responsibility has been at our foundation since the Bacardi company was created more than 151...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Microsoft in Redmond, Washington
Oct 26, 2017 0 Comments
“Microsoft is honored to support arts and culture organizations across the U.S. and around the world, which provide so much richness to all of our communities.” -Lori Harnick, General Manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Yum! Brands in Louisville, Kentucky
Oct 24, 2017 0 Comments
“At Yum! Brands, we believe in the power of the arts to educate, inspire and empower all students, especially those who are classified as ‘at-risk’.  Working with our local Fund for Arts organization we created the Yum! Family...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta, Georgia
Oct 20, 2017 0 Comments
“Turner Voices, our company’s signature corporate philanthropy program, marries our deep ties to our Atlanta hometown with our commitment to next-generation storytellers and their power to impact our community in profoundly positive...
Go to full post
It’s a Celebration! The 2017 BCA 10 Gala: Best Businesses That Partner with the Arts
Oct 19, 2017 0 Comments
On October 11th, business and arts leaders gathered at the iconic Central Park Boathouse in New York City to honor the best businesses partnering with the arts in America at the annual BCA 10 Awards. Now in its 13th year, this...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: AutoZone, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee
Oct 18, 2017 0 Comments
"Even as AutoZone has evolved over the last 36 years, we’ve maintained a steadfast commitment to our hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Leadership and active participation in our region’s arts and culture are essential to community...
Go to full post
The Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts are Featured in Forbes
Oct 11, 2017 0 Comments
This year's BCA 10 honorees are using the arts to meet business goals in moving ways. We are proud to recognize them with an ad in the 100th Anniversay Issue of Forbes, "100 Greatest Business Minds" (page 169, September 28)...
Go to full post
Hear from the Business Leaders of the 2017 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts
Oct 02, 2017 0 Comments
Now that you have read about this year’s BCA 10 honorees, let’s take the time to meet the leaders. These business executives, representing a range of industries from hotels to healthcare to retail, are inspiring. Support them...
Go to full post
2012 BCA 10 Winning Tampa Bay Times Spreads Joy of Literature with Times Festival of Reading
Sep 28, 2017 0 Comments
Every fall, the Tampa Bay Times marketing department produces a celebration of the literary arts known as the Times Festival of Reading. This one day event draws thousands of book lovers, as well as famous authors from across...
Go to full post
2011 BCA Winning Law Firm, Baker Botts L.L.P., Says the Arts Are Essential
Sep 26, 2017 0 Comments
A major supporter of the arts since the 19th century, Baker Botts, an international law firm, strives to be a good corporate citizen, helping arts organizations thrive and providing opportunities for its employees and clients...
Go to full post

Already a partner?

Already a partner?

Learn easy ways to take your partnership to a new level.

Use our ads locally

Use our ads locally

View The pARTnership Movement ad campaign and find ways to use the ads.

pARTnership videos

pARTnership videos

Watch and share our videos from The pARTnership Movement.

Partnership ideas

Partnership ideas

Inspire employees with tickets to the ballet or a concert.

Are you an arts group?

Are you an arts group?

Get listed in our searchable directory.

Recruit talent

Recruit talent

Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community.