At the 35th annual TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, Mayor Mike Rawlings borrowed a quote from the late, great John F. Kennedy. And the words could not have been more apropos for an affair that honors outstanding patrons of the arts.
“Art is the great democrat, calling forth creative genius from every sector of society, disregarding race or religion or wealth or color,” Rawlings said.
The mayor joined this year’s honorees, Peggy Sewell and Roger Nanney, at the head table, along with William Bogart, luncheon co-chair Jan Showers, Caroline Rose Hunt, TACA board of directors chairman Nancy Carlson, 2012 Silver Cup Award recipient Frank Risch, Ginger Reeder and R. Gerald Turner. But everyone in the crowd was buzzing about emcee Lee Cullum.
The celebrated journalist memorized every word for the day’s presentation, from the opening remarks to the introductions for each speaker. Cullum rattled off key names, facts and figures with humor and charisma — and sans note cards. Even Showers remarked, “It’s so hard to follow you,” after Cullum invited her to the podium.
In between laughs, attendees — including Lynn McBee, Howard Rachofsky, Gillian Breidenbach, Maxwell L. Anderson, Keenan Delaney, Jacquelin Sewell Taylor, Lisa and Bill Ogle, and Jennifer and John Eagle — listened intently to Carlson, who spoke about TACA’s amazing accomplishments, including the distribution of 1.2 million dollars in donations to Dallas arts organizations.
Then Reeder, vice president of corporate communications for Neiman Marcus, introduced Eleanor Dunbar, recipient of the Neiman Marcus Performing Arts Scholarship at SMU. All eyes turned toward the award-winning violinist, who performed Eugene Ysaye’s “Sonata-Ballade No. 3” from a stage in the middle of the Chantilly Ballroom.
After Dunbar’s inspiring performance, Risch introduced Sewell. “She greeted me with the sense that she knew me her whole life,” he said, reflecting on the first time they met. “Peggy is a rare jewel,” he added.
Upon acceptance of her award, Sewell thanked her family and former mayor Annette Strauss, founder of TACA. “Thirty years ago, she asked me to chair this luncheon,” Sewell said. Even though she was pregnant at the time, Sewell confessed, “I never said no to Annette.”
Then Laurie Harrison, on behalf of her mother, Caroline Rose Hunt, introduced Nanney, who shared that it was his daughter’s interest in dance and theater that truly sparked his interest in supporting the arts.
“This award is an accomplishment to all of the people within the arts community,” he said.