Photo by f8studio

What: 2023 TACA Silver Cup Award Luncheon

TACA Silver Cup Luncheon 2023

Photo by f8studio

Wanda Fearing, Dean Fearing, Shelby Goff

Where: Omni Dallas Hotel

The 411: Dallas' most fervent arts supporters gathered on May 3 for the TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) 45th Silver Cup Award Luncheon. Celebrated since 1979, the event annually spotlights two philanthropists for their volunteerism and extraordinary support for arts and culture in North Texas.

This year's honorees were Gene Jones and Joe Hubach. They were honored onstage by luncheon co-chairs Elaine Agather and Andy Smith, as well as Maura Sheffler, the Donna Wilhelm Family President & Executive Director of TACA.

“Each year we come together to celebrate two incredible arts philanthropists and volunteers for their contributions to making Dallas a vibrant arts community. With Joe Hubach and Gene Jones, I can’t think of two people more deserving of this year’s TACA Silver Cup," said Smith. "I thank them for their unique and long-lasting contributions."

The arts-focused luncheon included not only a sumptuous meal and heartfelt awards presentation, but performances by some of Dallas' rising stars. Among them: SMU Meadows School of the Arts sopranos Avuya Ngcaweni and Sarah E. Navy, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra Young Strings' Antonella Quintana (on violin) and Carlos Vega (on cello).

The annual event is also an important fundraiser for TACA. This year's Silver Cup Award Luncheon raised more than $700,000 through sponsorships, table and ticket sales, and donations, surpassing the organization's goal.

“The 2023 TACA Silver Cup Luncheon was an unprecedented success for the arts community in Dallas,” Sheffler said. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our co-chairs, Elaine Agather and Andy Smith, for their commitment to surpassing our fundraising goal making this year’s event honoring Gene Jones and Joe Hubach our most successful to date.”

TACA supports excellence and impact in the arts through grant-making, capacity-building, and thought leadership in the Greater Dallas area. For more information, visit the organization's website.

Who: Wanda Fearing, Dean Fearing, Shelby Goff, Kevin March, Carol March, Barbara Hill Moore, Le Moore, Sam Self, Donna Wilhelm, Gabrielle Kurlander, Benaye Chambers, Sam Self, Diana Self, Michael Meadows, and hundreds more patrons and guests.

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Dallas' Crow Museum of Asian Art names new curator ahead of second outpost opening

arts news

The Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas has found its new curator. Natalia Di Pietrantonio, Ph.D., hails from the Seattle Art Museum and was selected after a nationwide search.

There, she served as inaugural curator of South Asian art, caring for the museum's South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Islamic art collections while also serving as an affiliate art history faculty member at the University of Washington.

Di Pietrantonio arrives just as the Crow Museum is preparing to debut a second museum next fall.

Designed by global architecture firm Morphosis, the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Athenaeum is being constructed as part of a 12-acre cultural district on the UT Dallas campus.

Over the next year, the 38-year-old curator will work closely with architects, interior designers, academic faculty, and museum staff to select the artworks that will be on view when the new museum opens its doors. She will also guide the 10,000 square feet of gallery space at the original Crow Museum, which was founded in 1998 and is in the downtown Dallas Arts District.

In addition, Di Pietrantonio will serve as a faculty member in the arts department at UT Dallas.

“Natalia brings a wonderful vision, a fresh and energetic perspective, and a proven track record in elevating Asian American art and culture in compelling ways,” says Amy Lewis Hofland, senior director of the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas. “With her background in South Asian and Islamic art, she also will help build the Crow Museum of Asian Art collection, strengthening it to better reflect the growing diversity of our region.”

A first-generation Mexican American whose first language was Spanish, a release says that "Di Pietrantonio brings over 10 years of professional and academic experience, ranging from highly lauded museum exhibitions and university cultural events to innovative collaborations and unique community outreach experiences."

From 2014-15, she served as a Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow for the Islamic department at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. She is multilingual and speaks Spanish, Persian, Urdu and English.

At the Seattle Art Museum, she harnessed her expertise of modern and contemporary art to curate two diverse exhibitions: "Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time" (January 2022), which focused on the body and female representations in South Asia; and "Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water" (March 2022), which addressed climate change and water access.

During her tenure at the Seattle Art Museum, she grew their South Asian collection by 25 percent. She also was the lead curator on the mid-career retrospective of the performance artist Anida Y. Ali that debuts in January 2024.

Recognizing that North Texas has one of the fastest-growing Asian American populations in Texas, Di Pietrantonio is excited to pursue exhibitions and programs that are topical both locally and globally to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. She also intends to bring performance art into the cultural mix at the Crow Museum.

"As the Crow Museum embarks on a new era with a second museum on the horizon, I am honored to be part of its storied history known for dynamic and innovative exhibitions and programs,” says Di Pietrantonio. “My first major goal is to learn more about the North Texas region — from UT Dallas students and museum supporters to neighborhood organizations and our increasingly diverse populations — so I can help align and tailor the museum programs for its communities.”

In 2018, Di Pietrantonio completed her Ph.D. in the history of art at Cornell University, studying under the contemporary artist Iftikhar Dadi with a focus on calligraphy and book arts. Prior to that time, she received a master’s degree in South Asian studies from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of California, Davis. It was during her years at UC Davis that a dynamic professor introduced her to Islamic art and ignited her interest.

Anaya family rallies together to open new seafood restaurant in Frisco

Tex-Mex News

Frisco is the latest city to net its own location of Anaya's Seafood, a wonderful family-owned DFW seafood restaurant chain, opening what will be its fourth location in the Legacy Crossing center at 4350 Main St. in Frisco, where it's set to debut in late 2023.

Anaya's was founded in 2020 by four brothers — Miguel, Bobby, Alfredo, and Serafín Anaya — who make up the backbone of the company. Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, they've been in Dallas for more than 20 years, learning the ropes by working at other restaurants such as Fish City Frill and Rockfish.

"But we always wanted a restaurant of our own," says Alfredo.

They finally pulled the trigger in the middle of the pandemic when they opened their first restaurant in Richardson in December 2020. They've since opened locations in Addison (in 2021), and Plano (in 2022).

"We are opening a location in Frisco in response to customer requests," Alfredo says. "We had patrons who were coming over to our restaurants in Plano and Richardson, asking us to open in their area so they would not have to make the drive."

The menu stars seafood, with a Tex-Mex Cajun theme that seems tailor-made for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Entrees include:

  • Lightly blackened trout with artichokes and capers
  • Cedar plank salmon with mango salsa
  • Flounder with lump crab and tomato basil cream sauce
  • Fish & chips, with beer-battered cod and house-made colesalaw

Seafood dishes come with sides such as garlic whipped potatoes and seasonal veggies, and are priced from $15 to $23. Thy also offer tacos, sandwiches, and appetizers including coconut shrimp and a unique hybrid item called Crab Mac N Cheese Cakes. They make everything themselves, including the beer batter for the fish and chips. (They use Shiner bock.)

A chalkboard fesatures daily specials. "We offer a Tex-Mex Cajun menu that is fresh and changes daily," Alfredo says.

A full bar features crafty cocktails such as a jalapeno mezcal margarita, a jalapeno-cucumber martini, and a rosemary grapefruit mule. An extended Happy Hour runs from 12-7 pm on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday, and features $8 bites including oysters, shrimp nachos, and dynamite shrimp. Monday and Tuesday, they offer half-price bottles of wine all day.

And their weekend brunch on Saturday-Sunday is a bargain, with chilaquiles, chicken & waffles, Benedicts, and seafood omelets ranging from $11 to $17.

The fun part of the story about Anaya's is the Anaya family themselves. It's rare to find a family business like this where pretty much every family member is involved.

In the kitchen are Miguel and Bobby: Miguel is the oldest brother, with 25 years of experience working at seafood restaurants, both running kitchens and as general manager. Bobby, the second-oldest, has 21 years of experience, starting as a cook, then lead cook, then kitchen manager.

Alfredo is Brother #3, with 16 years of experience, mostly front of the house. He's the brains behind the cocktail program and runs the bar. Youngest brother Serafin oversees the service.

"Our sisters work in the restaurants, too," Alfredo says. "Even my mom, she is walking around and bussing tables. Everyone chips in."

Dallas officials hope to put $1 billion-plus bond on ballot in next election

Money News

Dallas city leaders putting together the city’s bond issuance for next year are fielding the first proposals from five City Council-appointed citizen subcommittees.

This is the city's first bond program since 2017, when voters approved a $1.05 billion package for a variety of projects such as library updates, Arts District renovations, and more. Those were planned to be completed in five years, but the pandemic delayed some of the projects, which are still pending.

Bonds are debt securities issued by municipalities to finance projects such as buildings, streets, or other infrastructure.

The 2024 bond proposal is estimated to be around $1.1 billion, and expected to be placed before voters in May.

The project, though, could also grow as the deadline to finalize the package nears, including an additional $400 million to cover rising pension costs.

The subcommittees last week submitted plans that would total around $1.7 billion, which includes $224 million for critical infrastructure, $675 for streets and infrastructure, $399 million for parks and trails, $275 million for economic development, housing, and addressing homelessness, and $200 million for flood control and storm damage.

Various city departments are also pitching their needs as part of the process. Those range from $8.8 million for renovations to the Preston Royal branch library and a $114 million animal shelter to $13 million for a new bridge along Malcolm X Boulevard over the DART service center in South Dallas.

Some departments insist their projects are paramount. "Our $399,000,835 request is not a wish list," assistant Parks and Recreation director Christina Turner- Noteware told the Dallas Morning News. "It's a true list of needs."

Some of the new plans are a continuation of the old ones. For example, the 2017 bond allocated $50.4 million for economic development to include improvements to commercial areas and neighborhood revitalization. The current plan includes $150 million for more affordable housing and more “mixed income” communities as well as more money to South Dallas projects.

“We’re still touching the same buckets as 2017," says former city council member Jennifer Staubach Gates, who chairs the critical facilities subcommittee. Similar to 2017, "we have to take care of things that we haven’t taken care of, and the cost goes up."

In 2017, the ever-evolving needs for street improvements came to $533.98 million. (For a list of street projects, see here.) This time around, the proposed $675 million for streets addresses many of the same issues, including bridge repair, traffic signals, and other transit necessities.

Newer items include more money to address the homeless, with the proposed 2024 bond plan to include $29 million to assist that population. The city is already receiving $22 million in federal money to help with the problem. Dallas also funds an Office of Homeless Solutions at $219,000 a year.

The projects placed before voters will broken into separate propositions, similar to 2017.

The city has prepared a needs assessment, or a map of projects it considers on a scored basis of importance, for residents to see.