TACA Announces Expansion of Pop-Up Grants

The Arts Community Alliance (or TACA) announced an expansion of its pop-up grant program, which debuted in August of 2020 as part of the new TACA Resiliency Initiative (TRI). 

This expansion includes Artist Bonus funds, a new source of funding for individual artists, providing them financial support while the arts continue to feel the impact of the pandemic, while extending the program through 2021.  The addition of the artist bonus funding is made possible by a generous $180,000 gift from the March Family Foundation.

TACA has distributed pop-up grants since August as small, unrestricted disbursements to arts organizations demonstrating quality short-term programming, exceptional creativity, and innovation. These monthly, merit-based awards are designed to increase the awareness of artistic work happening in and around the community. Some recipients of pop-up Grants made so far include Cry Havoc Theater Company, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Aurora Dallas, and Prism Movement Theater.  A listing of all pop-up grantees to-date can be found here.

Arts organizations that receive a TACA Pop-Up Grant are permitted to use them as unrestricted funding for the organization.  Last year, TACA distributed $35,000 in pop-up grants. For 2021, organizations with operating budgets of $5 million or less receiving a pop-up grant will also receive additional artist bonus funds, which will be disbursed by the grantee to the “Key Artists” and “Supporting Artists” involved in the awarded pop-up grant program on a 2:1 ratio. 

The total Artist Bonus funds distributed are equal to two-times the grantee’s unrestricted pop-up grant (e.g., if a grantee receives an unrestricted pop-up grant of $2,000, the organization will receive additional artist bonus funds in the amount of $4,000 to be awarded to the artists).

“Kevin and I have witnessed so many arts organizations and artists struggle during the pandemic,” said Carol March, who is also a member of TACA’s board of directors.  “These are groups and individuals who are yearning to work, but due to the pandemic, they can’t practice their craft and make a living.  Many artists have lost jobs as well as the opportunity to perform, so we are making this gift to the Pop-Up Grant program to support them and arts staff at this critical time.  Further, we are hopeful that our gift will be a catalyst for others who wish to support artists.” 

January Pop-Up grants and artist bonus

In conjunction with the March Family Foundation gift, TACA’S January Pop-Up Grantees are The Cedars Union, The Cube, Kitchen Dog Theater, Shakespeare Dallas and Soul Rep Theatre Company. They each will receive unrestricted grants between $500-$2,000 plus Artist Bonus grants between $1,000-$4,000.

The Cedars Union – Flesh & Bone

Flesh & Bone is a site-specific collection of works in the historic Boedeker Building created by Cedars Union Community Member, Erika Jaeggli.  The work is the culmination of on-site research made in this Dallas historical landmark during the months of November and December 2020.

The Cube: An Interactive Experience for the Socially-Distanced Era

The Cube: An Interactive Experience for The Socially Distanced Era utilizes projections, lights, music, dance, and live performance in an attempt to blur the lines between the socially-distanced virtual art we have all become accustomed to since March, and the more traditional live theatrical performance we have loved for centuries. 

Kitchen Dog Theater- #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence

In collaboration with SMU/Division of Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theater participated in the nationwide reading of the seven winning plays of #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, a national short play competition for middle and high school students. The reading was livestreamed on December 14, 2020 – as an 8-year remembrance of the shootings at Sandy Hook.

Shakespeare Dallas- Shakespeare Decoded

In Shakespeare Dallas’ new podcast series, Shakespeare Decoded, they explore the social issues of William Shakespeare’s day that remain burning issues in today’s global society.  Each episode features panelists from across the country sharing their expertise on themes such as class division, racism, gender, and bias.

Soul Rep Theatre Co.- DO NO HARM

Soul Rep Theatre Company, in partnership with SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, presented the world premiere of Co-Founder, Anyika McMillan-Herod’s newest play DO NO HARM (filmed in a slave cabin at Dallas Heritage Village) in January. The harrowing historical drama was commissioned by Dr. Evelyn Parker (SMU) and the Association of Practical Theology (APT) and explores the story of three enslaved women – Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy – who were experimented on without anesthesia by Dr. J. Marion Sims, credited as “The Father of Modern Gynecology.” 

“We are beyond grateful for the generous gift from the March Family Foundation,” said Terry D. Loftis, Donna Wilhelm Family President & Executive Director.  “Thanks to Carol and Kevin, we’re able to expand the program to include artists, but also extend it through 2021.  Many artists are still reeling from the economic impact of the pandemic, and we’re thankful these bonus funds will recognize the artists who create works recognized by the Pop-Up Grant program.” 

TACA also announced a special $30,000 gift made by the Davis Family Fund in memory of the late SMU Assistant Theater Professor and independent costume designer Rondi Hillstrom Davis, to support the pop-up grant program.  The gift includes contributions made by more than 50 friends to honor Rondi, who had a deep love for the arts and philanthropic community in Dallas, once managing the costume shop for The Dallas Opera and designing costumes for Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas shows, and a number of feature films and TV productions.

In speaking of the gift honoring his late wife, Joe Davis added, “Rondi had a deep appreciation for the arts and artists in our community. On behalf of our daughters Genevieve and Alice, we are honored to make this gift to TACA to support the arts and artists who’ve been impacted by the pandemic.”

For additional information and guidelines about the TACA Pop-Up Grants, visit https://taca-arts.org/pop-up-grants. To make a gift to TACA, please email development@taca-arts.org or visit https://taca-arts.org/our-programs/taca-resiliency-initiative/donate/

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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