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The 20 Things You Need to Know For 2011

We figured out the people, places, and ideas that matter this year in Dallas. You're welcome.
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illustration by Sean McCabe

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illustration by Sean McCabe

#13
The AT&T Performing Arts Center will get its act together.

If there is a question that has lingered as the AT&T Performing Arts Center celebrated its first year of operation in October, it is this: what exactly is a performing arts center? Throughout its first months of operations, the AT&TPAC has hosted more than 900 performances and events, opened three separate venues, launched the resident opera and theater companies to new prominence, and broadened the palate of Dallas’ traveling cultural performances, from Broadway to contemporary dance. But with the premature departure of CEO Mark Nerenhausen and looming fundraising challenges, the second year of the Performing Arts Center looks to be as challenging as the first.

In 2011, the center will potentially add three new executives to its ranks, including a new CEO to replace Nerenhausen. The chairman of the Performing Arts Center board, Roger Nanney, says that person must possess the ability to juggle the multiple duties of the complex organization but also have a knack for fundraising. If finding a candidate means looking outside the performing arts center world, they are willing to do it.

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photography by Scott Womack
Fundraising will be a key focus of the center’s second year, now that they have “something you can touch,” as Nanney puts it, to show potential donors. Funds need to be raised for an annual fund and endowment, as well as cover the gap that still exists between revenue and expenses. Fundraising is of such vital importance to the center that interim CEO Doug Curtis says the organization is likely to add a second executive who will deal exclusively with development. “Probably even before we get our new CEO, we’ll bring on someone for fundraising,” Curtis says. “A vice president of development or something like that.”

That still leaves a hole in the operations of the center: programming. For the first year, the center has managed to program its calendar with outside help. For example, Charles Santos’ TITAS brings in dance and music, and the Lexus Broadway Series is programmed with assistance from San Francisco-based consulting group SHN.

But to fulfill the Performing Arts Center’s role as a community partner, bringing additional programming to the underutilized Sammons Park as well as facilitating partnerships with other local arts organizations, Curtis says an in-house programmer is necessary.

“I think at the end of the day we’d like to have somebody in-house, looking out for our best interests,” Curtis says. “A search for that person has started.”

Among the first items being discussed: opening a box office in Sammons Park that may also serve the dual function of providing one vital amenity missing in the district—a place to purchase a cup of joe. —P.S.

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