Arts Insider with Hector Garcia April 8, 2024

TACA Arts Insider

What aspect of TACA captivates you the most and why do you choose to support our mission?

TACA exudes support for the local arts community and that is why I support it. Whether it is educational experiences, marketing support or financial support (like the TACA Pop-Up Grants), the mission and work of TACA support all the arts community and, by extension, the entire community.

As we celebrate Arts Month in Dallas, what art experience or memory stands out as your favorite from the past year?

It is difficult to narrow this answer down to my favorite. I attend 60-65 live performance events annually, which might seem excessive, but I thoroughly enjoy the wide breadth, strength, and creativity in our Dallas arts community. And I celebrate it. Some of my favorite productions were Shams (Verdigris Ensemble), The Producers (Lyric Stage), Jazz and Brass in the Park (AT&T Performing Arts Center – ArtsBridge Powered by Toyota) in West Dallas, and three Elevator Projects – Jazz, Soul, Funk, Classics (B. Moore Dance), Poems for Broken Screens (Therefore Art, Sound and Performance) and Plague Mask Players’ The Taming of the Shrew in Living Black and WhiteTM!

Tell us about your experience with the Elevator Project at AT&T Performing Arts Center and what you feel makes it unique to the Dallas arts community?

As I look at other cities and performing arts centers, I have not found anything quite like Elevator Project anywhere else. The Center as a whole, our leadership, and our staff are wholeheartedly committed to the Elevator Project and the success of the artists. As producer of the Elevator Project series, I lead a team of dedicated colleagues who meet biweekly throughout the year. This is a team effort.

I came into the Elevator Project process as the AT&T Performing Arts Center was gathering applications for the third season. For perspective, we are now in the process of reviewing applications for the tenth season.

I am the first person to read all the applications and I am always moved by the talent, imagination, and creativity in our Dallas arts community. I work closely with our panelists (on two levels) who make the actual decisions on what gets into the next season, but after the season is curated, I dive in to work to make sure each production succeeds.

Our community has stories that need to be told and there is an enormous need for space – both to perform and to rehearse; the Center creates that space and supports the artists to help those stories get to the stage, and that enriches all of us.

I love the process of working with an artist who has a germ of an idea, then moving that forward to filling in the voids, giving it shape, working with the Elevator Project team, and eventually seeing that idea born on a stage. It is a powerful process, and I am so glad to be a part of it.

When a production comes through Elevator Project, has a successful run, and then an afterlife, that is magnificent. Take Lucha Teotl (Prism Movement Theater, 20/21 season of Elevator Project), presented in the Wyly Theater just as we were coming out of the COVID lockdown. That show was enormously successful, and if it had ended there, we would have all been happy. However, the Tony Award® winning Goodman Theatre in Chicago presented the show in their 2023 fall lineup. One of the world’s best theaters presented a show that premiered in our Elevator Project, and they had to extend the run! That is fantastic.

I do have to say that the Center, a nonprofit organization, could not do this without the support of our major sponsors (AT&T, Lexus, Reliant), and the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture. When a TACA Pop-up grant is announced for an Elevator Project show, that is the icing on the cake. It is a tremendous validation of the work and provides a boost to the artists and to the Center.

Hector Garcia is a devoted patron of the arts and the current Director of Strategic Services at AT&T Performing Arts Center. He currently oversees the Moody Fund for the Arts and the Elevator Project, which provides space, production, and administrative support for artists and arts organizations without homes of their own to mount productions in the various spaces at the Center.

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