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TACA Perforum

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TACA Perforum | A Conversation to Advance Arts & Culture

2021 TACA Perforum

REIMAGINE: The Future of the Arts

Monday, November 15, 2021
4:30 to 8:00 p.m. CT (Livestream begins at 5:00 p.m. CT)
On The Levee in the Dallas Design District
1108 Quaker Street, Dallas, Texas 75207

Watch 2021 TACA perforum >>


Topic Description

The arts and culture community is generally struggling with the dynamics of the pandemic, the Nation’s racial justice reckoning and the sheer weight of uncertainty and change.

Who’s thriving in this new emerging world? How are traditional arts institutions – museums, symphonies, regional theaters, presenters, and producers adapting and disrupting? What is the role of the artist within this new landscape? How does innovation look at this moment and into the future?

Panelists & Moderator

Ilknur Ozgur

Founder & Director, Artstillery (Dallas, TX)

Ilknur Ozgur (she/her) is the Founder & Director of Artstillery, a non-profit immersive performance art company based in Dallas, Texas. Founded in 2016, Artstillery aligns with community partners to produce and present creative narratives based on artists’ lived experiences that explore issues of racial, cultural, and social injustice.

Originally from Chicago, Ozgur started her artistic journey in partnership with artists wanting to create solo original works. She collaborated with powerful writer/performer, Nancy Moricette, on “Jaspora: Imitation Haitian,” a production that toured the New York International Fringe Festival. She also workshopped original pieces by writer Suzan-Lori Parks within Puerto Rican communities in Chicago with Urban Theatre Co. Working alongside Miguel Pinero at Nuyorican Poets Cafe (New York City), she produced his works as immersive experiences inside small, street-facing urban spaces. As a university instructor of Performance Art and Communications, she has shared her varied experiences with students developing interpretive pieces for national performance competitions.
Ozgur has proudly served as a Cultural Commissioner for the City of Dallas, representing District 6, and is a current resident on the TACDC Creative Place Making Task Force under the NEA. She is also an artistic liaison to Dallas City Homes, leading the creative place-making initiatives at 723, a warehouse in West Dallas.

Ozgur’s work is grounded in rhythms from Hip Hop, Rap, Street Poetry, and Community Narratives. She believes in shattering hierarchical structures found in traditional spaces and is committed to developing diverse, self-sustaining artistic ecosystems for people from all backgrounds, skill sets, and passions.

Lauren Ruffin

Co-Founder, CRUX (Albuquerque, NM)

Lauren Ruffin (she/her) is co-founder of CRUX, an immersive storytelling cooperative that collaborates with Black artists as they create content in virtual reality and augmented reality (XR).  Founded in 2017, CRUX is the only company focusing solely on bringing XR artistic content from Black creators to mainstream users and audiences. As co-founder, Lauren focuses on creating an organization with core principles that are rooted in liberation movements, as well as anti-racism and anti-oppression, and works closely with partners as they create original content and immersive experiences to delight audiences and expand their digital footprint. Partners include the International Documentary Association, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, New York Live Arts, Urban Bush Women, and Black Public Media.

Over the course of her career, she has become a “Jane-of-all-trades” for small and mid-sized enterprises in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. The hallmark of her work is a willingness to take calculated risks, an interest in scaling businesses using innovative organizational mechanisms, and her ability to secure capital for  projects from non-traditional sources.

Lauren is currently the interim Chief Marketing Officer of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), where she focuses on amplifying the stories and activism of the YBCA community. Prior to joining YBCA, Lauren was co-CEO of  Fractured Atlas, the largest association of independent artists in the United States. She frequently speaks on a diverse range of topics including ethics in technology, the digital divide, organizational development and culture, racial bias, and economic justice.

Lauren graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Political Science and obtained a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law. She is on faculty at New York University, teaching an Arts and Entrepreneurship course, and has served on the governing board of Black Girls Code as well as the advisory boards of ArtUp and Black Girl Ventures.

Robert van Leer

Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington D.C.)

Robert van Leer (he/him) began his arts administration career in the programming office at Lincoln Center mentored by two icons of the arts administrative field: Bill Lockwood and Jane S. Moss. From 1996-2011, as Head of Music and Arts Projects at the Barbican Centre in London he oversaw concert hall’s transformation into a leading creative center, commissioned celebrated artists across genres, and presented performances of these commissions in the concert hall as well as at partner venues across the UK.

Between 2011 and 2013, as Managing Director of Nederlandse Dans Theatre, he re-envisioned the mission of the company as a leading creative ensemble whose primacy is investing in the work of visionary choreographers. He delivered the NDT’s first-ever strategic fundraising plan, increased revenue three-fold, and produced a series of live global cinema broadcasts.

After a professional break to earn a Masters in Garden Design, van Leer focused on strategic cultural consulting as the managing Director for Wonderbird UK in London.

In 2015 he was tapped by President Deborah Rutter to join the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the newly-created position of Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning, where he coordinates the programming of the Center and its resident companies, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera, to establish a unified artistic vision for the nation’s busiest performing arts center and living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Since the 2019 opening of the Kennedy Center’s first-ever expansion, the REACH, van Leer has also led the artistic programming for this transformative addition, with flexible indoor and outdoor performance space designed to nurture new art, community, and informal encounters between the artist and the public.

van Leer holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University, and certifications from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, and the Inchbald School of Design.

Clyde Valentín

Director, SMU Ignite/Arts Dallas: A Center for People, Purpose + Place (Dallas, TX)

Clyde Valentín (he/him) is a producer, creative entrepreneur and cultural strategist with over twenty years of executive experience managing start-up organizational environments and multidisciplinary projects and live events. Born and raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He is the Co-founder and former Executive Director of Hi-ARTS (formerly known as the Hip-Hop Theater Festival). He is the inaugural Director of Ignite/Arts Dallas: People, Purpose + Place the community engagement initiative at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. The mission of Ignite/Arts Dallas is to challenge the imaginations of students and citizens to envision more just and vibrant communities through art and culture experiences.

In 1995 he co-founded Stress Magazine, a pioneering Hip-Hop arts & culture publication, first as its Senior Editor and then as its Director of Operations. Clyde was a 2015 Community + Culture Fellow of the National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program. Valentín is an advisory committee member of the Latinx Theater Commons and has served as a consultant or panelist for numerous national arts organizations including Howlround, Creative Capital, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), YouthSpeaks/Brave New Voices, the New England Foundation for the Arts, Theater Communications Group (TCG), the National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC), the Knight Foundation, the National Performance Network (NPN) and AlternateROOTS. He most recently joined the Local Advisory Board for Year-Up DFW and he serves on the Boards of Texans for the Arts, the only statewide advocacy organization for public funding in the Arts in Texas and the Trinity Park Conservancy, which is building the 200-acre Harold Simmons Park in the heart Dallas, Texas, on the Trinity/Arkikosa River.

Featured Artists

Vicki Meek

Vicki Meek (she/her), born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized artist who has exhibited widely. Meek is in the permanent collections of the African American Museum in Dallas, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana, Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Serie Art Project in Austin and Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut. She was awarded three public arts commissions with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Art Program and was co-artist on the largest public art project in Dallas, the Dallas Convention Center Public Art Project.

Vicki Meek currently spends time as Chief Operating Officer and Board Member of USEKRA: Center for Creative Investigation, a non-profit retreat for creatives in Costa Rica founded by internationally acclaimed performance artist Elia Arce. She is also Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s at-large appointment to the Arts and Culture Commission and the Public Art Committee. Meek is represented by Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas, Texas.

RonAmber Deloney (aka DJ Skinpolitik)

RonAmber Deloney (she/her) is a DJ, poet, and educator from Dallas, TX.  A Fulbright alumnus to Germany, she works in project management and digital skills training  and is completing a doctorate in Global Training and Development with NorthCentral University.  In her free time, she enjoys exercising, traveling, and planning spoken word projects with her Berlin based band The New Night Babies.

Jonathan Norton

Jonathan Norton’s (he/him) work has been produced or developed by Actors Theatre of Louisville (44th Humana Festival) Dallas Theater Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Pyramid Theatre Company, PlayPenn, Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Kitchen Dog Theater, Soul Rep Theater Company, African American Repertory Theater, Undermain Theatre, Theatre Three, and South Dallas Cultural Center, National Performance Network, and National New Play Network. Jonathan’s play Mississippi Goddamn commissioned and produced by the South Dallas Cultural Center was a Finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and won the 2016 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award given by the American Theatre Critics Association. Other awards include: Artistic Innovations Grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance, South Dallas Cultural Center Diaspora Performing Arts Commission, the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund, TACA Bowdon Family Foundation Artist Residency Fund, and the Jubilee Theatre’s 2019 Eastman Visionary Award. He serves as Playwright in Residence at the Dallas Theater Center.

Michael Lagocki

Michael Lagocki (he/him) is an artist and facilitator with over two decades of experience helping organizations visualize important strategic conversations. His clients include some of the largest companies and best known speakers in the world.  People talk about smart things and he draws engaging pictures to capture the experience. You can find out more about Michael and his work at MichaelLagocki.com.

COVID-19 Safety Information: To make Perforum as safe as possible, we are requiring guests to show a valid ID paired with either proof of COVID-19 vaccination (physical card or photo of card acceptable) or proof of a negative test result within 48 hours of the event. Masks will be required while indoors except while eating or drinking. If you are unable to abide by these conditions, we encourage you to tune into Perforum virtually through our livestream. Thank you for understanding.

About TACA Perforum

TACA Perforum is an annual, community-wide arts symposium designed to advance a collective vision for what a thriving arts and cultural community can look like for Dallas and North Texas. Through a conversation facilitated by expert panelists, we seek an infusion of ideas to consider debate, explore, and possibly adapt and develop for implementation locally.

Since 2009, TACA Perforum has served as a forum to both identify and address needs in the North Texas arts community. The New Works Fund (2012), the North Texas Cultural Co-op (2013), the Artist Residency Fund (2015) and the TACA Perforum: Amplifier Workshops (2015) are programs that have been launched by TACA to meet needs identified through Perforum.

2021 TACA Perforum Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Communities Foundation of Texas logo

Artist Sponsor


Program Sponsor


James & Gayle
Halperin Foundation


Donna Wilhelm
Family Fund


Kate & Keith Newman


Jim & Joleen Chambers



Media Partner

KERA Art+Seek

With Additional Support From


2021 TACA Perforum Committee

Clyde Valentín, Chair & Creative Director
Director, Ignite/Arts Dallas at SMU Meadows School of the Arts

Sara Cardona
Visual Artist
Executive Artistic Director, Teatro Dallas

Teresa Coleman Wash
Founding Artistic Director, Bishop Arts Theatre Center

Zenetta Drew
Executive Director, Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Erica Felicella
Artist and Producer
Executive Producer, AURORA

Anne Marie Gan
Interim Business Operations Manager, City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture

Megan Heber
Executive Director, Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas

Nitashia Johnson
Multimedia Artist and Educator
Inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Juanita J. Craft House

Tara Lewis
Board Chair, TACA – The Arts Community Alliance

Terry D. Loftis
Donna Wilhlem Family President & Executive Director, TACA – The Arts Community Alliance

Deborah McMurray
Board Member, TACA – The Arts Community Alliance
Founder, CEO & Strategy Architect, Content Pilot

Greg Oertel
Senior Programs Manager, TACA – The Arts Community Alliance

Ilknur Ozgur
Founding Member, Artstillery

Darryl Ratcliff
Artist, Poet, and Cultural Organizer
Co-Founder, Gossypion Investments
Co-Founder, Ash Studios

Maura Sheffler
Director of Programs, TACA – The Arts Community Alliance

Jeremy Strick
Director, Nasher Sculpture Center

Elizabeth Wattley
Executive Director, Forest Forward

Donna Wilhelm
Board Member, TACA – The Arts Community Alliance

Explore Past TACA Perforum Conversations