TACA Announces Second Arts Accelerator Cohort July 11, 2024

TACA Announces Six Small and Emerging Arts Groups Selected for Second Arts Accelerator Cohort

The Learning Program was Created Last Year to Fulfill a Need for Training and Support Among Arts Nonprofits

Media Contact: Brett Gray, Brett@BrettGrayPR.com, 214.557.6233

DALLAS – TACA – The Arts Community Alliance – announced six arts groups have been selected for the organization’s second cohort of the Arts Accelerator, a learning experience designed for small, emerging arts and culture nonprofits in Dallas County.  The second cohort includes the following organizations: 

The Cedars Union
kNOwBOX dance
Lone Star Wind Orchestra
Over the Bridge Arts
Representa Foundation
The Writer’s Garret

“We created the Arts Accelerator in response to needs voiced by the community,” said Maura Sheffler, Donna Wilhelm Family President & Executive Director. “TACA is uniquely positioned to observe and learn about needs across arts groups of all sizes, genres, and geographics in North Texas. In recent years, we saw the advent of organizations poised for growth that would benefit from a more comprehensive support system to cultivate and execute their respective visions.  The Arts Accelerator answers that need and based on the tremendous success of our first cohort, we are thrilled to continue the program in 2024-2025.”

The Arts Accelerator created an opportunity to learn fundamental practices of managing an arts nonprofit, while also creating a space for participants to build community with other leaders taking their organizations from startup into growth stages. Made possible by support from the Communities Foundation of Texas and Sapphire Foundation, the Arts Accelerator is an intensive investment in the Dallas arts community, supporting these visionary arts organizations as they pursue their mission and future vision.   

First Cohort Completed in May

Six organizations participated in the initial pilot cohort, which ran September 2023 – May 2024. All organizations were in the early years of nonprofit status or experiencing growth or transition.

Each organization created a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years as a foundation for organizational goals and guideposts for growth and development.  The first cohort culminated with a celebration featuring each of the six participants sharing their future plans and takeaways from the program.  Each organization was also given a $5,000 grant from TACA to support the implementation of strategic plans.

First Cohort Participants Included:

Arts Mission Oak Cliff
Bombshell Dance Project
Pegasus Contemporary Ballet
Pegasus Media Project
Soul Rep Theatre Co.
Verdigris Ensemble

“The Arts Accelerator Program is a game changer because it levels the playing field. As an arts worker stepping into a non-profit management role, I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” said Avery-Jai Andrews, Arts Mission Oak Cliff Executive Director Avery-Jai Andrews. “I was up for the challenge, but I needed more support. That’s where the Arts Accelerator stepped in and equipped me. Not only with tools, resources, and community connections but also confidence! I am so grateful and excited for what’s next! I feel prepared to do my job well because of the Arts Accelerator program.” 

Pegasus Contemporary Ballet Artistic Director and Founder Diana Crowder stated “The Arts Accelerator did not just teach us what to think, it taught us how to think. We received a wealth of information on how to approach managing our organization and our future that could be applied to our unique goals and artistic endeavors. The Accelerator also created a fantastic and invaluable community of emerging arts leaders with shared experience and values. This creation of community has fostered lasting relationships, unity, and collaboration in the Dallas Arts ecosystem.” 

Program Leaders and Content

TACA developed The Arts Accelerator in collaboration with Suzanne Smith, Founder & CEO of Social Impact Architects and Adjunct Professor – UTA/SMU.

“TACA has cracked the code of capacity-building for emerging arts groups, moving beyond one-and-done workshops to create a learning community focused on achieving real, sustainable growth for organizations,” said Smith. 

The content of the program is based on the flywheel effect, first articulated by Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. For nonprofits, the flywheel is connected to long-term sustainability and addresses core elements, including growth and performance improvement in operations, financing, and other functional components of organizational management, as well as arts-specific content in audience development, fundraising, board development, and impact. Taken together, it creates a “flywheel effect” where organizations become stronger and more sustainable over time through its momentum.

Learn more about TACA’s Arts Accelerator at taca-arts.org/accelerator.

About TACA  

TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) supports excellence and impact in the arts through grant-making, capacity-building, and thought leadership. TACA envisions an innovative, inclusive, sustainable cultural sector recognized for its essential contribution to a vibrant, prosperous community. Since its founding in 1967, TACA has worked to establish North Texas’ cultural community as one of the strongest in the nation. TACA’s growing investment in the arts translates to new premieres and productions, impactful residencies and community initiatives, and more opportunities for artists and audiences to connect – all striving to make Dallas a dynamic city and a great place to live and work.  

For more information about TACA, call 214-520-3930 or visit taca-arts.org. Connect with TACA on Facebook at facebook.com/tacadallas, LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/tacadallas, and Instagram at @TACADallas.

About Suzanne Smith & Social Impact Architects

Social Impact Architects is a social change agency that provides consulting and learning experiences to changemakers working alongside them to design creative and transformative solutions to social issues. We believe all people can be changemakers and the media can serve as a catalyst for sharing and scaling great ideas.

Suzanne Smith, MBA, is the founder and CEO of Social Impact Architects (an award-winning Benefit Corporation). She serves as a coach and consultant for social organizations seeking to maximize the impact of their social strategies and achieve real, measurable results. For nearly three decades, she has generated innovative and breakthrough social ideas. With deep local and national social sector expertise, she has been widely recognized for her success in building and implementing award-winning programs and initiatives within the sector. Suzanne holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where she was a CASE (Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship) scholar and studied under Greg Dees.

Outside of Social Impact Architects, Suzanne is an adjunct professor in the School of Management at The University of Texas at Arlington and SMU. Suzanne also authors Social TrendSpotter (@socialtrendspot), one of the sector’s top blogs according to the Huffington Post. For her outstanding work as a leading thinker, she was recognized with the Next Generation Social Entrepreneur Award by the Social Enterprise Alliance. Suzanne is a dedicated community leader and has worn many hats, including serving the City of Dallas on the Arts & Culture Commission. In addition, she received the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Young ATHENA Leadership Award.

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