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Making Dallas Even Better

Laughter, Good Works Mix at Tocqueville Event

Besides announcing good works and bringing together some of the heaviest-hitting business people in North Texas, the monthly Second Tuesday luncheons of the local United Way’s Tocqueville Society are, in contrast to some nonprofit gatherings, as entertaining as they are informative. And today’s, held at the AT&T headquarters building in downtown Dallas, was no exception. […]

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How an $85 Million Auction House Acquisition May Impact Dallas’ Public Art Museum

Here’s a bit of art world news that may not seem to have much to do with Dallas, but may actually have a real impact on how this city’s art scene – and its public art museum – are perceived. Auction behemoth Sotheby’s announced that it is acquiring Art Agency, Partners, a boutique art advisory firm, for $85 million. One of Art Agency, Partners principals is none other than Allan Schwarztman. That’s a name that should be recognizable to anyone familiar with our local collector scene. Schwartzman has been Howard Rachofsky’s art adviser for some time, and he has been influential in shaping that collection into one of the most renowned in the world.

According to industry watchers, Sotheby’s acquisition is an attempt by the auction house to add new revenue streams to its business, particularly by expanding its role in private sales. Sotheby’s stock has been dipping, and auction results have trailed off of late. There’s also chatter of an art market bubble. That’s not surprising in light of a statement buried deep in the NYT article made by an asset manager who states plainly that “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today — compared with gold in the past — are contemporary art and real estate.” All that equity plowing its way into the contemporary art market have led to years of record-breaking, headline-making auction events. One assumes the party can’t go on forever.

But here’s why this is all so interesting for Dallas.

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A Curious Art Sale Puts DMA Bequest Back in the Spotlight

Art watcher Greg Allen noticed an interesting sale at a recent Christie’s auction of postwar and contemporary art. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s Untitled (L.A.), 1991 sold for a record-setting $7.7 million. If you have been to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth at any point in the last few years, you probably know the work. It consists of 50 pounds of candies laid out on the floor. Part of the fun of the piece is that visitors are invited to take pieces of candy. It’s art you can touch and eat, and as a result the piece itself is static and ephemeral. The record price was, in part, an acknowledgement that it is an important work by an important artist, whose career was cut short by AIDS in 1996.

Even though Untitled (L.A.) was on view in Fort Worth for so many years, it was on loan from the Rachofsky collection. It’s that provenance that Allen finds curious.

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Texas Instruments, Other Corporations, Habitat Team With United Way to Assist Military Veterans

At first blush, Darren Woodson and Breana Austin wouldn’t seem to have much in common. He’s a former Dallas Cowboys star safety from Phoenix, and she’s a Dallas native who’s served since 2010 as an administrative specialist with the Texas Army National Guard. Today, though, the pair’s paths will cross when the Cowboys’ newest Ring […]

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Is Dallas Better — Or Worse — Off For the Death of Art Prize?

Word went out yesterday to donors and stakeholders of ArtPrize Dallas that the much-touted art festival will not be coming to Dallas after all. The Grand Rapids-based art event has been exploring expansion into Dallas for about a year, an effort spearheaded locally by former Goss-Michael Foundation associate director Ariel Saldivar. In her rather lengthy letter to supporters, Saldivar accuses Dallas and its philanthropic community of not being ready for an event like ArtPrize.

“Despite the visionary understanding of our supporters, there were a few who saw the concept as threatening to the status quo,” Saldivar wrote. “The resistance was especially disappointing since ArtPrize Dallas would have had a tremendous, positive economic impact. Never the less, we made tremendous progress in this effort, and we truly believe that one day our city will be ready for such an inclusive and unique undertaking, but unfortunately, today is not that day.”

It hasn’t been the best week for ArtPrize.

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Caroline Rose Hunt Grandchildren Give Biggest Donation Yet to United Way Foundation Campaign

The donation was said to honor Hunt for her longstanding support of the United Way and its foundation, whose endowment stood at a little more than $20 million when the Unite Forever campaign was announced in February.

The Hunt gift represents the biggest commitment to the fundraising drive so far.

“Our grandmother has been an extraordinary example of volunteerism and hard work,” Haven Sands Heinrichs, trustee of the Rosewood Foundation, said in a news release. “To show our family’s love and appreciation for all she has done for United Way and the community, we are making [this] legacy gift in her honor … We are delighted to carry the torch, and hope to inspire the next generation in our community to get involved.”

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Dallas Icons Recall Decades of Philanthropic and Civic Involvement

Ask community leaders Margaret McDermott and Ruth Sharp Altshuler about “the genesis of Dallas philanthropy,” and they’re both apt to point to the attitude of the city’s citizens. Leading by example has always been the guidepost, Altshuler says. And McDermott quotes Mayor Mike Rawlings, who recently told her, “The wonderful thing in Dallas is the […]

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Celeb Hairstylist Mark Bustos Spent a Morning in Dallas Giving Cuts to the Homeless

The hospital ID bracelet remained on Brian Gray’s wrist Thursday morning as he sat against a bench in Downtown Dallas’ Main Street Garden. A seizure had landed him in an area hospital three days earlier, an idling effect from his brief NFL career with the Detroit Lions. Despite past successes, a lost telemarketing job and poor timing left 39-year-old Gray on Dallas’ streets six months ago after he’d moved from Los Angeles to help his then-pregnant sister. Gray, searching for normalcy, decided to start his day in the park Thursday when a young couple approached him, asking if they could do something nice for him.

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Carrie Fisher Gives ’Em Something To Talk About at Fundraising Luncheon

In years past, the annual Metrocare fundraiser luncheon has been a smallish, subdued affair. This year was different. The nonprofit — which, among other services, helps people suffering from mental illness — landed Carrie Fisher as its featured speaker. Fisher talks frequently about her own struggles with mental illness (she’s bipolar) and past substance abuse. About 500 people packed the Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom (a wonderfully apt name, given Fisher’s most famous role). It was an interesting lunch.

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Podcast: Meat Queen Alice Laussade on ‘Funlanthropy’ and Mommy Makeovers

The Dallas Observer‘s own Cheap Bastard, Alice Laussade, stopped by the Old Monk to talk about her upcoming Meat Fight fundraiser on the newest episode of EarBurner, and she brought plenty of salty language with her. Consider this your mature-content warning. Maybe skip this one if you’re listening with the kids.

Otherwise, on to the notes:

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Ex-Cowboys QBs: Good Things Can Still Happen for Dallas This Season

Tony Romo may be sidelined for eight weeks with a broken collarbone, but two former Cowboys quarterbacks say Dallas may still be on track for a good season. “It’s not all doom and gloom,” said Babe Laufenberg, who played for the ‘Boys from 1989-1991. Hall of Fame QB Roger Staubach agreed—and then some. Romo replacement Brandon Weeden “has a very good arm. He’s just got to get some experience,” said Staubach, who led the Cowboys to their first two championships. “He can do it. It’s more than playing; it’s also mental. It just takes time and experience.

“The defense is playing well. If they can maintain the pace, that helps too,” Staubach went on. “We’re 2-0 now. If we can hang in there through November and be, say, 7-3, or 6-4, and then get Tony and Dez Bryant back for the stretch drive, get some momentum going into the playoffs … That’s what it’s all about then: momentum. So, good things can still happen.”

Staubach and Laufenberg offered their views to a reporter Wednesday at the new West Dallas home of Mary McDermott Cook, who hosted a get-together for the “$25,000 Circle” of the United Way’s Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society for heavyweight donors.

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Cistercian Prep Wins North Texas Giving Day

Jason provided the top-line stats in Leading Off. Yesterday was a great day for North Texas nonprofits. But it was an especially great day for one very special nonprofit. That would be tiny Cistercian Prep, my alma mater. Yesterday, the school received $486,575 in donations, putting it atop of the leaderboard. A little context: there were just 30 kids in my graduating class, in 1988. The school has grown a bit since then, but not by much. It has 346 students in grades 5 through 12. There are only about 1,400 alumni walking the planet. SMU, on the other hand, which landed at No. 5 on the leaderboard in terms of money raised, has about 110,000 alumni, with about 40,000 of those living in North Texas. Pow! Scoreboard!

And here’s where I stop bragging — Go, Hawks! — and point out that I’m just kidding when I say that Cistercian “won.” (Not really.) More than $33 million was raised for 2,022 nonprofits. They are all winners. (Disclosure: my wife’s company does PR for the event. More disclosure: that meant she worked until 2:30 this morning, and, as I said would happen, I fed my kids takeout Thai that included no vegetables while I watched the Rangers game. Even more disclosure: I don’t regret it.)

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Saying Goodbye to Ebby, the ‘First First Lady of Dallas’

They lit up downtown and wrapped burgundy bows around the trees in her honor and, at her memorial service Thursday, asked a former First Lady to speak and gave Ebby Halliday Acers more than one standing ovation. Thousands of people in North Texas, it seemed, couldn’t do enough to say good-bye to the woman Laura Bush called “the first First Lady of Dallas.” Maybe that’s because they didn’t really want to say good-bye at all.

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Leading Off (9/18/15)

Rangers Sweep the Astros. Texas beat slumping Houston, 8-2, on Thursday night behind a six-inning effort from Colby Lewis and a three-run homer by Mitch Moreland. The win expands the team’s American League West division lead to 2.5 games with 16 left to play (including another three-game series in Houston next weekend). The overachieving Rangers are getting hot at the right time and now boast an 84-percent chance of making the playoffs, a 55.6-percent shot of winning the division outright, and a 100-percent chance of winning the World Series, according to every fan walking out of the Globe last night.

Ahmed Sucked Into ‘Viral Vortex.’ That’s how the Morning News describes the onslaught of media attention the Irving teenager arrested for building a clock has endured in the last couple days.  Here’s hoping he’s soon raking in some of that sweet, sweet ‘Alex From Target’ money.

North Texas Giving Day Raises $33.1 Million. The annual binge-donating effort for area nonprofits yesterday received 118,667 donations from 71,743 donors on behalf of 2,022 organizations. It’s a record. Give yourselves a pat on the back, everybody.

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North Texas Giving Day Starts Strong

Hi, my name is Tim, and I’m an addict. Every year at this time, on North Texas Giving Day, I compulsively check and recheck the leaderboard to see how my favorite local nonprofits are performing. Let’s just click on over and — hey! What’s up, Cistercian Prep? My tiny little alma mater sits in second place, in terms of total money raised. Go, Hawks! We’re coming for you, Alcuin School.

Here’s where things stand as of 10 o’clock: as a city, we’re on pace to hit the collective $26 million goal. We’re 5 percent over last year’s total at this time of day. Most impressive is the fact that we’ve already eclipsed last year’s total number of nonprofits that received donations. Last year, 1,580 organizations received donations; as of 10 o’clock, 1,691 had already gotten some love. Keep it up, folks. There are giving days all over the country, but ours in North Texas out-raises them all. (Disclosure: my wife does PR for this event. That means she’ll be working way past midnight today. Which also means that my kids probably won’t eat the most balanced meal for dinner, and they’ll eat it in front of the TV, because Daddy will be watching the Rangers.)

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