Every year, North Texas arts leaders gather to discuss an important topic at the TACA Perforum. Zannie Voss is professor and director of DataArts at SMU. She’s also the Perforum moderator. We asked her to share an overview of this year’s program.
Last year’s Perforum was a lively and enriching discussion about meeting community needs. Those who participated in that discussion raised many points related to the notion of increasing the relevance of the arts that resonated for the Perforum Committee, so we decided to probe the topic more deeply as the focus of the 2019 conversation.
This year’s Perforum is titled Art Matters! The Arts’ Relevance in Contemporary Culture. Arts and cultural organizations across the country are striving to increase their footprint of relevance, appeal and representation in an often-indifferent world. How can we be more proactive and nimble as we seek to matter more to more people?
We explore the arts’ relevance in contemporary culture as it intersects with the value of learning, journalism, and inclusion in the arts. We will talk about perspectives on the role of the arts in the lives of youth and how arts-infused experiences shape value for individuals and society. We will wrestle with challenges faced in arts journalism and new ways of thinking about criticism. And we will explore the diversity of the arts’ value as it is defined differently for people of different walks of life.
Relevance exists. It is worth stopping on a Monday morning to consider the full scope of how that relevance intersects with the lives of those who live in the Dallas community. The intent of the panel is to spur even more ideas for future initiatives that fuel success and relevance of the arts in North Texas.
We have invited three change-makers leading innovation in our field to share with us their experience.
- Eduardo Diaz, Director, Smithsonian Latino Center, who works to ensure that contemporary Latino cultural and artistic expression is embedded and reflected throughout our arts institutions.
- Elizabeth Méndez Berry, Director of the Nathan Cummings Foundation’s Voice, Creativity and Culture portfolio, an award-winning journalist and cultural critic who focuses on the foundation’s investments in the arts, pop culture and media.
- Mike O’Bryan, Director, Youth and Young Adult Initiatives, The Village for Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia, an expert practitioner and thought leader in the fields of community development, organizational culture, and trauma-informed practices. Through the healing power of art, Mike serves as an advocate for youth rights and social change in underserved communities.
This year’s Perforum is intended to open the door to a wider conversation about how and why the arts – in our arts organizations and beyond — matter. I hope you’ll join us and take part in the discussion.