Mesquite Arts Council/Arts Center Organizational History
Founded in 1981, the Mesquite Arts Council initially was a part of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce Cultural Committee. Official recognition by the State of Texas occurred in 1984 as a result of the development of by-laws, articles of incorporation and tax exempt status. With the successful organization of the community theatre in 1985, the Arts Council assisted the band, chorus, and orchestra with an equitable allocation of hotel/motel tax monies. Delivery of the Local Cultural Grants Program in 1993 by the Arts Council, to the arts nonprofit community further solidified a commitment to arts services and continues to date. Currently, and in addition to the previously listed arts administration elements, the Mesquite Arts Council provides management, administrative support and policy making toward the operation of the Mesquite Arts Center, monthly publication of marketing materials, the public art program and both visual and performance presenting schedule.
The Arts Council has broadened its arts and cultural responsibilities from initially sponsoring the Mesquite Music Festival to providing for the community a variety of events. Writer’s in the Schools at Mesquite Libraries and at Mesquite recreation centers, a theatre season with The Black Box MAC Actors, JazzBreaks in June, Chamber Music (both instrumental and vocal) and the Summer Children’s Theatre/Art Camp are offered to the community with much of the programming available free to the public. Presenting local visual artists and touring art exhibits insures that the galleries support a variety of work, including photography, works on canvas including oils & watercolor, handwork including weaving & quilts, and sculpture. International artists such as James Dick, the Debussy String Quartet and the Chamber Singers are included in the chamber music series. The Arts Council presents mainstream theatre and brings popular children’s and bi-lingual theatre to the Black Box Theatre. Through several partnerships, the Arts Council programs for at-risk youth in designated neighborhoods. Other partnerships provide partial funding to senior citizen programs, architectural planning at historical properties and the September 11 Memorial Garden. Grants to the Arts Council supporting local programming includes, Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Historical Commission and the State Arts Action Network which is part of Americans for the Arts.
The Arts Council board and staff have oversight of six endowments. Those named endowments include the Jeann & Ralph Wisenbaker, Bass/Brown/Collins, John & Alta Nichols, Edward Jones/Keith Singleton, Dr. Cary Tanamachi and Dede Duson. These endowments provide partial funding of the following programs:
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Arts Council has provided training for potential board members and general referral and financial assistance to each “start-up” nonprofit. The Arts Council has also provided a central focus to the cultural enrichment of Mesquite and eastern Dallas County communities. Broad, Arts Council board representation, including administrators from area colleges, Mesquite Independent School District, the local business community, elected city officials, and city staff, position the Arts Council for strong community leadership with committed financial support.
The Mesquite Arts Council provides partial salary reimbursement for the management of the Mesquite Arts Center. Prior to completion in December 1995 a major fundraising effort provided equipment and landscaping at the center. Generally, staff coordinates requests for space from the public, school district, city departments, and the 17 arts groups that lease from the center. Additionally staff prepares facility budgets including maintenance, operations and salaries. Recent figures indicate that over 80,000 people visit yearly and over 590 events take place at the Arts Center. In addition to making policies regarding the Mesquite Arts Center, the Mesquite Arts Council Board of Directors continues to provide support towards marketing, advertising and presenting the arts in Mesquite.
The recently completed Arts Center Master Plan forecasts the ability of the arts council to present a broad array of arts events. Doubling the square footage of the arts center will certainly provide for larger audiences, programming a greater number of arts events and enhance the image of Mesquite. During the spring of 2010 the Arts Council board of directors will undertake strategic planning and goals for the next five years.
MESQUITE PUBLIC ART ORDINANCE & PUBLIC ART PROJECTS
On December 20, 2004 City Council approved the Mesquite Public Art Policy/Plan. Two-percent of capital improvement construction projects will go toward a public art component. Five public art projects have been completed: The Mesquite Animal & Adoption Center – “Connections” a metal sculpture consisting of carbon and polished steel, approximately 12 feet high by artist Terri Stone; Vanston Leisure Pool – “solar tide” is a hand cut, ceramic tile wall 7’ x 39’ by artist Dakota Warren; and the Community Services Building – “Calyx” is made of concrete and native plant material by landscape artist David Baldwin.
Mesquite Arts Council/Arts Center Overview
The Mesquite Arts Council is a nonprofit organization designated to support and nourish the arts in Mesquite. The Council allocates local grants funds and resources for the arts, provides needed services to artists, member organizations and the community; is an advocate for culturally diverse arts programs and is active in the community with regard to cultural planning, development and advocacy of the arts.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The board is comprised of 11 members and 5 standing committees (grants review committee, by-laws revision committee, public art committee, Duson Endowment Committee and the technology committee)
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING DATES 2012
Arts Council/Arts Center Administrative STAFF
2 full time
Arts Center Operational STAFF
3 custodians (time is divided between the Arts Center and the Municipal Center)
Seventeen Arts Groups provide programming at the Mesquite Arts Center. The volunteer base is substantial and numbers approximately four-hundred. A volunteer handbook is available from the Arts Council office and is used as a guide by each of the Arts Groups.
COMMUNITY ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS/ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
ADVOCACY & Programming PARTNERSHIPS
The Arts Council manages the Mesquite Arts Center. The Arts Center is designed for specific arts disciplines, which include vocal, chamber and orchestral music; drama and the visual arts. The concert hall seats 500 and contains a canopied stage (not curtained) for music. The Black Box Theatre is scheduled by three different theatre companies for the production of children’s theatre, mainstream and contemporary plays, and the Rehearsal Hall is used for recitals, art demonstrations, meetings and receptions. Two galleries support local artists and touring art exhibits. Each of these areas surrounds the Jeann & Ralph Wisenbaker Courtyard, which is used for receptions, jazz concerts and Shakespearean productions.
TOTAL 2012 Events and Participants at the Mesquite Arts Center
Total number of events 489
Arts and Cultural Programming:
Services to artists and Arts Organizations:
Public Art Policy/Plan
Community Cultural Planning & Development: