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TACA Gala Dean Fearing, Wanda Gierhart, Celese Gierhart

On September 8, TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) celebrated its 50th anniversary at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The celebratory evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in a luxuriously decorated, outdoor, air-conditioned tent.


Joel Ferrell, Dallas Theater Center associate artistic director, served as the emcee for the evening, adding theatrical commentary during the festive evening. Donna Wilhelm, TACA board chair, shared her transformative moment of growing up as a Polish immigrant in a boarding house her mom ran in Connecticut. “I would draw, and that saved me as an only child. I became known as the class artist.” She encouraged the nearly 300 guests to share their transformative moments with each other over dinner.


TACA’s 50th Anniversary co-chairs, Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing, welcomed close to 300 guests and thanked them for supporting TACA during its golden anniversary.


Wilhelm and 2018-2019 TACA Board Chair Michelle Thomas told the audience of TACA’s impact to the arts during the past 50 years, with the organization contributing more than $27 million to 162 arts groups. They also talked about the three new initiatives announced earlier in 2017, including funding the visual arts for the first time ever, an innovative fund to address social impact through the arts, and guided initiatives to increase the vibrancy of the arts in the community.


Guests watched the world premiere performance of "Celebration," which featured the talent of Bruce Wood Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance set to a medley of Stevie Wonder songs. These groups are also three of TACA’s grantees. The performance had been curated by Charles Santos, TITAS Presents executive/artistic director, and choreographed by Bridget L. Moore, artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre.


The excitement of the dance set the tone for the luxury live auction. Auctioneer Louis Murad, with the assistance of two females outfitted as James Bond girls, helped to auction off items including lavish trips to India, A James Bond trip to places 007 traveled, Around the World with Rosewood and a dinner and a TITAS-featured dance troupe at the Winspear Opera House.


The last item, which was “An Unforgettable Evening with the Dallas Cowboys and Dean Fearing,” brought the highest bid, as Chef Dean Fearing joined Murad to help bid up the package. The item featured Fearing as the “quarterback in the kitchen,” and three-time Super Bowl champions, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston, as the servers.


Following the live auction, guests enjoyed a delectable seated dinner throughout the Mansion’s labyrinth of stunning interior spaces. The first course was Peekytoe Crab; the entrée course was Wagyu beef sirloin with fois gras, kale, bacon marmalade potato and king oyster mushroom; and the dessert was called Intense, a dark chocolate mouse, crunchy hazelnut Choco ‘passion macaron and exotic sorbet. Each course was paired with CK Mondavi wines.


A special thanks to the sponsors:


50th Anniversary Platinum Partner & Official Valet Sponsor:

Dallas-Fort Worth Lexus Dealers


Floral Sponsor:

Faye Briggs


Menu Sponsor:

Family Sommer



Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek


50th Anniversary Gold Partners:

Bank of America

The Louis L. Borick Foundation

Nancy and Clint Carlson

Diane and Hal Brierley


50th Anniversary Silver Partners:

J.P. Morgan

Neiman Marcus

Ben E. Keith Foundation

Carol and Don Glendenning

Laura and Walter Elcock

Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger


50th Anniversary Media Partner: PaperCity Magazine

50th Anniversary Blog Partner: My Sweet Charity


Established in 1967, 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. For more information about TACA, please call 214.520.3930 or visit Connect with TACA on Facebook at or on Instagram at @TACADallas.

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