TACA Launches ‘Arts Accelerator’ for Small and Emerging Arts Nonprofits

The accelerator's first six pilot participants have already been selected and will take part in the nine-month initiative from September through May 2024. One program leader says the accelerator will be "like rocket fuel" for local arts organizations.

TACA—The Arts Community Alliance—has launched the Arts Accelerator, a new learning experience for small and emerging arts and culture nonprofits in Dallas County.

Six organizations were selected to participate in the initial pilot cohort, which will run from September to May 2024. All participants are either in the early years of nonprofit status or experiencing growth or transition in size, scope, activity, and funding levels.

The TACA Arts Accelerator is free for all participants through the support of the Communities Foundation of Texas and Sapphire Foundation.

Mission Oak Cliff is one of the first participants in the TACA Arts Accelerator. [Photo: Mission Oak Cliff]

The inaugural Arts Accelerator participants include:

  • Arts Mission Oak Cliff, which holds space for a diverse community to cultivate, celebrate, and sustain their creativity while actively engaging and inspiring the public with the arts.
  • Bombshell Dance Project, a contemporary dance company founded by Emily Bernet and Taylor Rodman in 2016 in Dallas. The company is driven by collaboration and focused on new formats and innovative work that brings audiences closer to dance. 
  • Pegasus Contemporary Ballet, a Dallas company that aspires to be a national leader in its field, contributing world-class performances to the cultural landscape in Dallas and beyond. As innovators and artists, the company aims to continue the legacy of ballet, expressing it as a meaningful and living art form.
  • Pegasus Media Project, whose mission is to empower emerging film, media, and multidisciplinary artists through collaborative creations, hands-on education, mentorship, access, exposure, and job placement. PMP is committed to supporting individuals as a whole person, with a special focus on women, ALAANA, LGBTQIA+, veterans, and those with learning differences.
  • Soul Rep Theatre Co., which strives to deliver a transformational black theatre experience that touches those in Dallas and beyond. As a BIPOC Arts group, the company recognizes that building an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment is central to its relevance and sustainability in the community it serves and loves.
  • Verdigris Ensemble, which aims to transform our world through the alchemy of stories and the power of the human voice. The ensemble is creating a new music movement by commissioning works and incorporating various genres to tell compelling stories..

The nine-month initiative is designed to increase arts groups’ organizational capacity, teach new skills, and create plans for sustainable growth, preparing them for transformative change and building a solid foundation for the next stage of their development.

“Like rocket fuel” for arts orgs

Soul Rep Theatre Co. is one of the first participants in the TACA Arts Accelerator. [Photo: Soul Rep Theatre Co.]

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

All sessions will include training with a subject-matter expert, discussions with seasoned arts professionals, working time with each organization’s participants, and peer-to-peer content sharing and learning.

“As a grantmaker serving our arts community for over 50 years, TACA has a unique, birds-eye view of what’s happening at arts organizations of all sizes, genres, and geographies across the region,” Maura Sheffler, Donna Wilhelm Family president and executive director, said in a statement. “In recent years, we have seen a surge of organizations on the cusp of considerable growth that could benefit from multifaceted resourcing. We are answering the call for a comprehensive support system that otherwise would be out of reach for many developing nonprofits.”

TACA said it created the accelerator in response to needs both observed in the community and voiced directly by local arts leaders.

The Arts Accelerator’s purpose is to create 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, TACA said.

TACA said the program’s content will be 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.

Together, it creates a “flywheel effect” where organizations become stronger and more sustainable over time through its momentum, TACA said.

“The intentional design behind the Arts Accelerator will be like rocket fuel — helping organizations be intentional around their value proposition and leveraging modified business practices to truly go from start-up to growth phase as an organization,” Smith said.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.  

R E A D   N E X T