By Marissa Delcambre
In times of great uncertainty, our truest values rise to the top. Since the coronavirus pandemic stretched into our community, I’ve been reminded of two such values: togetherness and hope. As the Executive Director of Art House Dallas, these two tenets have been on my mind as we navigate the shifting path forward.
Art House Dallas provides artist care, community and development for all individuals seeking to lead creative lives so that they might be a force of good in their immediate and greater communities. We believe beauty shown through arts, culture and creation holds a powerful ability to infuse hope and preserve connections between people.
One singer-songwriter within the community, Nicholas Engstrom, stated: “Working as a pediatric nurse on the COVID unit at my hospital, my life was profoundly changed in March. Much of the spring was spent feeling uncentered and uncertain. So, when Art House Dallas offered the chance to meet online, I realized I didn’t just have a desire to be involved — I needed to be. My community at Art House Dallas reminds me that, while I am a healthcare worker, I am also an artist and I have creative things to offer. Inasmuch as I can change a life while I’m serving at the [hospital] bedside, I can change others with the music I make.
Since March, we have continued to provide programming for people like Nicholas by hosting more than 25 online gatherings. In addition, we responded to the COVID crisis by launching an Artist Care Fund supporting artists directly with micro-grants. Simone Nicole, a local musician in the AHD community, shared how the grant impacted her, “Because of that grant, I was able to stay in my apartment another month.”
Like many of us, artists in our community are looking for ways to give back. Through the Deploy program, which provides arts resources in historically under-resourced parts of the city, we distributed 150 Art Adventure Kits to children stuck at home. Each kit included TEKS guided curriculum and projects, instruction videos taught by local Art House Dallas artists, and a shelf-stable snack.
The events of 2020 have made us all more aware of the importance of our immediate surroundings. The places we live have huge implications for who we are and who we become. In 2020, Art House Dallas is focusing on a notion of becoming that requires local participation with neighbors, in our neighborhoods and in life together. More than ever, Art House Dallas needs our community of patrons, artists and friends to rally around our work and mission. This year we are working to raise $40,000 through North Texas Giving Day.
On Saturday, Sept. 12, we will host a free livestream concert and evening experience guide featuring local Art House Dallas songwriters: Paul Demer, John Heinrich and Caroline Cobb. The Art House Dallas mission has always been to work directly with artists and creatives of all kinds to spur on their creative endeavors believing that their rich expressions can provide a light and way forward for the benefit of the entire community.
The financial support we receive through North Texas Giving Day enables us to continue providing community-building events encouraging, connecting, and inspiring artists to invest in local communities. We are excited to announce a match on all gifts up to $15,000! With your support, we can provide programming to artists like Angela Pitts, a visual artist based in McKinney, who worked to create instructional videos for the kids who received the Art Adventure Kits. “The fact that they pivoted to online so quickly was so meaningful to know that people care about what we are doing, how we are coping, and how we are expressing the range of emotions involved in a crisis like this.”
We all as creators — patrons and artists — have something to contribute. Together we build a community that both recognizes the power of beauty and the capacity for transformation that beauty brings. In a world that shifts daily, our mission remains the same. Join us as we spur on artists and inspire the imagination of the next generation.
To donate or schedule a gift for Art House Dallas please click the link: https://www.northtexasgivingday.org/arthousedallas
Marissa Delcambre is the Executive Director of Art House Dallas and has served the creative community in the DFW area for more than 10 years. Prior to Art House, Delcambre worked with artists as a Marketing Rep for Sony Music.