Art is a universal language, and in Frisco, the arts are speaking passionately and clearly to volumes of people, from all interests in life.
Supporters and team members at the progressive nonprofit Frisco Arts (Frisco Association for the Arts) believe that understanding art, in its various forms, enriches lives, expands minds and allows individuals to flourish.
"Frisco Arts celebrates a large array of the arts as a unifying agent in our community. We provide an anchor for the arts, host different types of special events, award scholarships and diligently try to keep arts in local conversations," assures Frisco Arts Executive Director Tammy Meinershagen. "We're happy to take art to wherever people are and help thread it into our culture in new ways."
Launched in 1996 by business and city leaders, Frisco Arts is still expanding to fill previous community-identified gaps regarding art-based workshops, performances, activities and on-site events.Tammy cites a recent Visit Frisco study that indicated one of the main reasons people left the city was due to a lack of robust local arts and entertainment. Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney has pledged that the next 10 years is going to be about Frisco rounding out the arts and entertainment, and becoming known for that.
A performing arts center has been on Frisco’s horizon, and the mayor has said it tops his to-do list. In 2015, Tammy spearheaded a $10 million bond initiative for such a center, which voters approved. Frisco Independent School District voters approved a $43 million bond measure for a fine arts center in 2018. More than 70% of local high school students are involved in fine arts, making Frisco an abundant training community of musicians, dancers, singers, actors, visual artists and filmmakers. Due to this common interest, city and school district officials discussed partnering together on a project.
"The arts has a large impact in our region. There's a need and desire for it, and that's backed by data. What sets us apart is that though we live in a sports-centric city, we definitely are a community who cares about the arts,” adds Tammy.
She says increasing interest from representatives of other cities and states is proof that more and more arts advocates are discovering the quality of its bearing in Frisco.
"More groups seek collaboration, and we don't always have to have just one building in which to hold the arts. We're reaching out in new ways," Tammy adds.
Partnering with artists is also a good investment for businesses, she reminds. Frisco Arts has collaborated with more than 75 local businesses to highlight various aspects of the arts community in their spaces, including pop-up art exhibits, networking nights and musical showcases. Because of these efforts, Frisco Arts received the 2018 Spirit of Collaboration Award by the Junior League of Collin County and was named 2018 Nonprofit of the Year by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce.
In 2019, Tammy also was named Visionary Non-Profit Arts Leader by Dallas-headquartered Business Council for the Arts--making her the first person from Frisco to receive the award.
To date, Tammy says that Frisco Arts has awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships through three designations: Excellence in Volunteer Service; Frisco Education Foundation; and Collin College Endowed Scholarship, with a new Summer Training scholarship opportunity coming this year. Additionally, they offer the Youth Ambassadors initiative, which is for youths in grades 6-12, and enables those who want to volunteer at arts events to be around the activities they enjoy. Those interested can text "Youth" to number 59925 to receive notifications and event updates.
Other interesting ways that Frisco Arts connects various residents is through a dynamic, monthly Ladies Who Launch program, which assembles women in arts, business owners, patron of the arts, entrepreneurs or “wantrepreneurs.”
The SmART Men program also has explored various topics, such as the art of cigars, brandy and style.
Another Frisco Arts newer program picking up steam is their quarterly Arts Panels, whose panelists and attendees explore the intersection of arts and other societal sectors, such as health, sports, tourism, business, fashion and commerce. This October, the panel will focus on arts and military veterans. Tammy says the topics are endless, and that they likely will even target an arts and technology panel in 2021.
There's even a Frisco Arts Young Adults program for those between the ages of 18 to 29 years.
As a musician and teacher, Tammy believes exposure and involvement in the arts are essential to healthy, balanced lives. "Art gives us time to reflect, it inspires creativity, and it brings us together. Each of us has unique perspectives, and when they're shared through art, those times have the power to change lives," she says. "Music, dance, theatre, visual art, and the written word have all had a significant impact on history, and they compose the heart and soul of a city. So whether you are a creator or consumer of art, I encourage you to experience the vibrant arts community in Frisco."
To personally explore the arts, mark April 18 on the calendar for attending the Frisco Arts Fest, which features local artists and musicians. It will be held at the Frisco Fresh Market, 9215 John W. Elliott Dr. After all, as Picasso once conveyed: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
FRISCO ARTS 2020 IS:
Members and patrons are a uniquely diverse and ever-increasing group that reflects the growth and cultural interests of Frisco. Frisco Arts is committed to supporting the local creative community, no matter what age, race, or socio-economic background.
Dallas-based thriving arts groups are recognizing the value and benefits of making art forms, such as free simulcasting operas, available to Frisco audiences. For example, Madame Butterfly was available at The Star in 2017 by The Dallas Opera.
Frisco Arts creates groundbreaking initiatives that combine arts with other sectors, such as the annual, citywide Frisco Arts Walk and Run, attracting sports-oriented audiences to experience a taste of the arts through an immersive arts 5K at HALL Park.
More regional cornerstone partners--including The Cliburn in Fort Worth, UNT’s GRAMMY-nominated Jazz Lab Bands in Denton, Shakespeare Dallas and others—have joined the creative endeavors of the group, seeking to be inspired, and coming to Frisco to be part of the magic sparked by arts.