The Dallas Arts District (DAD) is more than a place. To be effective, it has to be taken care of, provided for and led. The Dallas Arts District is a nonprofit organization that keeps you connected to the hundreds of events that are happening in the cultural center of Dallas. The DAD recently named a new Executive Director, which is a big deal for her and a big deal for North Texas! Here are some facts that you need to know about Lily Weiss, your next arts czar.
She was part of the Arts District before there was an Arts District.
Lily Weiss landed her first faculty job at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in 1978. At that time, the vision of the Dallas Arts District was just beginning to take shape, but Lily was there for the highs and lows to witness the birth of a new era in North Texas. In an interview with the Dallas Observer, she summarized her personal dream long before she even began interviewing for the job. “I would like to walk my grandchildren down through the Arts District and have this be so much a part of Dallas and an important part of the community that I can proudly say, ‘This, I helped build.’”
Her educational chops are without question.
Here are just some (yes, just some) of the awards that Lily has received as a dance educator and high school administrator: National Young Arts Foundation Distinguished Teacher Award, Distinguished Teacher by the Commission on Presidential Scholars ten different years by eleven students, SURDNA Arts Teacher Fellowship, the Texas Dance Educator Award, Bates Dance Festival Teacher Fellowship and named Distinguished Teacher from the Rockefeller Foundation. In the Dallas Arts District, there are dozens of educational programs serving thousands of students. It’s very good news that Lily is at the helm so that these programs can grow and flourish.
Lily is a collaborator — and we should know.
Spread over 20 square blocks and encompassing 68 acres, DAD’s stakeholders are a unique mix of the arts, science, recreation, commerce, residents, education and faith. The person in Lily’s job helps ensure that these groups are working together toward a clear goal, and she’s the perfect person for the role. During her tenure at Booker T., Weiss worked with the Center to create an innovative elective course in arts administration, teaching students the business side of the cultural sector so they’re prepared for the stage or the board room. She was also instrumental in Sammons Lunch Jam, a partnership where students can perform in one of the Center’s magnificent venues for the downtown Dallas work crowd.
She will play a critical role in community development.
DAD recently launched a comprehensive initiative with the Seattle-based design firm NBBJ to update the district’s community development plan to replace the Sasaki Plan. What does this mean? As a member of the public, you will better be able to get to and explore a beautiful, inviting Dallas Arts District.