Nellie with actor Anthony Rapp

photo by Nate Rehlander


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Nellie Used to Be an Assistant to James Taylor – Perhaps You’ve Heard of Him?

Nellie Kuh is the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Individual Giving Manager and has worked here for two years, joining us from Lincoln Center. We talk about walking into glass walls, what’s weird about James Taylor, and how Dallas can rival the major coastal cities.

Explain your role as the Individual Giving Manager.

I work as a part of the Development team to raise funds directly for the Center. Specifically, I connect with individual donors and patrons to encourage them to contribute to the longevity of the Center and all the paid and free events we present.

What’s your favorite show, program or series?

As a fundraiser, I’m always excited to work on every show no matter how small or big. I love that the Center is starting to bring a greater variety of performing arts to the city of Dallas and so every show is meaningful because it reaches out to people here that would never have the opportunity to see something that they’re interested in.

But really.

Anything classical.

Favorite performing artist overall, Center-related or not:

Yuja Wang. She is such a force of nature as a classical pianist. If you haven’t seen her perform live, you need to. She is absolutely electric and completely defies the preconceived notions of stately, stuffy, good-girl piano prodigy. She is a literal classical rockstar.

Does that mean you consider her a bad-girl piano prodigy?

Yeah. I’m sure she’s actually been touted as that before in some article.

Is there an upcoming show you’re most excited about?

Neil Gaiman. In addition to my love of all thing performing arts, I adore fantasy and science fiction literature. Gaiman’s works have been a close part of my life growing up and into today, and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the #hearhere series this summer.

Do you have a favorite venue here at the Center?

Strauss Square. I used to live near Tanglewood (Music Center, in Massachusetts) and it reminds me of a more urban version of that. I love that I can bring a picnic blanket, relax and enjoy all kinds of performing arts under the night sky.

Are you involved in or connected to art or the performing arts outside of your work at the Center?

Outside of the Center, I still play French Horn regularly, albeit not professionally, and love to attend orchestral performances. Before working at the Center, I had worked at Lincoln Center as a fundraiser and so still enjoy attending and hearing about the performances happening up there. Prior to that, I worked as an assistant to James Taylor for a few years and so naturally, enjoy hearing about all of his continued successes as well as listening to his new album.

PLEASE tell me something weird about James Taylor.

He loves candy SO MUCH.

That’s not weird. So do I.

But you don’t have 5 Grammys.

Moving on, what’s been your most embarrassing moment so far at the Center?

Walking straight into the glass wall of the Winspear Opera House. I’m part bird.

How does the Center fulfill its mission to provide a public gathering place that strengthens community and fosters creativity through the presentation of performing arts?

The fact that the Center exists already fulfills its mission. The city of Dallas is growing and as it becomes one to rival the likes of the major coastal cities, it needs that added emphasis on the performing arts. To have a space like this where people can see things that don’t happen here regularly is an absolute plus. In fact it’s crucial to catapulting Dallas into the same stratosphere as New York or Los Angeles.

What’s the best part about living in Dallas?

After living in the northeast, I do have to say that having a car is liberating.

Favorite Dallas sports team?

Like the children I don’t have, they’re all my favorite.

But really.

The Stars. Go Stars!

Favorite food truck?

Rockstar Bakeshop. I’m not a big sweets person, but damn! Do they know how to make a delicious ice cream sandwich.

“When I’m not at the Center, you can find me…”

Exploring DFW’s breweries and distilleries, seeing a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, or at home trying a new recipe.

Anything else?

I will admit that after living in the northeast I’d become a bit jaded in my attitude to big city living, but it was so refreshing to instantly enjoy the company of everyone I worked with. Some of these coworkers are now my best friends, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

The Center employs talented North Texans who are expert professionals by day and creative scenesters during their free time. Here, we spotlight a few to show our patrons who’s behind the scenes.

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