Learn More about Some of Dallas’ Most Generous Arts Supporters
As the AT&T Performing Arts Center celebrates its 10th year, we’re reflecting on the historic investment in the arts that created this campus. We recently shared more about how our venues got their names, and now we want to put the spotlight on the namesakes of our performance halls.
The late Margaret McDermott was a tireless civic leader, philanthropist and champion of both arts and education. Her gift of $3 million was the catalyst for the fundraising drive to build the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Born Margaret Milam, she was the society editor of The Dallas Morning News in the 1930s. She married Eugene McDermott, cofounder of Geophysical Service Inc. which was to become Texas Instruments. The McDermotts supported the city’s arts institutions, setting the standard for philanthropy in Dallas. While Mrs. McDermott’s initial contribution jump-started the Center’s campaign, she and the McDermott Family Foundation continued to support the Center. TI established a $5 million challenge grant in her honor to name the performance hall in the Winspear Opera House as a gift to her. The grant exceeded the challenge, netting $16 million. The McDermott Family and TI’s generosity left the Dallas Arts District with two of the world’s finest acoustic performance halls right next door to each other: The Margaret McDermott Performance Hall in the Winspear Opera House and the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
Nancy B. Hamon
The late Nancy Blackburn Hamon was a strong supporter of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, giving a $10 million donation in 2008. Hamon Hall, a popular space in the Winspear Opera House, is named after the philanthropist. Hamon, who was married to the late oilman Jake Hamon, made many contributions to the arts and education in Dallas. Her name also graces a wing at the Center’s neighbor, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Shannon and Ted Skokos
Shannon Skokos is a former Miss Arkansas, lawyer, motivational speaker, photographer, and author. She wrote “Ask God’s Creatures” which inspires readers through mesmerizing South African photography and insightful wisdom; she provided gripping photography for “The Week That Changed The World” which chronicles the last steps of Jesus; and will soon be releasing her third book “Exchanging Crowns”. Ted Skokos is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War where he was one of 500 soldiers to serve in all three missions, a successful lawyer, and a business man predominantly in the fields of medicine and cellular telephones. Their compassion is shown most effervescently through their work with charities that touch the lives of abused children, not to mention they spend an enormous amount of time fostering homeless animals. When the largest of Ted’s companies sold in 2008, Ted and Shannon followed their belief that to whom much is given much is expected in return. Accordingly, they created The Ted and Shannon Skokos Foundation, which is committed to impacting their community in the fields of education, science, religion, and the arts. Shannon and Ted became involved with the AT&T Performing Arts Center even before it had been built. An active philanthropist, Shannon has served on the Center’s board for more than a decade and their foundation committed $12 million to the Center’s construction, with the majority of that amount committed to naming the Shannon and Ted Skokos Pavilion in Annette Strauss Square (better known as “The People’s Place”) because of their passion for making art accessible to all. The main stages in the Winspear Opera House and Wyly Theatre are also named for Shannon and Ted. Shannon has been a flutist for 39 years including earlier in her career traveling worldwide to bring music to underserved communities, so it is not surprising that she is still following her heart to make art accessible to all citizens of Dallas.
Deedie Potter Rose and the Rose Family
Deedie Rose is a founding and Life Director of the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s board, among her many other philanthropic endeavors. Deedie and her late husband Rusty gave $10 million to the campaign to build the Center, one of the largest and earliest gifts. In recognition of their generosity, the performance hall in the Wyly Theatre was named Potter Rose Performance Hall to honor Deedie and incorporate the names of her father and husband. In addition to her work with the Center, Deedie is a supporter of the visual arts. She built her own collection of contemporary art, valued at $15 million, and donated it (and future acquisitions) to the Dallas Museum of Art. This contribution, along with the collections of two other Dallas couples, was precedent-setting in the museum community. She has also served on the boards of many other arts and nonprofit organizations including Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Foundation, Dallas Architectural Forum, Texas Christian University, Channel 13/KERA 90.1, National Park Foundation, Public Radio International, Museum of Modern Art in New York, University of Texas School of Architecture and National Endowment for the Arts.