First, they were using code words to explain why Theresa Jones abruptly left her job as director of the McKinney Avenue Contemporary last week, a job she held for four of the MAC's five years of existence. (To wit, she left "to pursue other interests.") When a key staff member leaves in a hurry without another job, it usually means the honcho was fired or furious. MAC spokesperson Mary Nicolett wouldn't confirm either theory, insisting Jones had decided to do some traveling during December and explore options in the new year. "We'll be starting a national search for a director, and in the interim, Hank Lee will be acting director," Nicolett says. Lee owns San Angel, a commercial gallery in San Antonio, and is a longtime friend of MAC co-founders Claude and Susan Albritton. "I'm so on board with the MAC concept, and have been from the very beginning," says Lee, who is temporarily moving to Dallas. "I'm committed to be here for six to eight months, or as long as the search takes. I don't want them to feel rushed."
Less than 24 hours after the announcement, Blink learned that Jones was snatched up by Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art as the gallery's associate director, joining recently appointed director Holly Johnson, who returns to Dallas from Houston's MDModern. "This is such a positive thing for me," Jones says. "I left the MAC because I decided it was time for a change. I'm thrilled to try something out of the nonprofit arena for a while." Beth Taylor, gallery assistant, is leaving Pillsbury-Peters to work for Dallas collector Howard Rachofsky, who maintains a museum-worthy private art collection at his North Dallas home near Preston Road and Northwest Highway. Taylor starts January 3, replacing Allison Cuellar as Rachofsky's registrar-educational coordinator.
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The $10,000 American Express grant for Texas International Theatrical Arts Society (TITAS) turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg in the Dallas dance, music, and performance art group's quest to enhance its box-office services. TITAS marketing director Melissa Berry says the dream project, a complete software system upgrade, will cost $100,000. "We received a $25,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts this summer," she says. She also confirmed that the Meadows Foundation gave an additional gift, but she wouldn't disclose the amount -- though sources close to TITAS believe the Meadows Foundation gift was very near $50,000. TITAS patrons report that the arts group's handling of ticket sales is among the best of the nonprofits in the city already, and Berry says TITAS regularly provides box-office support for the Dallas Wind Symphony and coordinates ticketing for annual fundraisers for the Vocal Alcove and the National Council of Jewish Women.
"Right now, we're looking for a box-office system that would serve us and the Dallas Wind Symphony," Berry says. "In the future, we could look at the feasibility of handling other nonprofits." In the wake of the disastrous June 1998 closing of Art-tix, the grant-funded box-office service for most of the city's nonprofits, TITAS' upgrade could be an important resource. The Meadows Foundation particularly likes it when non-profits are nice to their fellow nonprofits; Meadows gave the start-up grant of $36,000 to create Art-tix in 1991.
Annabelle Massey Helber