A new nonprofit in North Texas aims to bring medical, dental, mental health care and addiction recovery programs to Denton's musicians. Its fundraising efforts kicked off Aug. 26 with a concert and pop-up art show.
Nic Bagherpour, co-founder and president of the Denton Music and Arts Collaborative, was inspired to launch the group after suffering through the personal and financial impact of a sudden illness. A bout with pneumonia led to a condition known as empyema, and Nic was hospitalized when his lung collapsed. After an invasive surgery, Bagherpour was able to leave intensive care, but not without a hefty bill.
“I was in the ICU for a week, and the bill was $32,000,” he says.
Like a lot of musicians and artists in DFW, he didn’t have insurance.
“My story is unique because of the nature of my condition," Bagherpour says. "But I know that many Denton and DFW musicians have experienced similar or even more severe crises.”
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DAMC's strategy is to subsidize care through fundraising, assistance programs and Affordable Care Act exchanges. Now, the collaborative turns its attention to North Texas Giving Day while relying on experts from a group in Austin.
“The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians has been instrumental in helping us get our organization off the ground,” Bagherpour says of the group.
DAMC hopes to eventually install a housing assistance program and a mentorship program for local artists. For now, health care is the No. 1 priority.
“Our biggest goal for the first year is to be able to subsidize health care for musicians and artists,” Bagherpour says. “The funds we are able to raise will be the determining factor in how many members we will be able to serve.”