We had the good fortune of connecting with katherine wagner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi katherine, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Such an interesting question! Here is a counter-question: is it possible to have risk without opportunities?
Throughout the hour, day, week and year opportunities come and go. Periodically, I take stock of opportunities that surround me at that moment (street racing could be an option, never selected, but jumping out of a plane was). Being mindful of their fleeting nature – some never to reappear – is the way I’ve approached risk. Taking stock of opportunities that exist in a particular moment in time – even writing them down – has been a good guide for me, both personally and professionally. For me, the act of writing is an essential part of planning, What is planning for the future but a series of assumptions and risks built on each other?
As an aid, a working moral compass is probably the best guide to risk taking. I rely on my top values (kindness and integrity) so that should I err, the error will fall on the sides of those things I believe most important.
What should our readers know about your business?
What sets us apart: Business Council for the Arts is the only organization in the state of Texas dedicated to providing connections between business and arts/culture. We serve municipalities and higher education as well.
I am most excited about the way that business leaders are embracing the arts as a doorway into IED. North Texas has a community of excellent and diverse artists. Businesses are increasingly inviting us to curate on-site exhibits that feature the work of these artists, often with receptions for their employees and clients that feature a talk by the artist.
We also bring the arts into wellness for businesses. We work with experts around the country to present information and arts practices that lower stress, add joy, and bring teams together. We work with diverse artists within these art practices and frame them so that individuals of all abilities can benefit from them.
Many businesses and business leaders in North Texas are strong supporters of the arts, not only because the arts can aid in engagement, retention, IED, and wellness but also because the arts are strong economic drivers. Businesses are relocating here in large part because of the wealth of talent in innovation and creativity and the amenities that business professionals seek.
What many may not know is that the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations was $1.5 billion at last count (2017), with responsibility for employing 52,000 people in our region. Business Council for the Arts conducts the regional study every five years with Americans for the Arts, our national arts advocacy organization. In 2022, we will be collecting data for a new iteration and we hope that every municipality in North Texas will join us.
What I would like all business leaders to know is that Business Council for the Arts is the best source of information about how your company can be involved in the arts. Innovation, inclusion, creativity, discovery and excellence are all values that we subscribe to.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Dallas Arts District has so much to offer, whether night or day. That would be a must-do day. It would include the DMA, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Crow Collection, drinks and dinner at Ellie’s on the patio, a tour of the Craig and Kathryn Hall collection and a dance performance by Dallas Black Dance Theater or another show at one of the venues at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
One of my favorite spots in the city is NorthPark Center, which some call a shopping center within a world-class museum. The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haeimisegger Collection of sculpture and other art is integrated into your experience of being there, which also includes a shopper’s paradise and a selection of places to take a break ranging from a glass of wine, a cup of Italian coffee at Lavazza to a high-end meal. And the plantings are absolutely beautiful. It’s immaculate, beautiful, welcoming, and fun.
A true hidden gem in Dallas is The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection. This museum focuses on armour and artifacts featuring exquisite design and craftsmanship as well as a dive into one of the most remarkable periods of Japanese history. The objects, as well as the personal collecting story are remarkable. I would have lunch downstairs from the museum at St. Anne’s. It is in proximity to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Other places that visitors should experience in Dallas are Deep Vellum (bookstore) in Deep Ellum, as well as Emporium Pies and 1890 Marketplace (vinegars, olive oils, spices).
I love Jimmy’s Italian Foods for paninis and a glass of wine while shopping for dinner.
Fort Worth offers a cultural district with museums within walking distance as well. The Kimbell, the Modern, and the Amon Carter are all excellent museums with specific collections. I like to have lunch at The Kimbell and wander around their gift store a bit.
In the spring, it’s fun to go to Bloomdango at Chambersville Tree Farm in the morning (especially if you love roses) and then enjoy lunch and shopping around McKinney’s wonderful square.
The Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson presents wonderful programming that is family-friendly, with internationally-flavored restaurants in proximity.
The Art Centre of Plano, the Greater Denton Arts Council, the Granville Theater, Lewisville Grand Theatre and Irving Arts Center, in addition to Frisco Arts activities, all offer visitors and residents great options for arts enjoyment.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am proud of the family that I came from. Integrity and the value of hard work, as well as a love of the arts, were foundational. I was named for my grandmothers: Katherine, a physician, and Josephine, an opera singer. Other family members reinforced family values and the love of good food, good humor, good friends as well as nature and community. My husband, Pete, and I have been married for 37 years; his presence and that of our adult children, Katy and Alex, are the essence of my life. I cannot imagine life without my friends, some of many decades and some who are new.
At Business Council for the Arts, we have an excellent, forward-thinking board of directors who are dedicated to our mission of connecting businesses with arts and culture. Our team has the best set of arts professionals that I know of. My allies and colleagues in the field keep me going!
I feel fortunate to live in environs of Dallas at this time in history. And grateful for this opportunity to give shout-outs!
A book I like to recommend: Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Linkedin: Katherine Wagner