AT&T Performing Arts Center’s 2023 Bravo! Gala Showcases The Dallas Arts Community

Acting, Dance, and Music Are All On Display During This Annual Fundraiser

BY Melissa Smrekar // 12.08.23
photography Can Turkyilmaz

Spanning 118 acres, the Dallas Arts District proudly touts its status as the largest contiguous urban arts district in the country. The most impressive thing about the arts community in Dallas, though, is that it is both tight-knit and welcoming to all. Shining brightly (and in red!) in the heart of the District is AT&T Performing Arts Center, located in the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. On Saturday, November 18, 2023, 250 arts patrons descended on the Winspear for the Center’s annual Bravo! Gala. The evening perfectly showcased the arts community’s spirit of collaboration and, through their thoughtful choices, reminded donors that a rising tide lifts all boats. 

Throughout the evening, the AT&T Performing Arts Center spotlighted the five resident companies that grace its hallowed stages both at the Winspear and across Flora Street at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Diane Brierley and Ellen Winspear, two of our city’s most ardent and steadfast arts patrons (look for their names all over the District!), co-chaired the gala, and their spirit of collaboration permeated all aspects of the fete. 

students from MLK Arts Academy (3)
Students from MLK Arts Academy as the “101 Dalmatians.”

During cocktail hour, guests gathered in the PNC Members Lounge to watch graceful and inspired performances from both Texas Ballet Theater and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. A moveable feast, everyone headed back downstairs to refill their cocktails before admiring the beautiful dancers from Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico. Dallas Theater Center’s Liz Mikel and Zachary J. Willis, both members of the Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company, sang a powerful duet before inviting everyone inside the Margaret McDermott Performance Hall for dinner. 

Guests seized their moment in the spotlight, ascending stairs for dinner on the stage. Around tables adorned with majestic tree centerpieces from Garden Gate, the black-tie brigade feasted on filets while being entertained. Darling “puppies” from Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Academy delighted the audience with a surprise performance from 101 Dalmatians. Brierley and Winspear paid tribute to the evening’s biggest honoree, the Moody Foundation. Then, over cheesecake, guests enjoyed a passionate piece from The Dallas Opera before the bewitching Lake Street Dive took the stage (an intimate crowd considering they played the venue the night before!). It felt impossibly special. 

Nick Even, Lynn McBee, Bernadette Schaeffler, Jeffrey Netzer

Looking around the room, I saw so many of the steadfast supporters who make Dallas’ arts community so vibrant – Jamie Williams, Jennifer and Peter Altabef, Kevin Moriarty, Joel Ferrell, Brendan and Helen McGuire, Amber Scanlan, Deedie Rose, Kymberley Scalia, Matt and Jennifer Hickey, and Lynn McBee

In total, the event raised more than $437,000 for AT&T PAC’s education and community engagement initiatives, but don’t make me say it…

How can I not, though? BRAVO!

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