The Greater Denton Arts Council will give two local nonprofits its annual Community Arts Recognition Award at 7 p.m. Friday at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center, 400 E. Hickory St.
The council will recognize the Denton Benefit League, which has given more than $2 million in grants to nonpartisan, nonsectarian nonprofits in Denton County in its 46 years. The league has donated millions of volunteer hours to nonprofits, too. The grants have helped other nonprofits purchase security systems, curtains for the Campus Theatre stage, a huge movie screen for a local film festival and printers, music stands, lighting and programming for Denton County groups.
The council will also recognize an emerging arts organization, the Artists Enclave of Denton County. The enclave is a collective of performing and visual artists that hosts pop-up events where visual artists can show and sell their work. The group also organizes networking and brainstorming gatherings where creatives can meet and learn from each other. Most recently, the nonprofit staged a play in which actors were paid.
Susan Carol Davis, co-founder and president of the Artists Enclave, said the nonprofit is “grateful beyond measure, deeply honored to be a co-recipient with the philanthropic Denton Benefit League” for the award. Davis said the nonprofit is “energized to broaden our advocacy of Denton County as a destination for the arts. We are a membership-based nonprofit for artists and arts supporters alike.”
Davis, who worked in theater and film before moving back to Denton six years ago, said she was surprised by just how busy the arts community had become in Denton. Co-founder and vice president Randall M. Good agreed.
“Denton is a very diverse and dynamic community,” Good said. “One of its greatest assets is the number of talented and creative individuals that live and work here. For Artists Enclave to be a conduit uniting these artists and the public is incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. The artists are able to garner more exposure and support and in return the community is enriched.
“If we can lay a foundation that fosters such mutual benefits, then the sky is the limit for all of the arts as well as the community here in Denton County.”
Davis said Denton is primed for a busy creative scene.
“I believe that our two universities’ visual and performance arts programs with gifted faculty and students have significantly contributed to this diversity,” she said. “Denton’s creative community continues to grow because our residents and visitors are ever increasing in their practice and patronage of the arts — whether they are involved at the university level, new to Denton, longtime residents or returning to their hometown to practice their craft here as I did.”
The enclave plans to do more this year and in 2020. The group will stage another play and pay performance and production stipends. The enclave is planning its first art studio tour, too.
“I ... would simply add that part of our future includes reaching out further, geographically speaking, to other areas of the county,” Good said. “This kind of outreach will serve to strengthen the organization as well as the arts community as a whole.”
Davis said support is important for the arts to be available for the whole community, but artists are motivated to make art whether they’re in a moment of feast or famine.
“I’m not sure that anything has surprised me about the people who make art, music, dance and theater in terms of their passion, talent and support of one another,” Davis said. “Artists throughout the world create art with an abundance or a scarcity of resources and support. You create because you can, because you want to tell stories across a wide spectrum of medium. That has been true wherever I have lived, domestically or abroad.”