For most of us, going from selling insurance to directing an art advocacy group would be a stretch.

But for neighborhood resident Pam Stephenson, it seemed like a natural move.

“If you know me, it makes sense,” Stephenson says. “I’m not a person who likes routine. I like new things.”

Stephenson recently became executive director of the Dallas Coalition for the Arts, an advocacy group for Dallas artists and arts organizations. The group promotes art activities and lobbies government entities for funding.

“On behalf of the coalition, I act as an ambassador for the arts,” Stephenson says.

Since taking on her new job, she had been learning about Dallas art groups, which she says she was surprised to learn how many there are.

“We have an unbelievable vibrant art community,” Stephenson says. “You can do seven things a night if you wanted. We forget about the stimulation and entertainment that comes from watching our neighbors perform.

“The Dallas arts community is great at performing, but not at marketing.”

The coalition has 500 members. Arts organizations comprise 68 percent of the membership, seven percent are individual artists and the rest are corporations.

Even though Stephenson doesn’t have an art background, she says she has a lot of other qualifications the coalition needs.

“I’m a planner,” Stephenson says. “I’m an organizer. And I care about people.”

Some of her activities include serving as president of the Vickery Place Neighborhood Association and volunteering for the Police Athletic League. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, drawing, needlepoint and reading.

“I guess they wanted somebody who was involved in the community,” Stephenson says. “There was a sense I could articulate needs and get things done.”

“I’m more than happy to go out and do these things. It’s enriching and stimulating; that’s what life is all about.”

News & Notes

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS: Paperbacks Plus will host the Sunday Afternoon Series every Sunday from Sept. through Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. The series will include poetry, prose, visual art, music and discussion, and will take place in the Big Room Upstairs at Paperbacks Plus, 6115 LaVista at Live Oak.

The series will be kicked-off Sept. 4 with poet Tim Seibles, author of “Hurdy-Gurdy” and “Body Moves.” The afternoons are free and open to the public. For information: 827-4860.

Calendar

Sept. 2-24 – “Battery” by Daniel Terriault at Swiss Ave. Theater Center, 2700 Swiss Ave. Tickets are $10. For reservations: 522-0843.

Sept 8-Nov. 20 – “In Touch: Lifecasts of Famous People” by Willa Shalit, Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. For information: 922-1200.

Sept. 9-11 – MONTAGE ’94 family festival showcasing performing arts along Flora Street in the Downtown Dallas Arts District. Friday 7:30 p.m. concert, Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tickets: $4 in advance, $5 at gate. For information: 361-2011.

Sept. 10-11 – “Art In the Neighborhood,” a free art workshop for children, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at 5501 Columbia. For reservations: 823-8955.

Sept. 10 – “Eternal Egypt III: Ancient Nubia,” Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. For information: 922-1200.

Sept. 21-Dec. 4 – “The Eye of Stanley Marcus,” Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. For information: 922-1200.

Through Sept. 24 – “Harry Geffer and Friends,” D-Art Visual Center, 2917 Swiss Ave.

Through Sept. 25 – “Dale Chihuly: Installations,” Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. For information: 922-1200.

Through Sept. 25 – “Workers, An Archaeology of the Industrial Age: Photographs by Sebastiao Salgado,” Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. For information: 922-1200.


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.