Posted May 28, 2024

Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition Recognizes Contributions of Legendary Arts Leaders

DACAC gives Jac Alder Arts Advocacy Award to Teatro Dallas co-founder Cora Cardona Hurst  

Ballet Folklorico pioneer Anita N. Martinez celebrated with   Inaugural Annette Strauss Trailblazer Award  

DALLAS — The Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition (DACAC) has bestowed awards upon two Dallas arts legends. The inaugural Annette Strauss Trail Blazer Award recognized the artistic achievements of Anita N. Martinez, and Cora Cardona Hurst received DACAC’s Jac Alder Advocacy Award. Both awards were announced at the organization’s annual Arts Advocacy Day Luncheon in late April.

“We are incredibly thrilled to award Martinez and Cardona Hurst with these well-deserved accolades,” said DACAC President Joanna St. Angelo. “The Dallas arts community would not be as diverse or vibrant as it is today without these incredible women leaders, and we are honored to acknowledge their achievements and contributions.”

Cardona Hurst is a critically acclaimed director, producer, filmmaker and educator who cofounded the theater company Teatro Dallas in 1985 with her late husband Jeff Hurst. She has been a leading voice for Latinx artists and pioneered productions focused on the Latinx experience, producing both classical and contemporary Latino, US, and international playwrights.

Her activism has boosted funding, respect, recognition and audiences for historically under-resourced ethnic arts organizations in Dallas. Today, Teatro Dallas is a resident company at the Latino Cultural Center. DACAC’s naming of Cardona Hurst for its Jac Alder Advocacy Award recognizes the profound impact of her decades-long activism on the Dallas arts community.

Anita N. Martinez is recognized for her tireless dedication to public service and uplifting traditional ballet folklorico, while helping Hispanic youth in Dallas and beyond learn, share, and celebrate this traditional artform. A fifth-generation Texan and Mexican American raised in the Dallas community known colloquially as “Little Mexico”, Martinez exhibited a keen interest in community affairs as young as fourteen when she collected signatures door-to-door in support of paving Pearl Street in her neighborhood. Martinez was elected Dallas’ first Hispanic city council member and the first Hispanic woman elected to a major US city’s council in 1969.

She established the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico in 1975, which has gained statewide, national, and international recognition for the organization’s work inspiring Hispanic youth through artistic engagement and cultural enlightenment. Her commitment to advocacy, community, and the arts has elevated ballet folklorico, created opportunities for youth empowerment, and helped amplify the voices of the Mexican American community.

The Annette Strauss Trail Blazer award, commemorating former Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss, celebrates individuals for significant artistic excellence or political leadership that has moved the needle for the Dallas arts community. It recognizes those who have demonstrated highly unique artistic practice, broken boundaries, or elevated an art form or an organization in our community

The Jac Alder Arts Advocacy Award was created to honor the collaborative spirit of the late Jac Alder, a fierce Dallas arts activist and performer who passed away in 2015 at 80 years old. For over four decades, Alder practiced persistent, outspoken, and inclusive advocacy. He believed our best work is achieved when united around common goals — building relationships with our leaders to achieve meaningful headway for our cultural community.

Prior recipients of the Jac Alder Arts Advocacy Award include: Robyn Flatt, Founder, Dallas Children’s Theater (2023); John Paul Batiste, Chair, Dallas Commission on Arts & Culture (2022); Ann M. Williams, Founder, Dallas Black Dance Theater (2021); Veletta Forsythe Lill, Former Dallas City Council Member (2019); and Joanna St. Angelo, Executive Director, Sammons Center for the Arts (2018).