Monday, July 28, 2008
People you s“hood” know: North Dallas’ Patricia Porter
CEO of North Texas Business for Culture and the Arts, she works to establish relationships between corporations and arts organizations.
DALLAS If Patricia Porter’s life were a wheel, she’d be the hub. An avocado? She’d be the pit. In other words, Porter is surrounded on all sides by her job, her community and her family, and that’s exactly where she wants to be.
Even her office is a midpoint. The North Dallas resident works in the Galleria Towers. “[My office] marks the epicenter of my three neighborhoods: Legacy, Las Colinas, and downtown Dallas. That’s my 'hood,” explained Porter.
The CEO of North Texas Business for Culture and the Arts (NTBCA), Porter works to establish longstanding relationships between corporations and arts organizations such as the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) where she was once director of public affairs and publications. “A cultural environment is important to business because it brings the best and the brightest to the area,” said Porter, “We want to teach businesses ways to use the arts and cultural community in order to reach their strategic business goals.” The truth behind this theory lies in the ever-increasing levels of participation in NTBCA programs by businesses like Bank of America, Mary Kay, Texas Instruments and IBM.
Arts and culture also play an important role in Porter’s personal life. “My husband, Bob Porter, really brought me to the arts,” she explained. Even the couple’s migration to Dallas was rooted in community interest. Bob, an author, journalist and fourth generation Dallasite, wanted his children to go through the Richardson ISD. “It’s important to support our public schools. They’re invaluable,” she added. Forty-six years later, the East Texas native is still in Dallas, but the exceptional public school system wasn’t the only thing that convinced her to take root in North Texas. “The Downtown Dallas Arts District is an unparalleled cultural center; Bishop, Deep Ellum, Fair Park, Downtown, everything’s constantly growing,” Porter said proudly, “In Ft. Worth, the Trinity River is becoming a huge cultural symbol. In Collin County, Frisco, Allen and Plano are investing money in the development of a cultural destination open to the public.”
A skilled diplomat, Porter tries to support all of the arts equally. “One day I might be at the Dallas Wind Symphony, another day I’ll take my employees to the University of Texas at Arlington to watch glassblowing and the next evening I’m probably at Late Nights at the DMA with my granddaughters,” she said. However, in a nostalgic whisper, Porter admitted, “I’m an old actress at heart.” Similarly, her husband was a film and theater critic for twenty-nine years.
Whether she’s mentoring graduate students from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, motivating businesses to support the arts and economy or simply making a big breakfast for her husband, Patricia Porter is a nurturer. Her work and patience has certainly paid off. In 2005, North Texas arts and cultural groups were able to pump $795.4 million dollars into the local economy. In 2006, the amount shot up to $828.5 million.
“I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to raise [my children] in this environment,” said Porter. Her sons’ upbringing is certainly evident in their professions; one son is a painter and sculptor, the other is a special effects creator in Hollywood and the third is the Chief Executive Chef at a resort in Florida and an aspiring charter boat captain. “My four granddaughters seem to be heading in the same direction,” Porter added, smiling.