North Texas ranks in the top five multicounty cultural regions in the US,

according to Americans for the Arts’ 2017 Arts and Economic Prosperity study.

Key to the area’s success, says Katherine Wagner, CEO of the Business Council for the Arts, is the engagement of corporate neighbors.

“We have an increasingly enlightened business community that sees how art is beneficial inside their companies and within the community,” she says.

She stresses that this commitment of the private sector is the economic engine propelling the region’s arts and cultural community.

The BCA’s annual Obelisk Awards honors the partnership between business and the arts.

Each year the organization assembles a jury, presided over by founder’s chair Nancy Nasher, to determine its honorees.

Jessica L. Beasley, curator of art at the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum and Harwood International;

and Mimi Crume Sterling, vice president of corporate culture and philanthropy of the Neiman Marcus Group,

 are cochairing this year’s November luncheon. The honorees will receive awards designed by glass artist Polly Gessel.

Following the event’s 30th-anniversary retrospective last year, the duo’s aim for this year looks ahead, with Future Forward as their theme.

 “Jessica and I have gone to this event for many years. Our goal is to bring fresh energy to it,” Sterling explains.

Beasley adds, “With my background in the arts, I have seen firsthand the importance of the efforts of these groups and individuals that are being recognized.”

Sterling brings the heft of the Neiman Marcus Group to her role as cochair.

“The arts have always been an integral part of our culture. They are very much at the core of what we do,” she says.

 Richard Marcus sat on the founding board of the BCA, and she cites the culture of Neiman Marcus as one that is in line with the spirit of the awards.

“Focusing on creativity in youth is our mission,” she explains, adding that corporate engagement inspires employees.

“We can share this with our internal associates because it increases pride and motivation.”

 Accenting Future Forward, many of this year’s honorees are being recognized for the work they do in engaging young audiences.

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