A program of Business Council for the Arts (BCA), the Leadership Arts Institute (LAI) is a collection of professionals who are positioned to become the next generation of business leaders in North Texas. Founded in 1989 by philanthropist and businessman Ray Nasher, LAI strives to develop these professionals through training in leadership, non-profit board membership best practices, and education surrounding the critical issues facing North Texas cultural institutions.
LAI is structured as a 9-month course revolving around an annual class project, that is led by experts and benefits non-profits in North Texas. At the end of this 10-week journey, LAI class graduates are given the opportunity to be matched with non-profit boards to join.
The class strives to strengthen individual’s expertise as professionals, introducing them to prominent business leaders in the community and resources that promote creativity and resourcefulness. They network with other likeminded professionals across sectors, and learn how arts and culture greatly impact a community’s economic growth, diversity and education.
For LAI’s 2019 class project, recent LAI graduates Ryan Hardy and Michael Janicek with Corgan, were instrumental in the success of the project, “Utilizing Light and Image in the Café Momentum Service Center.” This new cutting-edge art piece brings daylight to Café Momentum’s service center, located in an abandoned tunnel that sits below Downtown Dallas. Café Momentum is an innovative program that trains and supports at-risk youth in the art of food service. Opened in 2015, the Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training program engages homeless and high-risk teens in a 12-month paid internship that addresses youth’s basic urgent needs and teaches them skills through education and employment. Once they have completed the year-long course, the interns are placed in jobs with Café Momentum community partners and are given the opportunity to attend community college free of charge.
Café Momentum recently opened a Service Center that offers resources to interns as a central location to receive academic support, therapy, exercise, emergency clothing and hygiene products. The Service Center acts as a homebase for interns and expands Café Momentum’s influence beyond its restaurant. Because of its commitment and service to the community, LAI chose Café Momentum as the recipient of their 2019 class project. Michael Janicek, Corgan’s Senior Lighting Designer and 2019 LAI graduate, immediately recognized the lack of natural light in the service center. Artist Marianne Gargour, LAI class of 2019, created a sketch which was distributed to the interns to interpret with colored acetate. Each intern’s piece would then be brought together to produce a collage of individual interpretations to reflect Marianne Gargour’s original sketch. The installation is a backlit glass wall that tracks the sun to feel like a window and replicate natural light. Lighting is concealed behind the glass and controlled with an exterior daylight sensor to mimic the sun—bringing much needed light into the space.
LAI class members were required to raise all funds to produce the art piece, as well as additional funds to hold an unveiling event at the Service Center. Ryan Hardy, Associate at Corgan, and Michael Janicek leveraged their skills in project management to facilitate sponsors, source materials and funds, becoming invaluable pillars for the 2019 class project.
Taking place on April 30, 2019, the project unveiling was attended by BCA President Katherine Wagner, and featured impromptu performances by two Café Momentum interns. The Café Momentum interns prepared and served hors d'oeuvres and BCA presented Café Momentum with $20,000 in addition to the glass wall design, materials, and installation. The total contribution of the class to Café Momentum totaled more than $50,000!
To learn more about the 2019 class project and to apply for the 2020 class, head to BCA’s website
Photography provided by Sweetbos Photography