FOCUS ON NOBLEMOTION DANCE
Houston Arts Alliance
As the city’s designated, nonprofit, local arts agency, Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) provides programs and services for the arts and cultural sector, awarding approximately 225 grants annually to nonprofit organizations and individual artists. One of our flagship capacity-building programs is the Resident Incubator Program, which supports growing organizations in our community.
We recently sat down with Andy Noble, co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance, to chat about NobleMotion’s progress in HAA’s Incubator Program. NobleMotion began working with HAA in our Pre-Incubator Program, a six- to 12-month program that nurtures organizations from idea to start-up by supporting the development of critical infrastructure in management, governance, financial resources and administrative systems. They currently participate in the Resident Incubator Program, now in their third year.
On the vision for NobleMotion in Houston.
“We always knew we wanted to start a dance company, though we wanted to participate as dancers in the company, too. We had worked professionally on a variety of dance projects in quite a few places – Florida, Seattle, Utah, et cetera. When I began working in Huntsville at Sam Houston State University (as Associate Professor and Chair), we researched the arts community in Houston and saw opportunity. There’s dance in this community. HAA is keeping dance viable in this community.”
According to Noble, the relationship with HAA began when he served as a grant panelist for the Individual Artist Grants Program. He volunteered his time and learned about the process for funding. Shortly thereafter, Noble and his wife Dionne Sparkman Noble founded NobleMotion. Subsequently, they applied for and received an Artist Project Grant to support two performance programs. And the relationship flourished.
Noble shared his take on the value proposition for the Pre-Incubator Program:
- Mentoring on non-profit leadership;
- Inspired creation of his coursework for dance professionals in the world of business;
- The accounting and business side of non-profit management (with a hat tip to Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts);
- Opportunity to help peer organizations through their own journeys; and
- Credibility in the marketplace for funding and investment.
Following their completion of the Pre-Incubator Program, NobleMotion Dance applied for and was awarded participation in the Resident Incubator Program. For NobleMotion, this manifested in several benefits:
- Capacity building in the form of office space;
- Administrative funding;
- Technology infrastructure;
- Marketing guidance; and
- Relationship building and collaborations with like-minded partners.
So, what does the world look like today for NobleMotion Dance since their launch in 2009?
“We have doubled the size of our board of directors and grown our volunteer corps, and we have diversified and increased our funding with new support from funders such as Houston Endowment, Inc. We sold out the Hobby Center two nights. We are working to appeal to a large community and a market that captures imagination. Trying to tell a story. It’s hard. We work so hard to train our dancers, and they in turn work so hard. For our sanity, we hired Managing Director Danielle Garza, which we wouldn’t have been able to do without HAA. She’s taken on the day-to-day so we can think and dream big — much bigger. And, we have discovered there is a really nice intersection between those who love what we do and those who love dance.”
Best wishes to NobleMotion Dance in their continued success!