ARTS FIFTH AVENUE
1628 5TH AVENUE
FORT WORTH, TX
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HISTORY OF ARTS FIFTH AVENUE
In 1989, the first performing arts space in the Southwest dedicated to the past, present and future of tap dance opened on the Westside of Fort Worth Texas under the direction of Gracey Tune. The goal was to help revive this great American Dance Form, educate the community about Tap and offer classes 24 hours a day. As Artistic Director Ms. Tune brought Tap Legends to Fort Worth – including the Paris Tap Legend Sara Petronio, Broadway’s Ron Young, and the new generation of Tap, Savion Glover.
In 1991, in conjunction with the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, Ms Tune conducted a city wide audition for Youth Tap Dancers to perform in the celebration and to experience the opportunity to perform with the 11 year old Tap phenomenon – Savion Glover. Over 200 children performed with Savion in the Imagination Celebration on an ourdoor stage at Farrington field accompanied by the Fort Worth Youth Jazz Orchestra, with over 4000 school children in attendance, sky divers , youth riding clubs, FWISD Youth Orchestra and a parade of arts created by FWISD Students under the director of Joe Brown, Fine Arts Director of Texas Wesleyan University. The tap dancers also had the opportunity to take master tap classes with Savion at the Will Rogers Complex.
In March of 1991, with the help of Ruth Ann McKinny (Assistant City Manager of Fort Worth) and Anne Miller Tinsley, Arts On Tap, Inc (AOT) received their Articles of Incorporation and in October of 1992 their IRS Letter of Determination.
From 1989 to 1995, AOT served as both a rehearsal and teaching space, with an indoor performance area and outdoor stage. AOT's mission is and has always been to provide a forum of expression for dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers and visual/performing artists; and to stimulate, develop and preserve interest in tap dance and jazz music, and to educate the public, particularly youth, about these uniquely American art forms. Tap Master Classes, Tap Jams, Tap Performances and Tap History were ever present in the programming.
In 1995, funding for small 501c3 groups diminished so Arts On Tap closed its physical location but continued its mission on the West Coast in a effort to further the future of Tap. Ms. Tune embraced the International Tap Festival and Jazz Society of in Portland Oregon. She co-produced a premiere performance by Mercer Ellington – with a full Tap Review by area artists to the music of the great Duke Ellington. 3 sold out performance of Oregonians embracing tap dance and jazz music. Audience – 6000.
On September 11, 2001, Arts Fifth Avenue opened on the corner of 5th and Allen in the Fairmount Historical District of Fort Worth. Peggy Bott Kirby had the inspiration to contact Eddie Dunlap (who was looking for a space) and Gracey Tune (returning to Fort Worth) to create a place for Drums and Taps . . . total percussion! With her inspiration we contacted Ralph Watterson ( “The Don” of the south side) and he found a place for Mondo and Arts on Tap to begin and flourish! We named it Arts Fifth Avenue (like Saks Fifth Avenue) to help locate the space and in hopes people would come . . . and they did and continue to. We thank Paige Hendricks of PHPR and Don Scott of Fort Worth South for their support. We have expanded from one room to most of the majority of the building. We are flourishing with the support of our neighborhood and friends. It worked! We just keep on!