LAI Dallas Class Project 2019

Utilizing Light and Image in the Café Momentum Service Center

Leadership Arts Institute’s Dallas Class of 2019 is raising funds for the construction of an artwork utilizing cutting-edge light and design technology at Café Momentum’s new Service Center.  The artwork will employ diurnal lighting and nature elements to create an optimal environment for the youth served by Café Momentum.  An opening reception to thank donors and attract new community partners will be held in late April 2019.


About the Project

Since opening in 2015, 300 at-risk youth have completed an innovative program at the nonprofit Café Momentum, a Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training that engages homeless and “throw-away” teens in a 12-month paid internship program that addresses basic urgent needs and teaches life skills by providing education and employment opportunities. After completing the program, interns are placed in jobs with community partners and are given the opportunity to attend community college at no charge. 

The current phase of Café Momentum’s development is the construction of a service center that will offer additional resources for interns, including academic support, private therapy, exercise classes, emergency clothing, snacks and hygiene products. The center will serve as a private home base for the interns and will expand the program’s influence beyond restaurant hours. It will be a safe haven for Café Momentum’s interns, more than 60% of which are homeless.

The Leadership Arts Class of 2019 has proposed an installation for the Café Momentum Service Center with the purpose of lowering stress and providing an atmosphere of well-being. The installation will be a backlighted glass wall that tracks the sun to feel like a window and replicate natural light. Lighting will be concealed behind the glass and controlled with an exterior daylight sensor to mimic the sun. The wall behind the glass will be painted with abstract art inspired by nature and created either by a professional artist or Café Momentum interns.

LAI’s class of 2019 will collaborate to raise funds and in-kind donations to facilitate the construction of the glass wall that will provide countless benefits to the youth served by Café Momentum. An event to unveil the installation of the piece and attract new community partners to the Café Momentum Service Center will be held in late April of 2019.



Many sincere thanks to the generous sponsors of the LAI Dallas 2019 Class Project

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About Cafe Momentum and Leadership Arts Institute

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Café Momentum is a nonprofit restaurant and professional training facility in the heart of downtown Dallas. Interns rotate through all aspects of the restaurant, while focusing on the development of social and life skills with a comprehensive case management team. We work to establish a baseline of stability in their young lives, providing an ecosystem of support around our interns. Serving fresh, locally sourced, sophisticated American cuisine; every meal is prepared and served by our award-winning team of chefs and the young men and women involved in our program.

A program of Business Council for the Arts, Leadership Arts Institute (LAI) was founded in 1989 at the request of businessman and philanthropist Ray Nasher, to develop the next generation of business leaders for the arts in North Texas. Each year, a limited number of business professionals are selected for LAI. The program provides training in leadership, nonprofit board best practices, and knowledge of critical issues affecting cultural institutions in North Texas. The methodology consists of 10 seminars led by expert speakers and an annual project that serves as a practicum.  Upon completion of the program, graduates have the option of being individually matched to serve on a nonprofit board of directors.