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CFT’s Eisemann Edge

Funding will support the innovative 'Sensing Deep Space: Pandora’s Cluster' exhibit.
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I am passionate about supporting innovative ways to promote tech-based arts in the region.
- Charles Eisemann
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The Eisemann Edge Initiative at Communities Foundation of Texas (“Eisemann Edge”) uplifts nonprofits and projects that explore the intersection of technology with performing and visual arts. Launched in 2019 through support from Charles and the late Ann Eisemann, the Eisemann Edge encourages the growth of tech-based arts internationally. In 2022, CFT began partnering with the Eisemanns to manage and support its grantmaking process.

In 2023, through its competitive grant application process, The Eisemann Edge awarded a $94,000 grant to SciArt Exchange, to support its upcoming Sensing Deep Space: Pandora’s Cluster exhibit. Based in Houston, Texas, SciArt Exchange facilitates collaborations between scientists, artists, and technologists. By combining scientific inquiry and artistic creativity, SciArt Exchange aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of science through art and vice versa.

“We merge the realms of art and science, spark imagination, and enhance knowledge and appreciation for art and space exploration,” said Dr. Jancy McPhee, SciArt Exchange’s Founder and Executive Director. “Through multi-sensory experiences like Sensing Deep Space, SciArt Exchange strives to make scientific concepts more accessible through a variety of art forms and senses, inspiring viewers to explore and appreciate the wonders of the universe.”

The Sensing Deep Space installation will interact with visitors’ senses, creating an immersive and engaging experience that explores Pandora’s Cluster, a deep space galaxy cluster. By exploring the specific characteristics, technologies, and scientific discoveries associated with this galaxy cluster and its beauty, the installation offers a distinct and captivating experience that sets it apart from other space-themed exhibitions. According to SciArt Exchange, Pandora’s Cluster is four billion light-years away from Earth, and astronomers have studied it using Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, and James Webb space telescopes.

Sensing Deep Space aspires to attract and inspire a wide range of individuals, including space enthusiasts, scientists, artists, students, and the general public,” said McPhee. “This effort takes complex scientific data and makes it more accessible, and we hope it will spark curiosity and ignite a sense of wonder and connection, regardless of the viewer’s prior knowledge or background.”

“The uniqueness of this installation lies in its ability to engage multiple senses simultaneously while combining artistic creativity and scientific knowledge. By merging these disciplines, the installation offers a perspective that goes beyond traditional scientific presentations or artistic exhibitions. It provides an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to understanding and appreciating deep space,” said McPhee.

SciArt Exchange’s Sensing Deep Space: Pandora’s Cluster, is slated to open to the public on January 6, 2024, and will be housed at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson. The Eisemann Center is named after Charles and Ann for a generous gift they made from their CFT fund in 2000. The Center is a hub for arts and culture dedicated to presenting exceptional and innovative artistic experiences.

“I am passionate about supporting innovative ways to promote tech-based arts in the region. Sci-Art Exchange’s new exhibit will provide an opportunity for the public to engage in the arts, science, and technology education while learning about space in a unique and profound way,” said Charles Eisemann.

“Thanks to the Eisemann Edge funding, we’re able to carry out this new installation concept. We’re grateful to CFT and the amazing Eisemann Center team for their continued partnership and support in this effort,” said McPhee.

Key contributors to Sensing Deep Space: Pandora’s Cluster include: The SciArt Exchange team, Dr. Jancy McPhee, Ari Peralta, Josh Grossberg, and Katrin Ludwig; audiovisual artist Benjamin Heim; the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Dr. Carol Christian; University of Texas at Dallas’ Dr. Roger Malina and Dr. Lindsay King; Project Producer, Alexander Rea; Project Communications Officer, Bryant Maxwell; the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts; the City of Richardson, and the University of Texas at Dallas.

For those who cannot make it to the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in person in January, they can still follow along in the journey and learn more about the science, technology and art behind this multidisciplinary project on SciArt’s installation webpage at www.SciArtExchange.net. 



History of the Eisemann Edge

In 2019, the City of Richardson and the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts partnered with The Harry W. Bass Jr. School of Arts, Humanities and Technology at UT Dallas to create the Eisemann Edge Endowment Fund. This innovative program empowered Richardson residents and students to explore how technology can enhance arts experiences.

Early projects supported by the Eisemann Edge include MotherBoard, a modular sculptural installation that celebrated the City of Richardson’s history and pioneering embrace of innovative technology, and 20 Years in 20 Minutes, a projection experience that highlighted the Eisemann Center’s first 20 years and impact on the arts landscape.
Now housed at CFT, the Eisemann Edge continues to offer grant funding to nonprofits and projects that:

  • Apply innovative technology to the presentation and experience of performing and/or visual arts. Examples of technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality, digital media, immersive installation, and more.
  • Demonstrate a track record of creating innovative projects that merge arts and technology.
  • Share detailed plans for marketing and publicly presenting the project at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts.
  • Challenge the stereotypes and siloing that are characteristic of technology institutions and the performing/visual arts.


Note: Nonprofits and fiscally-sponsored entities interested in being considered for grant funding must complete an online application by 5:00 p.m. CDT on August 31, 2023. Grant notifications will be made by October 31, 2023.

Greg Oertel
Greg Oertel
Senior Community Philanthropy Officer

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