HACA arose from humble beginnings and a vision
A handful of Dade City residents gathered together in the summer of 1983, all sharing the belief that East Pasco County had a great need for a performing and visual arts center. Over the years that goal has grown to other exciting opportunities for artists and arts patrons in our community.
The Heritage Arts Center Association (HACA) developed in only one short year, from the dream of a few, to a working, incorporated, not-for-profit 501(C)3 organization that now has approximately 300 area members and many corporate supporters. It is now guided by a 15-member board.
In 1997, the first Moonlight and Ivory Concert gave our area an elegant evening of performances by talented local musicians, resulting in the purchase of a concert grand piano for the community’s use. Enthusiastic response demanded this become an annual event. This annual fundraising event, in turn, allowed us the raise the funds needed to reward school-aged children who compete in the annual Spotlight on Talent competition. Today, the event has come full circle, and some past participants are now returning as highly qualified judges, HACA Board members, backstage helpers, or teachers of our talented students.
Of significant interest is a partial list of accomplishments that former Spotlight on Talent performers have achieved. Many have attended college on dance or music scholarships, including the Boston Conservatory of Music, and Indiana and Yale Universities. Spotlight alumni have performed professionally on Broadway in The King and I, with the Festival Ballet of Utah, pop superstar Sheila E, and the Florida Orchestra. Multiple participants have gone on to compete on the national stage in American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. One alumnus even had a guest role on the TV hit Ugly Betty.
HACA has produced several theatrical shows through the years as well, including the memorable “Oklahoma”, staged on the grounds of the Pioneer Florida Museum. Other efforts have included art exhibits and festivals, dance recitals, children’s theater productions, the “Arts Express” chartered excursions, and a Shakespeare Festival, to name a few.