Brian and Caroline Haley are longtime supporters of arts and education in Austin and both are passionate about giving back to the community. In addition to their extensive involvement with Texas Performing Arts, Caroline serves as a board member for Friends of the Children—Austin, Waterloo Greenway, and the Blanton Museum of Art. Brian is chair of TPA’s Leadership Board and as well as a director/trustee for the Blanton, The Texas Exes, UT School of Law, The Salvation Army of Central Texas, and serves as an executive committee member of the UT System’s Chancellor’s Council.
Their connection to TPA goes way back.
Both earned degrees from UT Austin — Caroline holds a master’s in business administration and Brian holds a bachelor’s in government and a law degree. Brian remembers frequently attending shows at Bass Concert Hall during his time as a student and how important it was to have access to such world-class performances. As parents of two children, they believe deeply in continuing to invest in the arts for the next generation.
Here, Brian and Caroline share more about their connection to TPA and how they are helping us to provide young people with unforgettable arts experiences.
Brian, as a student, what was your first show at Bass Concert Hall, and what do you remember most about it? How did it impact or change you?
My first show at Bass was the Lion King at the invitation of then director Pebbles Wadsworth. I was serving as student body president, and Pebbles was intent on connecting the larger student body to the arts. This was the show’s first time to travel to Austin and it was quite the big deal. Being a kid from a small North Texas town and not able to go to such professional productions while growing up, I was amazed at the large-scale stage, intricate details of the costumes, and mesmerizing storytelling.
Your generosity to TPA has been so incredible, with a large portion of your annual gift going to the Student Ticket Fund. Why give to the Student Ticket Fund, specifically?
We chose to split our gift with a portion going to fund Bob Bursey’s vision for new productions and the other portion ensuring students have an opportunity to experience that vision up close and personal. We strongly believe that students need accessible ways to enjoy the arts while at UT…and accessible means affordable on a student budget!
What might you say to someone who is considering making a gift to the Student Ticket Fund?
The arts can have a profound impact on a young person’s life, regardless of their academic discipline. It’s our hope that an engineering student, budding pharmacist, or a young scientist will wander over and be transported to a new world of creativity. We believe these experiences are what create the well-rounded graduates that come from UT and what will challenge them to dream up the world’s next big advancements.
What types of shows do you both enjoy attending at TPA?
We both enjoy our Broadway subscription but have been blown away by the unique programming Bob Bursey and his team have brought to Austin and UT. They are truly capitalizing on Austin’s place as an artistic destination and have elevated the quality and caliber of productions in our community.
You have such a sweet family! Is coming to shows at TPA a frequent family outing?
We’ve been fortunate to bring our children to shows at TPA and have loved watching their imaginations grow from the experiences. They are five and eight years old and can truly sit through (and enjoy!) what the programming team brings to the stage.
And last, but certainly not least, how does it feel to be a part of an organization like TPA both as members, and Brian, as Chair of our Leadership Board?
It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve on TPA’s leadership board. Bob (Bursey) and Anna (Langdell) have done a tremendous job developing the board to include some of UT’s most successful and influential alums globally in the arts. I often wonder how I was selected to be the founding chair but am humbled by that and dedicated to furthering its growth. We have a lot in store and some exciting announcements to come. Stay tuned!