Established in September 1993, Bishop Arts Theatre Center offer an array of arts education programs year round. The artistic philosophy is to engage students in self-development exercises that apply critical thinking skills, develop the decision-making processes and build vocabulary. Most of the students we serve in our theatre arts programs live in blighted areas of town and are a product of single-parent households.
As co-owner of Black Images Book Bazaar with Ashira Oya Tosihwe 1977 – 2006, Emma Rodgers loved hand-selling books to customers. She absolutely enjoyed marrying readers with authors. In 1995, the bookstore partners, along with romance writer Francis Ray co-founded the Romance Slam Jam. RSJ is a national organization which hosts the largest African American genre specific event for published and aspiring authors, and readers. Because of her commitment to the Black Romance Genre, author Brenda Jackson; reader, Brenda Woodbury; and bookseller, Jackie Perkins of Montsho Books, gave birth to “The “EMMA Award,” because of Emma Rodgers’ commitment to marketing and promoting Black Romance. The first EMMA Awards were presented at the 2001 RSJ in Orlando, Florida, the site of the first RSJ away from Dallas.
Mrs. Rodgers describes herself as a full-time community volunteer and is currently Board Chair for BATC. She has served as: Curator for the Dallas Civil Rights Museum, co-founded with Lois Lilly and Ann Brown Ervin; Facilitator for the Generations Book Club, which she launched in 2008; Member of the University of Texas Medical Center’s DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study Community Advisory Board (2020 – Present); Member of Remembering Black Dallas Advisory Board (2020 – Present); Life-member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; and more.
She has received a number of community service and literary awards, including: Community Hero in D Magazine’s Special Heroes Best of Big D Edition (August 2020), for creating Storytime at Bedtime at BATC; Volunteer of the Year Award, presented on at the 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Gala in 2020, by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Dallas, TX; Volunteer of the Year Award presented on at the 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Gala in 2020, by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Dallas, TX; and more.
Emma enjoys spending her time with family, traveling, visiting museums, line dancing, walking (4 miles everyday), volunteering, visiting historic sites and commemorations such as the Centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, OK in 2021.