CULTUREMAP NEWS

Mapping a new direction: CultureMap revamps editorial department

Arden Ward and Steven Devadanam. Gow Media

Originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston.

CultureMap has revamped its editorial department, announcing Arden Ward as statewide editorial director and Steven Devadanam as Houston editor.

“I am delighted to announce the promotion of Arden Ward to run editorial for CultureMap statewide,” said David Gow, CEO of Gow Media. “Arden has leadership qualities, strong editorial skills, and a deep understanding of the content that resonates with our audiences.”

Ward joined CultureMap in 2011, during its expansion to Austin. She served as executive editor in Austin before becoming network managing editor, where she played an integral role in the brand’s expansion to the Fort Worth and San Antonio markets.

Devadanam brings a diverse set of experiences to his new role as editor of Houston. His background includes strategic roles at Village Voice Media, Modern Luxury, NFL Network, and CNN Digital. “We are excited to welcome Steven to the CultureMap team,” Ward said. “He is a champion of the brand and brings great enthusiasm for the city and its culture — which we look forward to sharing with our readers on a daily basis.”

Devadanam replaces Clifford Pugh, who served as editor-in-chief of CultureMap Houston since the company’s inception in 2009. “Clifford has been instrumental in the development of CultureMap,” said Gow. “We are very grateful for his leadership and the mark he has made over the past eight years.”

Devadanam is just the latest in a series of strong additions to the CultureMap editorial team. In May, the company announced the hiring of Ken Hoffman, the longstanding popular columnist from the Houston Chronicle. And more recently, under Ward’s leadership, CultureMap hired Stephanie Allmon Merry as managing editor in Dallas, and Katie Friel as editor in Austin and Brandon Watson as food editor in Austin.

“We have been investing in the editorial team across the state,” said Gow. “With these additions, we are poised to extend our leadership position.”

CultureMap is owned by Gow Media, which also owns SportsMap.

Patriot Paws/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

It's that time of year: Houston Ballet's packed and popular Nutcracker Market will be held Thursday, November 14, through Sunday, November 17, at NRG Center with more than 100,000 shoppers expected to scoop up everything "Christmasy" that can fit under a tree, down a chimney, on a dinner table or you can put a bow on it.

About 260 merchants, including 23 rookie booths, will kick back 11 percent of their sales toward the Houston Ballet Foundation. When you add in all the admission money, thousands of Houston area students will get a valuable lesson in the arts.

As always, all roads will lead to booth 920, to the back and to the right in NRG Center, where the Donne Di Domani ladies will be selling their legendary marinara sauce for the 28th year. Donne Di Domani means "Women of Tomorrow" in Italian, or "Spaghetti Sauce Ladies" in plain English.

The sauce is still $10 a bottle, credit cards accepted. If you buy a 12-bottle case for $120, they'll throw in a dozen recipe cards guaranteed to please the family, including your uncle who comes to your house each Christmas and does nothing but complain about your cooking.

Here's why I love writing about these ladies. Sure their sauce is amazing. Consider this a warning: If you wait till Sunday to buy the sauce, you'll be the little piggy who had none. But the real story is what Donne Di Domani does with their profits — we're talking millions here. Yeah, they sell a lot of sauce.

Each year, after the market closes and they total up the profits, the ladies decide which charities they'll support. It's a long list of organizations such as Shelter for Cancer Families, Casa Juan Diego, Triumph Over Kid Cancer, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Carmelite Nuns of New Caney, and many more.

One year, when I was in the hospital getting my X-rays touched up, I heard that Sister Angel and the Carmelite Nuns said a prayer for me. Wrong church, wrong pew, but I'll take it.

Pawsing for our heroes
The charities may change, but the ladies will always support an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families. Last year the charity was Folded Flag, which lends a hand to widows and children of soldiers killed in the line of duty.

In recent years, Donne Di Domani sponsored service dogs trained by Patriot Paws in Rockwell, Texas. I've been to Rockwell and seen how these remarkable dogs help wounded veterans get through their day. It costs $30,000 to train a dog, and the dogs are given free to vets who need them. Donne Di Domani so far has sponsored four Patriot Paws dogs:

"Hoffy," who was named after me (best honor I ever received), didn't make the grade. His mind wandered and he didn't concentrate on his studies. (The acorn sure didn't fall far from the tree.)

Continue on CultureMap to find out what happened to "Hoffy."

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