We have likely all experienced our unfair share of art and film this past month with Dallas Art Fair, Dallas International Film Festival, Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Dallas Arts Week, and the loads of parties that came with those events. But have you been Downtown lately and really soaked in the arts and public spaces? It seems like temporary (and some permanent!) public art installations have been popping up everywhere Downtown. It’s perfect timing too with the Congress of New Urbanism conference attendees here this week to discuss and collaborate on the demand for walkable places (and even building a temporary park in Deep Ellum!). One of the greatest assets of a walkable, urban neighborhood can be the little surprises you find during your everyday routine. Whether biking or walking, you’re sure to come across these gems along the way – enjoy them while you can!
Here are just a few of the recent public art installations you can find as you roam the streets of Downtown:
The original Pegasus, fabricated by Texlite Signs of Dallas and once perched atop the Downtown Dallas headquarters of the Magnolia Petroleum Co. from 1934 to 1999, has a new home in front of the Downtown Omni Dallas Hotel. Installation just began and should be complete in May. The restoration and installation of the Pegasus is the result of a partnership between the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and Matthews Southwest. The two red flying horses measure 40 feet in length and 32 feet in height and are spaced 14 feet apart. In addition to a new derrick, weighing 12,000 lbs., and a new support structure, weighing 600 lbs., the flying red horse will incorporate a quarter mile of new neon light tubing and rotate upon completion.
SkaterBIRD is a new 22-foot tall sculpture by Brad Oldham (who also created the famed Traveling Man sculptures in Deep Ellum) atop the parking garage at 1200 Ross. Brad Oldham International moved into the ground floor of the parking garage in October – stop by and purchase your own smaller version of many of his sculptures!
The Encore Park Sculpture Wall “The Birth of a City” at 508 Park is a lost-wax bronze sculpture wall created by Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin that features iconic and lesser-known visual stories unique to Dallas. These stories are told across ten 6-foot by 4-foot relief panels along Park Avenue and Young Street.
Mother Earth (#LookDallas) is a 6-foot photograph by Jeremy McKane that was installed at Main Street Garden in honor of Earth Day and will be up through Mother’s Day.
Photographer Richard Andrew Sharum has teamed up with five Downtown building owners to launch the largest street photography exhibit in Dallas history. Observe Dallas 2015 aims to portray instances of everyday life with unparalleled realism, and just received a $5,000 grant from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program. You can see the photographs at these five Downtown buildings through May 31st: 211 North Ervay Street, 800 Main Street, 500 South Ervay Street, 325 North Saint Paul Street, and 601 Elm Street.
The Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas has helped bring in Wings of the City, an exhibit featuring nine of Jorge Marín’s sculptures. The works have been placed in locations in and around Downtown. It is the first time for the Consulate to bring sculpture work to the city, and the exhibit was previously in Discovery Green Park in Houston. Our favorite sculpture, a pair of wings with space between them, is on display at One Arts Plaza, giving people a perfect ‘angelic’ photo opportunity!
One Meter at a Time is a pilot program of temporary public art coordinated by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs that contributes to the visual enhancement of Dallas streets. Selected artists were commissioned to create site-specific public art on the exterior of a set of 10 parking meters in four locations in Dallas. Downtown locations include Elm Street near the Majestic Theatre, Dallas Farmers Market, and Deep Ellum.
Just recently, Downtown Dallas, Inc. partnered with an art conservator to restore the bronze sculpture at Cancer Survivors Plaza. And speaking of parks and plazas, you can find the infamous B&G sculptures at Main Street Garden and Pegasus Plaza as part of the #DallasBIG campaign, where you can put the “I” in BIG.
Of course I’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our visual and performing arts and the many beautiful and significant sculptures in the nation’s largest contiguous urban arts district – the Dallas Arts District, the Dallas Design District, Deep Ellum’s many colorful outdoor murals and street art, the iconic 30’ Eye sculpture by Tony Tasset on Main Street across from The Joule Hotel, the cow sculptures designed by Harold F. Clayton along the Trinity Skyline Trail, and the 30’ tall Bowler Hat sculpture in the Cedars. And ArtPrize Dallas is coming to Downtown – providing even more opportunities to be engaged in public art, complete with the ability to vote on your favorite – for 19 days straight come April 2016.
And if you need another excuse to get Downtown as quickly as possible, you should consider attending one of these upcoming events:
- Deep Ellum Instagram Scavenger Hunt – “Art Edition” on April 30th.
- Celebrate Downtown – a must-see tour of rooftops and historic places brought to you by Downtown Dallas, Inc. and Preservation Dallas on May 2nd. You can get tickets at preservationdallas.org.
- Homegrown Music and Arts Festival at Main Street Garden on May 9th.