The Dallas Disease has plagued the arts district in disguise of more corporate looking “Arts” buildings designed to lure all the working, up-and-coming artists of Dallas with its $2 Million price points. Dallas is a trip! They always want to pretend that these expensive “artist” projects are actually going to attract more artists to the community. And yet artists can barely afford to even go to the artist district, now. Parking is $20! Who are we really trying to attract? “But Ace, you forgot to mention that parking is free if you drive a LEXUS!” Oh my fault. That’s right! All the fancy Lexus driving Actors and musicians I know can come to see a show and invite all their Lexus driving art supporters to come through for Free.99! Get outta here with that, man!
The Dallas Disease is potent. The arts district is a perfect example of what I mean. They keep making these expensive “artist” projects without any artist input or feedback. But the donors keep funding them because they are always disguised as a philanthropic arts initiative. All this money and resource in Dallas, but the starving artists are still starving. They can’t really consider this an arts project in support of artists when there has been zero mention of accessible facilities. They don’t actually care about helping artists create because they keep cutting funding to theater and dance companies that operate in and around the arts district. But let’s build a fancy new commercial hotel and luxury condos that will probably go primarily vacant just like Museum tower. It feels as though they haven’t considered our needs as artists at all because creators across DFW desperately need precious realestate like this to work, create and cultivate more art & artists, especially with these fire marshals shutting down every found space known to man.
On top of that, the arts district was not made for US! It was made for the elite, we’re not allowed to roam the arts district freely; to bring our instruments and practice outside; to grab a quick affordable bite to eat before rehearsal; To gather in a common area where you can network with other artists; To have free rehearsal space for us to sign out; to reserve affordable theater space year round to do our passion projects.
On a beautiful day in April last year the sun was setting. Me and Gabrielle decided to go on the Terrace above Steven Piles overpriced restaurant in the Heart of the arts district. It was gorgeous. Jazz music was playing up there. It was just us. We found a chair, she sat in my lap and we kissed as the sun set. It was a beautiful moment that lasted at total of 5-whole seconds before a security guard interrupted us shouting “You can’t be up here!” He then proceeded to escort us down the luxury LED staircase saying, “I don’t make the rules.” And I WORK IN THE ARTS DISTRICT. I’m an actor at Dallas Theater Center. We are the most ARTSY people you know! If not for people like us, WHO IS THIS FOR, DALLAS?! Is the arts district actually for artists or is this another masturbatory attempt to gain attention from your elitist aristocratic friends to a city with no real identity of its own?
Let’s also address the lack of signage in the arts district. The arts district feels completely unwelcoming to artists. There are no signs! No creative artistic fun sculptures that tell you you’re surrounded by art. Naw. It looks like a corporate headquarters that had no artist influence whatsoever: no murals, no art on the street, just grey and concrete walls. With no signage how do you expect to attract people?? Because as it goes, “If I don’t know where I am, I must not belong here.”
The Dallas Arts District should be BURSTING with creative life and energy everyday. Instead The Arts District goes unnoticed by the public and ACTUAL artists of the community on a daily basis. I’ve interviewed people that work in Plaza of the Americas (right next door) who say they never think to go near the arts district because it looks uninviting and (what’s worse) uninteresting. Ha! Can you believe that? People consider the Dallas Arts District uninteresting. I wonder why... It doesn’t seem like the powers that be want actual artists there dirtying up the place because we would make it a fun lively cultivating part of Dallas that would be too liberated from the conservative grasp of this boring and basic city. We’re too real, too raw, too dirty, too unpredictable, and way too liberal for the stale spotless corporate art that DAD thrives on.
Fun fact: Dallas has the largest arts district in the country.
Funnier Fact: Deep Ellum a few blocks away looks more like an arts district than DAD does.
Do you agree with my sentiments? Should AttPAC and the Dallas Arts District stop disguising itself as a place for artists and start becoming an actual safe and WELCOMING place for artists? Let’s start a movement then. I’m ready to get to making some real change around here. #MadAttDAD
Here’s the initial article that set me off:
I am a professional Actor, Graphic Designer & Photographer. My career started as a full-time designer in 2013. Two years later, I said “hell no” to depression, quit my job and, went full-time freelance with my own design company, The Striped Heart. Shortly after I accepted a company membership with Tony-Award winning Dallas Theater Center’s acting company. My greatest asset is my creative outlook on life. I've been engrossed in the world of the arts since I was very young. They way art moves and inspires people is what keeps me going. I was born to be a connector and a leader. I strongly believe we were put on this earth to create. Therefor it is my ultimate goal to keep art and creativity alive and well for as long as I live. People say I'm not funny...