“Communities Connecting” Painting | Mayor Mike Rawlings

Title: “Communities Connecting” Acrylic on canvas | 49” x 45” Artist: Meg Fitzpatrick | 2013

Title: “Communities Connecting”
Acrylic on canvas | 49” x 45”
Artist: Meg Fitzpatrick | 2013

The month of April just ended and began with a bold proclamation from our Mayor, Mike Rawlings. He declared the week of April 7 – 14 as “Dallas Arts Week.” Mayor Rawlings moderated a panel discussion with leaders in the visual, film and performing arts about ways in which the city can attract and keep aspiring and established artists + creative thinkers. The dialogue fittingly took place in the City Performance Hall, located in the Dallas Arts District which is the largest contiguous arts district on the country, with a campus of 68 acres.

Also of cultural significance this month was a program called “Architecture 360.” Every day for 30 days, the Dallas Center for Architecture (DCFA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) organized or hosted 30 events about the built-environment.  April has been a wonderful celebration of great architecture and design in Dallas. Tonight closed “Architecture 360” and the month with a Grand Finale celebration on our new deck park, Klyde Warren Park, which has become our town green and meeting place.

“Communities Connecting,” a painting I recently finished, reflects the multiple intersections that interesting communities like Dallas foster over time to be culturally vibrant and attractive to creative thinkers and doers.

Detail of textures in painting, “Communities Connecting”

Detail of textures in painting, “Communities Connecting”

To the month of May and making more neural networks between people, ideas and place….Meg

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Sunday in the Park

This weekend was the grand opening of Klyde Warren Park. A visionary concept for forty years and under construction for the past three years, this 5.2 acre engineering feat spans over Woodall Rodgers Freeway and creates a walk-friendly green link between the Dallas Arts District and Uptown neighborhoods.

I went today – participated in events, ate lots of food, and watched a mass of people enjoy the weather and performances by talented students from Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet School.

The Dallas Center for Architecture hosted a game table upon which children collectively built a Dr. Seuss-worth city. Each started with a 4” x 6” plot of land, materials and their imagination. Here’s some of their work.

Others chose to learn knitting from the Shabby Sheep (2112 Boll Street) staff.

Master knitters covered tree trunks with their intricate handiwork.

Lots of parents strolled around with their kids.

Dogs and owners were in no rush.

This was the start of free yoga and tai chi classes in the park.

Thinking of Stephen Sondheim’s Sundays in the Park with George, there probably were many Georges present today. Georges Seurat would have been proud of the single-minded focus of many Dallasites who made this weekend’s opening a reality.

If you are interested in how Klyde Warren Park was championed, designed and built, visit an excellent exhibition on this subject at the Dallas Center for Architecture – runs through November 9th. The building is located on 1909 Woodall Rodgers, across from the northern edge of the park. Look for a blue-and-white lettered sign, “The Five Star Institute,” towards the top.

 

Hope to see you in the park. It’s fun to imagine you’re walking above a busy, noisy freeway completely oblivious to it being there, if you didn’t know otherwise.

Enjoy your week,

Meg

The Dallas Arts Community – It’s Pretty Fantastic

Looking back on last week, it reminds me once again that Dallas has matured into an interesting city with both breadth and depth in the arts – enriched by  a wonderful community of museums, galleries, philanthropists, developers, educators, artists and overlapping circles of networkers all of whom are open to sharing their talents. Here’s a snapshot….

MONDAY NIGHT – A MOVIE

Monday night was a déjà-vu event for two of my friends who are artists and aficionados of well-done independent or documentary films about artists.  Anita Horton recently wrote her weekly blog about the film gatherings she and others organized in the late 1990’s. She really missed these viewings. Coincidentally, another friend Elle Shuster, a jewelry designer and photographer, decided to organize a film group on Monday night. She wanted to see Spike Jonze’s The Fall again, and sent a viewing invitation which I extended (with permission) to Anita. More friends were made – the creative circle expands.

 

TUESDAY NIGHT – A LECTURE

I’ve had this particular Tuesday Evenings at the Modern on my calendar for months. In case you can’t tell from my previous blogs, I am a big Lucien Freud fan and have been to the Modern many times to see his portraits. Well, last Tuesday several friends and I carpooled over to Fort Worth to hear Martin Gayford, the British critic, writer, curator and subject of painting, “The Man in a Blue Scarf” (see image above).

Gayford traveled 60 miles from his home to Freud’s studio one to three times a week for six months. Freud, being attuned to slight variations in color and a stickler for consistency, required that the same pink shirt, blue scarf and other clothing be worn for each sitting. Gayford owned two blue scarves which looked the same to his eyes; but on arriving at the studio one night, Freud knew the blue was off, and asked if Gayford had worn the wrong scarf. He had.

I whole-heartedly recommend the next talk at the Tuesday Evenings at the Modern where the artist Bruce Nauman, a pioneer in many multi-media disciplines, will speak on November 13th at 7:00 PM. It’s free – get your ticket when the front desk opens at 5 PM.

And, notice the large (you can’t miss it) sculpture at the main entrance. The artist is Brooklyn-based KAWS and the piece is called “Companion (Passing Through).”

WEDNESDAY NIGHT – ANOTHER MOVIE

The Dallas Center for Architecture (DCFA), located on 1909 Woodall Rodgers near the Northwest corner of the soon-to-be opened Klyde Warren Park, hosted another Wednesday Film Series. Women in the Dirt: Landscape Architects Shaping our World won Best Feature Documentary in the 2011 Columbia Gorge International Film Festival. The paths of seven professional women, who are the grand dames in the field of landscape architecture and trendsetters in California, were traced. After the movie, Greg Brown, DCFA’s energetic Program Director, facilitated an engaging discussion.

 

THURSDAY NIGHT – NASHER’S AVANT-GARDE SOCIETY PARTY

One of my favorite special interest groups is the Avant-Garde Society (AGS) at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The AGS mission is to provide opportunities to learn more about modern and contemporary sculpture and architecture in a welcoming and informal environment. Thursday was the second year for Art Y’All, the annual members’ party, which has – as the name implies – a Texas two-step, fun vibe. Once again, photographer Steve Wrubel was the entertaining auctioneer, selling three sculptures to raise funds for the AGS and innovative Sightings exhibitions. Curator Jed Morse asked three well-known, local artist couples to collaborate and make a sculpture to be auctioned. Couples from left to right in the image above: A big thank you to Tom Orr and Frances Bagley, Benito Huerta and Janet Chaffee and Terri Thornton and Cam Schoepp for their three pieces of art that warranted the evening’s competitive bidding.

For anyone who wants to join this group, the next event is December 5th at The Mason Bar for the annual Holiday Happy Hour. January 12th is an exclusive tour of the Art Warehouse owned by art collectors Rachofsky and Faulconers. And, on March 2nd, we’ll take a day trip to see collections and studios in the Big Easy City, New Orleans. Click here for membership information.

SATURDAY A MIXED BAG 

I’m a DCFA docent who’s trained in the history and architecture of the Dallas Arts District. On Saturday, I gave a special tour to three visitors from Denver who were a delight and very knowledgeable which is not surprising given the guests were Curtis Fentress, founder of Fentress Architects which won the AIA’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, the CEO Agatha Kessler and CFO Colin Lewis who had previously worked for the City of Denver and on the growth of their Arts District. Mr. Fentress knew the Wyly Theater well because he was a member on the AIA Jury that conferred the 2011 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture on this innovative theater.

The four of us walked back to the Nasher where they continued with an audio tour; and I had lunch before a lecture in the Nasher’s 360 Speakers Series.

Dr. Catherine Croft, Adjunct Assistant Curator at the Nasher, presented the themes in her recently released book, An Audience of Artists: Dada, Neo-Dada, and the Emergence of Abstract Expressionism. She posed questions: Was Dada a movement or an attitude? Can an artist looking at and responding to another artist’s work create original art?

After Catherine’s presentation, I talked with Karen Weiner, gallery owner of The Reading Room, who had been a panelist at The MAC on Thursday night. Complementary themes were discussed by her panel titled, “The Anxiety of Influence,” a term coined by literary critic Harold Bloom. The panel explored Bloom’s tenet of creativity: Since we are all influenced by something, this phenomena can cause self doubt in a poet (or artist) about the possibility of making any truly original works of art.

“The Anxiety of Influence” was part of “Spin Off: A Series of Panel Discussions” sponsored City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. The MAC (McKinney Avenue Contemporary) | 3120 McKinney Avenue

The last stop before heading home on Saturday afternoon was with Connie Chantilis, mosaic artist and owner of Two Sisters Catering, and her studio which was open to the public as part of the annual White Rock Lake Studio Tour. Her Little Forest Hills’ studio complex sits behind her custom-designed, eco-friendly contemporary home.

Enjoy your week…I’ll be back in two weeks on October 28th.

Meg

Dallas Architecture – Guided Walking Tours

Here’s a pleasant and different way to spend a Saturday morning entertaining yourself or your out-of-town visitors and learn more about the Dallas. The Dallas Center for Architecture (DCFA) offers 90-minute walking tours of the Dallas Arts District (DAD) on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month.

In 2010, I was in the first class, trained and certified by the energetic DCFA Program Director, Greg Brown, to lead the DAD walking tours where the story of Dallas’ history is told through the buildings and planned urban space.

Cathedral Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe is on the tour | cornerstone laid in 1898 | Architect: Nicholas Clayton, well known for Bishop’s Palace in Galveston. (photo: Meg Fitzpatrick)

Yesterday, a fellow classmate and docent, Robin Bellerby (she’s the one taking attendance in the shot below) and I each took a group of 10 people. The tour starts at the Harwood entrance of the Dallas Museum of Art, finishes at One Arts Plaza on Flora Street and covers the significant buildings in-between.

Saturday, February 4th Dallas Arts District Tour organized by the Dallas Center for Architecture. (photo: Meg Fitzpatrick)


Here’s something I learned in training: The DAD is the largest arts district in the country, covering 68 contiguous acres.

Another fun fact: Four Pritzker-prize winning architects designed a building in the district: Renzo Piano’s brilliant mind did the Nasher Sculpture Center, I.M. Pei did the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Hall, Norman Foster’s firm did the Winspear Opera House and Rem Koolhaas did the Wyly Theater. The Pritzker is comparable to winning the Nobel Peace Prize – it’s a big deal.

Sky Solar Canopy spans 2+ acres over the Winspear Opera House, 2009 | Architect: Foster + Partners, Spencer de Grey, London (photo: Meg Fitzpatrick)

The DCFA also offers tours of the historic Main Street District on the 2nd and 4th Saturday. Private tours can be arranged through the DCFA’s link below.

To register for a tour: http://www.dallascfa.com

Until next Sunday…