A series of recommendations for fostering the arts in Dallas has been released by SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Creative Time, a New York-based public arts organization. In October 2009 Creative Time received one of the inaugural two Meadows Prize artist residency awards from the Meadows School.
Creative Time’s residency has taken the form of a yearlong study of the Dallas art community to identify strengths and potential areas for growth. During the course of three weeklong visits to Dallas over the past year, Creative Time’s team met with a wide range of members of the art community, including artists, curators, collectors, gallery owners, visual and performing arts organization leaders, school administrators, philanthropists, writers, community organizers and city officials.
“Our goal was to begin an inclusive dialogue about where Dallas could focus energies to nurture its artistic life, a conversation that we hope will continue long after our residency has ended and will lead to new initiatives, policies and opportunities for artists,” said Creative Time President and Artistic Director Anne Pasternak.
The group identified 13 key elements necessary for the Dallas art community to thrive. Many are already in place and working effectively, while others are lacking or nonexistent, Pasternak said. For each element, Creative Time developed several recommendations to further strengthen programs and structures and to create new opportunities.
The 13 key elements are:
- A sustainable artist community and opportunities for live/work space
- Cultural institutions with international reach, innovative programs and historically relevant collections
- Great patrons who support the creation, presentation and acquisition of art
- Mid-sized and small art spaces that support the creation of new and experimental work by local and international artists
- Skilled and visionary arts leaders in institutions big and small
- Excellent contemporary art galleries with international reach
- Residency programs for national and international artists to create in Dallas
- Master of Fine Arts programs to train and attract artists
- Arts education in Dallas public schools
- Public art to engage broad audiences and activate public spaces
- Engaged audiences
- Experienced art writers featured daily in primary news media
- Civic championing of the arts through policies and urban planning
A conversation about Creative Time’s study and the Dallas art community is now open to audiences online with D Magazine‘s FrontRow. Creative Time encourages everyone to read the report, consider its recommendations, and post reactions on the website at frontrow.dmagazine.com/creativetime.
In addition, as a follow-up to the report, the Meadows School will host a public symposium titled “The Freedom of the City: Models of Urban Engagement and Creativity in the 21st Century” 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. The event will explore new models of public art practice in the urban environment. Participants will include socially engaged artists such as Rick Lowe, creator of Houston’s Project Row Houses, and Tom Finkelpearl, executive director of the Queens Museum of Art, as well as members of Creative Time and prominent Dallas community builders. Admission is free, and no tickets are required. For more information, call the Division of Art at 214-768-2489.
“This is an important moment for Dallas,” said Meadows Dean José Bowen. “We’ve built wonderful new performance spaces and we are clearly ambitious in our desire to be a major cultural center. The report highlights the existence of terrific collectors, patrons, artists, institutions and partnerships, but also gives us a fresh perspective on what Dallas needs to do to fulfill its promise. Mostly, we hope this report, and the symposium to follow, will serve as the beginning of a conversation for how we can make the Dallas arts community the best in the world.”