Deep Ellum is a neighborhood that thrives on putting on events and showcasing talent both local and from around the world. Yet in all the excitement of Elm Street’s bold new buildings and booming amplifiers, it can sometimes be difficult to see all Deep Ellum truly has to offer. On Saturday, the biggest event happening at Dallas’ former industrial hub will be a showcase of the neighborhood and its inhabitants.
“We’re inviting people to dig a little deeper,” Stephanie Hudiburg, executive director of the Deep Ellum Foundation says. “The goal is to really ... how do we share what’s happening across the whole neighborhood. A lot of times people might know this or that but they don’t really realize the breadth and depth of what’s going on. So we’re trying to pull people in different directions.”
A collaborative effort by DEF, the Deep Ellum Community Association, as well as local artists and business, Deep Ellum Open Studios 2019 has been in the works for more than year. The event, scheduled to go from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, will see 20 galleries, business and private studios open their doors and homes to the public from Good Latimer Expressway to Exposition Street. In addition, a curated tour of Deep Ellum will be held and live murals will be painted by artists JD Moore, Joe Skilz, Frank Campagna and Shahla Yma.
“It’s going to be a combination of the great stuff that you can come down and check out all the time every day in Deep Ellum but also stuff that really this will be a one time a year chance for people to get a sense of the magnitude of how Deep Ellum is a creative hub, in ways that you might not expect,” Hudiburg says.
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In addition to reviving their TunnelVisions mural project in honor of the former Good Latimer tunnel, DECA will also be opening two outdoor markets on opposite ends of Deep Ellum (at 3300 Commerce St. and 100 North Crowdus St.) as well as an exhibition of Deep Ellum history from 1873 to 1929 at Life in Deep Ellum. Jim Rogers, DECA president, says he hopes the exhibition will be the first step to establishing something more concrete in the future.
“They’ve been working on that a long time and pulling it together, and so they're racing to prepare it for the Open Studios [event] because we wanted to be able to do all of it at once,” Hudiburg says. “It’s step one for them in a longer process, but it’s looking awesome.”
She describes Deep Ellum Open Studios as a three-legged-stool, between the open studios, outdoor markets and live painting. The analogy is reflected in the combined effort of Deep Ellum’s two biggest community organizations alongside local artists and business, adding up to perhaps the most comprehensive look and the whole of Dallas’ most beloved art hub. The focus isn’t just on the art or the music or the history of the neighborhood. The event’s focus is the neighborhood itself.
“That’s the idea, that we start this grassroots with the people that are here and talk about the things that they’d like to see showcased and ways that we can draw that foot traffic down here,” says John LaRue, owner of Deep Ellum Art Co. and member of the event’s planning committee. “We have so many great events that do that already, and this is our attempt to start another one that’s worthwhile, do [it] year after year and to include more businesses that are interested in participating in it.”