Arts & Culture News

Artists Will Show Off Their Spaces and Compete to Paint a Mural At Deep Ellum Open Studios

Artists will get a chance to paint a mural at a competition by the Deep Ellum Foundation.
Artists will get a chance to paint a mural at a competition by the Deep Ellum Foundation. Taylor Adams
Deep Ellum will turn 150 years old in 2023, and the celebrations to do this historic occasion justice have already gotten started. Through the neighborhood's continued growth, two things have remained constant — its streets are still filled with the music and murals that reflect and celebrate Deep Ellum’s roots and culture.

The Deep Ellum Foundation will kick off the anniversary celebration with Deep Ellum Open Studios on Oct. 15, with a live painting competition (there's a $2,000 prize) that will take place in a few venues around the neighborhood. Deep Ellum Open Studios is a one-day, jam-packed event celebrating the artistic soul of the historic district through showings of visual arts, artist tours, an artisan market and live painting. Each artist who enters the competition will create a small-scale version of their mural idea on a canvas. The theme of the competition is “Deep Ellum 150th: Whatever the history of this unparalleled cultural district means to you, the artist.”

The artist who wins the contest will be awarded a space in Deep Ellum to paint a full-scale mural of their piece. The Deep Ellum Foundation has extended the date for artist submissions until Oct. 9, and any artist who wants to enter the competition can fill out an application on the Deep Ellum Foundation website.

Attendees will be able to watch the competing artists paint their pieces live. There will also be open studios where visitors can see artists' spaces and learn more about the galleries and artists that make up Deep Ellum. The Deep Ellum Outdoor Market will host a wide variety of local art and food vendors from noon to 6 p.m. The competing artists will have their work displayed later in the day at Deep Ellum Art Co., where the crowd can vote on the winner.

The Deep Ellum Foundation works with stakeholders, and its focus is to help shape, improve and celebrate the entertainment district. The foundation also manages the Public Improvement District, which was established in 1999 and works directly with business owners and aims to provide value to the neighborhood.

“At the Deep Ellum Foundation, we collectively envision a Deep Ellum neighborhood that is safe, secure, inviting, connected to surrounding districts and is a true live-work-play environment that simultaneously embodies an authentic, unique and vibrant community.” – Taylor Adams, Deep Ellum Foundation

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Taylor Adams, marketing and business development manager for the Deep Ellum Foundation (and Observer contributor), says that in 2023 the foundation will have a year-long celebration for the neighborhood that will consist of several community-focused events. This year’s special edition of Deep Ellum Open Studios is just the beginning of those activities, he says.

“At the Deep Ellum Foundation, we collectively envision a Deep Ellum neighborhood that is safe, secure, inviting, connected to surrounding districts and is a true live-work-play environment that simultaneously embodies an authentic, unique and vibrant community,” Adams says. “To achieve this vision, the Deep Ellum Foundation serves to maintain, enhance and advocate on behalf of the Deep Ellum neighborhood by connecting and informing stakeholders, providing public safety services, maintaining and improving the built environment, marketing and promoting the area and cultivating core assets including art, music, culture, entrepreneurship and diversity that continuously spur the community to thrive.”

The Deep Ellum Foundation does not help orchestrate the completion of every mural in the neighborhood, but the projects in which they do have a hand keep them busy. The group continuously works with local artists and property owners to help keep new murals popping up on Deep Ellum's storied walls.

One of the projects the foundation manages is the smooth, cool Blues Alley, which comprises more than 30 murals painted by multiple artists and spans two blocks on Clover Street between Henry Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.

A press conference will take place at the Deep Ellum Art Co. (3200 Commerce St.) after the winner of the live painting competition is announced. Members of the Deep Ellum Foundation will answer questions about the 150-year anniversary celebration events and discuss what the future of Deep Ellum will look and, of course, sound like.
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Malen “Mars” Blackmon has been a contributor to the Observer since 2019. Entrenched in Southern California’s music and culture at an early age, he wrote and recorded music until he realized he wasn’t cut out for the music industry and turned to journalism. He enjoys driving slowly, going to cannabis conventions and thinking he can make sweatpants look good with any outfit.

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