Leslie Moody Castro Isn't Just Walking Away From Dallas

In this series of articles, Leslie Moody Castro takes on the role of journalist or interlocutor to explore the inequity in the creation, curation and exhibition of art. Read more here.
By Leslie Moody Castro
This week is has been bittersweet. This is the last in this series of articles, and our final session came and went last weekend. Dallas has welcomed me in unexpected ways, taught me a ton, but more importantly, put people in my life and in my path that will forever alter my trajectory.

When I walked into CentralTrak two months ago, I had no idea how the conversation would shake out. Now, as I prepare to leave, I am realizing that I have put down roots in Dallas, and this momentum is one that I cannot completely walk away from. Over the years my practice has shifted to include projects and conversations that cannot be encompassed with a typical six-week “run of show,” but rather, become life long connections and continuously evolving discussions. These all take on a variety of methods, but my time in Dallas has become really special.

The final two sessions have proven that there is a real drive to stir the pot, build community, unite geographically fractured communities, and mobilize within the city. In my time here I have seen the energy shift to positivity, I have witnessed attempts to unify communities, and together we have all brainstormed wonderful ideas to grow a strong arts ecosystem. All these things are happening at a critical moment in Dallas, and things like the Nasher micro-grants, or the city parking meters are steps in the right direction, and strong statements that change can be on the horizon. This discussion has become larger than me, and I recognize that is has to leave my hands in order to be molded into what the city really needs. However, I also recognize that it is at a critical point, where completely walking away and leaving it would potentially risk losing the momentum, making it another in a long line of conversations that succumb to the Dallas cycle. That said, I have decided not to walk away completely.

In my perspective, I can see that this is a moment where the metaphorical pendulum is shifting, in the final session many of us realized that there has to be a platform to keep this momentum moving. Starting Sunday, May 31st monthly potlucks titled Basquiats 'N Gravy will happen in a variety of rotating venues across the city with the aim of building community, networking, and bringing people together to chat in an informal setting. Additionally, I have dedicated a page of my own personal website to be an open forum that operates in a “Dear Abby” style advice column which is open to anyone and everyone. Titled: How to Become a Pop Star: Advice on Building an Ecosystem, this follows in the spirit of transparency, building common goals, sharing resources and ideas, and ensuring that the conversation continues even if I am not here physically.

And finally, I am really happy to say that my time at CentralTrak is actually not coming to an end, but instead this residency will evolve into a longer-term series. I'll be back, friends, and as it stands I'll be back for two months every six months or so for the foreseeable future, and thanks to Heyd, Laura, and everyone at CentralTrak, and all the people I've met each week, Dallas will now be a base that I will return to with frequency, and together we can assess, and reactivate our goals.

It's really important at this point to remember that while these systems have been created, it will absolutely require active participation. The success of the forum is dependent on you as a community reaching out, asking questions, and participating with answers, solutions, and advice. The monthly potlucks are reliant upon the help of individuals to offer their spaces and time to help planning. Building an ecosystem requires shared responsibility and shared commitment, and at this point, Dallas, it's dependent on you to make sure we don't loose the momentum. While I will be back, at this point in the juncture it's my responsibility to take a step back and let you make what you want from the Dallas arts infrastructure. It's about participation, and at the end of the day, the easiest thing to do is to show up. So now, it's really in your hands Dallas, and I'll be back in six months to check in and see what you've done.

Until December, LMC over and out.

Potluck information
Basquiats 'N Gravy
May 31, 2015
Please refer to Facebook invitation for specific information

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