Arts & Culture News

No "Pearl" Clutching When it Comes to New DART Arts District Signage

It's so uncouth, so un-Dallas to even think to hop aboard public transit when one has a perfectly good Land Rover or Audi roadster at hand, but it seems that DART has agreed to add a couple a words to its downtown Pearl Station at the bequest of the Dallas Arts District, an organization often presumed concerned primarily with very high-society high-art that would not normally find itself on the Green Line, after Labor Day or otherwise.

But, last February I last spoke with Arts District executive director Veletta Forsythe Lill, who had mentioned the district's lobbying DART regarding the name change and who outlined for me the organization's motives behind it. While the change may initially seem like the most quotidian and insignificant of matters, Lill told me that the District has worked extensively to increase its accessibility and navigability. Despite any stereotypes it has garnered as the sole-domain of Dallas' financial elite, she assured me that one of the District's most prominent goals is to provide the city - the whole city - with access to life-enriching education and cultural programming. It is, after all, the "largest arts district in the nation, spanning more than 68 acres and 19 contiguous blocks." With the implementation of E-Frogs shuttles and the MATA trolleys - both of which are free services, and the latter of which is planned to eventually expand to Pearl Station - the District hopes to open its already inexpensive programming to Dallasites from an even wider range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

In celebration of the impending changes the Arts District posted the above iPhone screenshot on its Facebook page. You might be wondering, Who the hell cares.

DART media representative Mark A. Ball told us that the District's status update was in fact the result of a March 6 board decision, which easily cleared the 2/3 vote. He said DART was very open to the idea, as there was a compelling reason for the change, and the requester agreed to cover the costs, as is standard requirement for such modifications. DART signage will officially reflect the station's new name on July 30.

One guess as to the "compelling reason?" Well, Dallas likes to toss around the phrase "world class" to the extent that the already "buzzy" phrase has all but lost any meaning one might assign it; but, "world class" in its truest sense - culture which exposes denizens to life outside city limits and neighborhood communities, illuminating minds through heterogeneous ideas - has immense power to transform and refine. Exposing more citizens to George Grosz or Giuseppe Verdi, windows to time and space existing outside our own rightfully beloved brisket tacos and Halcyon Days facials, can hardly be viewed as a worthless pursuit.

In theory, this is a beautiful idea. Drawing attention to the District with something as simple as a minor name change means prioritizing one of the city's best values. Think of some of your favorite "world class" cities and then - without even Googling - see if you can recall the name of its public transportation system. The Tube, The Metro, The T, Le Métro, The 'L.' Dallas, however, like other western cities has - for whatever reason, and a great many have been proposed - remained icy toward public transportation. And, while it's true that DART has incredible potential - imagine it, friend: love means never having to leave your car at DFW again - we just hope the Dallas Arts District didn't spend too much on those new signs.

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Brentney Hamilton