Spend any amount of time in one of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods around downtown Dallas and odds are you’ll come across a mural or two (or five or six).
Dallas real estate developers have a strong recent history of working with artists on projects geared toward beautifying their properties and, of course, raising their value. Henderson has the Henderson Art Project and Deep Ellum has 42 Murals. The city incorporates public art in their TIF or tax increment finance districts regularly with things like the Fort Worth Avenue Development District public art projects.
But what, some are beginning to ask, about the Cedars? As more apartments and townhomes go up and major developments like the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar open, the Cedars is almost certainly the next target.
Enter ground-swell, a public art partnership with The Cedars Social and its new container bar, The Cedars Backyard and the Creative Arts Center of Dallas (CAC), that will conclude in a site specific mural on the Cedars Social wall facing the Dallas Police Department headquarters.
The collaboration resulted from a discussion between a CAC board member and Jeffrey Yarbrough, erstwhile restaurateur and current PR guru, “about the changes happening in the Cedars and its impact on the artists in the neighborhood,” Diana Pollak, executive director of the CAC says. “Also, the impact of mural art in similar neighborhoods nationally experiencing gentrification and redevelopment.”
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The CAC, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is one of Dallas’ most recognizable and accessible arts education venues. Their teaching artists work with everyone from adults looking to learn something new, to people with developmental disabilities, to at-risk kids and teens, and everyone in between. The CAC is supported in large part by its membership program, the benefits of which include art classes, studio access and the possibility of entering their annual membership show.
Ground-swell, which marks the first foray the CAC will make into public-private partnership and public art territory (although probably not the last), will serve as a “friendraiser,” as Pollak puts it, for CAC, since the open call for submissions will be open only to CAC members. However, a membership can be purchased for $45; or $35 if you’re a student, teacher or senior.
“We hope to continue ‘ground-swell’ as an ongoing collaboration between artists and blank walls to make public art more visible and expressive in our city,” Pollak says. “What is going on in Deep Ellum is a perfect example of this kind of collaboration.”
CAC members are invited to submit up to three total color renderings encompassing the artist’s interpretation of the aforementioned theme. Visit the CAC website to download the application. Applications are due Feb. 17 and the hope is to have the mural completed by mid-March. The Cedars Backyard, if you haven’t been, is located directly behind The Cedars Social at 1326 S. Lamar St.