Arts

The 10 Best Places to Meet an Artist in Dallas

A view inside Kettle Art Gallery in Deep Ellum
A view inside Kettle Art Gallery in Deep Ellum Kathy Tran
OK, so either you have a certain type of person missing from your friend group and want to collect the whole set, you’ve recently won the lottery and are tired of IKEA art on your walls or you’re ready to crush hard on someone new (and drink a lot of wine while doing so). Well, you’re looking for an artist.

The good news is that Dallas is home to some of the most creative people you can find. If you’re navigating the artsy waters of Big D looking for a new pal, here are 10 places to potentially meet your creative crony.
click to enlarge An image from a recent 500X show featuring new local artists. - NARONG TINTAMUSIK
An image from a recent 500X show featuring new local artists.
Narong Tintamusik
500X Gallery
516 Fabrication St.
Why not start with the basics? 500X Gallery is Texas oldest artist-run space and a great place to find fresh artists with shiny BFA’s from UNT, SMU and other schools. The cool thing about this gallery is that it’s a launching space where you can see and purchase original pieces from artists before they have to wade the murky waters of Dallas’ commercial design district for a living. In Dallas, 500X Gallery is to art what Whiskey a’ Go Go was to rock music in Los Angeles. Get to the fresh artists before the cynicism sets in.


Asel Art Supplies
2701 Cedar Springs Road
This is another obvious one, but whether you are needing a 15-by-10-foot stretched canvas for a painting, or new scissors for a scrapbooking project, you are in luck at Asel Art Supplies. From the from the quirky staff who work there to the brooding customers in black eying the Windsor Newton oils, this shop is often full of artists. Hang out for a bit and get to talking with the staff. They’re an entertaining bunch that are happy to fill you in on all the happenings around town.

click to enlarge You can imagine why The Gibson Co. properties are popular with artists. - SCOTT TUCKER
You can imagine why The Gibson Co. properties are popular with artists.
Scott Tucker

The Gibson Co.
820 Exposition Ave.
Where better to meet an artist than if they’re your neighbor? The Gibson Co. in Expo Park is a property management company that leases historical properties around Fair Park and Expo Park. The homes are popular with Dallas artists and the company has event lent one of their parking garages for art happenings. If you walk the 4000 block of Commerce Street, you can’t throw a stone and not hit an artist (please don't test this). The lofts are cool, the gentrification is minimal and the area is the closest thing you’re going to get to Brooklyn. Walk the block on a Saturday and you are sure to meet an artist walking their dog. You can also take peek in their studios.

Noble Coyote Roasters
819 Exposition Ave.
In the same part of Expo Park is the delicious Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters, which roasts their own beans and offers a niche coffee shop that’s perfected the pour over. Opening around 10 a.m., they are the go-to spot for the local art set to enjoy their morning java before hitting the easel and have hosted a local art show or two. Their hours are little less than ideal for the 9-5 class, but if your looking for an artist, you’ll certainly find one sipping lattes at noon here.

Kettle Art Gallery and Deep Ellum in General
2650 Main St.
It’s no secret that Deep Ellum is known for its vibrant and sometimes unpredictable night life. What’s maybe not so widely celebrated is all the daytime activities that take place. If you are looking to find a great muralist, stroll down the strip on Main Street. New murals go up almost weekly as the neighborhood landscape changes by the hour. Odds are stacked in favor of catching an artist in the act. Kettle Art Gallery anchors most art endeavors in this neighborhood. Start at Kettle on a Saturday afternoon for a sure bet.
click to enlarge Texas Theatre's bar just looks like the sort of place to find artists, doesn't it? - KATHY TRAN
Texas Theatre's bar just looks like the sort of place to find artists, doesn't it?
Kathy Tran

The Texas Theater Bar
231 Jefferson Blvd.
It’s not surprising that most artists enjoy the obscure, the kitsch and the kooky. Texas Theater is the only place that consistently delivers such in the form of films and patronage. The Texas Theater Bar opens 45 minutes before showtime and without fail delivers an interesting scene of patrons. A special screening of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet is sure to bring out the artsy cats.

Lounge Here
9028 Garland Road
Lounge Here is owned by Julie Doyle and Tim DeLaughter, founders of musical groups Tripping Daisy, The Polyphonic Spree and the store Good Records. Naturally, it oozes hip and cool. The restaurant is more or less an art installation in itself ,and cocktail artist Heather Polie consistently delivers the best concoctions in town to the established art crowd of Lakewood. The restaurant and bar are loud, but conversations you may overhear from the table next to you could be an insiders peek into future DMA, Dallas Contemporary or Dallas Arboretum projects
click to enlarge With its new pool, Lee Harvey's really will be one of Dallas artists favorite watering holes. - ILLUSTRATION BY RICHARD KRALL
With its new pool, Lee Harvey's really will be one of Dallas artists favorite watering holes.
Illustration by Richard Krall

Lee Harvey’s
1807 Gould St.
The Cedars is another neighborhood loaded with studios and lofts for art folks. Artists enjoy a stiff drink after a long day on the job, and Lee Harvey’s has that perfect dive-bar vibe everyone’s looking for at the end of a hard day. If you like your whiskey neat and your artists grumpy, sit at the bar for an hour and your bound to meet a writer, musician, artist or a general garden-variety drinker.

Full City Rooster
1810 S. Akard St.
If you’re in the Cedars area and maybe looking for an artist who leans more towards coffee grinds for their daily buzz, step into Full City Rooster for conversation and your cup o’ joe. This coffee shop is quickly gaining momentum toward becoming a neighborhood staple. Cedars’ artists flock there daily to meet and drink coffee, always looking for their next client.
click to enlarge You can find artists at The Power Station if you can wrangle an invitation. - SCOTT TUCKER
You can find artists at The Power Station if you can wrangle an invitation.
Scott Tucker
The Power Station
3816 Commerce St.
If you can swing an invitation to one of these events/ happenings/ shows you will definitely meet an artist here. The art can be challenging, so brush up on the latest issue of Art Forum or New American Paintings before you go. The private gallery is between Expo Park and Deep Ellum and shows a nice mix of national and internationally known artists. If you’re looking to meet an artist to share your carefully researched thoughts, notes and in-depth analysis on the curation of the Venice Biennale over the past several decades, this is the perfect spot for you. If you don’t have an invitation though, be careful, as they have been known for kicking art party crashers out.
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