Public art in Dallas is a complicated world. In front of City Hall, we have a Henry Moore sculpture; then, this year, the city offered 50 measly dollars for artists to yarn bomb parking meters. Like a lot of things in Dallas, the cost of maintenance and preservation looms more ominously than the wrecking ball. New and ephemeral trumps stalwart and preserved. But this is not about my feelings toward the city of Dallas' interests, or lack thereof, in creating a sustainable, history-rich community; it's about a series of poles that poke out of White Rock Lake.
White Rock Theater -created by Frances Bagley and Tom Orr - sits directly between the Bath House Cultural Center and downtown Dallas. It's in such a poor state, that this piece of public art and the lack of maintenance revived a conversation about the city's responsibility in caring for the art it bought. When it seemed the best option was to remove it, KERA's Jerome Weeks ran an extensive report on the debacle, talking to arts advocates who said, "de-accessioning would set a bad precedent. Dallas bought a public artwork and then, through its own policies, neglected it - until it had to destroy it."
This conversation about how public art in Dallas should be created and then treated won't end Thursday night, but there will be a vote. At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the Cultural Affairs Commission votes on what to do about the White Rock Theater. Have an opinion? Show up to the Latino Cultural Center and share it.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.