Arts & Culture News

#DallasArtsWeek Brings Branding, Non-Offensive Art and White Males

When I was young, my father took a bite of every great meal I received. He called it "taking tax," and declared it payback for keeping us alive.

Pappa Bear Rawlings agrees, and has branded April 7 to 14 as Dallas Arts Week, or as press materials stress, #DallasArtsWeek. The marketing campaign piggybacks onto the already existing culmination of our annual springtime programming. It's a chaotic 10-day run each April where DIFF, the Dallas Art Fair, the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, the fancy gala you can't afford at the DMA and two operas at the Winspear converge. Yes, it's Dallas at its best. And understandably, the City wants its nod.

So, they've added a few more events to link it back to Big D; ones that really bring out the white, hashtaggy potential of the thing.

Today, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., seven newish pieces of public art at Love Field get an official dedication ceremony, including a mural of wildflowers by Houston artist Dixie Friend Gay and a geometric floor like you might tread down at Fair Park, by Dallas artist Lane Banks. The 70 foot-long walkway was created out of poured-in-place terrazzo and was installed back in 2012, but today we'll make an honest pathway out of it.

Tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Rawlings himself will moderate a panel featuring five white males: Max Anderson, Dallas Museum of Art; Kevin Rubén Jacobs, Oliver Francis Gallery; Kevin Moriarty, Dallas Theater Center; Eric Steele, Texas Theatre; John Kirtland, Kirtland Records. They'll bring their field-specific knowledge to the Dallas Performance Hall to address: "What can we do to make Dallas a destination for artists and creative thinkers?" and "How can we foster a culture of creativity?" But really, they'll chat about whatever questions you have. The Facebook site for #DallasArtsWeek has been asking for panel input. Here's mine: "How do we get women and people of color on prominent Dallas panel discussions?"

Since nothing counts unless it's been documented in photos and 'Grammed, there are two ways to further give yourself over to #DallasArtsWeek. The first is the official #DallasArtsWeek Photo Contest. There, you hashtag your artful experience, which can be anything really, as #DallasArtsWeek on Twitter or Instagram; you can also load it to the Facebook site that you found once, but don't have the patience to track down ever again. That effort enters you in a social media contest where you can win city-issued prizes, like an overnight stay at the Ritz-Carlton. You should probably do this; currently that hashtag brings up 10 terrible photos of DJs. You can win it.

The second contest is a month-long joint by the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and is more direct in its pitch. Here you participate in BIG, the marketing campaign that's masquerading as public art all over the city. By standing between the letters "B" and "G", you've effectively completed the slogan: "Big things happen here, and I'm in the middle of it." (Yep.) There are prizes for those who go with the flow and tag the thing #DallasBIG. You're less likely to win this one. So far, nearly 650 folks have tagged themselves engaging with the letters. Need to track one down? That shouldn't be tough: there's about two dozen B_Gs scattered around town.