Getting an arts community in Dallas isn't something that just happened naturally; rather, it was the result of the hard work and collective efforts many people, some of which were on the arts panel at 35 Conferette yesterday to discuss how the region as a whole can move forward in creating a name for itself in the artistic community.
Part of the problem, according to panelist Leila Grothe, the Assistant Director of External Affairs at SMU's Meadow School of the Arts, is that Dallas tends to separate itself into groups. The different parts of the city (Deep Ellum, Oak Cliff, Fort Worth, Denton) don't tend to collaborate enough, so instead of a large art community, the region is divided into smaller sub-groups.
Another issue, raised both by Grothe and Brian Emory, founders of the Ross Akard Gallery, is that DFW artists tend not to receive enough recognition: When the artists aren't being recognized for their work, or feel like they're being ignored, it becomes common for them to relocate to another city -- and Dallas can't sustain an arts community if all of its artists leave once they become skilled enough to move on.
This panel wasn't just about problems in the DFW art community, however.
Executive Director of the Dallas Arts District, Veletta Forsythe Lill, and UNT's College of Visual Art and Design Dean Robert Milnes became very excited when describing the great strides Dallas and Denton have taken in becoming their own artistic communities in the past few years.
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When comparing Dallas' arts district to other major cities, Forsythe Lill says that the city is presented really well -- although at this point we are only 30 years into a what she believes will be a 50-year project to finish the arts district.