The ongoing efforts of Encore Park to preserve the historic Warner Brothers building are starting to show promise following a $2.1 million grant from the Moody Foundation, which was announced Wednesday. The Moody Foundation has been benefactor to a number of other high profile developments in the city of Dallas, most notably Klyde Warren Park and Parkland Hospital.
Developers are seeking $18 million for the project, and with
this grant they have passed the $10 million mark. “For one, it gets us more than halfway to the goal of $18 million which puts us in a great position to achieve our goals,” Pat Bywaters, the executive director of Encore Park, says. “It also shows major support from a great foundation that has supported important projects around the state and Dallas.”
Designs for the project feature an inclusive art space called the Museum of Street Culture that will seek to bridge the class divide in the art community by showcasing contemporary urban art. Homeless shelter The Stewpot will also develop an art program at Encore Park, which will give clients the chance to display and sell their art, with 90 percent of proceeds going back to the artists.
“We are designing something we don’t think has been done in terms of combining cultural arts programming and social justice services,” Bywaters says. “I think that people will see Encore Park as highly unique in the way the arts programming and social services are blended and juxtaposed. We are expecting to see some very interesting outcomes as a result. The Museum of Street Culture concept will be a key catalyst.”
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To fully realize this vision, Encore Park has recruited notable museographer Adrien Gardère, who has spent his career creating culture hubs all over the world, to help design the museum. His resume includes the Louvre-Lens Museum in Paris and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. To this point, Gardère has been involved with the project as a consultant, but Wednesday’s release confirmed his role as designer. Dallas architect Graham Greene, of architect firm Oglesby Greene, will work alongside Gardère.
“We see elements of many of [Gardère’s] past projects that share elements with our objectives for this project,” Bywaters says. “Graham Greene with Oglesby Greene is also injecting other interesting elements of urban planning and architecture into the design.”
The ambitions for Encore Park are high, but this grant from Moody Foundation is a good indication that the project has the trust of the greater Dallas community and will be realized.
“We are in a great position to become ‘fully funded,’” Bywaters says. “With the funds raised to date we have been able to open the 508 Amphitheater and the Encore Park Community Garden. We have also done enough work on the 508 Park building that we can do tours for informational and fundraising purposes.”