Fair Park to Get Music Museum. Maybe. Probably. Some Day. Sooner Than Later.

Expect plenty of space devoted to Blind Lemon Jefferson when -- and if -- the Texas! Music Center opens in Fair Park in, oh, 2008-ish.

Friend of Unfair Park Michael Corcoran asked this morning if we'd heard further word about the Texas! Music Center, a proposed museum devoted to...uh...Texas music that's supposed to take over a building at Fair Park. Yeah, sure, we've heard rumblings -- for, like, years. But a-diggin' we did go this a.m., only to find this from the Fark Park e-newsletter from the summer: "The museum, which plans to open in Spring 2008, will be located in the former Hall of Religions Building...near the Magnolia Lounge and African American Museum. Look for interactive exhibits, actual instruments of music pioneers, multimedia experiences, live concerts and musician meet & greets. The Texas! Music Center will also be a godsend for music aficionados who will finally have a place to showcase their collections."

Only, if you go to the Texas! Music Center link provided at the bottom of that newsletter item, it doesn't work. Still, says Fair Park executive general manager Daniel Huerta, the folks behind the museum, including Larry Taylor, are hard at work raising the necessary funds to open and operate the joint. They need "roughly $1 million," Huerta tells Unfair Park this morning, per the city council's requirements. They have till February 2008 to raise the dough.

"They have rather ambitious plans," Huerta says. "I meet with them periodcally to see how they're doing, and they seem to be on target. They've hired a firm to help with the fundraising and to find potential donors. When the city signed their contract, they had two years to come up with operational funds and a reserve fund so they can sustain operations if they come into hard times."

The Hall of Religion designed by legendary local architect George Dahl, itself is a major challenge: For years it's been serving as business offices for Fair Park, and it's a shadow of its 1936 self; some of the building was demolished after the Texas Centennial Exposition, Huerta says, reducing it to a mere 3,500 square feet. And it needs significant roofing work and a new paint job.

But it's a terrific spot, should the Texas! Music Center get the center up and running: The Fair Park Comprehensive Plan (which has been around since 2003 -- again, what's the hurry?) calls for turning the area between the Music Hall and the Magnolia Building into a "music green space," and the proximity to the Texas! Music Center would make it an ideal spot for outdoor concerts. Should all this happen. Should this all not be some kind of ambitious dream.

"I pull them in from time to time to see if there's anything they have to share, any challenges they're facing we can help them overcome," Huerta says. "And they're moving forward. Technically, they would open as soon as they come up with the money."

And that, Friends of Unfair Park, oughta be the city's new slogan: Dallas, It'll Be Awesome As Soon As We Come Up With the Money. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky