City Hall

Guess We Should Have Submitted Our Sketch For That West Dallas Power Plant Contest

A Friend of Unfair Park just gave me the heads-up: The three winners of that so-called "Power Art" competition, intended to create some kind of artistic cover-all for the Oncor substation at the western foot of the Calatrava, were quietly posted to the CityDesign Studio's website this week. Mazel tovs are in order for first-place winner Scott Armstrong, second-placer Brandon Smith and last-but-not-least Michael Beene, who'll each receive a few thou courtesy that NEA grant to expand their concepts into something more substantial than pretty pictures. (And Armstrong's is a pretty picture -- his watercolor appears to be the only hand-painted rendering among the finalists.)

The three finalists were selected by a jury and with input from West Dallas stakeholders, including reps from La Bajada and business folk and artists living on that side of the Margaret Hunt Hill. Brent Brown, head of CityDesign Studio, says his folks and some from the Trinity Trust also had a say-so, and that "it was a a pretty nice cross section."

Brown tells Unfair Park this evening, "The whole theme of this was to bring a level of critical thinking through ideas to how something like a utility substation exists in the city. We can't do without it, right? You need to turn on our lights. Which is why Oncor's a partner. They have safety and functional concerns. So there was a call for ideas, and we had 52 submissions from 13 countries, which is pretty cool when you think about it."

Just keep in mind: There's no actual funding for this. It's just an idea. Nothing more. Not unless the "city chose to fund it," says Brown. Oh, and speaking of no money: You oughta read the new Texas Monthly essay on West Dallas, which feels more than a little familiar (down to the cutline, which was the headline of Leslie's piece on West Dallas back in early June). But, still.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky