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Ladies and Gentlemen, Dallas's AT&T Performing Arts Center is Open for Business

The AT&T Performing Arts Center kicked off its grand opening week with a dedication ceremony this morning that was long on speeches about just what it will mean for Dallas.

AT&TPAC President and C.E.O. Mark Nerenhausen focused on the vibrant new setting for staging shows (finally, a venue fit for Billy Crystal), Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said it represents "a huge leap in the quality of life of Dallas," and AT&T's Cathy Coughlin offered the crowd-pleasing promise that the whole place will be covered with open wi-fi.

Mayor Tom Leppert, pragmatic as ever, focused on the arts center's potential to make Dallas more attractive to business, saying it's appropriate that the center bears AT&T's name. "The arts center will attract creative thinkers," Leppert said. "Creative thinkers create innovation, and creative innovation is what stimulates economic growth."

More on the ceremony at the new Sammons Park, between the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre, plus photos after the jump.

Hundreds turned up for the outdoor ceremony at 8 a.m. this morning, surrounded by photos form the arts center's construction.

Mayor Leppert helps the crowd connect the dots between performing arts and business.

"The arts matter," Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said, "and let me be real clear when I say that the arts matter."

A reception inside the new Winspear Opera House followed the dedication ceremony.

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