West of the Bishop Arts District on Davis Drive in Oak Cliff, a variety of industrial-like buildings, car shops and small restaurants dot the road. But in the middle of all that is an empty field, home to a plating plant decades ago. The building was condemned by the EPA because of pollution and since then nothing else has been built on this 1.6 acre lot at 715 W. Davis St.
Back in March, Cynthia Mulcahy a private art dealer, and her husband Robert Hamilton, a local artist, tilled up this plot and planted rows of sunflower seeds in a project called Seventeen Hundred Seeds. Rick Garza of Bishop/Davis LLC provided the land, and Juan Pablo Segura of Familia Auto Sales provided the water.
The concept for the project was pretty simple. It was a nature-based public art project. That's a fancy way of saying, it's nice to watch things grow and sometimes it can even stoke a bit of inspiration.
Just a few months ago, the 1,700 seeds were just short green stalks poking out of the dirt. But, within two months their amazing brilliant yellow faces tracked the sun across the sky. Just three months after being planted their enormous heads are so heavy, the sunflowers heads are now bowed to the ground.
But, they shouldn't be sad. Those flowers should be proud of themselves. In addition to their beautiful life cycle, they've cleaned the soil. The Mulcahys point to a recent article on FarmersAlmanac.com about how sunflowers remove heavy toxins from soil. In "Sunflowers to the Rescue," Sher Blumenthal explained that before planting sunflowers in her garden, the soil had a low to medium contaminant level, then after a crop of sunflowers, there were no traceable amount of pollutants.
Mulcahy and Hamilton, who are no strangers to farming and provide produce from their Glen Rose farm to local restaurants including Bolsa and Smoke, have plenty of sunflower seeds now. But because to the contaminated soil, the seeds aren't fit for consumption. They can, however, be replanted.
Cynthia Mulcahy said they will leave the flowers in the field to brown out and not cut down, but have already harvested some fallen seed heads. They invite people to get seeds from their garden-art project on Davis Drive in Oak Cliff to plant for your own little art show in your back yard. If you're interested contact them through their Facebook page.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.