The Art & Culture of Dallas
The Dallas Arts District has been the focal point for the arts in the Southwest United States since opening in 1983. Dallas residents have always had a special love for the performing arts, so the City has developed a wide variety of productions and venues to suit any taste. Measuring well over 60 acres, and covering a 17-block area, the Dallas Arts District is the largest in the country.
Whether you are seeking a calm refuge during a busy work day or an exciting weekend activity, the Dallas Arts District is the place to be. You can choose from a relaxing concert, a tour through a gallery or an evening of jazz amidst the works of the masterworks. If you are looking for art, music, drama or dance, the Dallas Arts District has a wide variety of family festivals as well as world-class culture.
Major Museums and Performance Halls
In 2009, the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts became the new home of Dallas Opera. The Winspear’s principle performance space is a 21st century reinterpretation of the traditional “horseshoe” opera house. The Nancy Hamon Education and Recital Hall seats up to 200 for smaller performances, classes, rehearsals, meetings and events. An 84-foot wide section of the glass façade retracts to a height of 23 feet, literally opening the Grand Lobby and Cafe to Sammons Park.
Showcasing works of art from Japan, China, India and Southeast Asia, the Crow Collection is an island of tranquility in the heart of the city. The works date from 3500 B.C. to the early 20th century and include precious jade ornaments from China, delicate Japanese scrolls and a rarely seen 12 by 28 foot sandstone façade of an 18th century Indian residence.
In November of 2009, the AT&T Performing Arts Center celebrated the opening of two grand performance halls with a variety of outdoor performance areas and public space. The $275 million project combines separate areas designed for all types of performing arts, providing main stages for many of the city’s smaller performing arts organizations including: the Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Texas Ballet Theater, Anita M. Martinez Ballet Folklorico and many other performing arts organizations.
The museum, established in 1903, houses a collection of more than 23,000 works spanning 5,000 years of history. The collections focus on the art of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia, South Asia and Europe, as well as American painting, sculpture and decorative arts.
One of the main performance halls in the recently opened AT&T performing Arts Center, the Wyly Theatre is one of the world’s most innovative theater facilities. Stage support facilities are housed vertically, and the mechanized “superfly” system can pull up both scenery and seating to rapidly change the venue to a variety of configurations including proscenium, thrust, and flat floor, to align with the stage’s reconfiguration. The Potter Rose Performance Hall’s transparent exterior allows pedestrians to view the Wyly Theatre’s interior, and allows the City’s skyline to be a backdrop for performances if desired. The 600-seat performance hall is truly state-of-the-art.
The Latino Cultural Center which opened in September 2003 just a few blocks from downtown. Designed by celebrated Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, it is remarkable for its shape and bold form. The Center’s mission is to preserve and develop the Latino and Hispanic arts and culture.
The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center opened in September 1989. Renowned architect I.M. Pei was selected from more than 100 architects from across the globe. In just two years, more than $50 million was raised to complete the project.
Raymond and Patsy Nasher dreamed of The Nasher Sculpture Center as a home for their collection of modern and contemporary sculpture, one of the finest collections in the world. The Center houses 300 plus pieces and is located across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art in the Arts District. World renowned architect Renzo Piano, winner of the Pritzker Prize in 1998, designed the 55,000 square foot building. Landscape architect Peter Walker completed the design for the outdoor garden.
Since 1994, this non-profit organization has offered innovative arts programming in its visual art exhibition space, and black box theater. All lectures, visual art exhibitions and literary readings are offered free to the public, with performances charging only a small admission fee. With an emphasis on contemporary artists, it’s quality exhibitions and programming have earned national and local recognition by the Art News, Art in America, New York Times, Dallas Observer, Dallas Morning News, and D Magazine.
Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts incorporates the Meadows Museum, one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The works on display include masterpieces by El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Goya, Miró and Picasso. The Meadows Museum commissioned celebrated artist, architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava to design a sculpture which is located in front of the museum. The “Wave” is a 40 by 90 foot sculpture in perpetual motion that sits atop a reflecting pool. Calatrava will also design the bridges over Dallas’ Trinity River.