The Dallas area is well known for is first-rate arts institutions. The impressive facilities of the Arts District hardly need an introduction. But much of the art along the DART Systems is off the beaten path – making it even more fun to discover. The following venues are waiting for you to explore them, and DART can deliver you practically to their front doors.
The African American Museum is the only one of its kind in the Southwestern Region. Devoted to the preservation and display of African American artistic, cultural and historical materials, the museum has one of the largest African-American Folk Art collections in the US. It was founded in 1974 under the auspices of Bishop College, a historically black college. The museum has operated independently since 1979.
Few neighborhoods are as synonymous with creativity as Deep Ellum. And artist-owned-and-operated Kettle Art Gallery is at the center of the district’s cultural life, having opened nearly 15 years ago. The neighborhood fixture is going stronger than ever, with an enviable array of North Texas artists, a crisp, welcoming space, and a decidedly “community” vibe. From Jan. 9-12, check out “Japanese Art Fever,” bound to be a treat for fans of anime and other Japanese forms.
You might find anything from locally made quilts to Asian-inspired paintings at the Irving Arts Center, the cultural jewel of a diverse community. There are four galleries to explore – including the 3,800-square-foot main space – and their contents change frequently. You’ll currently find Some Illustrator!, a collection of workd by Caldecott-winning author and illustrator Melissa Sweet. The exhibition features watercolor and art in her signature found-object collage style. The peaceful, calming venue has other exhibits, as well, plus a sculpture garden.
The ArtCentre of Plano has been around since 1981, and it has evolved over time. Today, the gallery shows quality art by local and national artists, hosts traveling exhibitions, and features an outdoor performance deck in a scenic setting. Exhibitions rotate regularly – and right next door is the Courtyard Theater, which also boasts a small lobby gallery. It’s a double dose of fine arts in a historic neighborhood rich in cultural offerings. The current show, Embracing Art: 6 Visionary Women, highlights the artwork of, well, six visionary women: Jane Jones, Jean Newman, Karen White, Marie Renfro, Sue Alston and Teta Smith. Their work is stylistically varied, but most of the paintings feature vibrant colors. The exhibit runs through Jan. 18.
If you’re in the mood to take a more adventurous excursion, surrounding communities also offer intimate arts experiences you can get to by transit.
This college-town gem contains two galleries, as well as two art studios. Programs and exhibits range from nationally recognized, touring exhibitions to community theater, concerts, educational programs and such. The venue is located right around the corner from Downtown Denton Transit Center on DCTA’s A-train; DART’s Green Line connects directly to that service at Trinity Mills Station.
Works by premier Western artists are the specialty of this intimate storefront museum – as you might expect from an institution located in Sundance Square. Check out the works by Frederick Remington in the museum’s permanent collection. And don’t miss Second Saturday, which on Jan. 11 covers the theme “Survival in the Wild West.” Keep your eyes peeled for the venue’s terrific traveling exhibits. Take the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) to Fort Worth Central Station. From there, you can walk half a dozen blocks or catch Trinity Metro Bus Route 2.