By Brittany Davenport
Interesting developments are underway in the Cedars, a South Dallas neighborhood. Local historic properties are being purchased by local investors seeking to create spaces for Dallas artists. In addition to gallery spaces, there will be places for artists to seek professional and business aid. All of the preparations will be finalized in time for multiple openings to occur in late 2015 and throughout 2016.
A major example of development includes the prospective development by Claude Albritton III of a former auto dealership on Ervay Street. Albritton is one of the cofounders of another gallery, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary. He is seeking to move that gallery from its current location down to Ervay Street. The land that was purchased spans nearly two acres, and Albritton has stated that he also has other plans.
“One building is ideal for a restaurant and bar,” he said. The Bowdon Family Foundation has also invested in the development. The foundation purchased a building that was constructed in the early ‘20s, which will soon be converted into a space devoted to assisting artists in their careers. There will be studios, workshops on artistic professionalism, international artist residency, assistance with networking and help with business promotion.
Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, has signed on to the advisory committee for the purposes of this project. Previously, when expanding the Nasher, he expressed his motivations.
“We’ll be led by the artists,” he said.
Another advisor is Kenny Goss, cofounder of the Goss-Michael Foundation. The foundation contains one of the largest collections of contemporary British art in the U.S., and has recently begun work with Dallas-based artists.
The development of the Cedars will bring attention to an area already beginning to flourish culturally, with hubs of creativity such as RE Gallery already established in the area.
“I’m excited about the move-in of these new non-profit art spaces,” said Wanda Dye, owner and curator of RE Gallery. She added, however, that she did have some concerns about these movements leading to over-development.
“We want business, and students need the means to produce artwork, so it can be good,” she said. “Still, some artists are pushed out by this overdevelopment. We need to embrace them as a community.”
When asked what the root of her desire to support the local artists with her galleries was, she replied: “This is not moneymaking. This is culture making.”