When describing Irving, “beautiful” is typically not one of the first words that comes to mind. As University of Dallas students, we frequently refer to our town as the “Dirty Irv,” and joke about the town’s less-than-picturesque profile. As such, my companions and I had low expectations when we walked into the Irving Arts Center, which sank even lower when we realized there were no other visitors. However, Irving surprised us when we gave it a chance.
We entered the “Drawing Stories” exhibition, which displays a range of books, mainly children’s literature, containing Marla Frazee’s illustrations. Frazee is a two-time Caldecott Honor medalist from Pasadena, Calif. Frazee illustrated “The Seven Silly Eaters” by Mary Ann Hoberman, the Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker and many more. In a featured video, Frazee states that, as both author and illustrator of “The Boss Baby”, she frequently changed the plot since the pictures turned out differently than initially envisioned. The exhibit is on display until Sept. 27.
Maria King, a senior at UD, described Frazee’s style as “detailed, dark, cartoon-y; [the illustrations are] so different that I wouldn’t be able to identify them all as hers.”
As we exited the building, a security guard informed us that the Irving Art Association is presenting three other exhibitions that are on display until Sunday, Aug. 30.
The first, “Steam Powered,” presents inventions by the children of Irving involving engineering, math and science. The creativity of these children would be an interesting and entertaining experience for people of all ages. As a Sight and Sound Brain Enhancer (SASBE), the exhibit is especially “great for teachers and parents,” said creators Kate Nguyen (age 11) and Ryan Fox (13).
Following “Steam Powered” is the 15th Annual Art Members Show. The exhibition displays a range of pieces, such as oil paintings, ceramics and stained-glass windows. There is a wide variety of different kinds of art which invoke different reactions from the viewer but, on the whole, they do not disappoint. Among the provocative pieces is one entitled “The Swimmer,” which combines the bodies of a fish and a baby doll.
The last room displays the Winners’ Exhibit. Most pieces in the exhibit incorporate the number 60, as a nod to the 60th Annual Irving Art Association. Pieces include still-life paintings, candid photography and sculptures. It is a strong finish to a relaxing day at the Irving Arts Center.
A trip that began as one of increasing disappointment resulted in surprise at the beauty hidden in our own Irving, whether it is found in the inventions of children or the amalgamated bodies of fishy infants. While it is tempting to characterize Irving as an urban desert devoid of beauty, UD students who are willing to apply themselves will find no shortage of interesting local charm.