News and Features

Saturday Spotlight – The Cottonwood Art Festival

For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re off to Cottonwood Park in Richardson for the Cottonwood Art Festival. More than 200 artists display their work in every medium imaginable at this semi-annual festival. While you’re perusing the art, enjoy music by local bands and make sure to stop by the ArtStop Children’s Area and put your pint-size Picassos to work.


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Colombian Sculptor Doris Salcedo Wins First Nasher Prize

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Categorized Under: Uncategorized, Visual Arts

“Noviembre 6 y 7, 2002” by Doris Salcedo. The piece is made of two hundred and eighty wooden chairs and rope


Listen to Kat Chow’s profile of Salcedo that aired on KERA – FM:


Doris Salcedo of Colombia has won the first Nasher Prize, an international award recognizing contributions to sculpture. For decades, Salcedo has used everyday objects — including chairs and clothing — to create social commentary.

In 2002, Doris Salcedo suspended hundreds of chairs along the walls of Bogota’s Palace of Justice, as part of her installation Noviembre 6 y 7. It was a nod to when a group of Colombian rebels violently seized the Supreme Court, killing dozens.

Salcedo says she wants her work to fill the “vacuum generated by forgetfulness.”

“This forgetfulness is what I think is [what] I hope to capture in these pieces,” she says in a video accepting the award. “The prize helps to acknowledge that in the midst of violence, in the midst of political conflict, there is room for art, there is room for thought.”

That mindset is what caught the eye of British sculptor Phyllida Barlow, one of the jurors who helped select Salcedo. Barlow recalls one of Salcedo’s installations at the Tate Modern in London, in which she made a giant fissure in the floor. It was more than 500 feet long and three feet deep in some places, and it was meant to mimic a border — a commentary on immigration.

“People would kneel down and put their hands in these cracks and over time, things collected in these cracks, which I thought was absolutely fantastic,” Barlow says. One woman even lost a bracelet in that crack and was never able to retrieve it. “I think there was something about that inquisitiveness of people as well — that’s… an intriguing lure of her work.”

Salcedo’s large-scale, incisive symbolism is what the Nasher Sculpture Center is hoping to encourage with its prize.

“One of the things that seems so characteristic of sculpture in our time is that it is, in fact, so many different things,” says Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center. He says sculpture today isn’t just made from bronze and metal; it can be massive installations of light or sound, and it can address the social issues of our day.

One of those social themes that Salcedo’s work regularly tackles: the mourning of violent deaths. In 2011, she wanted to honor a Colombian nurse who was kidnapped and tortured to death, so she preserved and stitched together hundreds of rose petals. What began as a flower offering turned into something much more sinister: Imagine a floor rug that looks like raw skin.


“A Flor de Piel” is a floor covering made of rose petals, preserved and sutured together. Photo: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Salcedo_flor detail DIG-web

Detail of “A Flor de Piel.” Photo: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

“If you want to think about what is the role and what can be the role of sculpture in society and culture, I don’t think you can make a better or more powerful choice than Doris Salcedo,” Strick says.

Salcedo will receive a $100,000 prize and will visit Dallas for a lecture in April 2016.


“Doris Salcedo has created a body of work that is both aesthetically striking and politically resonant,” said Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick. “With this subtle and deeply evocative work, she has bravely challenged us to consider more fully the deep connections between place, history and objects that carry the weight of collective memory, suggesting avenues of thinking that tie together object-making and potent social action.”

About Salcedo

Mourning has been a consistent theme for Salcedo. She often uses ordinary objects  – chairs, tables, beds – in her pieces. From the Nasher’s description of her work:

The transformations she effects on them frequently arise from her use of techniques and processes with connections to the care and tending of bodies alive and dead: wrapping, binding, encasing, cutting, and stitching.  Some of her early sculptures were created from altered hospital furniture, such as bedframes, into which she also incorporated small plastic baby dolls, dipped in wax and bound to the joints of the sculpture with animal fiber; while making these works, Salcedo was thinking of the impoverished boys taken by drug cartels and forced to become assassins, yet the results neither narrate nor preach.

A major retrospective of her work is on view through Oct. 12 at the Guggenheim in New York.

How she was chosen

The 7 jurors who selected Salcedo include Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate UK; artist Phyllida Barlow, whose work was recently shown – and acquired by – the Nasher; and Steven Nash, founding director of the Nasher.

How the Nasher will celebrate

The Nasher Sculpture Center conceived the award to recognize artists who’ve made a significant contribution to the art form, and to elevate the dialogue around it. To that end, the Nasher Prize is sponsoring a panel discussion in London  on Oct. 11 called Why Sculpture Now?, bringing Salcedo to Dallas on April 1 to talk at Booker T. Washington high school and sponsoring a gala to support the prize on April 2. The museum will be free on April 2-3 with special activities related to the prize and Salcedo.

From Art21

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April Berry Is No Longer Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Director

april-berryAfter barely a year in the post, April Berry is no longer the artistic director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. In a phone call today, Sheena Payne, executive board member of DBDT, confirmed that Berry stepped down from the position but declined to give details. Berry herself said in a recent email, “unfortunately, I am not able to discuss my departure from Dallas Black Dance Theatre.”

A former dancer with Alvin Ailey, Berry was hired last fall to replace the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s venerable founder-artistic director Ann M. Williams, who was then 76. Berry officially started September 2nd last year.

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DSO Will Premiere Pharrell Williams’ First Composition For Live Dance And Theater

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Categorized Under: Music, Uncategorized

Pharrell Williams. Photo: Mimi Valdes via

Pharrell Williams will join choreographer Jonah Bokaer and artist Daniel Arsham to create a work that will debut at Soluna, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s music and arts festival, next year. The collective will create a performance project called “Rules of the Game.”

Williams is a prolific producer, singer, rapper and writer.  Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” “Happy,” the theme song to “Despicable Me,”  and DaftPunk’s “Get Lucky” are just a few of the earworms he’s had a hand in. He’s also designed fashion and curated arts shows. But this will be his first time composing for theater  and live dance. The DSO will perform the music he creates for the piece. While Boaker is a choreographer, he’s known for collaborating to blur the lines across mediums, including visual arts, theater and moving images. His dance company will perform in the piece. Here’s a preview of a piece that he created for the Guggenheim Museum in 2011.

Arsham too works across mediums and has created set designs in the past, notably for Merce Cunningham. It’ll be the first time the trio has all worked together, but they’ve got a tangled history.  Here’s how the DSO explains it:

Arsham’s “collaborations with Bokaer, who he met through Cunningham’s company, began in 2007 and over the past eight years, the duo have created a unique scenic language exploring themes of spacial reorientation and the pasage of time. Arsham and Williams have collaborated, beginning in 2013, when he cast Williams’ Casio MT500 keyboard, a formative part of his musical development, in volcanic ash, crystal and steel. The following year, Arsham cast Williams’ entire body for GIRL, Williams’ curatorial debut at Galerie Perrotin. The gallery represents Arsham and has collaborated in the past with Williams and Bokaer.”

“Rules of the Game” will premiere on May 17. Ticket info will be announced later.


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The Big Screen: Making ‘Meet The Patels’

Ravi Patel gets all the advice he can handle from his parents in "Meet the Patels." Photo:

Ravi Patel gets all the advice he can handle from his parents in “Meet the Patels.”

BIG SCREEN LOGO FOR POSTdheviThe documentary “Meet the Patels” follows a young Indian man’s attempt to navigate the matchmaking process, find an Indian bride and appease his traditional parents. This week, we talk to Dhevi  Natarajan, a Plano native who is an associate producer and editor of the film, about an experience common to many young Indians.

Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.

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Local Playwrights, Polish Those Scripts For DTC’s Playwrights’ Workshop

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Categorized Under: Theater

Aspiring playwrights in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have until Sunday to apply to work with an award-winning dramatist for two months.

Kevin Moriarty, artistic director of Dallas Theater Center and Will Power, DTC’s current playwright-in-residence are accepting applications for the Dallas Playwright’s Workshop.

Will Power is the playwright-in-residence at Dallas Theater Center. He's pictured here at Stagger Lee rehearsal earlier this year.

Will Power is the playwright-in-residence at Dallas Theater Center. He’s pictured here at z’Stagger Lee” rehearsal earlier this year.

In its third year, the workshop caters to “emerging and mid-career professional playwrights,” who have written at least one play and show a “unique and compelling voice,” according to a press release.

“There are not many spaces entirely dedicated to honing the craft of playwriting, let alone committed to developing local playwrights,” past participant Janielle Kastner said in a press release.

“Having a safe yet challenging environment like Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop has led to my growth as a writer and fostered compelling new work from each member of the group.”

Participants will work on a three-scene project over the course of 10 weekly sessions with Power and their peers at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre.

Playwrights will develop the scene project from concept to stage every Monday starting Oct. 12 until Dec. 14. The workshop will end with a closed reading of everyone’s final products.

Here’s what interested writers need to apply:

  • Submit a completed application
  • A full-length play (one or two acts)
  • A 10-page excerpt from the same play
  • A one-page summary saying why they want to participate, their writing goals and areas they wish to develop

Applications are due via email to [email protected] by Oct. 4.


Most recently, Power wrote “Stagger Lee,” an original play exclusively for Dallas Theater Center as playwright-in-residence.

See more on that production from start to finish in Art&Seek’s series, Stagger Lee: Making A Musical.

Power is also on the faculty at The Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence with the Dallas Theater Center.

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This Week on Frame of Mind, Murals And Graffiti Art

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Categorized Under: KERA Programming

Although she is currently residing in Colorado, Gayle Embrey is a Dallas native. She’s both an artist and psychotherapist. Embrey began to focus on documentary and film making in 2006 and aimed to direct her love of art to help other people. This week, I talk to director and producer Embrey about her documentary “Beyond the Walls.”

“Beyond the Walls” takes the viewer to El Salvador, Australia, Brooklyn, West Bank, and multiple other countries to find out the stories of murals. Although murals are simply paint on walls, they are capable of making political statements and are a driving force for telling stories and bringing communities together.

  • Tune in to “Frame of Mind” on KERA TV Thursday at 11 p.m.  to watch “Beyond the Walls” and two short docs about Dallas graffiti art: “Catch Those Kids” and “Jerod AleXander Davis”

A mural in Belfast in "Beyond the Walls."

A mural in Belfast in “Beyond the Walls.”

On why she started making documentaries…
The truth is that I had always wanted to be an artist and make a living as an artist. I started as a painter and a photographer and that didn’t really work, so I started looking for what else might work for me. In 1992, I got my master’s in counseling and psychology in art therapy, so I still found a way to have my love of art and use it to be of service to other people. Film making, especially documentary film making, is still within that range of being of service to people by telling people’s stories.

On the idea behind the documentary…
I was a studio artist in the ’70s and I had a very snobbish attitude about street art. I felt like people who did street art weren’t really artists. Fast forward to 1995, I went to Belfast in Northern Ireland where a lot my family is originally from, and in the city they had these incredible, huge murals that tell the stories of what had happened to them over history. I was really blown away by the power these murals had; a lot of them were very technically skilled in their creation, but even the ones that weren’t still had a very powerful message that they were conveying visually. That transformed my entire thinking about street art.

On how she found the muralists…
I did a lot of research online, actually. I was also introduced to a mural historian in Belfast who is in the film, and he was a muralist there but he also met muralists in other places. Between my going and reaching out and just a couple of muralists, they trusted that I would make a film that told the true story about what they were doing. A lot of these muralists know each other and doors started to open significantly that way. A couple of places like West Bank and the Palestinian side are more anonymous for security reasons, so that was a little more difficult. We had to work with a Palestinian producer who helped us locate a couple of people.

Director and producer Gayle Embrey

Director and producer Gayle Embrey

On why she thinks murals are important…
I think they’re important for two reasons: one is that all the people creating these murals are people whose stories are not being covered or they’re being covered slightly by mainstream media. I think it’s important for these people to feel like they do have a voice and that they can get their stories out. One of the ways they talk about doing that is that they go to the wall, quite literally, to tell their stories. The second reason is that they bring communities together. For example, in Argentina, they make the whole process of creating a mural a big community event with music and poetry and lots of people come to help paint. Even with other places where murals aren’t a big event, other muralists give ideas, people bring food for them and some may even pick up a paintbrush a paint a little. It still becomes a community gathering, and that way people still take ownership of what’s really happening and the story that’s being told.

Thoughts on being featured on Frame of Mind…
It’s a great honor. I love PBS — I watch PBS programming a lot — it’s a real honor to be part of one of their series. I’m really looking forward to it. One of the things I would encourage is for people to not just walk by murals when they see them, but really take a minute to take and look at them. They do tell stories and it really can be eye opening if you take a minute to look.

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The Big Deal: Autumn At The Arboretum At The Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Local Events
Photo: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Photo: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

We may have just experienced the autumnal equinox, but with the warm temperatures, and lack of autumnal colors in the landscape it just doesn’t quite feel like fall yet. If you need help ushering in fall then we have the ticket for you, or should we say tickets for you. Sign up to win a family pack of 4 tickets to one of Dallas’ most anticipated fall festivals, Autumn at the Arboretum. Fodor’s Travel calls the Dallas Arboretum festival one of “America’s Best Pumpkin Festivals.” This year’s exhibit is bigger than ever with a record 75,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. Of course, there is also the whimsical pumpkin village, a hay bale maze, a pumpkin patch, scavenger hunts, and more during the festival that runs daily through Nov. 25.

Don’t forget with have more bounty for you with our two other Big Deals this week. Win a season subscription to Kitchen Dog Theater’s 2015-2016 season at The Green Zone in the Dallas Design District, or general admission passes to see Elton John and His Band Post-Race Concert at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to usher fall in at the Dallas Arboretum with Autumn at the Arboretum family passes.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Come back again next week for more Big Deals!

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The Big Deal: Kitchen Dog Theater Season Subscription

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Local Events, Theater

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Kitchen Dog Theater has been moving audiences with provocative, engaging, enlightening drama for a quarter century. Now, in its landmark 25th Season, the theater group has moved into The Green Zone in the Dallas Design District. There, Kitchen Dog Theater will be unpacking another amazing season featuring: “The Dumb Waiter,” “The Totalitarians, I’m Gonna Pray for You so Hard,” “Blackberry Winter,” and “The Thrush and the Woodpecker.” It’s a season full of twisted family ties, shifting power dynamics, and incisive drama. Enter to win two regular Season Subscriptions: each subscription gets you into the theater’s five mainstages productions and into six New Works Festival staged readings. If you are the winner of this Big Deal be quick to respond to take advantage of the first show of the 2015-2016 season. “The Dumb Waiter,” opens this week.

You’ll also want to take the time now to sign up for our other offerings this week – family passes to Autumn at the Arboretum at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, or general admission passes to see Elton John and His Band Post-Race Concert at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for 11 provocative nights of entertainment, courtesy of Kitchen Dog Theater.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Come back again next week for more Big Deals!

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The Big Deal: Elton John Concert At The 2015 Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix In Austin

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Music

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Have we got a Big Deal for you. Not only is it big, it is turbo-charged. Enter to win general admission tickets for you and three buddies to see Elton John and His Band perform at the post-race concert at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin. Did I hear someone say, “Road trip?” Oh, yeah, and your 3 Day Passes also gets you into all the weekend festivities – from the practice runs on Friday, qualifiers on Saturday, and the big race on Sunday. It all culminates with the two-hour concert by Sir Elton John and his full band on the Circuit of The Americas’ new festival lawn. Oct. 23-35 in Austin. This Big Deal does not include transportation or lodging.

Now that you are all revved up, do not stop. Go ahead and sign up for our other Big Deals this week. Win a season subscription to Kitchen Dog Theater’s 2015-2016 season at The Green Zone in the Dallas Design District. Or sign up to win Autumn at the Arboretum passes for the family at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to win tickets to see Sir Elton John at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Come back again next week for more Big Deals!

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