News and Features

SMU Makes It Official: It’ll “Ignite Arts Dallas”


Clyde Valentin, director of SMU’s Ignite Arts Dallas. Photos: Jerome Weeks

A number of community-engagement initiatives begun by previous dean Jose Bowen to get the Meadows School of the Arts off its campus and into the wider community have been gathered together, given a name, some funding and a director.

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Saturday Spotlight – Homegrown Music & Arts Festival Showcases Texas Artists

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For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re celebrating artists with Texas roots at the Homegrown Music and Arts Festival. This year’s event will be held at the Bomb Factory in Dallas and features an art gallery plus food trucks and musicians with a deep connection to the Lone Star State. The lineup includes Shakey Graves, Oil Boom, and the Old 97s.

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Glasstire Top 5: Cydonia and The Goss-Michael Foundation

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Categorized Under: Local Events, Visual Arts

Can’t decide which art show to see this week? Glasstire’s Top 5 can help you decide with some suggestions for our area.

FYJG is the first international exhibition for Polish performance artist Justyna Gorowska. The series of photographs and videos are on display at Cydonia contemporary art gallery. Better hurry up and catch this one because the exhibition closes this week.

Just opening is Feature: Marjorie Schwarz at The Goss-Michael Foundation. Paintings by the Dallas based artist will be on view through May 31.

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Dallas Couple Featured In Book On “Little Free Library” Movement

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Categorized Under: Books, Culture
Amy Walton and James Garrett in their Oak Cliff Home.

Amy Walton and James Garrett in their Oak Cliff Home. Photo by Kristen Taylor.

Amy Walton and James Garrett live in a modest home in Oak Lawn. You can hear their cat’s meow if you listen carefully and planes roar past even if you don’t. Their furniture is artsy-chic but comfortable, and the door is flanked by a large bookshelf full of trinkets and novels. They’re middle aged and both have corporate jobs. James is an artist in his free time, and his eyes light up when he mentions it. They have active social lives: friends, parties, book club. They seem happy, and I ask how they met.

The answer? Online. But what really bonded them together, however, were libraries—particularly those of the little and free variety. This library-related meet cute is probably what intrigued Margret Aldrich, who featured the couple in her recently released book, The Little Free Libraries Book.

“I have this project where I would do a small art piece and then put it in the street for someone to find,” James said. “I was telling Amy about it on our first date, and she said, ‘Oh, that’s like this thing called Little Free Library.’ A big part of our first date was talking about Little Free Libraries. Later, I looked on Google Maps and saw a bunch of them in the Metroplex, so I was like, ‘I’m going to drive around and take a look at all of these!’ For our second date we puttered around, all the way to McKinney, and she had a little picnic lunch so we picnicked and looked at the libraries.”

The Little Free Library is a humble thing. At its core, the idea is to create a waterproof box, fill it with books and let your neighbors bring and take whatever they please. When the couple settled down, it became obvious that they should have one of their own. James built it out of wood with removable panels on which he could create seasonal displays of his art, and the couple filled it with books: banned books, science books, Dune (which James insists someone would love if they’d just take it home), and kids’ books—lots and lots of kids’ books.

“One of our objectives when we built the library was to make sure that the content was relevant to the neighborhood, and we live in a really diverse neighborhood,” Amy said. “A lot of immigrant and Spanish-speaking families live around here. We’ve tried to keep Spanish language books around for kids and adults as much as we can.”

In fact, in her campaign to keep the Little Free Library full of enough Spanish books, Amy approached Stephen Colbert last year to see if he would donate a signed book for her to auction off for seed money.

“I am a superfan of Stephen Colbert,” she said. “I reached out and asked him if he’d consider talking about the libraries of the show, because the character on the Colbert Report hates reading and feels everything from his gut, hates anything that’s socialized… I thought, ‘this is perfect! This character would love to rail against people sharing free books!’ I told him if he donated a signed book, we would love to auction it off because we’re trying to make sure we have a lot of kids’ books and Spanish-language kids’ books. He responded with a signed copy of his book I Am a Pole (And So Can You!), so we put it up for auction last year during the last ten days of his show.”

The book sold for $149.50 to a woman in Oak Cliff, and the couple used that money to keep their shelves stocked. They keep books in their garage for people who might want special books, recommendations or have requests. They see it as a way to bond with their neighborhood.

The pair isn’t satisfied with just having their own library, however. They have a friend named Margarita Birnbaum, whom they refer to as “the godmother of our Spanish language content.” Margarita advises them on which Spanish books to stock, so they’re building her a library as a gift, which will go in an underserved neighborhood. It’s called Libros y Sueños, Books and Dreams.

“I hope more people in Dallas get on board,” James said. “I hope there are more being put in areas that need books, where it’s a little farther to get to a public library.”

Amy Walton and James Garrett next to their Little Free Library, which they keep stocked with science books, classics and their favorite childrens' books-- in Spanish and English.

Amy Walton and James Garrett next to their Little Free Library, which they keep stocked with science books, classics and their favorite childrens’ books– in Spanish and English. Photo by Kristen Taylor.

However, this might be a little more difficult than it used to be. The city of Dallas has seemingly started to crack down on its ordinances—Stacy Holmes was notified last month that one of her Lake Highland neighbors complained about her Little Free Library, and because her library violated a city ordinance, it will have to be either moved to a new location or removed altogether.

“Our heart goes out to her,” Amy said. “We hope something can be resolved with her neighbors and the city. The purpose is to build community, and that’s beneficial to the city. We’re just hoping people in our neighborhood see it as a welcome service.”

Not that Amy and James haven’t had their own challenges with their library. According to Amy, they have had two instances where kids kicked it in. It was an inconvenience, they said, but their library was “built like a tank” and they grumbled a little, removed the books so they wouldn’t get ruined, waited a little while and put it back together.

What’s interesting, however, is what happened in the two weeks when the library was out of commission. Amy came out of her house one day to find a pile of change—pennies.

“Our best interpretation was that a little kiddo thought if they put some money in there, we would keep doing it,” she said. “Maybe that kid will give something to someone else and share that joy of reading, and we will be part of that legacy. The idea of sharing is pretty cool.”

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Undermain’s Katherine Owens Headed To Sundance With New Len Jenkin Play


Len Jenkin at the Undermain. Photo: Jerome Weeks

The Sundance Institute’s Theatre Lab (close cousin of its film development program) picked through more than 800 submitted playscripts for this year’s two-week lab at Sundance Resort in Utah, July 6-26. The nine plays it chose included Jonah, by Len Jenkin, the Obie-winning dramatist whose work has frequently been done by the Deep Ellum company, including Port Twilight and Abraham Zobell’s Home Movie.

The Theatre Lab is no slouch when it comes to picking plays to develop with playwrights and directors. Recent playscripts have included Fun Home and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, both currently on Broadway, and ToasT, currently at the Public Theatre in New York.

The world premiere of Jonah is already scheduled as part of the Undermain’s next season, but the Theatre Lab will permit Jenkin and Undermain artistic director Katherine Owens to further develop the play before then.

Here’s the full release:

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The Big Screen: The Big Movie Series At The Magnolia

Rebecca, starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier, is up next in the Big Movie series.

Rebecca, starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier, is up next in the Big Movie series.

BIG SCREEN LOGO FOR POSTThe Big Movie series at the Magnolia Theatre in Dallas has a wide-range of interests. German director Fritz Lang’s first sound film and Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand are each on the schedule. This week, we talk to the series’ programmer about how the movies are picked.

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

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The Big Deal: Barefoot at the Belmont: Kaleo with Larry g(EE)

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, KXT, Local Events, Music
Photo: Mike Thomas

Photo: Mike Thomas

It’s back! KXT’s Barefoot at the Belmont concert series is back for its sixth year. KXT and its partner, the Belmont Hotel in Oak Cliff,  have teamed up once again to bring you some of the hottest acts for you to enjoy in one of the coolest venues around. The award winning concert series historically sells out and guess who’s got tickets? Uh huh. That’s right. For this Big Deal we got tickets for you to see the Icelandic indie folk/rock band Kaleo with Dallas funk band Larry g(EE). Dust off your folding chairs and picnic blanket: the show is May 28. barefoot at the belmont logo

And it only makes sense to go ahead and sign up now for our other Big Deal, tickets to see Dallas Theater Center’s production of Sense and Sensibility, at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas.

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 be barefoot at the Belmont and see Kaleo with Larry g(EE).

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.


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The Big Deal: Dallas Theater Center’s ‘Sense And Sensibility’

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Categorized Under: Comedy, Giveaways, Theater

bd Sense and Sesibilty big 600

The Dallas Theater Center’s production of Sense and Sensibility is playing through May 24. That means you only have a couple of more weeks to catch the romantic comedy at the Kalita Humphrey’s Theater. Check out the video below to get an idea of the lengths DTC went through to produce this period-perfect adaptation. Enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Jane Austen classic tale at the 7:30 p.m.,  May 13 performance.

It would also be sensible to take the time now to sign up for our other Big Deal this week – tickets to the KXT Barefoot at the Belmont concert featuring Kaleo with Larry g(EE) at the beautifully scenic Belmont Hotel.

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 see Sense and Sensibility.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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Art Conspiracy Makes Noise With Concert Series Friday

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Categorized Under: Local Events, Music

A singer-songwriter from Denton and a Fort Worth front woman will join to play an small show in Dallas on Friday for the fourth installment of the new live music series, ArtCon(cert) from Art Conspiracy.

Kaela Sinclair, a 24-year-old musician from Denton and special guest Rachel Gollay, the 28-year-old lead singer and guitarist of Fort Worth’s Gollay, will perform together from 7-10 p.m. at the Kirk Hopper Fine Art Gallery.

Sinclair released her debut album, “Sun & Mirror” in 2013 to widespread, positive reception from local and national critics, who connected her sound and style to Sarah Jaffe and Regina Spektor. Coincidentally, Sinclair has collaborated with acclaimed producer and drummer, McKenzie Smith, who has worked with both Jaffe and Spektor as well as Midlake and St. Vincent.

Watch Sinclair’s video for her single, “Original Sin”:

Rachel Gollay will join Sinclair on stage, bringing her own local credibility and acclaim. Her debut record, “Built For Love” was named Best Local Album last year by music critic, Preston Jones of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In addition to Gollay’s namesake band, she also plays with Un Chien, the city’s psychedelic rock outfit.

Here is Gollay performing “Built For Love” at the Kessler Theater in December.

For ArtCon(cert), the band or musicians are chosen for each traditional living-room show by Art Consipiracy’s roster of alumni.  The concerts, which have featured Telegraph Canyon and The Theater Fire in the past, are held quarterly in a different local, unique and intimate space for each occasion.

The Kirk Hopper Fine Art Gallery will be capped at 100 people, so grab your tickets soon. They can be purchased for $10 here.

For more information on other ArtConspiracy programming, visit the website.

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Art&Seek Jr: 5 Events That Say ‘Thanks Mom’

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back weekly for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

I love Mother’s Day, but not for the reasons you’d think. Sure I love the flowers, candy, and getting 20% off at the hardware store on my special day. But Mother’s Day is a great reminder of how being a mother has made me a better person. The best way I can describe it is, it’s like having a teeny tiny life coach following you around 24/7 prompting you to make good choices because…you know… it’s just not about you anymore.

Rose has taught me to be kind. She chides me for judging the performers on Dancing with the Stars, even though I’ve told her that’s kind of the point of the show. She reminds me to be patient. When Dallas drivers get on my last nerve and I get the hankering to lay on the horn, she pipes in from the backseat to “drive friendly.”  But I think the most important thing I’ve learned from my daughter is to greet each day with ebullience and laughter. True, the opera voice first thing in the morning can be a little off-putting, but I have to concede most days it brings a smile to my face and makes me glad I’m her mom.

Celebrate mom, being a mom, or your exceptional children with one of these family-friendly activities. Read More »

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