Cultural convergence

The Dallas Arts District creates a vibrant community, attracts millions to the area.



With 20 blocks of museums, performance halls, parks, and other venues, the Dallas Arts District is the largest contiguous cultural district in the country. Walkable and accessible to all four Dallas light rail lines and the McKinney Avenue trolley, it attracts more than 1 million visitors a year.

After decades of strategic planning dating back to the 1970s, the district wasn’t completed until 2009 and is just now hitting its prime, with 31 arts organizations located or presenting in the district.

“Because of the Arts District, downtown is becoming more of a neighborhood,” says Catherine Cuellar, the district’s executive director. “There are now tens of thousands of people within walking distance.” 

To cater to the growing number people who live and work in the area, the Dallas Museum of Art began offering free memberships in 2013, swelling its ranks by about 100,000 new members. The DMA and other venues also offer free health and wellness classes seven days a week.

On the north side of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science celebrated its second anniversary in December. It has been an immediate hit, attracting about 1.2 million patrons a year. Museum CEO Colleen Walker says the Perot is nearly at capacity.

“We could probably see 1.4 million visitors a year, maybe top out at 1.5 (million),” she says. The recent purchase of land abutting the parking lot next to the museum provides an expansion opportunity, although specific plans haven’t yet been released. “There is enough space for a footprint of a second tower the same size,” Walker says. 

Although the museums and venues host world-class collections and performances, visitors don’t even need to go inside to experience good art. That’s because the district houses more buildings designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects than any other location in the world.

The cultural value of the offerings greatly enhance the livability of North Texas, giving relocating companies another reason to move here. And there’s a real bottom-line impact, too. Since the Perot and nearby Klyde Warren Park opened in fall 2012, for example, average office rents in the Arts District and Uptown have climbed from $25 to $37 per square foot triple net, according to statistics from CBRE.

 

MAJOR VENUES

AT&T Performing Arts Center: This 10-acre center includes the Winspear Opera House, Wyly Theatre, Annette Strauss Square, and the Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park. 

Dallas City Performance Hall: This venue hosts a broad range of events and performances by emerging and mid-sized cultural organizations, representing all artistic disciplines and reflecting the cultural diversity of organizations within Dallas. (2520 Flora St.)

Dallas Museum of Art: Founded in 1903, the DMA ranks among the leading art institutions in the country. Built in 1984, the 370,000-square-foot Edward Larrabee Barnes–designed building, was the first arts organization in the Dallas Arts District. The museum’s global collection contains over 22,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. (1717 N. Harwood St.)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center: Created by the internationally renowned design team of architect I.M. Pei and acoustician Russell Johnson, the Meyerson was completed in 1989. The legendary rich sound of its Eugene McDermott Concert Hall has made it a premier destination for the world’s finest soloists and conductors. (2301 Flora St.) 

Nasher Sculpture Center: Opened in 2003 as the first institution in the world dedicated exclusively to the exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture, the Nasher was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, in collaboration with landscape architect Peter Walker. (2001 Flora St.)

Perot Museum of Nature and Science: The latest venue to join the district, the Perot opened in December of 2012. The 180,000-square-foot facility houses 11 permanent exhibit halls, as well as six learning labs. (2201 N. Field St.)

Trammell Crow Center and Crow Collection of Asian Art: A variety of spaces and multiple galleries focused on the arts of China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, drawn from both ancient and contemporary cultures. A sculpture garden surrounds the base of Trammell Crow Center.(2001 Ross Ave., 2010 Flora St.)

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