This mural by artist Dan Colcer decorates the back patio stage at Armoury D.E. in Deep Ellum. (©Thomas Garza)
If you love art, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is definitely the place for you. The largest contiguous arts district in the country, the area boasts art museums, street art, sculpture walks, galleries and art festivals. Grab a map and your walking shoes, and feast your eyes on the displays in these museums and arts areas.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
This art museum focuses on post-World War II art in all media and contains nearly 3,000 pieces in abstract expressionism, pop, minimalism, conceptualism and neo-expressionism. Designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the building features cantilevered cast-concrete roofs, linear skylights and 40-foot tall Y-shaped columns. The grounds include a sculpture garden and large reflecting pool. Inside, find pieces by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andreas Serrano.
East of downtown Dallas, this historic district was founded in 1873 and has become a center for music and art. It’s the largest entertainment district in the region, featuring more than 60 restaurants, 20 music venues and 30 shops. But the neighborhood can’t hide its artsy side, with street art, graffiti, sculpture gardens, public art exhibitions and art galleries. It’s also home to the three-day Deep Ellum Arts Festival—with more than 150 bands and 200 decorative and visual arts displays— and the monthly Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, where visitors can shop for art from local artists and vendors while listening to live music.
Nasher Sculpture Center
More than 300 pieces by artists like Giacometti, Hepworth, Kelly, Miro, Rodin, and Picasso are displayed at the Nasher Sculpture Center in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. The collection was started more than 60 years ago by Raymond and Patsy Nasher. Pieces from the collection rotate through the sculpture center, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and museums throughout the world. It’s free to visit on the first Saturday of each month.
Kimbell Art Museum
The building of the Kimbell Art Museum was designed by Louis I. Kahn and has been hailed as a significant work of architecture. Natural light illuminates the art pieces through skylights and is diffused by wing-shaped aluminum reflectors. A newer Piano Pavilion contains a gallery for light-sensitive works of art. The European collection is extensive and includes The Torment of Saint Anthony, the first known painting by Michelangelo. The museum also displays pieces by Caravaggio, Reubens, Rembrandt, Monet and Picasso.
Dallas Museum of Art
One of the largest art museums in the country, the Dallas Museum of Art is dedicated to research, innovation and public engagement. It offers free general admission to its permanent collection and several exhibitions throughout the year. More than 24,000 works make up the museum’s collections, which include ancient jewelry, a decorative ivory, mahogany and Mother-of-Pearl cabinet from the late 1600s and exhibitions including works by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco and Islamic art.
Hall Texas Sculpture Walk
Hall Arts is a mixed use development in the center of the Dallas Arts District, but it endeavors to include art in everyday life. The Hall Texas Sculpture Walk is an example of this, with 18 contemporary sculptures—most created by Texas artists—along a half-acre walkway. Walk along the pieces, or rest on outdoor seating and contemplate them.
NorthPark Center is a shopping mall with more than 235 stores and restaurants. But art is a major part of the experience. Museum-quality art by renowned artists like Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Jonathan Borofsky and Beverly Pepper are on display. The two-story "Ad Astra" by Mark di Suvero fills the North Court, making it visible from both floors. A map of the NorthPark Art Tour is available from the mall’s concierge with descriptions of each piece (pick up your copy of Where magazine there, too!). Patrons can also download the NorthPark Center app for a self-guided art tour.
Bishop Arts District
The Bishop Arts District is home to more than 60 independent boutiques, restaurants and bars and coffee shops. It’s a haven for hipsters and the avant-garde, serving as the perfect place to pick up a few new art pieces, handmade decor or eclectic gifts. There are tons of galleries and shops featuring local artists—stroll through Jen Mauldin Gallery, Ginger Fox Gallery and Neighborhood, to name a few. If you visit this small-town neighborhood that's a stone’s throw from downtown Dallas, snap photos of the colorful murals as you meander through the area.
If you want to give thanks for all of the beautiful art in and around Dallas, visit Thanks-Giving Square. Built in 1964, the square is a place where people from all religions and cultures can come together to celebrate their values and spirituality. The art here is phenomenal, as well, an example is the mosaic of Norman Rockwell’s "Golden Rule" is on display. Be sure to visit the spiral Chapel of Thanksgiving and look up: the colorful "Glory Window" by Gabriel Loire has become one of the most iconic images in Dallas—and yet it’s one of Dallas’ best kept secrets.
Crow Collection of Asian Art
This museum was the vision of Trammell and Margaret Crow—founders of the Wyndham Hotel chain— and celebrates their love of all things to do with Asian culture and art. The couple purchased their first piece of Asian art in the 1960s and grew into a collection that features pieces from China, Japan, India, Korea and Southeast Asia. Pieces in the exhibition include sculpted jade, the afterlife in Chinese art and samurai armor. Fifteen sculptures are scattered through the garden and interior.