Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 24

Culture

Fort Worth

SPRING/09

Cliburn Competition
•••
FWOpera Festival
•••
Public art at D/FW Airport
C
prologue

A strapping artistic culture


in a cash-strapped economic climate

T arrant County’s Spring Gallery Night approaches — March 28 —


as a showcase for practically every art-making venue within driving
and/or strolling distance to display its wares in a festive and leisure-
ly extended setting. (Q.V.: Fort Worth Art Dealers Association at
www.fwada.com.)
The MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival is almost as near — April 16 to
19, throughout the Downtown area — persisting as a lively combination of
fresh-air activity, film-and-art-and-music activities and traffic-driving eco-
nomic engine. (See www.mainstreetartsfest.org.)
World-class museum exhibitions abound, as well, with such standout
examples as Art & Love in Renaissance Italy at the Kimbell Art Museum; the
Challenging Vision retrospective of Barbara Crane’s forward-thinking photog-
raphy at the Amon Carter; a record-attendance display called Charles M.
Russell & the Art of Counting Coup at the Sid Richardson; and The Collection &
Then Some, a major in-house retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of
Fort Worth.
Meanwhile, Artes de la Rosa, at North Main Street’s historic Rose Marine
Theatre, is poised for a March 27 opening of a comprehensive exhibition by
comic-book artist Richard Dominguez, concentrating upon his groundbreak-
ing heroic-adventure series El Gato Negro. The collision of pop-culture with
folkloric influences with museum-grade exhibition values is significant.
The Fort Worth Symphony will present prodigy pianist Conrad Tao at 7
p.m. March 31 at Bass Hall — details at www.fwso.org — and promises
word in April of a playbill for its crowd-pleasing Concerts in the Garden series.
A new FWOpera Festival approaches, as well, as chronicled within these
pages.
All such elements represent self-contained pleasures and enlightenments.
But considered together, they deepen the overall texture of the city’s cultural
life and economic viability. All, too, suggest an emphatic prelude to the plan-
et’s most influential classical-music event, the Van Cliburn International
Piano Competition, which will draw international attention to Fort Worth
during May and June.
The arts persist despite prevailing cash-flow laments — and they often
help to reverse an economic lapse: This issue of the Business Press’ Fort Worth
Culture magazine draws particular attention to such persistence, emphasizing
the arts-and-business connections that have assured commercial progress
even in a compromised financial climate. (The operative term in the name of
Museum Place, speaking of central-city commercial growth, is Museum, as in
the neighboring Fort Worth Cultural District.)
The present issue’s contents stress that culture-to-commerce relationship:
Leadership Fort Worth, an agency responsible for a great deal of long-term
community stewardship, addresses sustenance of the arts at a time when
many budgetary cuts are whacking cultural commitments first. The organiza-
tion known as Associated Businesses of the Cultural District considers artis-
tic and economic well-being in a shared context. The Fort Worth School
District’s renewed commitment to art and music has yielded record numbers
of All-State Band and All-State Choir participants, as well as crucial stu-
dent-artist involvement in the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival. Public-
art projects, particularly the installations at Dallas/Fort Worth International
Airport, become increasingly relevant as a sign of vitality.
It also bears considering that — to misappropriate a famous line from the
Texas-bred cartoonist Gilbert Shelton — culture will see you through times
of no money better than money will see you through times of no culture. An
artistic indulgence is its own reward, in other words, but sometimes the pay-
off translates to an economic advantage.
– Michael H. Price
Culture
Fort Worth

SPRING/09

Cover Story 4
Cliburn Competition gears up
for a vibrant new tournament
6 ReelRosen
A Cliburn film festival celebrates documentary filmmaker Peter Rosen

8 FWOpera Festival
From bold experiment to certifiable success in three years Mac Whitney, Chicota

Arthello Beck, Cypress Trees


10 The ABCD’s of arts and commerce
Associated Businesses of the Cultural District

12 Leadership Fort Worth tackles a cultural agenda

14 Arts in the public schools


Superintendent Melody A. Johnson delivers upon a promise

16 Texas Country Music


Casey Donahew Band ropes in business support

18 Daimler’s art commitment


AllianceTexas outpost develops art-loan pact with TCU and SMU

20 Airport as art gallery


Public art at D/FW Airport
And a quick-sketch survey of Texan artists
Dennis Oppenheim, Crystal Mountain

22 Red Holloway
Performs for Fort Worth library archive

23 Q&A: Kirk Millican


The cultural and economic impact of public art

Cover photo courtesy of the Cliburn Foundation

Publisher Reporters Advertising Executives Fort Worth


Banks Dishmon
Editor
Elizabeth Bassett, Betty Dillard
Aleshia Howe, John-Laurent Tronche
Leslie Wimmer
Mary Schlegel, Elizabeth Northern
Andrea Benford, Robert Southerland
Annie Warren
Culture
Robert Francis is a publication of the
Contributor Receptionist Fort Worth Business Press. © 2009
Associate Editor
Michael H. Price Laurie Barker James Maggie Franklin
CONTACT US
Managing Editor Photographers Business Manager/
Glen E. Ellman, Jon P. Uzzel Director of Events 3509 Hulen St., Ste. 201
Crystal Forester Fort Worth TX 76107
Production Shiela West
817-336-8300 • 817-332-3038 (fax)
Brent Latimer, Clayton Gardner www.bizpress.net Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 3
music

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Competition remains in tune with founder’s vision


By Michael H. Price

T
he Cliburn Foundation named 30 young pianists as Five newly chosen pianists were competitors in the 2005
contenders in the 13th Van Cliburn International Cliburn: American Stephen Beus, Chinese Di Wu, Korean
Piano Competition, scheduled for May 22 to June 7 Soyeon Lee, Canadian Ang Li and Russian Ilya Rashkovskiy.
at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall. The selections are a Fourteen countries will be represented: Australia, with one
result of two months of worldwide screening recitals — 151 contender; Bulgaria, with one; Canada, one; China, seven; the
auditions at six locations in China, Europe, and the United Czech Republic, one; Germany, one; Greece, one; Israel, two;
States. Italy, two; Japan, two; South Korea, four; Russia, two;
At stake, reflecting the 1958 triumph of master pianist Van Ukraine, one; and the United States, four.
Cliburn at a Soviet competition that foreshadowed the found- Almost half the competitors represent Asian countries.
ing of the Cliburn International, is an unparalleled opportuni- China, for the first time in the Cliburn’s history, will have the
ty to perform widely. The six finalists will share three years of largest percentage of representatives.
concert tours, including more than 300 engagements coordi- The pianists range in age from 19 to 30.
nated by the Van Cliburn Foundation. The Cliburn winners The 13 women and 17 men will perform 50-minute solo
will command fees from the resulting U.S. engagements in recitals in the Preliminary Round, May 22 to 26, from which
excess of $1,000,000. 12 pianists will advance to the Semifinal Round. During the
Van Cliburn, whom Time magazine once hailed as “The Semifinals, May 28 to 31, each pianist will perform a 60-
Texan Who Conquered Russia,” has remained an iconic and minute solo recital featuring one of the winning contemporary
influential figure, both through his artistry and a missionary pieces from the Cliburn Foundation’s third American
attitude toward music and as a noticeable presence at each Composers Invitational, along with a piano quintet with the
Cliburn Competition since the early 1960s. Takács Quartet, one of the world’s premier string ensembles.
“I have remained devoted to the music,” Cliburn told the Six pianists will then advance to the Final Round, June 3 to 7.
Business Press upon the 50th anniversary of his triumph at the This phase will see a selection of 50-minute solo recitals and
Tchaikovsky Competition.“It is neither entertainment nor two concertos with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, led
business. It is a soul-searching spiritual experience.” by James Conlon, one of the world’s preeminent conductors
The preeminent competitive event of the classical-music and music director of the Los Angeles Opera.
world, the 2009 Cliburn Competition will showcase some of The winners will be announced June 7.
the world’s most promising pianists. South Korean pianist As part of an intensified campaign to draw international
Yeol Eum Son, for example, has performed at a welcoming attention to all participants, the 17-day event will be Webcast
concert for the United Nations’ new secretary-general, Ban live and on-demand, free of charge, starting May 22. Online
Ki-moon. Czech pianist Lukas Vondracek gave his first con- audiences will have an opportunity to vote for favorite
cert at age 4. Italy’s Alessandro Deljavan recorded his first pianists at each phase of the competition. An official blog will
album at age 16. And for the first time in the Cliburn’s 47- provide commentary. Registration to view the Webcasts is in
year history, a blind pianist will compete — Japan’s Nobuyuki progress at www.cliburn.org.
Tsujii. Written applications were received from 225 pianists.

4 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


These were distilled to some 150 prospective players, representing 37 countries.
The candidates participated in the worldwide screening-audition recitals early
this year in Shanghai, China; Hanover, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia;
Lugano, Switzerland; New York; and Fort Worth. Each member of the five-seat
audition jury also is a member of the Cliburn 2009 competition jury.
And herewith, the contenders:
Stephen Beus, United States, 27; Evgeni Bozhanov, Bulgaria, 25; Yue Chu,
China, 25; Ran Dank, Israel, 27; Alessandro Deljavan, Italy, 22; Yoonjung Han,
Korea, 24; Kyu Yeon Kim, South Korea, 23; Naomi Kudo, United States, 22;
Natacha Kudritskaya, Ukraine, 25; Eduard Kunz, Russia, 28; Andrea Lam,
Australia, 27; Soyeon Lee, South Korea, 29; Ang Li, Canada, 24; Michail Lifits,
Germany, 26; Spencer Myer, United States, 30; Ilya Rashkovskiy, Russia, 24;
Mayumi Sakamoto, Japan, 26; Yeol Eum Son, South Korea, 23; Victor
Stanislavsky, Israel, 26; Chetan Tierra, United States, 25; Nobuyuki
Tsujii, Japan, 20; Mariangela Vacatello, Italy, 27; Vassilis Varvaresos,
Greece, 26; Lukas Vondracek, Czech Republic, 22; Di Wu, China,
24; Amy J. Yang, China, 25; Feng Zhang, China, 23; Haochen
Zhang, China, 19; Ning Zhou, China, 21; and Zhang Zou,
China, 20.
An opening ceremony May 20 at the Renaissance
Worthington Hotel will serve to establish the playing order.
Symposia will take place at the Van Cliburn Recital Hall in
Bass Hall’s neighboring Maddox–Muse Center. At a
marathon performance in Maddox–Muse’s McDavid Studio,
non-advancing competitors will perform their remaining
repertoire.
The Cliburn Foundation manages domestic engagements
for all finalists competition on a commission-free basis. The
Gold Medalist is offered additional concert engagements in
Europe and Asia, in conjunction with IMG Artists, Europe.
Competition subscriptions and a schedule of individual tick-
et fees are available online at www.cliburntickets.org, or with a
telephone call to 800-462-7979. FWC

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 5


film

‘ReelRosen’ — A guide to June’s Cliburn film festival


By Michael H. Price

Filmmaker Peter Rosen, a mainstay of the Bernstein surveys three decades of a great con-
Cliburn Competition in chronicling its progress ductor’s career on the occasion of his 60th birth-
over the long term, is the subject of a week-long day, dwelling upon perceptive observations from p
film festival called ReelRosen, which I have assem- colleagues and illustrated with performance
bled as a complement to Finals Week — June 1 footage, television appearances and photographs.
through 5 — of Cliburn 2009. Rosen’s presence in Shadows in Paradise surveys the exile during the T
Fort Worth during the competition lends a partic- 1930s of some 30,000 intellectuals and radicals
ular immediacy to the motion-picture showings, from Europe — fleeing the rise of Naziism —
which will take place at Four Day Weekend which in turn transplanted the creative intensity of T
Theatre. 1920s Berlin into pockets of cultural brilliance in
I began producing such music-on-film exhibi- the United States and Los Angeles, in particular.
tions with the Cliburn Foundation in 2001, mark- The film’s coverage of upheavals in literature,
ing the occasion of the competition’s arrival in Bass music and cinema is extensive.
Performance Hall by dedicating a neighboring • June 2 — 1:30 p.m.: In the Key of G: The
movie-theater screen to a companion event. That Gilmore International Keyboard Festival (2005) and
first collaborative endeavor, Hollywood and the Workshop for Peace (2005).
Piano, emphasized a connection between classical Gilmore offers an intense survey of the young p
piano and commercial cinema, bringing such artists involved in one influential event — center-
attractions as Gregory Ratoff ’s Intermezzo: A Love ing upon a challenging program of compositions
Story (1939) and Edgar G. Ulmer’s Carnegie Hall by Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Liszt.
(1947) to a rare big-screen prominence. Workshop for Peace, produced on a United
t
The new festival’s retrospective emphasis upon Nations commission, marks the 60th anniversary
Rosen will showcase not only the filmmaker’s ties of the U.N., notably emphasizing its architecture
H
to the Cliburn Competition, but also his gift at as a metaphor for a difficult goal of global
interpreting the arts as a class in an accessible and harmony.
fascinating manner. In a career delineated by more • June 2 — 7:30 p.m.: Who Gets To Call It Art?
than 100 motion pictures and television programs, (2006) is a feature-length study of the New York-
Rosen has worked with such prominent cultural based curator Henry Geldzahler (1935-1994), a t
figures as Leonard Bernstein, Yo-Yo Ma, Placido pivotal figure in the Pop Art movement of the
Domingo and I. M. Pei. One of Rosen’s Cliburn 1960s. Rosen offers sharp insights into a question
Competition documentaries, 1989’s Here To Make that looms ominously over anyone’s attempts to
Music, holds a Directors Guild Award; another, pin down a conceptual meaning of art. The implic-
Playing on the Edge, is a Peabody Medal selection. it question is this:“Who gets to call it art?” The t
ReelRosen is a collaborative presentation of the film is as much a challenge as a tribute, champi-
Fort Worth Business Press, the Cliburn Foundation oning Geldzahler as an iconoclast while wondering
and the Lone Star Film Society. A schedule and whether any ordinary civilian might be qualified to
program notes follow herewith: codify and validate some new movement. The W
greater argument is that there is no accounting for
• June 1 — 1:30 p.m.: First Person Singular: I.M. taste — the primary rule, in any case, of any vari-
Pei (1997) takes an assertive stance in likening ety of appreciation.
architecture to music, beginning with a declaration Geldzahler’s career helped in particular to solid-
from architect I.M. Pei that he finds inspiration in ify some generally accepted standards for
the compositions of Bach — “constant variations of American art during the closing half of the last
a simple theme.” century. Rosen’s similar accomplishment is an abili-
The film surveys Pei’s life from an upbringing in ty to persuade working artists to speak openly of
China, through his formal education at M.I.T. and their artistry.
Harvard, to his perception of architecture in terms Particularly arresting is the depiction of a shift- p
of music and sculpture. A companion film, The ing paradigm from a devotion to classical
Museum on the Mountain, will show on June 5. European artistry to a gathering interest in
• June 1 — 7:30 p.m.: Reflections: Leonard American-born artists. More troubling is the film’s
Bernstein (1978) and Shadows in Paradise (2008). depiction of the blithe recklessness with which

6 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


Geldzahler helped to transform such talents as the early 20th century, as a colorful figure of mas-
Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein — perma- sive contradictions, embodying operatic artistry on
nent-collection mainstays of the Modern Art the one hand and an almost clownish, occasionally
Museum of Fort Worth, of course — into com- scandalous, public image on the other. Caruso
modities brokers more so than artists. appealed to both sophisticates and commoners
As an accomplishment of filmmaking, Who Gets with a powerful presence that persists — shining
To Call It Art? is an artistic statement in itself, through even the primitive voice-recording tech-
drawing the absorbed viewer into almost a partici- nology of his day. The film contains a wealth of
patory sense of communion with a persistent issue. historic photographs and footage, in addition to
• June 3 — 1:30 p.m.: Toscanini: The Maestro primary-source recollections. Interviews with such
(1985) offers a vigorous depiction of Arturo artistic heirs as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido
Toscanini as one of a handful of great conductors Domingo provide additional insight.
of the last century. The film excels in its depiction The Museum on the Mountain, concerning I. M.
of Toscanini’s self-sacrificing opposition to the Pei’s Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan, tells of a fam-
Third Reich, and it contains vivid reminiscences ily’s art collection and a campaign to house it in an
from family members and colleagues. Toscanini’s appropriately unobtrusive setting. The program
intense presence at the podium is well represented, follows the project with fascinating dedication to
and archival footage includes a generous selection detail.
of performances. • June 5 — 4:30 p.m.: Van Cliburn: Concert Pianist
• June 3 — 4:30 p.m.: The Golden Age of the Piano (1995) and RubinsteinRemembered (1988). Two great
(1993) and Great Conversations in Music: The Pianists pianists of distinct generations provide the focus of
(2004) add up to a compelling portrait of the this closing program.
piano as an overriding force in classical music. The RubinsteinRemembered, a centennial tribute to
Golden Age of the Piano is an Emmy-anointed survey Artur Rubinstein, draws upon such sources as live-
of the instrument’s pivotal role. And The Pianists ly interview footage, home movies and concert
derives from a lengthier series of programs com- appearances and emphasizes the artist’s gifts as a
missioned by the Library of Congress, capturing storyteller — a man so consumed with the joy of
the impressions of a variety of great performers. living that neither advanced age nor near-blindness
• June 4 — 1:30 p.m.: A Place of Dreams: Carnegie could dim his passionate generosity. Here, Rosen
Hall at 100 (1991) and The Hollywood Bowl: Music combines an original interpretive view of
under the Stars (2001). Rubinstein’s devotion to the music (the composi-
A Place of Dreams traces the centuried history of tions of Chopin, in particular) with the brilliant
Carnegie Hall through an array of performances vision of another filmmaker, Francois
and memories. The array of personalities includes Reichenbach. The most outstanding performances
the likes of Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein, Ray come from Reichenbach’s 1969 film, L’Amour de la
Charles, Van Cliburn, Pete Seeger, Vladimir Vie: Artur Rubinstein.
Horowitz, Yo-Yo Ma, Liza Minnelli, Leontyne With Van Cliburn: Concert Pianist, Peter Rosen
Price, Artur Rubinstein and Frank Sinatra. concentrates upon the mesmeric power of
The Hollywood Bowl, as captured by Rosen on Cliburn’s hands, which seem to take on an inde-
the occasion of its 80th anniversary, is seen as a pendent life as they coax the piano to an astonish-
festive cauldron of creative frenzy. Archival footage ing level of melodic power. The centerpiece is a
covers such artists as Leopold Stokowski, Jascha bracing interpretation of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz,
Heifetz, Mischa Elman, Eugene Ormandy, Bruno framed in a context of historic performance
Walter, Otto Klemperer, Jose Iturbi and Fritz footage; interview segments (emphasizing, among
Reiner. other points of fascination, Cliburn’s piano-borne
• June 4 — 4:30 p.m.: Khachaturian (2003), an influence upon a generation of classical vocalists);
award-winner at the Hollywood Film Festival, and playful moments including a guest-appearance
offers an insightful biography of composer Aram as a conductor.
Khachaturian, best known for “Sabre Dance.” The The film also crystallizes Cliburn’s diplomatic
film contains a wealth of historic performances in influence, from his breakthrough competitive tri-
addition to its central portrait of artistry caught up umph in Moscow in 1958 to his persistence in
in a perpetual struggle against totalitarian political maintaining an artistic communion between the
authority. Khachaturian comes across as a vivid United States and Soviet Russia over the duration
personality. of the Cold War. This documentary plays especial-
• June 5 — 1:30 p.m.: Enrico Caruso: Voice of the ly well upon the big screen in terms of both techni-
Century (1998) and The Museum on the Mountain cal artistry and emotional depth. FWC
(1998).
Caruso considers its subject, a proto-celebrity of

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 7


music

FWOpera

Festival continues to hit high notes


By Michael H. Price

“I feel like I am really S carcely two years ago, Fort Worth’s six-decade operatic heritage broke ranks with tradition to develop an
annual festival — a drastic detour from conventional opera-season programming.
The alteration carried a risk that has paid off with conspicuous success for the FWOpera Festival, which
lucky to be alive and enters a third season April 25. The distinct difference between the former, conventionally staged operatic sea-
son and the revamped FWOpera Festival schedule is that the festival stages all its productions during a com-
producing opera at pact series of weekends.
this time when there The local audience has remained loyal, including habitual opera-goers who have followed the Fort Worth
Opera since childhood. The festival format also has given the city a new destination event for tourism —
are so many amazing benefiting the city’s overall economy beyond the local box office. Of the tens of thousands of tickets that will
be sold, several thousand will represent out-of-town purchasers.
composers writing The established audience, as General Director Darren K. Woods tells it, is likelier to prefer the acknowl-
edged great classical operas. The newer, perhaps more adventurous, audience will be drawn by innovative
incredible pieces.” works. The result of such thinking is a blend of traditional attractions and groundbreaking works.
“Our desire is to be an international destination,” Woods says.“This could get us there.
“I feel like I am really lucky to be alive and producing opera at this time when there are so many amazing
– Darren Woods, composers writing incredible pieces,” Woods adds.“Our output lately has been great — first, Frau Margot
Fort Worth Opera [two years ago] by Thomas Pasatieri, then Peter Eotvos’ powerful Angels in America [2008] and this season’s
Dead Man Walking … Being in a position to help create and bring to the stage these great new works is a life-
long dream of mine.”
Season tickets and weekend packages range from $31 to $394. Individual tickets range from $21 to $159
for Bizet’s Carmen (beginning April 25) and $19 to $154 for Rossini’s Cinderella (beginning April 26) and the
Jake Heggie–Terrence McNally operatic adaptation of Dead Man Walking (beginning May 2). The venue is
Bass Performance Hall. FWC

mprice@bizpress.net

Warming up to ✶ 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. March 21, in the Modern’s auditorium: Mark Dornford–May’s U–Carmen (2005)
– Set in the sprawling shantytown of Kayelitsha and sung entirely in the Xhosa Language, U-Carmen is a rousing and
FWOpera Fest imaginative contemporary adaptation of George Bizet’s 19th-century opera Carmen. Director May’s début feature is
impressively sung and performed by the Dimpho De Kopane Theater Co. Pauline Malefane stars as Carmen, who
with a pertinent seduces a devout policeman (Andile Tshoni) – with fateful consequences. No prior knowledge of the original opera is
required to enjoy U-Carmen – a dynamically cinematic work.
series of films
✶ 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. March 22 at the Modern: Tim Robbins’ Dead Man Walking (1995) – The
As a prelude to the FWOpera
tale of a Death Row inmate and the nun who befriends him addresses a controversial issue with an intensely personal
Festival, the Fort Worth Opera
viewpoint. Director Tim Robbins and lead actors Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon were nominated for Oscars;
and the Modern Art Museum of
Sarandon won the Best Actress nod.
Fort Worth will devote a late-
March series of film screenings
to moving pictures pertaining to ✶ 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. March 28 at the Modern: Brian Large and Bruno Campanella’s La Cenerentola
the forthcoming operatic produc- (a.k.a. Cinderella; 1995) – Cecilia Bartoli portrays a feisty Cinderella, combining rebellions with pathos and vocal
tions. Herewith, the schedule: beauty with virtuosity. The exuberant Bologna production was captured in a real-time performance at Houston.

8 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


culture

Associated Businesses of the Cultural District

The ABCD’s of culture-and-commerce

By Michael H. Price

“The objective is to
give a voice to the N owhere is the arts-and-commerce basis of the Fort Worth Cultural District more
emphatically pronounced than in a quietly influential organization known as Associated
Businesses of the Cultural District.
Having endured through a long stretch of virtual separatism between the district’s art-museum
small-business owners and Western Heritage components and its commercial sector, the ABCD has met the new century
with a strengthened commitment to reciprocity: Culturally attuned visitors are by nature customers,
within the area.” and customers in turn represent museum and event traffic.
Phillip Poole, a board member with ABCD and lead development executive with TownSite Co.,
likens the organization to a chamber of commerce – dealing from a basis of concern for its member-
– Marshall Tillman, companies’ economic and aesthetic health, with such strategic measures as taking a hand in the for-
ABCD board member mation of Neighborhood Empowerment Zones and urban-village developments.
A consistent ABCD presence at City Council meetings is part of the strategy, and Poole has
become a key advocate of streetcar development as crucial linkage within the Cultural District and
into such other local-signature areas as the Stockyards District and Sundance Square.
“The objective is to give a voice to the small-business owners within the area,” adds board mem-
ber Marshall Tillman, of the Kornye–Tillman Co.
“The arts – the museums and the performing arts – have long had their advocates,” explains
Poole,“and the Will Rogers [Memorial Center] and the Stock Show component has its advocates.
For a long time, there, everybody had just tolerated the businesses within range of the Cultural
District … hardly a great deal of collaborative effort, there. But circumstances are changing, and for
the better.”
Poole’s reference is to a period almost 20 years ago – although the tendency has persisted into
times more recent – when a ragged fringe of spontaneous, largely unplanned, commercial develop-
ment had lined the streets immediately bordering the museum district. Only lately has the immedi-
ate University-to-Montgomery stretch, south of West Seventh Street/Camp Bowie Boulevard and
north of the West Freeway, begun to develop an aesthetic consistency to match the institutional
components of the Cultural District.
The major museums – significant works of architecture beyond their shared function of exhibi-
tion – had been designed to look inward upon themselves, rather than outward to embrace the land-
scape. Such as the landscape was, in any event: A deteriorated Seventh Street Theatre, though his-
toric in its own right and once a prospect for restoration, met the wrecking-ball not long before the
rise of a new Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2002. A prominent-but-nondescript Chevron
gasoline station dominated the Seventh-at-University Roundabout; today the site is a scenic green
space, consistent with the grounds of the Modern Art Museum.
“We are the living-room for the city,” Poole explains.“This is the place where we display our fine
art and much of our heritage for all to see … and as such the Cultural District attracts between
7 1/2 and 8 million visitors annually.”
Such numbers stand to increase exponentially as new commercial development mounts to a near-
billion-dollar mark via such ventures as So7 and Museum Place. Tillman’s stated objective of the

10 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


ABCD’s role in “promoting and protecting” the
immediate commercial sector is consistent with
Poole’s observation that Cultural District rede-
velopment must anticipate the approach of the
Trinity River Vision project. The tightening of
consumer-traffic and residential connections
between the Downtown area and the Cultural
District, too, promises to stabilize the area’s
infrastructure as foreshadowing of the Trinity
venture.
Organized in 1991, the ABCD has asserted a
broadening role within the district, whose
sphere – for neighborhood-membership pur-
poses, in any event – stretches from the Trinity
River to Interstate Highway 30 and from White
Settlement Road to the juncture of Camp
Bowie Boulevard with I-30. The 117 member-
companies range from mom-and-pop establish-
ments to such corporate entities as the
Montgomery Plaza Super Target and Acme
Brick. Acme’s historic location along West
Seventh Street had placed the company among
the founding membership, and since its resettle-
ment along Bryant Irvin Road, Acme has
remained a sponsoring cornerstone of the
ABCD.
“Membership is open to anyone with an
interest in the Cultural District,” says ABCD
chairman Aaron Chase, a financial adviser with
Edward Jones.“The viability of the organization
and its members ties directly to the viability of
the district.”
“The small businesses are a primary concern,”
says board member Warren Wolf, publisher of
Guide to the Fort Worth Cultural District. “In the
present treacherous economy, we’ve provided
the independent businesspeople with a common
ground and, I believe, given them a stronger link
to the [district’s] major attractions. The sense of
identification between the businesses and the
institutions is stronger, as a result.”
The ABCD also overlaps significantly with
Historic Camp Bowie, a public-improvement
district that covers much the same patch of
geography. ABCD board membership includes
representatives of not only the commercial sec-
tor but also of such landmark institutions as the
Fort Worth Museum of Science & History and
the Modern Art Museum.
“The more members we attract,” adds Wolf,
“the better off we all become.” The organiza-
tion’s persistent development has affirmed not
merely the self-evident truth of safety-in-num-
bers – but also a sense of progress beyond sim-
PHOTO BY GLEN E. ELLMAN

ple economic survival.


The ABCD meets on a third-Tuesdays
schedule. Annual membership is $100. The
Web address is www.abcd.org. FWC

mprice@bizpress.net

Aaron Chase is the newly installed


chairman of ABCD.

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 11


Financing the arts

New ground

Groups seek support and


new audiences during recession
By Michael H. Price

“There comes a time


when [a cultural B en Hecht, the great journalist and playwright of the last century, once paid poetic homage to
the arts “that dance and sing… and keep this troubled planet green with spring.”

Blind Alfred Reed, an influential folk musician from rural Virginia, addressed a depressed econo-
organization] must my in 1929 with a popular lament called “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?” –
hoping that a recording of his complaint would sell well enough to buoy his artistry. Another rustic
venture out beyond entertainer of the period, Uncle Dave Macon, joined the chorus with a lyric maintaining: “The only
thing that we can do, is to do the best we can…”
just ‘preaching to the Troubled times exert the backhanded advantage of bringing out resilience and gumption in their
artists: During the turbulent 1960s, the civil-rights balladeer Len Chandler took a cue from Dave
choir,’ as the saying Macon to offer a song called “Keep on Keepin’ On” – a slogan so purposeful that it has become a
watchword for persistence in any endeavor.
goes, and begin Such lyrical manifestos, in turn, provided the springboard this year for a symposium staged by
Leadership Fort Worth, a community-stewardship agency that has nurtured next-generation civic
seeking to broaden duty since the 1970s. The occasion, Leadership Fort Worth Arts & Culture Day, packed a gallery at
the Community Arts Center on Feb. 26 with a participatory crowd, intent upon discussing the chal-
its appeal. lenges of financing the arts during a state of general economic lapse.
Collaboration is Key participants included Jody Ulich, president of the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant
County; Cathy Hernandez, executive director of Artes de la Rosa; and Darren Woods, general direc-
essential. Strategy is tor of Fort Worth Opera.
Woods explained that the approaching FWOpera Festival – itself the subject of an accompanying
essential. And the story, on page 8 – has gained momentum since 2007 through a strategic combination of long-term
operatic patronage and newly discovered audiences.
marketing tech- “The younger audiences prize passion and drama in their entertainment,” said Woods, drawing
parallels of interest between the emotional appeal of much popular music and its rock-video off-
niques that will shoots, and the intrinsic emotive qualities of opera.“The opera, in turn, invites a natural progression
of interest.” The company also has taken strategic pains to combine old-school classical favorites with
attract one genera- newly developed operatic works in programming a season. A Carmen, for example, has built-in appeal
to the established audience, while a newer opera, such as the 2009 festival’s Dead Man Walking,
tion may be irrele- addresses not only a next-generation interest in opera but also packs an immediate social relevance.
“There comes a time,” Woods added,“when [a cultural organization] must venture out beyond just
vant to another.” ‘preaching to the choir,’ as the saying goes, and begin seeking to broaden its appeal. Collaboration is
essential. Strategy is essential. And the marketing techniques that will attract one generation may be
– Darren Woods, irrelevant to another.”
Fort Worth Opera Much as the Van Cliburn Foundation has tapped unprecedented levels of popular interest in the
social-networking strata of the Internet, the Fort Worth Opera has found new viability in the Web
site known as Twitter (www.twitter.com), both in terms of general attention-getting devices and
short-notice ticketing for individual events.
The Fort Worth Opera has a six-decade head-start, more or less, on Artes de la Rosa in terms of

12 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL
Jody Ulich, Darren Woods and Cathy Hernandez

longevity. Artes de la Rosa, based at a municipally restored neigh- a prior record is an accomplishment in itself. Arts Council grants, too, keep revenues inside the
borhood theater along North Main Street, dates from 2003 in its local community, enabling the production of additional ticket-selling events. Such events, in
mission to champion the Latinate arts as an essential component turn, can attract out-of-town destination traffic, which utilizes hotels and restaurants with
of the local cultural scene. The aim, as Hernandez has said, is not demonstrable economic impact. Bed-tax revenues, in addition, lend support to the Arts
so much to showcase Hispanic artistry for a self-contained audi- Council.
ence, as it is to make the indigenous culture both accessible and “The economic payback of the arts, as a class, is tremendous,” said Ulich,“but then, during
fascinating to an integrated patronage. difficult economic times, the arts are often the first to be dismissed as a frivolous expense …
Hernandez said she often finds it daunting to compete with And yet, a company that considers locating its offices and its jobs in Fort Worth will seek
longer-established arts organizations for the ever-more-elusive assurances that there is a vigorous and productive arts community.
underwriting dollar. But competition also breeds collaboration – “We, as arts organizations, know our worth – and the challenge is to sustain a viable culture
such as a recent shared venture between the Fort Worth Opera of philanthropy, in addition to inspiring our arts groups to be ever more creative and adventur-
and Artes de la Rosa at the Rose Marine Theatre. ous in finding ways to reach beyond their ready-made audiences.”
“To generate revenue with a ticket-selling attraction is a desir- One certain tactic, Ulich added, might be “to place a musical instrument into every child’s
able accomplishment,” Woods said.“But often, it is just as desir- hands at the kindergarten level – and keep it there through graduation.” The reference might
able to fulfill the imperative of bringing the arts to the communi- translate from music to painting to writing, as far as the early nurturing of creative expression
ty-at-large in a spirit of altruism.” The payoff, all agreed, is a is concerned.
heightened state of cultural enlightenment – which in its turn Woods noted an increasing impersonality in corporate philanthropy – “a tendency among
can inspire productive citizenship. companies to relegate applications for underwriting to online forms,” as opposed to the face-to-
Ulich echoed Hernandez’ sentiment with the frank assertion face communion between artists and patrons that has historically characterized such relation-
that the Arts Council itself functions in competition with the ships.
numerous artistic agencies it serves – seeking corporate – and “Ticket sales alone will not cover the costs of a production,” Woods added.“Hence our
community-based funding for its own operations, including the reliance upon sponsorships and sustaining donations for the sake of encouraging the arts, in
Community Arts Center, also while serving as a flow-through reciprocity for the arts’ traditional role in sustaining the spirit of a community and inspiring
channel to dispense much of its monetary wherewithal to indi- new generations of civic leadership.
vidual nonprofit troupes. The recent annual granting of a total of “So here comes your next season of production,” Woods said,“and just on the eve of an event
$1.5 million from the Arts Council to numerous arts groups, some key sponsor backs out. Such things happen, especially during economically difficult
ranging in scope from mass-appeal dominant-culture production times. And this is where any arts group can prove its resilience by seeking new audiences, by
companies to niche-market organizations of specialized interest, developing strategic collaborations among the communities of the arts and civic involvement,
finds the Arts Council sustaining the record level of grants and by persisting in the belief that an audience can always be broadened and strengthened.
achieved in 2008. “So what’s to do but ‘keep on keepin’ on’?” FWC
Prevailing economic conditions tend to discourage attempts to
break any record-setting levels of underwriting. The upholding of mprice@bizpress.net

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 13


education

Arts in the public schools

A superintendent’s super-intentions

By Michael H. Price

“We have accomplished


T
he fewer legislative mandates, the better. But even so, an official view of the arts as an essen-
tial component of a public-school education might make sense – or at least, hold the line
a restoration here, and against chronic budgetary cuts that always seem to land first on the arts as a function of
classroom and extracurricular activity.
I would resign before I In the absence of any arts-study mandates, a newfound commitment to the arts within the Fort Worth
Independent School District may make the most practical sense.
would ever see the arts As an upshot of a vow made 3 1/2 years ago by Melody A. Johnson, superintendent of schools, 100
percent of elementary-grade students are now enrolled in fine-arts classes – some 45,000 youngsters, over-
cut from our schools all — and nearly half the district’s secondary-level students are involved likewise. The proportion of arts
involvement among an 80,000-student population suggests a promise largely fulfilled.
on my watch.” The commitment hardly guarantees anyone of a career in the arts, but it promises its participating stu-
dents “a greater sense of belonging,” as Johnson puts it. And such a sense of belonging, in turn, has long
since proved to correspond to more consistent classroom attendance and a reduced tendency to quit
– Melody A. Johnson, school for whatever reasons.
superintendent of Fort Worth ISD The traditional readin’–writin’–’rithmetic components of a tax-dollar schooling seem to come more
easily to students who learn the role of counting as a function of making music; who learn to string
together thoughts and words in the process of relating an entertaining story; and who learn that the visual
arts manifest themselves not by happy accident — but rather as a combination of compositional knowl-
edge and instinctive trust, qualities that also foster productive habits of general-purpose studying.
“The arts are typically considered expendable,” Johnson explains, speaking of public education as a
class. A prior local administration had responded to financial challenges by pronouncing its arts programs
expendable. Johnson’s arrival in 2005 from Providence, R.I. — where as superintendent she had imple-
mented both systemic reforms and innovative instructional programs — found her intent upon restoring
the arts as a prominent element of the learning environment.
“The arts, there in Rhode Island, had been cut — under my watch, of course, but against my prefer-
ences,” Johnson explains.“I vowed, then, that I would never, ever, see the arts cut from another school dis-
trict where I am involved. We have accomplished a restoration here, and I would resign before I would
ever see the arts cut from our schools on my watch.”
Even in cost-containment mode, trustees of the Fort Worth system have proved willing to rededicate
millions of dollars to such programs, improving the district’s inventories of musical instruments and art-
making supplies and making certain that every child finds a participatory welcome. The situation proves
more a matter of “no child left out” than of “no child left behind.”
Johnson has found the students responsive, she says,“especially, the children from poverty-level back-
grounds … the arts encourage a belief in oneself, a feeling of accomplishment that carries over into a gen-
eral enthusiasm for learning.”
Johnson’s administration has heightened the real-life relevance of the general curriculum while intro-
ducing measures of accountability and sound business practices. A voter-approved $594 million Capital
Improvement Program (November 2007) has remained on schedule and on budget.
Johnson’s approach to the arts, consistent with a curriculum-wide policy of innovation and practicality,

14 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


Melody A. Johnson (photo courtesy of FWISD)

has been to grant such culturally creative endeavors “a place of selection of 22 students to attend the state’s Visual Arts Scholastic Event.
greater prominence,” as she puts it, and to situate such super- • A $939,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for professional develop-
visory figures as Michael D. Ryan, as executive director of fine ment in the fine arts, in the company of such grant partners as the Fort Worth Symphony,
arts; and Christine Walk, as supervisor of school bands. the Fort Worth Opera, Bass Hall’s affiliated Performing Arts Fort Worth, the Arts
(Band and orchestra membership has doubled in five years. Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, Casa Mañana and Texas Christian University.
And this year, a record number of 13 Fort Worth School (The grant carries sponsorship by Performing Arts Fort Worth of a Kodály Institute regi-
District musicians and seven choristers have secured positions men, which will equip 30 teachers with certification in musical development.)
in the All-State Band and the All-State Choir.) • A 3 percent increase in fine-arts enrollment.
Such accomplishments, as Johnson tells it, have been a • An invitation to the theater department of Paschal High School to attend the Fringe
matter of “finding strong leaders, empowering them — and International Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
supporting them … and developing interdisciplinary collabo- • Recognition for Southwest High School Band as one of the state’s top three
rative relationships across the various divisions of the district.” University Interscholastic League Class 4A wind ensembles.
Meanwhile, Ryan’s office has compiled such statistical • And participation by art students as selling exhibitors in the MAIN ST. Fort Worth
benchmarks as these: Arts Festival — coming right up, April 16–19, as an annual downtown attraction. FWC
• A year ago, the school system began entering students in
a statewide art competition — starting with 175 entries and mprice@bizpress.net
five qualifying results, and escalating to 501 entries and the

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 15


music

Texas Country

Newcomer Donahew ropes in


business support, award nominations
By Laurie Barker James
Special to Fort Worth Culture

A
lthough he’s nominated for a 2009 Gruene with Envy Texas music award as New Artist
of the Year, Burleson’s Casey Donahew actually has six years, three albums and a large
group of fans behind him.
After returning from Texas A&M University in 2003, Donahew made the rounds as an
acoustic act in Fort Worth’s smaller clubs. Barely old enough to drink legally, with a voice that’s
more high lonesome Hank Williams than black hat baritone, Donahew gained supporters and
enough momentum to need a band. The band generated enough fans to move him up to places
like Fort Worth’s Horseman Club, which holds about 1,000 people before the fire marshal com-
plains.
There’s do-it-yourself, and then there’s Donahew-it-yourself. Donahew’s success – including
performing for 4,800 people at Billy Bob’s in January – has come with limited mass marketing.
He funds and promotes his own recordings, and received relatively little radio airplay until 2008
with the release of “Crazy,” which was popular both locally and statewide. His music is available
online and through a few local stores. People hear about the band, Donahew says, from fans
who’ve downloaded music and shared it with friends.
Some of Donahew’s fans actually have become business partners. Donahew’s spon-
sors include Fort Worth institutions Justin Boots and the Frank Kent Motor Co.
Frank Kent co-owner Corrie Churchill credits her brother Will’s respect for
Donahew as an artist as the catalyst for their affiliation with Donahew.
“Frank Kent Motors is big on family,” she said.“And Casey is very much about
family, very professional. He puts on a show that’s entertaining for people of all ages.
We’re proud to be associated with such a talented artist and businessman.”
For almost four years, Donahew and Frank Kent have partnered through the deal-
ership’s “Music and Motors” program. Donahew even sings the tag line in some of the
Frank Kent radio commercials.
Donahew also garnered the attention of Billy and Pam Minick during one of the
“local talent” group shows that fill the bill when Billy Bob’s Texas doesn’t have a
national act. Pam Minick says Donahew’s fan support comes from mostly college-age
people who flocked to hear him. She credits him for being smart about the business
Band members Jon Magil, Tony Pierce with seminal of his business, and she wasn’t surprised when his fifth show headlining at the World’s Largest
Texas band Asleep At the Wheel frontman Ray Honky Tonk filled more than two-thirds of the 6,000 seat venue.
Benson, Steve Stone and Casey Donahew at the Black The Jan. 31 show attracted representatives from Apex Nashville, which markets and distrib-
Tie and Boots Ball in Washington D.C. utes music through Thirty Tigers, a management, publicity and marketing firm. Donahew’s
mulling a deal with Apex, but also is meeting with independent Kerrville-based Sustain
Records. A wider distribution deal would take him closer to getting onto the national Billboard
music charts. However, distribution deals cost money and potentially, artistic freedom.
Donahew’s already successfully and independently created a market for his music, without a
major label backing him.
“We played for 3,000 people at Billy Bob’s Texas and had never had a song in the Texas top
50 until last year,” he said.

16 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


The Casey Donahew Band: Tony Pierce, Jon Magil, Casey Donahew, Steve Stone, Donte Gates (photo by Tessa Blackwell)

Another reason for Donahew’s success: The plain-spoken Johnson domestic violence. The song chronicles what might happen when a man hits a
County native walks his talk.“White Trash Story,” recorded on his second, woman who knows how to use a shotgun. Hearing “He’s never gonna hit her
eponymously-titled CD, sums up who he thinks he is. again” is chilling, especially on a live record, with women in the audience singing
“Only my real friends can call me white trash,” he said. the chorus back to him.
But for a “white trash” guy from Johnson County, Donahew is surprising- Last year’s “Crazy” is a co-write with wife Melinda, who says the two wrote the
ly deep.“Twelve Gauge” has roots in a female friend’s experience with song after she watched too much “entertainment television” about crazy things
that young women do.“Crazy” came in at No. 17 in the top most-played songs of
2008, according to the Best in Texas music calculator, and generated a lot of
statewide radio airplay.
The Gruene with Envy best new artist nomination came from a group of
Texas music industry insiders. GWE founder and event producer Dave Lytle
says Donahew’s nomination is a nod to his gradual momentum.
“Casey is so well-known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Lytle said.“But this
past year he had breakout success statewide.”
Donahew’s status as an up-and-comer was cemented with his invitation to the
Texas State Society’s Jan. 19 Inaugural Black Tie and Boots Ball in Washington,
D.C. Donahew performed with arena-fillers and fellow Gruene with Envy nomi-
nees Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jack Ingram and the Randy Rogers Band, as well
as alt favorites Joe Ely and Kelly and Bruce Robison.
Donahew wore his Justin boots to the celebrity-studded event at the
Washington Gaylord Hotel. He played one of the coveted top of the bill slots,
after the legendary Texas Playboys, Dale Watson, and Bruce and Kelly Willis.
Donahew marvels at sharing a green room with the Texas Playboys, who invent-
ed the western swing musical genre. He calls his once-in-a-lifetime experience
humbling.
“I can’t believe that that many people from Texas fly out for one day,” he said.
Donahew status as a headliner gets “cemented” for the wall at Billy Bob’s Texas. “You could definitely sense the magnitude of what was happening.” FWC
Donahew is pictured with the club’s Robert Gallagher.

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 17


art

Daimler Financial Services

Innovation, creativity aim of office art


By Leslie Wimmer

M ud, hay, metal, wire, glass, cement, wood blocks, yarn and strips
of pink paper.
These are some of the media used in the more than 80 art pieces
pieces and require them to ask questions, says Leila Matta, brand
identity and design manager for Daimler Financial Services.
“We want to bring in abstract, contemporary art, works that are
hanging around, sitting in and framing employee workspaces at more provocative and maybe have a longer-lasting effect on employ-
Daimler Financial Services’ AllianceTexas office building. ees,” Matta says.
Corporate art often is made up of flat, obscure landscapes or photo- The art pieces Daimler chose came from both art students and fac-
graphs with captions meant to inspire teamwork and motivation, but ulty members at the art schools at Texas Christian University and
Daimler’s contemporary art effort, titled “Experiencing Perspectives,” is Southern Methodist University.
meant to provoke thought and start conversations among employees. The Experiencing Perspectives project plays up employees’ creativity
“Daimler has been supporting innovation from the time Gottlieb at Daimler’s facility, Matta says, and simultaneously helps art students
Daimler and Karl Benz got together, and we’re trying to create an learn how to exhibit work and build relationships outside of tradition-
environment for our employees that will inspire innovation,” says Jack al settings, such as galleries.
Ferry, spokesman for Daimler Financial Services. “Students often work with just what we call the ‘white cube’ of the
Daimler was looking for pieces that may challenge ideas employees gallery, where all of the focus is on the art work, but when you put a
have of what art is, that would expose them to more complicated piece in an area that’s already got a social discourse, like an office, that
isn’t a neutral space, that’s a challenge,” says Jay Sullivan, chair of the
division of art at SMU.
Ron Watson, chair of the department of art and art history at
TCU, agreed.
“This is a terrific step forward for our students,” Watson says in a
statement,“because their work will be exhibited in a public environ-
ment. It’s a perfect union for us.”
Amy Revier, a student at SMU, has two pieces on display at
Daimler Financial, both a mix of words and textiles.
In meeting with Daimler’s employees at a reception and launch of
the project, Revier says she was surprised to discover the different
reactions people had to not just her work, but all of the pieces in the
building.
“When you’re a student and you’re constantly surrounded by people
who are artists and art students, and then being around people who
aren’t, having that dialogue was really interesting and exciting,” Revier
says.
One of Revier’s pieces, titled Textures, is made up of several strips of
pink paper with words typed along them. The words create different
shapes on the paper, but are not meant to be a flowing thought or dia-
logue.
“This came from a performance I did where I sat on a stage and
wrapped scarves around my head, the scarves were made of angora
Pace It, 2007, Stephen Battle, TCU and baby camel hair, and I had a typewriter, my mom’s old typewriter,

18 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


Essentials of Equivalent Worlds,
2006, Winter Rusiloski, TCU

and a scroll of pink paper in front of me,” Revier says.


Revier, while blindfolded with the scarves, then typed out words
and thoughts, she says, and the end product was a look at the way lan-
guage can be both open and structured at the same time.
Revier’s second piece is titled Shells. In putting the piece together,
Revier dipped adult cloth diapers in porcelain slip and fired them in a
kiln. The firing process burned away the cloth from the diapers and
left thin porcelain sheets in place.
In a statement on the work, Revier says the piece “comments on
exchange and the things that can occur during transitioning: changes
in efficiency, protection, malleability and intimacy.”
Employees have had a variety of reactions to the art since Daimler’s
offices opened at Alliance in September 2008.
Daimler will host quarterly art lectures and discussions by bringing
in artists who have displayed work in the building to talk about their
pieces and answer questions.
“Some people are really excited about certain pieces and then some
people ask ‘What is that supposed to mean? How is that art?’” Matta
says.“Whether people are excited or confused, people are curious and
there are a lot of questions, which is what we were hoping for.” FWC

Spring 9 / Fort Worth Culture 19


art and commerce

Arts and culture on the go

D/FW Airport’s art collection


helps the spirit take flight
By Betty Dillard

A hurried passenger pauses at a flight board to check her “Art enhances the customer experience,” says Sharon McCloskey,
departure time, glances at her watch, then turns to scurry vice president of marketing at D/FW. She mentions surveys showing
away until the geometric medallion where she stands beck- that ambience is the No. 1 consideration with international and con-
ons her to linger. A couple of teenagers, a maze of colored terrazzo necting passengers.
and curved glass walls before them, try to decipher the grand sculp- “Art enhancement is more important than restaurants, shopping or
tural puzzle. And under the graceful arch of a giant bronze wish- flight boards,” McCloskey says.“People are definitely aware of their
bone, newlyweds embrace and kiss before departing for an overseas surroundings.”
honeymoon. People seem to be taking notice of D/FW’s free walking tour of
From large-scale sculptures and paintings to mosaic floor medal- the art program, too. Increased interest from college art departments,
lions and terrazzo floor designs, the 37-piece collection of museum- as well as from schoolchildren and even horticulturists, is on the rise,
caliber artwork incorporated into Dallas/Fort Worth International according to Brian Murnahan, the airport’s media relations specialist.
Airport is a constant head-turner at the world’s third-busiest airport. Last year, 174 tours were given. Also taking off is a downloadable
Open daily and free to the public, the collection is one of the best video podcast of the art program from the airport’s Web site.
public art exhibits focusing on regional talent. The tours are a great way for layover passengers to use their time.
Launched in 2005 and designed to enhance International Terminal “Monotony and boredom are what airports used to be known for,”
D, the airport’s $6 million commissioned art program greets visitors Murnahan says.“The airport art program gets people to enjoy their
at gateways, ticket halls and entrances throughout the departures time here, instead of just spending time here. The artwork gets peo-
level and the Skylink train stations. ple to be social and to talk and interact with each other. It takes your
Thirty-three artists were selected for the permanent collection. mind off things: waiting, flying, your problems. It helps relieves
The rich showcase includes such well-known regional artists as stress, too.”
Anitra Blayton, Dennis and Dan Blagg, Richard Zapata, Linda Guy, Some pieces are located outside security, but part of the tour takes
Benito Huerta, Linda and Ed Blackburn. The late Arthello Beck’s place inside security so it’s best to plan for a guided tour. A govern-
East Texas mosaic, Cypress Trees, is a favorite. ment-issued identification card is required to participate in the tour
Fort Worth artist Billy Hassell, who is represented in the collec- as a non-passenger.
tion with a mosaic of Texas’ State Bird titled Early Morning Flight, The up-close, guided tours last between 60 and 90 minutes. A reg-
sums up why he wanted to be part of the collection. istration form is available on the airport’s Web site. Trained guides
“The public art program at Terminal D is a unique opportunity to include art program specialist Guy Bruggeman and about a dozen
visually enhance a utilitarian space,” says Hassell,“but more than docents from D/FW’s Volunteer Ambassador Program.
that, it is a chance to celebrate an aesthetic regional identity and to Bruggeman has been leading tours and training other volunteers
engage air travelers in a rich and stimulating visual experience.” for the past two years.
In addition to the indoor art collection, four pieces — by Mark di “Some of the art collection is interactive,” Bruggeman says.“All of it
Suvero, Anthony Caro, John Newman and Mac Whitney — on loan engages passengers to stop and look and think. It’s always fun to see
from the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas are displayed in a gar- people’s reactions when they realize they’re walking across a piece of
den outside the Terminal D parking garage, on the arrivals level and art.” FWC
opposite the Grand Hyatt DFW hotel.
D/FW’s art venue is part of a hot trend in the aviation industry. For information on the art program at Dallas/Fort Worth International
Flourishing airport art programs worldwide are entertaining and Airport or to schedule a tour or download a video podcast, visit www.dfwair-
educating travelers and non-ticketed patrons alike. Looking to distin- port.com/art/index.php
guish themselves, airports also are providing art as a good customer
service tool in the long wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist siege. bdillard@bizpress.net

20 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


Paintings/Sculptures (outside security)
The Art of • Anitra Blayton, Fort Worth
Standing Ovation
• Philip Lamb and Susan Magilow, Dallas
Flower Power I and Flower Power II
Terminal C North, Terminal C South

International South Ticket Entrance Hall


“Applause is both an uplifting
greeting and farewell in all lan-

Terminal D guages.”

• Peter Halley, New York


Untitled
Southeast Ticket Hall Wall
Medallions (inside security)
• Richard Zapata, Dallas • David Driskell, Hyattsville, Md.
The Highest Power Jerome Meadows, Savannah, Ga. • Benito Huerta, Arlington
Gates D6-7 On the Wings of a Dragon Wings
“I would like to leave a reminder … that transportation started Hotel Atrium Anita Blayton, Standing Ovation Terminal D (North and South)
with harnessing nature. The wind, the environment and the “My interest is to expand the boundaries of art and how it
animal.” reaches and interacts with the community on a daily basis.”

• Viola Delgado, Dallas • Brad Goldberg, Dallas


Untitled Over the High Plains of Texas
Gates D8-10 Terminal E (North and South)

• Linda Guy, Fort Worth Viola Delgado, Untitled Customs and Border Patrol Hall (inside security)
Dance! Don’t Walk
Gates D11-12

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL


“As weary travelers walk across the medallion they might
momentarily join the two businesspeople dancing, throwing • Dennis Blagg, Fort Worth
their briefcases away, enjoying the sense of freedom that air Cosmic Big Bend Landscape
travel can bring.” Northeast Ticket Hall Wall

• Lane Banks, Dallas • Terry Allen, Santa Fe, N.M.


Untitled Wish
Gates D14-17 North Ticket Entrance Hall
“Just meet me at the Wishbone.” • Sol Lewitt (1928-2007)
• Pamela Nelson, Dallas Untitled
Destination Game Sculptures (inside security) CBP Hall Side Walls
Gates D18-20 • Dennis Oppenheim, New York
Lane Banks, Untitled
Crystal Mountain • Beat Streuli, Dusseldorf, Germany
• Beatrice Lebreton, Dallas North Concessions Area Terry Allen, Wish Untitled
Celebration CBP Hall West Wall
Gates D21-22
“The world to me is like a patchwork: It needs different shapes, • Tom Orr, Dallas
colors, sizes and interaction among the people to exist. If one Untitled
piece is missing, the unity is broken.” West Glazed Walls to Apron

• Ted Kincaid, Dallas • John Holt Smith, Fort Worth


Untitled Untitled
Gates D23-24 Meeter/Greeter Hall Wall

• Billy Hassell, Fort Worth


Early Morning Flight Nasher Sculpture, Parking L1
Gates D25-27 Tom Orr, Untitled
Ted Kincaid, Untitled • Christopher Janney, Lexington, Mass. • Mac Whitney
Circling Chicota
• Linda Blackburn and Ed Blackburn, Fort Worth South Concessions Area
Louise “As an artist, it is my concern that public spaces not only have
Gates D28-31 a unique sense of place, but also are places of creative rest –
not only visually interesting but physically engaging…”
• Arthello Beck (1941-2004), Dallas
Cypress Trees Terrazzo Floors – Skylink Stations (inside security)
Gates D33-34 • Nancy Lamb, Fort Worth
“I believe my art provides a soothing and relaxing environment Get There on Time
… As depicted in my paintings, all humans have grace, beauty Terminal A North
and culture that are to be shared, treasured and appreciated.”
• Nancy Lamb • John Newman
• Jane Helslander, Fort Worth Stamps Torus Orbicularis
Floating in Space, a Waltz Terminal A South
Gates D36-37 • Issac Witkin
• Dan Blagg, Fort Worth Hawthorne Tree, Variation III
Spirit Walk
• Judy Smith Hearst, Dallas Jane Helslander, Terminal B North • Mark di Suvero
Untitled Floating in Space, a Waltz For W.B. Yeats
Gates D38-40 • Dan Blagg
“In an airport, the adventure and fun of travel should be cele- Jewel of the Day
brated as much as where one is traveling to or from.” Terminal B South Dan Blagg, Spirit Walk
Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 21
music

Red Holloway
Jazz legend to perform on behalf
of FW Library archive

T he Fort Worth Public Library will advance its


Jazz Preservation Project this spring with a
performance by legendary tenor saxophonist
Red Holloway. The admission-free concert will open at
6:30 p.m. May 7 in the Central Library Gallery at
500 West Third St.
Holloway will be accompanied by such North
Texas musicians as pianist
Arlington Jones, bassist James
Gilyard and drummer Duane
Durrett. The program will
range from modern-jazz
standards to original com-
positions.
Holloway has worked
over the long term with
such mainstays of jazz and
blues as Billie Holiday, Ben
Red Holloway Webster, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Lester
Young, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Sitt, George
Benson, Bobby “Blue” Bland and B.B. King.
The Fort Worth Jazz Preservation Project was cre-
ated to ensure that the work and histories of jazz musi-
cians continue to be known, heard and appreciated.
The project includes such signature elements as the
Jazz Perspectives series, a collection of video interviews
with influential musicians; the steady acquisition of his-
torically significant personal collections; and perform-
ances and educational programs.
“We believe that jazz and its essence are deeply root-
ed in the city’s collective consciousness,” says Gleniece
Robinson, library director,“and that the music, its com-
posers, and performers have contributed significantly to
the diverse and thriving communities and cultural insti-
tutions that exist throughout Fort Worth today.”
Parking for the May 7 program will be available at
the Third Street Parking Garage, at Third at Taylor
steets. The first two-and-a-half hours of parking are
free with library validation. FWC

22 Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09


art

Fort Worth Art Commission

Landmark policies for landmark artistry


By Betty Dillard

In 2001, the city of Fort Worth took landmark action may employ local structural engineers, lighting consult-
Q&A with to set aside 2 percent of capital construction costs for the ants, fabricators, installers and assistants, which creates
creation of public art. The ordinance also established the jobs. Recently, during the installation of two sculptures
Kirk Millican Fort Worth Art Commission Program, which is gov- on Lancaster Avenue, the public art director counted no
erned by nine community members appointed by the less than 12 workers on site. They also purchase materi-
Chair, Fort Worth mayor. In August 2002, the city selected the Arts Council als. Beyond the direct economic impact, it is safe to say
Art Commission of Fort Worth & Tarrant County to manage the pro-
gram.
that cities with public art attract corporations seeking to
relocate to cities that offer a quality of life that cultural
Award-winning architect Kirk Millican chairs the pro- amenities bring. Many visitors to Fort Worth come
gram. As senior vice president and principal of HOK specifically to visit the museums and other cultural
Architects, Millican oversees commercial, transportation, events, and our growing public art collection is sure to
urban design and public and institutional projects. He bring visitors to our city.
served as the local coordinator for “Save Outdoor
Sculpture!” a program funded by the National Museum The installation of Cliff Garten’s “Avenue of Light”
of American Art and the Smithsonian Institution, which along Lancaster Avenue is in progress — and it is stun-
surveyed all publicly accessible outdoor sculpture in ning. What are some other current public art projects
Tarrant County. and conservation projects around the city?
And here and now, Millican, who has collaborated Parking in Color by Christopher Janney
with artists on numerous projects incorporating art into (PhenomenArts Inc.) is currently being installed at the
the architecture, shares his thoughts on public art with new Fort Worth Convention Center Parking Garage,
the Business Press’ Betty Dillard. which includes the Sound Environments of Fort Worth — an
interactive soundscape in the elevators and elevator tow-
What is public art? ers, as well as the Fin Sculpture, which consists of five col-
Public art is work sited in a publicly accessible or visi- ored-glass banners hung perpendicularly from the
ble location. Public art is usually the result of a process Throckmorton Street façade, which will cast color shad-
that involves some measure of community involvement ows on the façade.
and often is developed in collaboration with other design Earth Fountain by Philippe Klinefelter will be installed
professionals. It may take many forms: outdoor sculp- on Camp Bowie Boulevard (between Eldridge Street and
ture and murals, artist design functional pieces (street Byers Avenue) in April. This nine-foot-diameter Texas
furniture, light poles, etc.), works that are integrated into red granite sphere will include a water feature and a
architecture (art glass windows) as well as earthworks, carved topographic map of Fort Worth.
water features, etc. The City of Fort Worth defines pub- Most recently, Fort Worth artist Alice Bateman com-
lic art as having been designed or produced by a profes- pleted her installation at the Chuck Silcox Animal
sional artist, and the art resides in the city’s public art col- Center.
lection. Other projects are under way at newly planned fire sta-
tions and branch libraries.
How does public art serve Fort Worth and what is its
impact on the local economy? What does the future hold for public art in Fort
• Public art enhances our visual environment. Worth?
• Public art celebrates the history and diversity of our The recently approved 2008 Capital Improvement
community. Program (CIP) was the second bond package to include
• Public art involves artists in the development of our 2 percent for public art. It will generate many more pub-
infrastructure. lic art projects on streets and bridges over the next few
• Public art promotes tourism and economic vitality. years. City Council is encouraging our program to seek
There has not been an economic impact study con- out partnerships with the private sector to augment pub-
ducted on the Fort Worth Public Art program; however, lic art budgets.
artists commissioned to create public art for Fort Worth

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture 23