Aug 28, 2010

Dallas is For Art Lovers

When I think of artsy getaway destinations Dallas is not the first place that comes to mind – or even the second or third. I guess I watched too many cowboy movies in my youth and too many episodes of “Dallas” in the 80s. My idea of Dallas was one of a cow town where the women sported puffy bouffant hairdos, the men wore ten-gallon hats and cowboy boots, everyone said “Howdy” and “Ya’ll,” and dined on Texas-sized steaks. During our recent visit to Dallas one misconception of the city after another was shattered. Dallas is a vibrant city with the world’s largest urban art area.

The introduction to Dallas was great because the airport is set up so that John and I exited the airplane and the luggage carrel was only a few steps away. The airport has several luggage areas instead of one huge one, which always seems to be as far away from where we exit the plane as possible.

We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel, which was the perfect location for accessing the many Dallas art venues and other museums. The stylish Texas-size hotel has 1,840 rooms and recently completed a $90 million makeover. Because the hotel is vertical not sprawling it didn’t seem so big plus the touch screens on their Wayfinder Reader Boards made it possible to find whatever we needed within the hotel. There was no need to rent a car or hop in a taxi to do what we wanted to do. The hotel is just steps away from the 19-block, 68-acre Dallas Arts District. Using the hotel’s other technological upgrade we downloaded and printed the guide for the Public Art Walk at their Link center, an amazing state-of-the-art communication center. I think technology is moving faster than I am.

After getting settled in our room we had just enough time to take the 3.3-mile walk before dark. On the way out of the hotel we stopped at Chill, the hotel’s frozen yogurt bar. Fortified with our treat we followed the guide with the first stop the dramatic Cancer Survivor’s Plaza with the three figures emerging from a gate symbolizing their triumph over cancer. The artworks exhibit a diversity of styles. In front of the Crow Collection of Asian Art is a statue named “Seated Daoist Deity,” a 17th century Chinese bronze sculpture. At the entrance of the Dallas Museum of Art is the beautiful mural, “Genesis: The Gift of Life.” Created by Mexican artist, Miguel Covarrubias, the mural is based on the four elements: earth, fire, water, and air.

Not only was the artwork along the walk inspiring but so was the diversity of architecture. The 1902 dark red brick High Victorian Gothic Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Cathedral is just a block away from the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center designed by I. M. Pei with the “de Musica” sculpture outside. The flowing red tiles of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House contrasts nicely with the nearby Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre built with aluminum tubes. The Wyly is a 12-level building with stacked theaters making it the world’s only vertical theater. John and I attended a presentation by the Dallas Black Theater in the Wyly Theater. It was an amazing performance. We return to the Sheraton hotel and relaxed around the open fire on their patio, noshed on s’mores, and planned the next day.